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Blood on the Lens: A Filmmaker's Quest for Truth in Afghanistan

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Murder is an effective way to gain power over others. Kill its leaders, and a country can be yours. Kill the people or ruthlessly intimidate them, and you can control their territory. Kill the journalists—or the story—and the truth of what is happening can be buried. Blood on the Lens chronicles filmmaker Jim Burroughs’s eighteen trips to Afghanistan since 1986, the bloody Murder is an effective way to gain power over others. Kill its leaders, and a country can be yours. Kill the people or ruthlessly intimidate them, and you can control their territory. Kill the journalists—or the story—and the truth of what is happening can be buried. Blood on the Lens chronicles filmmaker Jim Burroughs’s eighteen trips to Afghanistan since 1986, the bloody and deceit-ridden period that saw the war against the Soviets, the cessation of American support, the civil war, the rise of the Taliban, the hijacking of the country by al Qaeda, the U.S.-led invasion, and the herculean effort to form a new country under the rule of law. Two casualties of these years of bloodshed were fellow documentary makers Lee Shapiro and Jim Lindelof, who disappeared on their way to interview legendary leader Ahmed Shah Massoud in 1987. Part of this illuminating book recounts an undercover sortie by Burroughs and a close friend of Shapiro into Taliban-controlled territory in 1998 to investigate their disappearance—unaware that at that moment just a few miles away, bin Laden was declaring his war against “all Jews and crusaders.” Through such personal experiences, Blood on the Lens documents twenty years of treachery and betrayal, courage and hope in a country like no other. In conjunction with the release of Blood on the Lens, Burroughs and fellow filmmakers Suzanne Bauman and Dan Delvaney will release their documentary, Shadow of Afghanistan in select cities this fall. Filmed over twenty years, this is the untold story of Afghanistan, an epic tale of assassination, genocide and betrayal seen through the eyes of an Afghan Commander and independent journalists. For more information on the documentary, click on the companion site link above.


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Murder is an effective way to gain power over others. Kill its leaders, and a country can be yours. Kill the people or ruthlessly intimidate them, and you can control their territory. Kill the journalists—or the story—and the truth of what is happening can be buried. Blood on the Lens chronicles filmmaker Jim Burroughs’s eighteen trips to Afghanistan since 1986, the bloody Murder is an effective way to gain power over others. Kill its leaders, and a country can be yours. Kill the people or ruthlessly intimidate them, and you can control their territory. Kill the journalists—or the story—and the truth of what is happening can be buried. Blood on the Lens chronicles filmmaker Jim Burroughs’s eighteen trips to Afghanistan since 1986, the bloody and deceit-ridden period that saw the war against the Soviets, the cessation of American support, the civil war, the rise of the Taliban, the hijacking of the country by al Qaeda, the U.S.-led invasion, and the herculean effort to form a new country under the rule of law. Two casualties of these years of bloodshed were fellow documentary makers Lee Shapiro and Jim Lindelof, who disappeared on their way to interview legendary leader Ahmed Shah Massoud in 1987. Part of this illuminating book recounts an undercover sortie by Burroughs and a close friend of Shapiro into Taliban-controlled territory in 1998 to investigate their disappearance—unaware that at that moment just a few miles away, bin Laden was declaring his war against “all Jews and crusaders.” Through such personal experiences, Blood on the Lens documents twenty years of treachery and betrayal, courage and hope in a country like no other. In conjunction with the release of Blood on the Lens, Burroughs and fellow filmmakers Suzanne Bauman and Dan Delvaney will release their documentary, Shadow of Afghanistan in select cities this fall. Filmed over twenty years, this is the untold story of Afghanistan, an epic tale of assassination, genocide and betrayal seen through the eyes of an Afghan Commander and independent journalists. For more information on the documentary, click on the companion site link above.

