"In the early 80's, I discovered wars and the harshest moments of the world as a young photojournalist." I could not just stay there as a mere witness. I was led into thinking over conflicts, repressions, exodus and their burden of known pain, answers as well. As canon roars fade, urgency requires tangible reconstruction. An army of shovel-carrying men starts marching, determined to erase any remaining sign of ruin. Others take care of suffering bodies.
Yet, there is an invisible destruction, only known to wounded dignities, that can ruin physical rebuilding efforts in a country and keep it from recovering.
Those who are not given any intellectual and cultural weapons will go back to their unique reference. The culture of war fosters war.
That is how Aina was founded. A third-generation association, Aina has been working on independent media development and culture, everywhere freedom of speech has remained a fragile value. It provides logistical support, state-of-the art technology access and local media and cultural actor training.
I remember seeing a young Afghan boy coming out of school one day, holding a plant in his hand. He had been watering it carefully. A shoot had sprouted out. I took a picture of him, and asked: "What are you going to do with this plant?" His answer may be one of the reasons why I founded Aina: "I am going to make a tree with it," he said.
Today, Aina is like that plant. I hope that it will become a tree of culture, peace and freedom in Afghanistan as of 2001, in Sri Lanka as of 2006, and elsewhere tomorrow."
Afghanistan UnveiledDocumentary, 52mins