Playing in Afghanistan
Afghans, like everyone, like to have fun...
They also like to joke. Following the Muhammad cartoon riots of 2006, Zach Warren went in search of ‘weapons of mock destruction’ in Afghanistan. He shares his experiences cataloging Afghan jokes and wondering if humor may have potential as a tool for diplomacy. Zach Warren is a Doctoral student in Psychology at Georgetown University and teaches circus arts at the Afghan Mobile Mini Circus for Children.
In Afghan culture, play is not widely viewed as a way for kids to learn. Children who play a lot are often considered naughty because they should be helping their family with work. Schools rarely allow play into the curriculum. In addition, children who do get to play have to adapt to the realities of conflict--such as landmines and trafficking. Shirazuddin Siddiqi is the Afghanistan Country Director for BBC World Service Trust. Since the Taliban era, their Afghan Education Projects (AEP) has been making educational radio programs for the whole family. Nearly half the country has heard their popular "New Home, New Life" soap opera. When the Taliban banned school for girls, they started making radio for children to encourage active learning.