Afghanistan Before the Wars

Eric Siegel

2006 | 01:20:00 | Afghanistan / United States | English | B&W and Color | Stereo | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Documentation, Expedition/Travel, Film or Videomaking, History, Post-colonialism, September 11th, War

In 1972 Eric Siegel, an early pioneer of video art, set out on an extreme adventure driving from Europe six thousand miles overland to India. He was one of the first people to use the revolutionary new technology from Sony Corporation, the Portapak. This was the first small portable video camera/recorder combo that was the predecessor of today’s camcorders. Together with his friend Anthony they documented the trip. This video is the portion of the trip that took them through Afghanistan, one of the most exotic places along the way. Since the tragedy of 9/11, that little far-off country has gone from obscurity to headline news.

Afghanistan has had a tumultuous history: for 200 years Imperial England and Russia have been fighting over control of it. Historians have referred to this period as “The Great Game”. Seven years after this video was made, the game continued when Russia invaded Afghanistan. This was the beginning of 20 years of civil war, destruction, and famine. On October 6th 2001 a new chapter in the violent history of this poor country occurred when the United States began its military campaign against the Taliban government. This video shows: Afghanistan before the wars. 

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