Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

March 13, 2005

Afghanistan’s First Blog

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:22 pm

In July 2001, the Taliban government in Afghanistan banned access by Afghans to the Internet. The next month, they extended to ban to include foreigner present in Afghanistan (this got considerably more press).

Almost a year and a half after the U.S. liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban, the new government restored access to the Internet and reclaimed the temporarily defunct “.af” top-level domain.

Now — as of last Tuesday — an Afghan named Waheed has started what he believes is Afghanistan’s first blog. And it most probably is.

Best of luck to Waheed — and to all Afghans to enjoy their freedom of speech from now on!

(Hat tip: Adam Greenwood.)

5 Responses to “Afghanistan’s First Blog”

  1. romy Says:

    thanks for the link – great!
    (ps. does it make me petty that i saw “115 comments” on waheed’s first post and got a teensy bit jealous? ;) )

  2. Different River Says:

    Don’t be jealous — you may get fewer comments, but he has to live in Afghanistan, where there aren’t as many flush toilets and heaters/air-conditioners per person as you there are where you live.

  3. romy Says:

    well, you may have a point. but we’re all equal in the blogosphere.
    and your comment made me wonder about the phrasing … can we say he ‘GETS’ to live in afghanistan? it must be a pretty exciting time to live there. imagine having the whole world suddenly open to you … oh we in the west take so much for granted.

  4. Different River Says:

    You know, after I wrote that I thought maybe it sounded a bit condescending (though I wasn’t sure to whom).

    What I was trying to say is, there are many dimensions to life, and usually people who are fortunate in one are unfortunate in others. Waleed gets a lot of hits and comments on his blog, and gets to be one of the pioneering citizens of a country which — we hope — is on the brink of great advances in human freedom. Someone who lives in America loses out on that excitement, but gets to live in a country that has had a relatively stable established regime of freedom for over 200 years. (Not perfect, sure, but way better than Afghanistan at any point since 1980.) Plus, we have an much better economic standard of living — a poor person in America lives much better than an economically-average person in Afghanistan. So, we American (and people in most developed countries) have certain advantages Waleed doesn’t have, and Waleed has certain other advantages we don’t have. It’s not really worth being jealous, especially since you probably don’t know enough about Waleed’s situation to know if you’d trade places with him — let alone whether he’d trade places with you.

    And yes, in a certain sense we’re all equal in the blogosphere — that’s one of the great things about it, and why I think it’s not only personally satisfying but is a historically important social and political phenomenon — but still, if you are the only guy in the entire country of Afghanistan with a blog, you are going to get a lot more readers than a typical blogger in New York or Boston or Washington or Los Angeles, simply because lots of people want a first-hand account of what’s going on in Afghanistan and all of those people need to go to Waleed. If they want to know what’s going on in America they have hundreds of thousands of choices. It’s hard to be heard above the din.

    Having said that, I’m quite gratified at the number and quality of people who read this blog and leave comments. Not like I would complain if I got a level of readership like Waleeds, of course! ;-)

  5. Different River Says:

    Carnival of the Liberated
    The Carnival of the Liberated is a round-up of blogs from Iraq (and now Afghanistan also!). It’s written by Dave Schuler but hosted by Dean Esmay.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress