Original Thinkers: Presenting Jane Ferguson on Afghanistan

Original Thinkers: Presenting Jane Ferguson on Afghanistan

Telluride-based Original Thinkers is a fresh and thoughtful ideas festival regularly scheduled for early October in Telluride. The weekend generally features 10 programs, each built around a particular idea explored through a compelling mix of speakers, films, performance, and art. The program typically delves into the human condition by focusing on the intersection of ideas and individual stories.

As Original Thinkers founder and ringleader David Holbrooke has said about the event he founded: “There are deep and universal truths in our own lives that we know will resonate with anyone and when we find those stories and showcase them, they provide an indelible experience for an audience.”

The following is a note from David. His conversation with Jane Ferguson, a presenter at Original Thinkers and renowned journalist, is here.

Dear Original Thinkers –

I remember well in the fall of 2001 watching American forces make their first incursions into Afghanistan. I was with my father, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and we were watching football together, with one eye on the game and another on live shots of what was the beginning of the Afghanistan war.

Today, almost twenty full years later, that war continues. And if you look at it with a little more historical perspective, the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1980, beginning what would be now four decades of continuous conflict. The warlord era followed the Russians ignominious exit with the Taliban filling the void after that with their own horrific brand of terror so for many people living in Afghanistan, war is all they have known.

That this paradigm exists at all is deeply disturbing to Jane Ferguson, a war correspondent who was stationed in Kabul in the early 2010’s. She recently went back to Afghanistan for PBS NewsHour to better understand the situation there now and her pieces on America’s longest running war start airing this evening and will run all week long.

She was kind to take time in the midst of editing these stories to talk to me about what is happening there – not just for Americans, but of course, for the war-weary Afghan people. Her assessment is as you might expect, complicated and concerning, and something all of us should understand better.

Thanks for watching.

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