Some years ago a cousin of mine went to Afghanistan for work. His company (a shoe manufacturer) was expanding its operations into a new mall being set up in Kabul and had asked him to head across the border for a week and help set up shop. On his return to Iran, he showed me a number of pictures he had taken of our neighbor state. Unfortunately for me, his pictures were mostly of the shoe shop in the mall (metallic looking in that typically Iranian architectural articulation of “modernity”), big dusty streets, and him posing with guns he had found in local markets (AK-47’s, not antiques). Disappointing, to say the least.
And for a complete change of pace (since they’re not going anywhere anytime soon), check out this video of an American soldier dancing a pretty excellent Arabic/Persian combo dance- though she starts a booty shake and restrains herself! Otherwise, it’s a bit of her own stuff and some copying of the guy’s excellent footwork. Either way, pretty fascinating to imagine the kinds of cultural exchange occurring within the framework of an otherwise brutal military occupation.