* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 53 guests and no members online

Article Index

Note: Although this article is filed under: Travel, neither Wendy nor I have travelled in Afghanistan. The nearest we have both been is to Tajikistan on the northern border and Wendy has travelled in Iran to the west. 

 

The harrowing scenes (27th August 2021) of people blown to pieces while struggling to get to Kabul Airport in a futile to catch a flight out of mortal danger recalled scenes from the withdrawal from Vietnam but also brought into focus the terrible suffering of that benighted land, going back to the massacres of the Saur Revolution that prompted the Russian invasion in 1979.

Afghanistan has seldom been a stable place.  It has a two-and-a-half-thousand-year history of invasion. The population is correspondingly diverse, ranging from Persians to Arabs to Mongols to Chinese, harbouring age-old enmities and grievances, with residual population left over from each invasion. Tribal leaders and residual families jostled for power.

Kabul is correspondingly ancient. It's mentioned in the Hindu Rigveda, composed between 1500 and 1200 BCE. Around 2,700 years ago it was part of the Persian Median Empire; annexed by Cyrus the Great; conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great; then by the Arabs on their first Jihad; then by the Mongols under Genghis Khan; then again by Timur (Tamerlane) who would use the trade route provided by the passes from Afghanistan to conquer India. His dynasty would install the Islamic Mughal Empire, famed for the Taj Mahal. Afghanistan in turn became part of the Mughal Empire through to the 18th century. 

 

Even before Alexander the Great the only practical trade routes, by land, between the Indian subcontinent and Europe were through a handful of passes that traverse the Himalayas from northern India (now Pakistan) into Afghanistan. The most famous and easiest to traverse of these is the Khyber Pass but the Dorah Pass is one of four or five more challenging alternatives. These trade routes would come to be called the Silk Road. In the past two decades we have travelled to many locations along this ancient trade route and can read a lot more about the Silk Road and its history on this website:

 

Central Asia map

 Elsewhere, (in Travel) on this website, I've described places along the Silk Road, from Beijing to Venice. 
Along this 'road' are northern China; the 'stans'; India (and on to the spice trade); the Caucasus (the sea route to Venice); and Turkey (Constantinople)
Visited cities, appearing on elsewhere on this website, that also appear on the map above, are marked with a red dot. 

 

 


    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item


Travel

Egypt, Syria and Jordan

 

 

 

In October 2010 we travelled to three countries in the Middle East: Egypt; Syria and Jordan. While in Egypt we took a Nile cruise, effectively an organised tour package complete with guide, but otherwise we travelled independently: by cab; rental car (in Jordan); bus; train and plane.

On the way there we had stopovers in London and Budapest to visit friends.

The impact on me was to reassert the depth, complexity and colour of this seminal part of our history and civilisation. In particular this is the cauldron in which Judaism, Christianity and Islam were created, together with much of our science, language and mathematics.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

A Digger’s Tale

- Introduction

 

 

The accompanying story is ‘warts and all’.  It is the actual memoirs (hand written and transcribed here; but with my headings added) of Corporal Ross Smith, a young Australian man, 18 years of age, from humble circumstances [read more...] who was drawn by World events into the Second World War.  He tells it as he saw it.  The action takes place near Rabaul in New Britain. 

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Luther - Father of the Modern World?

 

 

 

 

To celebrate or perhaps just to mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his '95 theses' to a church door in Wittenberg and set in motion the Protestant Revolution, the Australian Broadcasting Commission has been running a number of programs discussing the legacy of this complex man featuring leading thinkers and historians in the field. 

Much of the ABC debate has centred on Luther's impact on the modern world.  Was he responsible for today or might the world still be stuck in the 'middle ages' with each generation doing more or less what the previous one did, largely within the same medieval social structures?  In that case could those inhabitants, obviously not us, still live in a world of less than a billion people, most of them working the land as their great grandparents had done, protected and governed by an hereditary aristocracy, their mundane lives punctuated only by variations in the weather and occasional wars between those princes?

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright