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Award winning filmmaker Dr. Penelope Price is on her way to Kabul, Afghanistan with a crew of one, a cameraman, to shoot a documentary.

Dr. Price is chronicling this endeavor and sending me installments to post as dKos diaries for her. Chapter one was posted yesterday morning. Here is chapter two. Pictures and video will accompany some of the future posts.


Tuesday, December 8

Now on the airplane to Dubai.

I am sitting between two men. On one side is a white policeman from Alabama who will train Iraqi policemen in Southern Iraq. On the other side of me is a man who works for what was Halliburton…but now something else…who operates big machinery. He is African-American, but has never been to Africa. They both say they would rather stay in the USA with their loved ones, but can’t afford to because the pay they are getting is too good – somewhere  around $130,000.  They both say they are in it for the money and have no interest, as far as I can tell, in the Iraqi people or the language (I am the only one studying my language book), but they are both good guys – very earnest, so I don’t blame them. I blame the system that sets them up.

But really…do we need to perpetuate this?

What will it be like in Afghanistan?  The entire culture has been abused for 30 years.  How does a culture recover?  Moral repair on a cultural level?  Like a child of abuse, you grow up, lash out, repeat the behavior, and have certain handicaps.  Or you rise above it, transform, move away from your fear and create the potential of a new future for yourself.  

What can Afghans do?  What do Afghans think the US and the international community can do to help this transformation? What do they think about Obama’s military plans?  Does any of that even matter?

Who will I meet and what story will they have to tell?  How can I capture their stories in two weeks!  Two weeks of heightened intuition on my part. I call documentary filmmaking the “Zen of Filmmaking.”

OK…lipstick in my pocket – pocket of my skirt, I might add, because I have to wear a skirt in case they lose my luggage. I am traveling with everything that I need in case they lose my luggage. That means my camera and my hard drives, micro light panel and fire stores, more hard drives, chords and batteries…and lipstick and a  skirt, cuz if I get there without a skirt, I am up shit creek!  

Flying over the Atlantic to find the Afghanistan story…to find that story somewhere between these very good intending men…it is not their fault…whose fault is it?  Maybe nobody’s. But when it is money these men talk to me about, I just want the the world to operate around love.  

The man from Alabama has been trained for a month to train Iraqi police.  When I ask him what he thinks about the Iraqis, he says he does not like them.  They are lazy.  He is seeing them through his Western, Capitalist lens.  He says they just want a handout – that when the US came, the Iraqi’s liked the US because they were giving them handouts.  Now that the US is leaving, they don’t like us.  

I don’t think it is about handouts or laziness.  I think it is about learning to see the world through the Iraqi lens.  That is what that month of training should have been about.

Originally posted to Sarge in Seattle on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 07:53 PM PST.

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