What We Are Reading Today: Taliban Narratives — The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict

Updated 21 April 2018

What We Are Reading Today: Taliban Narratives — The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict

Two months after the 9/11 attacks and little more than a month after the Oct. 7, 2001 American-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Taliban were forced from Kabul and appeared to have been crushed.

But the fundamentalist movement proved surprisingly resilient and is now openly active in 70 percent of the country, according to the results of a January BBC survey.

Meanwhile, the occupation of Afghanistan has become the longest war in US history.

“Taliban Narratives: The Use and Power of Stories in the Afghanistan Conflict” by Thomas H. Johnson explains how and why the Taliban’s clever use of propaganda has enabled the insurgency to flourish.

As well as running their own websites and magazines, the militants have used everything from simple graffiti to poetry and self-produced DVDs to publicize their cause. In doing so, they have proved highly adept at rallying large numbers of Afghans to their side and outwitting the far more sophisticated propaganda campaigns of the US and NATO.


Egyptian icon Bahiga Hafez gets Google Doodle tribute

Updated 04 August 2020

Egyptian icon Bahiga Hafez gets Google Doodle tribute

  • Hafez was widely known for her extensive contribution in the early days of Egyptian cinema
  • Her work has “helped pave the way for the start of what is widely considered Egyptian cinema’s golden age in the 1940s”

DUBAI: Google honored one of Egypt’s cinema icons Bahiga Hafez with a doodle on Tuesday, in what would have been the star’s 112th birthday.

The doodle, which shows a young Hafez with a pearl-embellished head dress, was illustrated by Cairo-based artist Marian El-Reweny.

Hafez was widely known for her extensive contribution in the early days of Egyptian cinema – both as an on-screen talent and behind the scenes where she would work as a producer, director, editor, costume designer or composer.

The Alexandria-born pioneering icon earned a degree in music composition in Paris in 1930. She moved back to Egypt to work with record companies until she was cast as the female lead in the silent film “Zeinab” for her debut onscreen performance.

Hafez and her husband, Mahmoud Hamdi, established Fanar Film Company two years later, which further demonstrated her talent in filmmaking. The company released “Al-Dahaya” in 1932, and Hafez played a crucial role in its production.

The groundbreaking star went on to produce more films, and her work has “helped pave the way for the start of what is widely considered Egyptian cinema’s golden age in the 1940s,” Google said.

She died in Cairo in December 1983 at the age of 75.