Famous Afghan woman evacuated

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by JDMvW, Nov 26, 2021.

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  1. Steve McCurry’s photograph of Sharbat Gulla, with piercing green eyes, was published on the cover of National Geographic. McCurry found her again in 2002.

    Afghan Girl From Famous Cover Portrait Is Evacuated To Italy

    (Mod note - moved from originally posted in News Forum: arguably more noticed and more conversation here.)
  2. Yes, I saw this in the news. The first photo was beautiful, the second photo years later was a harder reminder of her life and her world. Especially her fear of the consequences to her in 2002 when Steve McCurry found her again. I didn't know that she fled to Pakistan and then was sent back to Kabul and had some support form the government there.
  3. One person.
    What about the less good-looking ones that didn't get PhotoShopped into world fame?
  4. inoneeye likes this.
  5. Through no fault of her own, Ms Gulla was thrust into fame and associated with the "evil" of the West. I think she deserves some consideration on that account.
  6. Barry thanks for the provocative link.
  7. Nobody was ascribing any fault to the subject of the picture.

    After seeing an exhibition of McCurry's work years ago, I developed a distinct distaste for his style of applying the aesthetics of fashion and advertising to reportage. In fact the back story to most of his work appears to reveal a good deal of staging, by simply paying his subjects to pose in a photogenic way.
  8. The hell you say!
  9. While I agree the photo, like many old news items, gets recycled whenever it’s a slow news day. It’s still a good photo of striking eyes even if she was not “haunted by war” or whatever. Tony Northrup is not averse to making a buck on exaggerated clickbait either. The trajectory of the photo was probably only dimly perceived by McCurry at the time too.
  10. While the original photo has "grown legs" far beyond what I believe anyone could have imagined, I've come to see it merely as a somewhat dramatic documentation of the human cost of the tragedy of "our" involvement in Afghanistan. This single image belies the fact of so many people killed and displaced, through no fault of their own. The whole thing is really quite sad, and it's far from "over". I personally am uncertain of the "value" of continuing coverage on this woman. Wouldn't it be better to just leave her the heck alone? Hasn't enough been done to her -and her people- already?
  11. Never cared for the photo myself, though in this matter my aesthetic opinion is largely irrelevant.

    My impression is that contemporary culture (and it's not just a new phenomenon), now run by Mark Z. and Jack D., is set on bringing down famous people if not each other. That combination of soap opera, gossip, and destruction seems irresistible and I wouldn't be surprised if there's an algorithm to encourage it.

    Having said that, there are certainly "celebrities" in all fields who deserve a second look and don't necessarily stand the test of time or ethics.

    It helps to be sanguine about it and not jump too quickly on any of the many bandwagons parading around the metaverse. And it's also helpful to keep context and era in mind when reassessing someone's behavior, intentions, and affect on the world.

    There are controversies over Lange's Migrant Mother, Rosenthal's Raising the Flag On Iwo Jima, and Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square. John Maloof is berated for his handling of Vivian Maier's work and Martin Parr steps down over the perceived racist juxtaposition of two photos in a book he promoted.

    Mapplethorpe's in trouble from both sides of the aisle, so I suspect he got something very right. ;)
  12. It's not as if Afghanistan is innocent. 9-11 was staged from there under the protection of the Taliban-run government of twenty years ago which is in charge again today. This is why this woman is fleeing from there. Have you forgotten how Afghan women had vast freedoms under American protection?
  13. In fact, no party may claim complete innocence with regards to Afghanistan. Certainly, the CIA was watching with heightened interest at the VERY LEAST, if not actually colluding with Afghan resistance fighters against Russia.

    Here's some reading from the National Security Archives.
    Afghanistan: Lessons from the Last War

    With this post I end my discussion on the matter. I stand by my previous post.
    peter_fowler likes this.
  14. Too right. The US/CIA support for the mujahideen, largely made the Taliban takeover inevitable. The Soviet backed government was not particularly misogynistic either, as far as I am aware. In fact that was one of the things the mujahideen, being the patriarchy incarnate, had against the Soviet backed government.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  15. And, Afghan women had rights (well, as much as anybody did) under the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) when the Soviets were there.
  16. It wasn't Russia at the time, it was the Soviet Union who was an adversary of ours. That's why we helped the Afghans against the Soviets. Unfortunately, the wrong group, the Taliban, took over instead of the Afghan Northern Alliance. In any case, none of that has much to do with 9-11. They attacked us and we responded. Arguing that woman had rights under the Soviets is beside the point, They lost them when the Taliban took over before 9-11 and now again when we left.
  17. Actually Afghanistan did not attack us. What they did do is ga ve Al Qaeda sanctuary and refused to turn Osama Bin Ladin over to us after Al Qaeda attacked us. They claimed they couldn't due to their interpretation of their concept of hospitality under Islamic law. I realize this is a nuance that doesn't mean a whole lot when they hosted and then protected the people that did attack us.

    What often gets lost in these discussions is the fact that we had a large hand in creating the Taliban due to our massive arming of Mujahideen in order to dislodge the Soviets. Our goals and geopolitical actions helped the Taliban and other extremist and violent movements gain power to the detriment of woman, culture, music and every other thing we in the west take for granted.

    If you haven't, you might want to see "Charlie's War" starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
  18. I saw that movie a couple of times. It was very good. The point is we helped the Taliban and Afghanistan gain freedom from the Soviets with weapons and other support. They repaid us by hosting Osama Bin Laden, providing training grounds for Al Queda, and then protected him after he attacked us on 9-11. Where was their hospitality and friendship to us for helping them gain freedom? They took our support with a smile and then stabbed us in the back. They deserve every bomb we dropped on them. If I helped you gain freedom, would you repay me by stabbing me in the back?
  19. How many places has American military presence and involvement proven to have had a lasting positive effect ? Possibly Japan ? Peter
  20. Since Germany in the 40s, few have “deserved” the bombs dropped by the U.S. And most of the bombs dropped have been a complete waste.

    Where exactly did all those bombs get us? Our enemies are more radicalized and threatening than ever. And, currently, many of the worst of them are inside the house.

    Guns and bombs. The U.S. answer to everything.

    denny_rane and Ricochetrider like this.
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