PRODUCED BY THE ASIA SOCIETY
Reviewed by Howard Faber
Homeland Afghanistan, a new website created by the Asia Society, is a remarkable online resource for anyone seeking to learn about Afghanistan from the pre-history of the region to the present day. It is a visual, speaking textbook, full of images, old and new. I found it appealing, mostly easy to navigate, and a balanced combination of scholarly comment and historical visual images. The music adds greatly to the flavor of this website, and the visual timeline is helpful in placing the many people and events in history. The Asia Society offers seventy-five video episodes, featuring archaeological finds, paintings, literary works, music, photographs, and documentary films. This site will be useful to middle and high school students and teachers as well as college students and professors who are studying this now well-known country.
This story of Afghanistan, its place in history, and the people who have lived, fought, and laughed in this (until recently) not-so-well-known part of our world community is particularly well told. The comments of the contributors are mostly insightful and accurate. I say “mostly” because there is room for debate about the views of one of the contributors, and there are some missing elements.
First: The debate. The contributor, who speaks primarily about recent history, is far too kind to Pakistan and the Taliban concerning their roles in the attempts of the Afghan people to rebuild their country. He is also unduly harsh when speaking about American soldiers, using the words “violating” and “violence” to describe their activities, not mentioning the word “protecting” or the many positive contributions these members of the US Armed Services have made to Afghanistan.