Dateline (Australian TV program)
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Here’s a link to what I think is probably the most exciting piece of reportage I’ve seen in a long time – Norwegian Paul Refsdal’s film as an embed with the Taliban. Yes, the fucking Taliban.

First noticed it when Channel 4 News reported on it (not sure if they screened the whole thing), then SBS‘s Dateline showed it in Australia.

I knew I would like it when I heard about it – but I thought in hindsight that the sheer bravado and possibly bravery/lunacy in pursuit of the story would be the clincher. In fact, it’s amazing because it showed me up to be a guy, like many others, who knows nothing about the Taliban… I select and edit what international stories make it on to the SBS World News website on a daily basis, but this unique portrayal of ulitmately human Taliban fighters, shocked me. So dang ignorant.

Who would have thought these were such regular dudes? (minus the suicide attacks etc, I guess.)

Great stuff.

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  1. Matt says:

    Dude, thanks for posting this – great story.

    Reminded me of an interview I saw with Reza Aslan at the Writer’s Festival earlier this year. I recall he said there are only 100 jihadist Taliban in Afghanistan, and many are men from the mountains fighting a local war. See:

    The media in the West weakens our understanding of conflict in the Middle East when it uses blanket terms like ‘extremist’ and terrorist’ to group disparate groups with vastly different motivations.

    I realised the depth of my own ignorance last year while researching Israel’s recent conflict with Hamas. Western governments deliberately simplify the story, which is generally not de-coded by the Western media, and not balanced by showing the other side. Hamas are a political party that was voted in by elections regarded as free and fair as the representatives of Gazan people, but the West terms them as a ‘terrorist organisation’ and uses that as a reason not to speak to them. The absence of Hamas from the recent talks between Netanyahu and Abbas were occurring went pretty much uncommented upon in our media (as far as I could see), but I am not sure how they expect to bring peace to the region without having all sides represented in peace talks.

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