6. There are many graphic images that capture the horrors of the continuing wars in Afghanistan, but none capture the extremes of the cultural clash in quite the same way as this collage.


Today, there are millions of images, and many libraries full of books devoted to the history, culture, politics, art, and wars of Afghanistan. This should be no surprise. Afghanistan is important today to the United States in the World, and it will be important to the future of the United States of America in the world tomorrow. The handful of images and books referenced here are only a few that have given me better insight into, and understanding of, my own experience of that troubled country.

I graduated college in 1966. I visited the Haight-Ashbury - the vortex and center of flower power in 1966 - shortly afterward. I began service in Afghanistan toward the end of that chaotic era of flower children, the Beatles, casual sex, and the terrible (because it destroyed many of the good parts of those times) devolution of heavy use of psychedelic drugs toward harder, habit-forming drugs like Heroin.

I'm still trying to get my head around all the contrasts with my upbringing and education during my service in Afghanistan, and all the conflicts that I experienced as Afghanistan became, over the years, the center-piece of the tangled modern history of the world.

1. From the 1995 calendar titled "The Silk Road;" published Toronto, CA.

2. Map derived from Google Maps; "The Afghan War;" Steven Pressler; Publ: 2006

3. Image Courtesy of Jerome Starkey (jeromestarkey@gmail.com): "Caravans;" James Michener; Publ: 1963

4. From the 1995 calendar titled: "The Silk Road;" published Toronto, CA.

5. Image Courtesy of Jerome Starkey (jeromestarkey@gmail.com): "The Horsemen;" Joseph Kessel; Publ: 1968

6. Information on ownership of these several images has been requested.

Jerry Smetzer, Peace Corps Volunteer Afghanistan, 1968 - 1969.