On the land of wars: Afganistan

On 10 November, our dear companionship participated in a regular and exceptionally complex lecture, which was available for the public and which turned out to be the most successful event in this semester from a professional and cultural point of view. The main topics of the presentation was the introduction of Afghanistan, however, from quite an out of the ordinary point of view: the lecturer, Zsombor Cseh (fun fact that he is a former president of the student organization called GyDT) was eager to show us the perspective of Afghanistan, which is rarely mentioned in Western mediums: he sought to explain the afghan society itself and the everyday life of the afghan citizens, instead of presenting us the terrorist attacks and the political crisis, which are being discussed continuously through media.

As we learned during the lecture, Zsombor has already been to different corners of the world, and he admitted to have become an expert on the topic of the Middle East. However, this was not the fact that made the whole lecture interesting and credible for the audience; which made the presentation truly unique was that the lecturer has in fact been to the places presented and he was able to refer to his experiences and memories, giving a perfect structure for the lecture. As a result of this, he did not provide us with a traditional presentation based only on lexical knowledge, but he came up with a fascinating story, the content of which was truly exceptional, due to the personal experiences of the lecturer regarding the topics presented.

Accordingly, the course of the lecture was a little bit different from the usual, as on the presentation he mainly focused on pictures rather than dull texts, which made the presentation immensely personal and at some point it was so unique and exceptional, that the audience could feel like they were part of the whole experience; the whole lecture became a reality and we could feel like trekking in the afghan mountains,  in the deserts, in the oases, or like being in the middle of an afghan marketplace.

From time to time a map helped us to imagine the actual topic, but the main emphasis was without doubt on the pictures themselves. They covered all spheres of the lives of the afghan people, sometimes being quite shocking and depressing, sometimes entertaining and joyful, sometimes truly emotional and sometimes they made the people think about deep issues. All in all, they sought to provide us with a complex and formerly unknown picture of the afghan life, hidden beneath stereotypes.

Besides the slides, the lecturer’s easy-going style also helped us fully understand and digest the entire presentation. Besides being totally prepared for the presentation, Zsombor also had a tremendous amount of experience, surprising us through the lecture with stories of his adventures. There was not one single picture, to which the lecturer did not comment something interesting with a varying degree of professionalism and personal style.

Although it is an immensely difficult task to highlight from the presentation only one or two key facts and topics, for me the most interesting parts were the holidays, the introduction of eating habits, the situation of women in the country, the whole afghan history, the mentality of the citizens, the state of the public security, the political system, iconic landmarks, the music, the culture, the educational system, the corruption, the economic system, the demographics of Afghanistan, topics of which were all experienced by the lecturer during the course of two weeks in the target country. And thanks to him, the audience also got the opportunity to get to know parts of these interesting phenomena.

I strongly believe that the lecture successfully achieved its goal, and it definitely changed the way people looked at Afghanistan before the presentation. Time just flew, but the lecture was so intensive and exhausting and so many topics could be touched in so little time that I can only compare this short presentation to a somehow sad and somehow happy movie with its own characters, and which provides the people with useful tips and pieces of advice, just like this lecture did.