ETERNAL AFGHANISTAN: A CO-PUBLICATION FROM UNESCO AND EDITIONS DU CHÊNEParis - The photographer Reza and journalist Olivier Weber offer readers a marvellous journey in their book Eternal Afghanistan*, a co-publication by UNESCO and Editions du Chêne that will be launched on May 16.
It will be a long time before foreign travellers can again enjoy the famous Afghan hospitality. Until then, the book is there to show the fine rebellious spirit of a people that others wanted to crush.
The photos, often quite small and presented in a way that recalls Persian miniatures, are accompanied by a well-documented commentary that reads like a daydream filled with memories and things seen.
"It's wrong to think of Afghanistan as a warlike realm," says French journalist Weber, who has made documentary films, written a dozen books and won several awards, including the Albert Londres Prize. "One searches in vain in the annals of its history for some predisposition to violent conflagration. To be sure, dramas and tragedies have tended to beset the country. […] But there remains within this country an abiding sense of hope, an avid quest for openness, like an insatiable longing."
Iranian photographer Reza shows us this colourful and mystical land, with its peasants, poets and children, its majestic scenery and ancient timeworn buildings. A special correspondent for several publications, including National Geographic, Reza is also a founder member of Aïna, a French NGO that is working with UNESCO to help revive Afghanistan's media.
An exhibition of about 50 of his photos, to coincide with publication of the book, will be opened at UNESCO Headquarters (Salle des Actes) on May 15 at 6 p.m., with UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura present, and will run from May 16 to 23.
*Also available in French under the title: "Eternités Afghanes"
Contact: UNESCO Publishing, tel: 01 45 68 49 30