Some fifty New England Circle guests were treated to a rare, inside look at Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion in a screening at the Parker House on December 20 last.
The instrument for this was the camera of Paul Fitzgerald, a television producer from Boston, who secured a surprise visa to visit Afghanistan last May.
Fitzgerald had an 11-day visit with his crew. The result, an hour-long documentary of life in the Soviet controlled capital of Kabul included footage of field trips to outlying towns and tourist attractions and a brief interview with the nation's president, Babrak Karmal.
"Afghanistan Between Three Worlds" was not a complete picture of the country today. It was rather a selective picture - literally and figuratively - of Afghanistan as the authorities, who closely monitored Fitzgerald, allowed it to be seen. For instance, rebel activity against the Soviets was only referred to from the point of view of villagers whose houses had been attacked and never from the point of view of the rebels themselves - an omission that drew critical comment during the post film discussion from such persons as Ted Eliot, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and current dean of the Fletcher School of International Law & Diplomacy, and Arnold Zeitlin, former Associated Press correspondent in Kabul, among those in attendance.
But Fitzgerald made no pretense to be authoritative. The film was, as he put it, rather an opportunity to see the street scenes of Kabul and the workaday world of Afghanistan as it exists with the Karmal government and the Soviet occupation. It was in this sense a first of its kind since the Soviet invasion - and for that reason a valuable evening.
By Crocker Snow, Jr. (Publisher and Editor in Chief, WorldPaper, Boston, MA)