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It just took one look.

The weaver was probably his wife, a Turkoman woman like Thawra. No wonder this is one of my cat's favorite rugs. He certainly smells those 7, years of history. Badkhen puts it beautifully; "Study your carpet. The hands of three generations of illiterate women created it. It is soiled by chicken droppings and stained yellow where the weaver threw her tea dregs at the loom. Its knots fasten wedding songs and women's murmurs.

The human heart of the matter

The metronome of a silk blade and the buzzing of noon flies. The whistle of a gale in the grass roof. An old woman's breath as she, at last, sat down on the floor to rest. Badkhen details it. From the loom room in Oqa, Thawra's carpet would be sold to a dealer in the larger village of Dawlatabad.

In Mazar, the carpet will be washed, carefully scrutinized - "a journal of her months at the loom" - and then a decision will be made about destination. It could go by truck south to Kabul, and then be flown to Dubai, and onward to London and New York; by truck east on the Great Trunk Road, across the border to Pakistan and the Peshawar bazaar; or west to Turkmenistan, across the Karakum desert and onwards to Istanbul's Grand Bazaar.

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Most probably it will get into the cargo hold of a dilapidated bus "with a fancy English name such as Bazarak Panjshir International". As I was finishing the book, I got into a long conversation with a carpet merchant in Hong Kong on how the art is fast disappearing in Afghanistan.

It takes too long - up to a year - to weave a masterpiece. Opium is more profitable. There's the Invasion of the Cheap Chinese Rug. He told me that some Afghan merchants are even re-importing carpets back into Afghanistan.


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Yet as Badkhen reminds us, "on the edge of a sand-dune sea, on the edge of a war zone, in their crepuscular loom room on the edge of the world", there will always be one last solitary woman keeping the flame of 7, years of beauty. Balkh today There's opium, of course - coming in brown-black disks "weighing about a fifth of an ounce, with a quarter-size gobbet worth a quarter of a dollar" locally. The mystery of the loom room The money quote comes from a carpet merchant in Mazar; "Look at this.

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    More filters. Sort order. Jun 15, Heather rated it liked it. What she found is often heartbreaking and sometimes surprising. Most of her account is fascinating. I suspect she meant each chapter to be a standalone ar A journalist embedded with NATO troops in Afghanistan in , Anna Badkhen spent most of her time getting to know the regular people of Afghanistan.

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    I suspect she meant each chapter to be a standalone article, however, because she constantly repeated information that had been in previous chapters. This got quite tiresome. I recommend reading this book to anyone who wants to get a glimpse of the everyday life of Afghans under the shadow of war.

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    May 31, Karim rated it it was ok. In reading Afghanistan By Donkey , I am more depressed than anything else. Home News Middle East. New generation of Taliban fuels battles in northern Afghanistan. It would not have clear lines. Trump heads to UN with long list of deals he has yet to close. VA says veteran suicide rate is 17 per day after change in calculation.

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