On the road, north of Peshawar, 1988- Lifting a camera to your face and looking through the viewfinder was never a simple exercise in calculating light, composition or color. Refugees wandered all over the roadside with no apparent purpose, dazed, lost and miserable. Children, oblivious, played among them, running by the road, cooling off in canals that were often little more than open sewers. How would this old fragile anarchic society of Afghanistan survive mass displacement? Could the Qur'an really hold them together? That's what I was thinking when I tripped the shutter for this picture. What would happen to these children? In the fullness of time, the Taliban provided an answer. Many of these boys were to become its troops, fighting for one set of indistinct and sketchy values and delivering a social order very different and worse.

copyright 2005©David Dienstag
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