(Last week, I received news from my friend and fixer, Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, that his father, Abdul Baqi Raghbat, an advisor for the Afghan Ministry of Tribal and Border Affairs, was assassinated by the Taliban in his hometown of Kandahar. May God bless his soul.)
This week is part 4 of my multimedia documentary, Guide To Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite, which includes video, still photos an text. As you would know, this is concurrent with the 10-part feature on The Malaysian Insider website, of which you can view part 4 here:
The Last Jew in Afghanistan
By Zan Azlee
JAN 2 – I had heard rumours that there was a Jew, apparently the last Jew in Afghanistan, living in Kabul when I was planning my trip there. I knew that I had to make sure I meet this person. Pursuing the story about the last Jew wasn’t meant to be a scoop since it’s been reported before.
But what I was really interested in was to just meet him and listen to his story first hand and to shake his hand myself. So, when I finally arrived in Kabul, and all the 9/11 anniversary hype had died down, I told my fixer, Ahmad Bilal Raghbat, that I wanted to look for Zebolon Simantov.
We walked around Flower Street where Simantov was reportedly living and started asking the people there if they knew of such a person. After a few false alarms, we finally found a restaurant owner who just pointed to a flight of stairs at the back.
We walked up one floor and marched through a narrow and dusty corridor. We arrived at a pastel-coloured wooden door. I knocked. A slightly overweight, middle-aged Caucasian-looking man opened the door. I asked him if he knew Zebolon Simantov.
“Yes, that’s me,” he said in Pashto, which was translated to me by Bilal.
I was finally meeting face to face with Zebolon Simantov, the last and only Jew living in the entire Afghanistan. I introduced myself as a journalist from Malaysia and said that I would like to interview him on camera. He nodded and invited us in. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]
Guide to Afghanistan: The Adventures of a KL-ite
Part 4 of 10
‘The Last Jew in Afghanistan’
Zan haggles over an interview price with the last Jew standing in the whole of Afghanistan.
Zan Azlee, a Malaysian KL-ite journalist who has lived all his life in non-conflict zones, travels to Afghanistan to see if he can come up with the best travel guide for the country. With no idea what he is getting himself into, he dodges suicide bombers and IEDs, and even gets embedded with the army, to plan out the best tourist route in Afghanistan. This is a multimedia documentary produced by Fat Bidin Media and directed by solo-journalist Zan Azlee.
To view all the episodes, head to FATBIDIN.COM/AFGHANISTAN.
Click the thumbnails below to launch the photo essay (Part 4).
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