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Pulitzer Center Update September 28, 2012

This Week in Review: What Afghan Women Want

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Makai stands in front of Mazar-e-Sharif's Blue Mosque. Behind her is her oldest daughter, Shirin. Image by Anna Badkhen. Afghanistan, 2012.

Many talented journalists have reported from Afghanistan; few have succeeded in distilling the essence of this difficult place as Anna Badkhen has. As a Pulitzer Center grantee, Anna spent much of last year living in Afghan villages, sharing meals with families, listening to their stories and learning—in her words—"to see the country from the inside out." Anna is a meticulous observer, an exquisite writer and a supremely gifted storyteller. The latest installment of her Afghan reporting appears in the current issue of In These Times. Much of her previous work has been collected in an e-book, "Afghanistan by Donkey," co-published by the Pulitzer Center and Foreign Policy.

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Many of the young men who have fled across Syria's borders to escape the brutal crackdown of the Assad regime are eager to return to their homeland to fight for their dream of a free Syria. Others are also planning to return, but with a somewhat different agenda in mind, as Pulitzer Center grantee Jenna Krajeski discovers in the Domiz refugee camp, located in Iraqi Kurdistan just across the border from Syria.

"In Turkey, Syrian men join the ranks of the rebel Free Syrian Army with support of the Turkish government, which has come out as one of Assad's primary detractors and, because of geography, also a guardian of the opposition to his rule," Jenna writes in The New Yorker. "In Iraqi Kurdistan, male refugees are likewise being separated and trained to fight; not for Syria, their home, but for Kurdistan, their homeland."

In Syria, we are almost certainly witnessing the death throes of a detestable dictatorship. It is impossible to know what will follow in Syria, but on the ground reporting from places like the Domiz refugee camp is critical to our understanding of the regional implications of Assad's demise.

Until next week,

Tom Hundley
Senior Editor