I See A Dream: Afghanistan's Youth

Photographs and Text by Zalmai

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Life in Kabul goes on. Despite the ongoing war in many parts of the country, the constant fear of attacks, destruction and despair, young people do not wait for the war to end to go on with their lives. Life emerges in the middle of a city in constant struggle to protect and reconstruct itself. In front of barricaded buildings, dressed with multiple layers of cement to endure suicide-bombers, in the middle of architectural relics of a soviet era long gone and enormous newly constructed apartment blocs and billboards advertising internet providers, the youth of Kabul dream.

What do they dream? This young generation of Afghans has a lot of battles to fight: ig- norance, war, extremism to name but a few. Still, against an ever-present anguish for the future, the Afghan youth replies with a formidable energy that cannot be discouraged. The contrast between old and new, tradition and modernity is waiting to surprise the observer in every corner of the city. What does it mean to be Afghan in 2011?

Images of Afghanistan are often limited to pictures of war and despair. Still, the millions of people who live in the country continue to hope and dream for a better future every day. It is an apprehensive dream, anxious, but persistent.

It took me a Smartphone equipped with a vintage effect to become invisible, pass unnoticed through the street crowds, in the markets, in the houses of friends, in night celebrations to capture the lingering desire to move forward into a better future, a fight which needs to be won each day.