Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Turquoise Mountain

Tonight, I wanted to highlight what I think is a really excellent organization: the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. To borrow from their website, "Turquoise Mountain is investing in the regeneration of the historic commercial centre of Kabul, providing basic services, saving historic buildings and constructing a new bazaar and galleries for traditional craft businesses." The screenshot above shows a few examples of the types of historic buildings they are trying to save.
As I wrote about the restitution of cultural property, there are always a number of political issues in international organizations like this. However, in the end, the important thing is that someone cares enough to preserve pieces of history for future generations.

The Foundation's CEO is
Rory Stewart, a very interesting man with a very interesting background. Click on the link to read about his early life & his previous work in Iraq. I wrote a review of his book The Places in Between over the winter. Here's an excerpt:
Written during a transitory and transformative time in Afghanistan’s history, The Places in Between is an honest and thoughtful look at that country and its people. Both the people he encounters and the landscape through which he passes shape Stewart’s understanding of Afghanistan. In a sense, he also imprinted that place, however lightly. In an article he wrote for the London Review of Books a couple of months prior to his walk through Afghanistan, he speaks of his experience walking across Iran. He writes, “By day, I sometimes experienced a fragile coincidence of mind, landscape and muscle which made me feel more substantial. I might look back at a peak I had crossed three days before. My footsteps left prints in the earth behind me, stretching back over the thousand miles I had walked in the past months.” In the end, who we are, as individuals or as a nation, has much to do with that give-and-take, the interplay between how we shape our landscape and how our landscape shapes us.

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