Another kind of war, less explosive than bombs and more subtle than night raids, is taking place in the Central Asian country of Afghanistan: a war of cultural influence. Its means are financial sponsorships and other support for cultural and artistic events.
More than a decade after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan is still in the midst of an irregular war. Talking peace is difficult because no one quite knows who to talk to.
It is customary to focus on the amount of money the international community offers Afghanistan: the higher the sum and the longer the commitment, the lower the risk of further destabilisation. And so the 16 billion dollars pledged by the donors for the next four years at the Tokyo conference earlier this month has been widely welcomed. But such aid may not be quite the virtue it seems.
Afghanistan’s international donors will gather on Sunday in Tokyo for a conference at which they are expected to pledge economic aid, and ensure their assistance level will be maintained after withdrawal of ISAF-NATO troops, in 2014. But Afghan people and civil society groups working in the country say much of the aid is being directed the wrong way.
Though the current global economic and financial crises are undoubtedly devastating much of the world, they present the perfect opportunity for remodeling our economic system, according to participants at the ninth annual Terra Futura (Future Earth) exhibition of ‘good practices’ in social, economic and environmental sustainability held here from May 25-27.