Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Very Local Perspective on Afghanistan

I don't think Emily Harris, of Oregon Public Broadcasting's radio program "Think Out Loud," knew what she was getting into when she interviewed Lewis & Clark professor Zaher Wahab about his take on Obama's plan to send 30,000 troops into the country.

You see, Wahab, a professor of education, was born there, the brilliant child of a village chief who was plucked from his tiny, poverty-stricken village and shipped first to Beirut for schooling, and ending up doing graduate work at Columbia and Stanford. Full disclosure is required here. I was a student of Dr. Wahab's for one term when I was a student in the education department at Lewis & Clark (after my mother convinced me that I needed something to "fall back on"), and went on an overseas study program he led to South Korea and Japan.

He is nothing if not a (brilliant) critical thinker, and isn't afraid to speak his mind, which he did from the first question out of Ms. Harris' mouth. He's spent four months a year for the last several years working with the government to rebuild Afghanistan's education system, and has a take on the occupation of the country that I've heard from several friends who are intimately acquainted with the region.

The show is well worth a listen and, as usual with Wahab, is an eye-opening exposure to a very different opinion on what needs to be done there. Download an mp3 of the program or listen to it on the site.

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