My Childhood My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan (“My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan”) is the latest documentary by award-winning filmmakers Phil Grabsky and Shoaib Sharifi. Grabsky spoke with Penelope Poulou of Mouab about a 20-year film that depicts life in Afghanistan through the eyes of a young Afghan from his childhood to the present day.
Phil Grabsky’s lens begins to follow the life of young Mir since American and allied forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.
Months before the 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001, the Taliban had destroyed Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan, one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world. Grabsky flew to Kabul to record how the events affected the country.
While touring the ruins of the statues, he met young Mir and his family who lived in a cave in poverty. “With that energy, that agility, that curiosity, I suddenly thought, ‘of course, movies are what to make of them. in the next year about the lives of these young people because that is what then projects to the audience the future of Afghanistan,” said Phil Grabsky.
Gradually, Grabsky said, Mir’s joy and optimism as a child faded under the weight of poverty and family responsibilities. “I’m on holiday from school. If we don’t plow, we don’t eat.”
After years in front of the camera lens, Mir himself, now a father of two, works as a cameraman in Kabul.
On May 31, 2017, a bomb exploded in Kabul, killing more than 250 people and injuring hundreds more. The blast missed Mir by sheer luck.
“We have to check under the steering wheel of our cars every time we go on a trip because the Taliban planted bombs and blew up the cars of journalists, judges and election officials. It was horrific, horrific,” said Phil Grabsky.
Grabsky said recently he had never been to Afghanistan because it was no longer safe for Westerners to make films there. Shoaib Sharifi, his fellow filmmaker in Afghanistan continues to work with shooting there but for him it is not safe either.
Mir Husein, who is now a cameraman said, “There will be war because the Taliban cannot be stopped. With the presence of foreign troops, conflicts can be prevented, security is maintained.
Meanwhile, Mir’s wife chimed in, “Women are punished if the Taliban think they don’t maintain decency. The Taliban believe that they are true Muslims. They will be very cruel and oppressive.”
Regarding the fate of women, Phil Grabsky said, “I have met many brave women, but Afghan women are different from others, and even now they are out to demonstrate. That’s hard to believe. They deserve our wholehearted support.”
Grabsky says “My Childhood, My Country: 20 Years in Afghanistan” is a work of love that spans nearly 20 years. This film tells the story of the various forces that make up Afghanistan and its people. [lt/uh]