Saturday, 3 October 2009

Have some fun with Google Earth!

If you've got a few moments, try this. Use Google Earth to look at Afghanistan and surrounding areas. I took a look at the border with Pakistan. Make sure you check the boxes for all the addtional features such as YouTube and places of interest. These will then be included on the image of the landscape you then view. You will be amazed at what you find.
As you zoom in on areas you know only from news reports, hundreds of tags indicating videos come into view. Click on them and, if you are lucky, there will be a video linked directly to the geographical location. (There is also a lot of miscellaneous stuff on there, but don't let that put you off).
It is fascinating to look at the towns and villages in South Waziristan and to see how beautiful a place it is, despite its foreboding reputation. People have posted YouTube videos of local dancers and singers. You realise that there is a culture here beyond that projected by the Taliban and other fundamentalists.
Further north, in Parachinar, there is a video of dozens of Shi'as chanting and beating their chests to a slow rhythm. As you move across the landscape more videos and other markers come into view. One guy has put a video showing views of his village in Tirah. Along the border, predictably, there are videos of firefights, most of them from American soldiers. Nothing showing the location of Predator strikes yet, but doubtless it will come.
Be warned! This is very absorbing. But somehow it works so much better than looking through endless lists of videos on a website.

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