I’m going again to Afghanistan now, the place I first began working in 1988, and I meet individuals who say, “Oh, Lyse, I used to be listening to you after I was 5 years previous in Afghanistan,” as a result of these have been again within the days, in fact, the place greater than 90% of the inhabitants listened to the BBC, and so they listened to in Dari or Pashto, the primary Afghan languages, or they listened in English. There wasn’t a worldwide BBC tv community then. It was an enormous, huge duty to know that not simply have been you reporting, however you have been reporting again to the nation and everybody, everybody was listening.
LA: After the break, extra about Afghanistan as Lyse recounts a harrowing drive into the north of the nation within the depths of winter.
Afghanistan is a spot that only a few individuals have been capable of go to from the West, the US, UK, Europe, and different international locations on the earth. How would you describe it to them?
LD: Oh, Afghanistan is an historical land of the richest of traditions, the kindest of individuals, a individuals with a powerful sense of self and place, a powerful sense of who they’re and the place their historical past has introduced them to, however it’s, sadly, a land which has been cursed by its historical past, cursed by its neighbors, and it is a land the place era after era’s hopes and goals have been crushed on this weight of historical past and the burden of the previous.
I bear in mind 1988 and ’89, when Soviet troops have been leaving Afghanistan after 10 years of warfare, and Afghans would come and whisper to me, “Do you suppose that, now that the Russians are leaving, will life get higher?” And also you’d see it of their eyes, you’d really feel it of their very presence. And, in fact, I stated, “Effectively, sure, let’s hope issues will get higher after 10 years of warfare.” This final era, who grew up below 20 years of worldwide engagement, they grew to become Imagineers, dreaming of futures they by no means might’ve have dreamed of earlier than, and now they’re residing below an more and more repressive Taliban rule.
And it is a rule I’ve to say, I meet younger Taliban, I did once more in January, a variety of them do not agree with these most extreme edicts. Afghans prefer to say about themselves, they seem to be a individuals who do not lose hope, however they’re dropping hope, and we’re now staring into the darkest of instances for Afghans. And our listeners will suppose, “Effectively, what a rustic. It is at all times been plunged into warfare and combating,” however Afghan can also be a spot of haunting music, of lovely dance, of depraved humor, of kindest individuals, of scrumptious meals, all these issues that you just and I search in our personal societies and in our personal cultures. Afghans are not any completely different from you or I within the type of joys and richness that they search from their very own lives.
My final journey to Afghanistan, the place the story was concerning the snow, that individuals have been dying in freezing temperatures. They have been so poor they’d no defenses towards the chilly. They could not afford the heating. Their homes have been so flimsy. They did not have sufficient to eat. And, you recognize, we thought, “Effectively, how are we going to inform this story?” And one in all my Afghan colleagues stated, “Effectively, we go to this camp for displaced individuals,” and I assumed, “We have proven that so many instances. Even I, after I see that, you recognize …” I stated, “I’ve seen it so many instances earlier than,” after which one other colleague stated, “Effectively, we will go over there. Oh, it is about two hours from Kabul, and there is a meals distribution.” And I assumed, “We have proven … we have gone …” I at all times suppose, “Allow us to strive, as laborious as it’s, and it’s laborious, ‘trigger issues hold occurring repeatedly, is tips on how to attempt to inform the story otherwise.”
After which my colleague, sooner or later, stated, “Effectively, Lyse, if we go two hours simply this, to the west of Kabul, if we movie on this aspect of the road, there will probably be snow and, on the opposite aspect of the road, there is no snow, so we’ll movie.” And I awakened within the morning and I stated to my colleagues, “Look,