In the rapidly changing Afghanistan, people are increasingly turning to new technologies—email, cell phones, and the Internet—to make their voices heard. Radio Azadi receives hundreds of such messages each day with music requests, political comments, and other messages. With the increasing frequency of email communication, the 15,000 letters, mostly handwritten, in the Radio Azadi Collection provide a window into the present world of the average citizen of Afghanistan in a manner that may eventually disappear.

Computer-Generated Correspondence

Name: Mustafa
Country: Afghanistan
Province: Paktyka
Language: Pushtu
Occupation: Photographer

Radio Azadi Collection, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress (006.00.00)

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“I want President Hamid Karzai to have a mobile phone . . .”

Name: Jan Agha Khalqati
Country: Afghanistan
Province: Ghazni
Language: Dari

Radio Azadi Collection, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress (019.00.00)

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E-Mail Quoting a Proverb

This is from an eighth grade student at the Pulkand school in Dushi, and he quotes ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad.

Name: Karam Karami
Location: Afghanistan
Province: Baglar
District : Dushi
Language: Dari

Radio Azadi Collection, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress (043.00.00)

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Request for a Song to Celebrate the New Year

One text is in Dari written in Arabic script, and the other different text is in Dari, but in Romanized script.

Name: Rassol Karimi
Location: Afghanistan
Province: Ghazni
Town: Jaghory Qaryayi Lokhak
Language: Dari

Radio Azadi Collection, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress (044.00.00)

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Scroll and Booklet

This scroll, produced by a calligrapher/scribe for a group of individuals requesting songs to be played on Radio Azadi, showers the powerful tradition of illumination with floral motifs, particularly roses and tulips. The booklet, which contains hand-copied poetry, features pictures of Ahmad Sahir, a deceased popular singer whose songs are frequently requested by Radio Azadi listeners.

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Postal Service

Along with the collapse of industry and employment, the postal service is suffering from a number of problems, which, in turn, makes posting a letter a very difficult task—and yet Afghans continue writing letters. The development of the postal service in Afghanistan is shown by these envelopes and the high quality stamps that are attached to them. The problems that remain are well represented by the home-made envelope among the manufactured envelopes.

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