Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lipstick and Blood in Afghanistan

Crystal Quintero, CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Uprisings; RAWA
New Skater'istan, formerly Buddhist Bamiyan, Afghanistan (
Lipstick in Afghanistan ( audio)
There was Greco-Buddhism and amazing art in Gandhara (Afghanistan). But that was a long time ago. Now there's war.
Roberta Gately’s lyrical and authentic debut novel -- inspired by her own experiences as a nurse in third world war zones -- is one woman’s moving story of offering help and finding hope in the last place she expected.

Gripped by haunting magazine images of starving refugees, Elsa has dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a teenager. Of leaving her humble working-class Boston neighborhood to help people whose lives are far more difficult than her own.
The best lipsticks are unexpected and yummy
No one in her family has ever escaped poverty, but Elsa has a secret weapon: a tube of lipstick she found in her older sister’s bureau. Wearing it never fails to raise her spirits and cement her determination. With lipstick on, she can do anything -- even travel alone to war-torn Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.

I will get us out of Af'
But violent nights as an ER nurse in South Boston could not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan [the formerly Afghan Buddhist town with massive Buddha statues and a cave system that used to be a monastery along the foothills of the Himalayas, here called the Hindu Kush].
Buddhism in Afghanistan was one of the major religious movements during the pre-Islamic era. It was widespread south of the Hindu Kush mountains. Buddhism was thought to have first arrived in Afghanistan in 305 BCE when the Seleucid Empire made an alliance with the Indian Maurya Empire. But recent archeology revealed 2600-year-old Mes Aynak, a one square mile Buddhist monastery near a precious metal mine. The Buddha was from Afghanistan, and the Shakyan capital of Kapilavastu may have been somewhere between Bamiyan and Kabul ( Buddhism thrived until the time of the Ghaznavids in the 11th century.
Greco-Buddhist statues of Afghanistan and Indo-Pakistan, ancient Gandhara
Pakistan, parts of Afghanistan used to be India
As she struggles to prove herself to the Afghan doctors and local villagers, she begins a forbidden romance with her only confidant, a charming [American serial killer] Special Forces soldier.

Then, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to another life-changing friendship. In her neighbor Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery and generous. 
Crossing Zero (invisiblehistory)
Together, the two women risk their lives to save friends and family from the worst excesses of the [CIA-Pakistani creation known ominously as the] Taliban. But when the war waging around them threatens their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within.

Gately’s raw, intimate novel is an unforgettable tribute to the power of friendship and a reminder of the tragic costs of war. More + Audio

Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence
See the reality: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (

Afghan female (
This is in-depth research in a historical context. Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls report on U.S. (CIA, MIC) policies in Afghanistan in the post-9/11 era.

Using declassified government documents and on-the-ground interviews with Afghan activists, journalists, lawyers, refugees, and students, Bleeding Afghanistan examines the connections between earlier U.S. training and arming of Afghan Mujahideen commanders and the subversion of Afghan democracy today. 

This book boldly points out the exploitation of Afghan women to justify war, which has been done by both conservatives and progressives. It analyzes uncritical mainstream media coverage of U.S. policies and examines the ways in which the U.S. benefits from being in Afghanistan even as the military seems to be "losing" the war. More
Exquisite examples of ancient Afghan Buddhist art, Gandhara-style (
The Battle for Afghanistan, William Dalrymple (New York Times book review)


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