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The Hidden Victims
January 18, 2011 5:38 AM   Subscribe

Rafaela Persson photographed female drug addicts and their children in Afghanistan.
Drug addiction is an often-told story in Afghansitan, though female and child victims are rarely highlighted. Many of the women that I photograph tell me that they see it as the only way to comfort themselves and their children at times when they have no food or they cannot keep warm. Their journey to rehabilitate themselves has them on the perilious border between addiction and sobriety, a story of many failures and few successes.
posted by gman (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Many of the women that I photograph tell me that they see it as the only way to comfort themselves and their children at times when they have no food or they cannot keep warm.

It's hard for me to decide whether I think the buffer against short-term suffering is worth the problems of long-term drug use. Certainly a choice no parent should ever have to make.
posted by hermitosis at 7:18 AM on January 18, 2011


NPR highlighted this problem in a heartbreaking two-part story last year about a young, opium-addicted mother of six who was raising her family in an Afghan opium den. The oldest child, a 12-year old, developed an addiction as well. When the correspondent checked in on the family some time later, one of the children had been sold to support her habit. Sadly, hers is not a unique story.
posted by HotPatatta at 7:56 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


From most of the photos (the ones not including syringes) they seem to live what look like normal lives for women in that trainwreck of a country. Presumably, heroin costs about as much as bread, or even less, since it's apparently used as a substitute for food, so raising the funds to buy it may not be as massively destructive to one's life as it is in the west.

The social attitudes towards opiates in regions where they're grown is also different to the West. Hill tribes in the Golden Triangle are bemused at young westerners wanting to hang out & smoke what has for ages been regarded mainly as a palliative relief for the very elderly.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 AM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Actually, maybe not normal lives - they've got furniture & televisions, for Mohammed's sake. That puts them in with the uber-wealthy for the subcontinent, and even more so in Afghanistan)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:01 AM on January 18, 2011


the focus upon women and children but the heroin coming into our country also is a pallative for many. And Afghanistan --a Muslim nation--supplies 90 percent of what we "import." Seems the
farmer simply need a cash crop and who cares who or what harm it does. Under Taliban, the crop was not allowed for a time; then, with us at war with Taliban, they use it for the money needed for their "efforts" against us. Who hasn't seen photos of American troops walking through the fields of poppies, oblivious to the drug crop growing about them and they went on their way to do their duty in that wretched country, or what passes for a country.
posted by Postroad at 8:20 AM on January 18, 2011


Hill tribes in the Golden Triangle are bemused at young westerners wanting to hang out & smoke what has for ages been regarded mainly as a palliative relief for the very elderly.

Unfortunately, the US/Thai opium eradication campaigns have meant that for many Thai-based hill tribe groups, opium is no longer available. Some have turned to heroin, leading to a greater incidence of needle-borne diseases including HIV.
posted by docgonzo at 8:21 AM on January 18, 2011


While the subject matter is sad, I dearly wish the photographer had learned how to properly expose his photos. Dark for effect is one thing, but in his case, it's the only thing.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2011


I'm pretty sure this fellow knows how to expose a shot, and if they are underexposed it's not an accident. I thought the set of images was great.
posted by chunking express at 8:21 PM on January 18, 2011


chunking express, maybe so, but it isn't evident from this series of shots. I stand by my criticism. He's a one-trick pony.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:09 PM on January 22, 2011


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