Nasim Fekrat Continues the Hope Train

by Joshua Foust on 8/4/2009 · 2 comments

Nasim Fekrat makes me supremely jealous. He’s about my age, and has won numerous awards and fellowships for his efforts at blogging. Part of that is because he blogs from Afghanistan, where journalism can be a dangerous business for locals. But part of it, too, is that he is a blogging evangelist, and travels into some very dicey places to try to teach journalists, students, and regular people how to tell their stories to the outside world.

Fekrat is currently in Helmand Province, where, using only two computers, he taught a huge room full of people how to start blogging about their world. It’s amazing: people there are disappointed that Helmand is known only for drugs and violence and want to discuss its culture, literature, and agriculture; others want to get a local perspective on the security challenges there.

Of course, this being Helmand, most of the bloggers will be writing in Pashto, which I cannot read. And that’s a shame (and a serious limitation for a western audience), as I’ve found other Afghan blogs to be tremendously insightful about the country and what people—even if “just” the literate elites—think. There’s something to be said for understanding the people by going right to the source, and avoiding all the filters media puts in the way. If nothing else, Fekrat deserves mad props for trying to expand and amplify the voice of regular Afghans—something that seems to be at the bottom of everyone’s priority list, but is also one of those requirements for a robust civil society we Americans seem interested in fostering.

Nasim Fekrat, we salute you. Keep up the good fight.

Photo credit: Nasim Fekrat. Guy’s talented.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

David M August 4, 2009 at 9:22 am

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 08/04/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

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