Afghanistan by donkey
Both Foreign Policy and NRC, one of the leading Dutch quality newspapers, dedicated a valuable article to the recent work of war correspondent Anna Badkhen and photojournalist Thorne Anderson. In short: For a year, Badkhen travelled through the remote Northern provinces of Afghanistan without protection from neither American nor Afghan troops and wrote down her experiences in an e-book titled “Afghanistan by Donkey”. Anderson, on the other hand, was responsible for the visuals, the photographs (see following link).
The project of Thorne Anderson and Anna Badkhen is not war journalism in the conventional sense of the word. It’s not some kind of “disaster porn”, on the contrary. It gives a unique view into the lives of Afghans living in a conflict area and is in sharp contrast to most of the often bloody images we receive about Afghanistan.
Peter Bergen, a well-known journalist specialized in topics concerning international security, wrote the preface to the book and states that “If you can’t understand a country just from looking at the cities, you certainly can’t understand a war just from reading about the battles.” In a way, he’s right: Many diverse stories create a more objective image. Nevertheless, war journalism, whether disaster porn or not, is and will always be a one-sided view. It’s about telling a story, one story. The story of Badkhen and Anderson touches upon the story that, to my knowledge, has never been extensively described before and is, in that sense, a must read!