Kites, Guns and Dreams

NARRATIVE 360 is pleased to present an impression of Afghanistan by four Canadian photojournalists: Roger LeMoyne, Lana Slezic, Robert Semeniuk and Christopher Grabowski. The images in Kites, Guns & Dreams focus primarily on civilian life caught in the crossfire, in both the literary and the political sense.

  Essays: The Bombsight and the Viewfinder
Children of War
Fighting Terror One Bridge at a Time



All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.

 Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
 A boy plays in the ruins of the King’s palace.


Robert Semeniuk, Kabul, 1996

All rights reserved. © 1996 ROBERT SEMENIUK - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 1987 ROBERT SEMENIUK - Do not reprint without permission. Robert Semeniuk, Waziristan, 1987
In a small village in Waziristan, close to the Pakistan–Afghanistan border, all the older boys and men went away to fight. The women remained hidden inside walled compounds. These young boys were the only males around, tending the local “market.”

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
A boy kisses a velvet pole erected as part of a New Year's Day celebration. Kissing the pole is believed to bring good luck.

All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission.

Lana Slezic, Badakshan, 2004

A village on the country’s northeastern frontier.

 

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
A bird vendor outside the Blue Mosque.

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All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
A few months after the Taliban was expelled from Kabul, a vendor displayed a doll at the market.

Lana Slezic, Kabul, 2004
At the Red Cross orthopedic centre.

All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission. Christopher Grabowski, Jabal Seraj, 2003
In an interview for the local radio station, Nazifa, who was injured by a land mine, talked about her constant pain, her fear that she will become a burden to her family, and her wish that she had died in the blast that took her legs. Her account of the tragedy registered only briefly in the expressions of her classmates. Unable to hide their excitement, the girls surrounding her quickly reverted to subdued chatter and giggling.

Robert Semeniuk, Kabul, 1996
At the orthopedic centre of Wazir Hospital, nine-year-old Wazir Hammond rests against a wall of sandbags that protect the hospital against rockets, shelling and bombs. He requires a prosthesis refitting every six months. More than a hundred people, most of them civilians, are killed and maimed every month by land mines in Afghanistan.

All rights reserved. © 1996 ROBERT SEMENIUK - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 1996 ROBERT SEMENIUK - Do not reprint without permission. Robert Semeniuk, Kabul, 1996
A land-mine awareness sign on a road near Wazir Hospital. A land mine is ten times more likely to kill a civilian after the conflict than a combatant during it. Afghanistan has established one of the world's most extensive de-mining and mine-risk education programs. It employs more than 5,000 de-miners and educators. On September 11, 2002, Afghanistan joined the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, known as the Ottawa Treaty. It was one of the first international agreements endorsed by the post-war government. Despite all of these efforts it will take decades to de-mine a significant part of the country’s best agricultural land.

Robert Semeniuk, Kabul, 1996
At the orthopedic centre of Wazir Hospital.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission. Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003

Roger LeMoyne, 2002
A British helicopter flies over the Hindu Kush on its way back to Kabul from the north of the country, after delivering relief supplies to earthquake victims.

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All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission. Lana Slezic, Mazar-e-Sharif, 2004

Lana Slezic, Parwan, 2004
Commander Mennan is in charge of rebuilding the Salang Tunnel, the main route between Kabul and the northern provinces. It is the world’s highest road tunnel and was destroyed by an avalanche in 2002.

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All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.

Lana Slezic, Kabul, 2004
The old Kabul Theatre is used as a school for girls despite the missing roof and the rubble strewn everywhere.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002

All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission. Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
Dogfights are held every Saturday morning in a field on the outskirts of Kabul. The atmosphere is highly charged and people gamble on the dogs, but the fights are short and the animals are rarely seriously injured.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
Buz Kashi, Afghanistan's version of polo, which is played with a headless goat carcass, was banned under the Taliban. Now it is being played again, with the traditional ferocity that often leaves players bloodied and horses limping.

All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission. Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
Buz Kashi riders.


All rights reserved. © 1996 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 1996
I took this panorama of Kabul shortly after the Taliban entered the city. The theme of war's civilian victims seemed to be thrust upon me as I travelled to areas of conflict. The fate of these civilians was inescapable and magnetically drew the camera. The geography and hardware of conflict seemed less real than the suffering it left behind. In the wars of the last decade, it is non-combatants who have suffered the most casualties. They get caught in crossfire or they bear the brunt of bloody ethnic hatred. Increasingly, civilians are used deliberately as weapons: as cover, bargaining chips or targets of psychological warfare, or as another resource for soldiers to exploit.


All rights reserved. © 1996 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 1996
Taliban.

Lana Slezic, Faizabad, 2004
This orphanage in the northern province of Badakshan was started by a woman named Zahira Rabbani to provide shelter for more than 300 children.

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All rights reserved. © 1996 ROBERT SEMENIUK - Do not reprint without permission. Robert Semeniuk, Herat, 1996
Traditional flatbread is baked in a clay oven.

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003
Shakib is one of an estimated 37,000 street-working children in the Afghan capital, many of whom have lost one or both parents. They panhandle, work at low-paying menial jobs and scrounge for basic necessities.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission. Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003
Aschiana is a school for street-working children in Kabul. It has morning and afternoon classes to accommodate the needs of students. In a science class, the teacher asked girls to balance cardboard butterflies on their noses to illustrate the laws of physics.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2002 ROGER LEMOYNE - Do not reprint without permission.

Roger LeMoyne, Kabul, 2002
When the education system was relaunched under the interim government, many girls went to school for the first time in their lives. Although this schoolhouse was completely empty of furniture and supplies, hundreds of girls showed up to register on the first day.

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003
The curriculum at Aschiana includes detailed instruction about land mines and unexploded ordnance.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission. Lana Slezic, Kabul, 2004
Girls attend classes in the partially destroyed Kabul Theatre building. Tahera Hakim, an Afghan educator, says, "Even if we don't have the resources we need, we will find a way to teach the students. If we have no chairs, no desks, no classrooms, we will teach them under the trees. The future of our country lies with these girls. Their education is the future of Afghanistan and some education is better than none at all."

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Christopher Grabowski, 2003, Kabul Youth Center

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003
The boys from a ruined Kabul neighbourhood offered to instruct me in the art of kite flying. With our heads tilted back, we looked in the only direction where the tragic history of the city couldn’t be seen. It was the end of summer in 2003, and they still waited for opportunities to arrive and for
their streets to return to ordinary life.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.
All rights reserved. © 2004 LANA S L E Z I C - Do not reprint without permission. Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.

All rights reserved. © 2003 CHRISTOPHER GRABOWSKI - Do not reprint without permission.

Christopher Grabowski, Kabul, 2003
As I raised my camera toward the artillery-damaged mosque at the end of the street, a boy about ten years old flipped into the frame and kicked up a small cloud of dust. For a moment I could not understand what was happening. In such a context, a perfectly natural prank seemed more surreal than the traces of war.