polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

‘To Live and Skate in Kabul’

by George Carothers

Skimming through the coverage of war and conflict sheds little light into the lives and livelihoods of those at the centre of the ordeal. Cities on the brink, or in the midst of war can be incredibly scary and destitute places for residents caught in the crossfire of bullets and shelling. And yet, many have few options of moving elsewhere, so they continue to exist, hoping that the misery will soon pass.

Mentioning, “Afghanistan” comes with an endless stream of imagery, most of which evoke scenes of violence, sadness, social injustice, and confusion.  Still, on the streets of the city of Kabul, it is possible to see that some residents find ways to escape the violence, at least for a moment, and to step into a new world of exploration and experience.

Skateistan, a project that is promoting co-educational classes in skateboarding, is trying to bring an alternative dimension to the lives of youngsters in the largest Afghan city. “They not only develop skills in skateboarding and skateboarding instruction, but also healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages.” Through these experiences, some of Kabul’s boys and girls are rediscovering themselves and their city through the increasingly global language of skateboarding.

Credits: Video of 'Skateistan: To Live and Skate in Kabul' from Diesel New Voices.