The Digital Journalist
Reza / Webistan
Afghanistan. 1990: This boy became the symbol of Aïna, the humanitarian association I founded in 2001 in a Taliban-free Afghanistan. In 1990, the United Nations asked me to put aside my cameras in order to run a humanitarian program in an Afghanistan freed from the Russian occupation. I had to open a route for wheat shipments to feed the population in the Northern Provinces. Eleven years of war against the Red Army had devastated the country. Fields were left to lie fallow, the roads were impassable, mined or destroyed, and infrastructures such as hospitals and schools were nothing but ruins. I could have offered that wheat. Instead, I decided to barter it for work so as to avoid one of the unfortunate consequences of some humanitarian programs: assistantship. Throughout the province, a new army was set up; this time, men did not carry rifles, but shovels.