Georgian Female Journalist’s Afghan Diaries
14 February, 2013
Georgian Female Journalist’s Afghan Diaries
A year ago, one American company has invited a Georgian journalist Manana Dumbadze to work in Afghanistan in the framework of TAFA (Trade Accession and Facilitation of Afghanistan) project. Consequently, she undertook that hazardous trip. Last week the Georgian public had an opportunity to attend the presentation of her book n
amed “Afghanistan: through Keyhole of Baron Compound” at the Theatre named after Nodar Dumbadze.
Baron is the district in Kabul city where the brave Georgian lady dared to live for a year. It is worth to mention that Manan Dumbadze is a daughter of a famous Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze and the premise was relly symbolic and relevant for the event. The book is written against the background of the portraits of local women as well as the streets of local slushy and poor huts built of mud; according to some critics, the book is a curious mix of different literary genres.
Tamar Pkhakadze, Georgian lady writer, opened the soiree: “This is a book, which you will read with a smile, laughter and giggle. One may ask before reading it: what positive sense could this book contain, the book that depicts the country that is on the edge of total devastation? However, it shows the world perceived with love. All Afghan women are so exquisite and charming in this book. Nodar Dumbadze (the author’s father) wrote:”I am searching for gold in the trash and not for trash in the gold.” He wanted to say that he was searching for something positive even in the negative surroundings and not vice versa. Manana’s book too is written from that angle.“
The book is kind of a diary of a journalist that compiles open-hearted interviews with locals. Humor, like in Manana’s great and unforgettable father’s case, is persistently present in “Afghanistan: through Keyhole of Baron Compound”. Besides the fact that the book is so pleasantly readable, and full of friendly attitude, love and humor, it is very informative and tells a lot about the modern Afghanistan; Afgan people’s problems, their needs, etc. No doubt, it is a true deed when a woman from abroad risks her life and goes to write a book about the hottest place of the world. Reportedly, once there was a serious alarm and journalists from different parts of the world were given helmets and armors and she made fun of that event. “From the cinematographic point of view, this is a pacifistic gesture. She is the goddess of friendship. Manana was so much in love with all the members of the group that Vesna from Bosnia was weeping when saying good bye to her. Manana wrote jokingly in the book: “ If it happens and people are arrested by Taliban people, do not search for me, as I will clarify the things on my own.” I believe, she could really do it. Manana Dumbadze is a woman who can really face a danger,” Tamar Pkhakadze said.
Philologist Madona Ujmajuridze said: “I would say that Manana Dumbadze has restored a forgotten genre of literature in Georgia – it is a travelogue, a traveling genre. The birth of that genre in Georgia is attributed to Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani. The interest in the traveling genre was kindled by the strong desire to get information about the rest of the world and peoples. The works of this genre have not reached us. We are familiar only with Chakhrukhadze, who lived in Queen Tamar’s epoch. He had visited China and India for the first time and Marco Polo was the next traveler who followed his steps. The latter is world-known historical figure, while Chakhrukhadze is known only to us and we don’t know even his first name. As for Manana, this book is written in compliance with the genre. There are no strictly set standards for this genre. It is more helpful when you are as free as possible. It is the genre in which the individualism of an author shows most vividly. Her manner is very distinct. In spite of psychological portraits and philosophic passages, the book is very easy to read, rich with gradations from monologue to dialogue, which prevents the author from being monotonous and makes the book very dynamic. She is a nice story-teller, which is a rare talent even in the case of outstanding writers.”
Makvala Gonashvili, Chairwoman of the Writers’ Union said: “This is a very colorful book as such books are sometimes quite boring, but thanks to the author’s talent and tremendous gift of love, it is extremely interesting and it even makes one want to visit Afghanistan.“
Afghanistan is in some way connected with Georgian history, as some of our kings died there. This country remains a mystery, as neither America nor Great Britain or any other country has managed to conquer it. After so many wars, it is still there. The book will be out soon for sale. It is planned to be translated into English.
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