Thursday, December 11, 2008

Afghan slant?

Stumbled upon the site Afghan Teens while researching a way to learn a little Dari, one of the languages of Afghanistan. The reason I want to comment on it is, I found their perceptions of "westerners" in the website interesting. Exploring the site revealed a contrary viewpoint that students should consider when researching Afghanistan. Questions are raised in my mind concerning this site., not so much for the content but as for it's intent. Although the domain name says Afghan Teens - is the site REALLY run by teenagers, specifically teen girls? Clicking on the links at the bottom and reading their ideas would suggest that it is not.

I sense the pride the writer has for their country/religion. Generally speaking, the writing does not reflect views held by our western culture. The eye opener for me is: Who is actually behind this site, is it really teens as the name suggests? The reason I ask this question is because I am familiar with the situation regarding education in Afghanistan, especially for youth. The illiteracy rate here is phenomenal, so I have a hard time believing an Afghan teen is capable of writing in their own language, much less in English. Also, knowing what it takes to set up a website, I wonder how this site is funded. I know that poverty is rampant throughout Afghanistan and computer access is sporadic. So what gives?

Teachers and students: I don’t have the answers to the above questions. After viewing the site and the others linked at the bottom, I think your students should be able to generate and sustain a discussion using my questions as a starting point. Note, I am not asking you to agree or disagree with the content of the above site but rather, discuss or write about how others have differing views of the world than ours.

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