12 review for Blood on the Lens: A Filmmaker's Quest for Truth in Afghanistan

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hai Quan

    You don't need to be a brain surgeon to know that you must never allow any armed foreigner , much less any foreign army to enter your country as much as you must never allow any stranger , armed or unarmed to enter your house ! I READ_ this report years ago.I am rereading it again now. I have a confession to make: I cried as I was reading! I will explain the reason later. As I have been doing, I will write my review as the reading progresses .I found it is easier to write my thinking lest I might f You don't need to be a brain surgeon to know that you must never allow any armed foreigner , much less any foreign army to enter your country as much as you must never allow any stranger , armed or unarmed to enter your house ! I READ_ this report years ago.I am rereading it again now. I have a confession to make: I cried as I was reading! I will explain the reason later. As I have been doing, I will write my review as the reading progresses .I found it is easier to write my thinking lest I might forget if I wait until I finish reading. In this website the book introduction says : " Murder is an effective way to gain power over others.Kill its leaders and the country can be yours.Kill the people or ruthlessly intimidate them, and you can control their territories.Kill the journalists-or the stories- and the truth of what happening can be buried. How true! Not surprising, a deja vu : I 've stated almost the same elsewhere in one or several of my book reviews ! I am not sure if the author of this fact wants to aply it to all players of all armed conflicts , or to castigate only certain players. If he /she implies that only the "bad" guys ( The Soviet , the religious fundamentalists, extremists, radicals , Taliban, terrorists, Al-Qaeda, Muslims etc...) who do such a dastardy stuff ,THINK AGAIN. History as far back as the beginning of human being's existence ,in the tribal warfares which were constant, the above mentioned observation has been recorded. Starting with Roman,Ottoman , Mongol Spanish, English, and all succession Empires ,and all modern empires : French, Rusian,American, Japanese and Chinese among others ....they did all the above mentioned acts : Kill all resisting people when they set their boots ( sometime under bogus " alliance") into any and all foreign territories to establish "neo-colonies" ( they cleverly brand 'em their allies) We must keep in mind this indisputable fact as we traverse with the author through his reporting. We also must keep in mind, if we are to be fair and just, that the real victims of all conflicts under all political and religious rhetorics are foot soldiers of 'em Empires and murdered and maimed civilians of the invaded countries AND that, TRAITORS WHO aid, abet, cooperate with foreign armed forces ( boot lickers ) and foreign politicians ARE much MORE DANGEROUS AND INJURIOUS to the people of invaded countries than the invaders because WITHOUT 'em boot lickers, the foreign invaders can not use DIVIDE AND CONQUER tactic successfully. That said .....Following are hight light of this report, this book : 1) As early as 1842 the blood thirsty , thieving modern Viking gangsters Brit's have invaded Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries ( my statement) On page 42 the author , Bourroughs says: ".....The British army advanced through the Khyber and Bolan passes....to take Afghanistan.....only ONE man survived the slaughter of the entire 16,000- man Bristish 144th Regiment." What a price! Even the author didn't mention, we must understand that, because the inferior fire power, the local resisting guerrillas casualty , historically speaking, always many times higher than 'em Brit's.The figure can be as many as thousand times , NOT counting civilian casualty.This is the real evilness factor of colonialism. 2)Then in this modern time , the Soviet screwed Afghanistan ( My statement) .Toward the end of 1988 the Russian soldiers " now completely disillusioned....and their growing realisation that the war is unwinable....." p 66 My comment : Not surprisingly , soon after , as the US invaded Afghanistan, , the American soldiers felt the SAME as they was trapped into quagmire with no hope of winning. Finally, after decades of gung ho big mouthing, recently the Swamp Thing has trying to beg the Muslim "terrorist" to talk to him for a face-saving withdrawal of his mercernary armed forces . What a let dawn ! All of 'em dumb Brit , Russian and ( soon after ) American soldiers blood have been spilled to ENRICH SATANS within their own governments! Terribly sad! And even as you are reading these lines, 'em dumb proletariats mentioned above still obediently and patiently standing in lines at 'em recruiting stations waiting for their sorry turns and fates ( with few crumpled banknotes , their total possession ) in their tattered wallets) I wanna cry! 3) To explore this sorry fates of 'em dumb foot soldiers in the U S , let examine what Burroughs has to say. On page 220, he says......."....the CIA once backed the Mujahedeen to fight the Soviet during the Cold War.It worked hand in hand with bin Laden ......And later the Taliban would turn around and use these weapons, soldiers ,funds and tunnels in future battles against U.S. and coalition forces." My tear's glands are dried as I sobbing, realizing for every star and strip drapped coffins , there are hundreds or even thousands middle easterners , Afghanis , Iraqis or other locals ' mutilated corpses in mass graves! To be fair, we should give the Soviet army invaders similar ( ghoulish) credit to. No more tear ! The glands have been squeezed dry ! I am sure Burroughs would have felt the same, but for whatever reasons, he refrained to bare it. You are invited to check out my book review of An American Family by Khan in which related subject is disscussed. 4) On page 226, the author reports a conversation between he and a Taliban prisoner. My blood boils (The SATANS in the U. S. government, using the same old divide and reign has pitted Afghan to fight Afghan. The traitorous Afghan puppet, with greenbacks and guns supplied by 'em SATANS suppressed the Afghan nationalist who was trying to eject the satanic invaders . ) To answer the author inquiry, the prisoner declared: His duty is to fight the American invasion, who " protect Israel .....while Muslims died everywhere..." When the author mentioned about the Twin Towers, the prisoner exclaimed " It was a just response to the American invasion " The author: " But the Twin Towers came first " " No " he ( the prisoner) insisted " the American invasion came first" P226 'Em satans !!!! 'Em traitors !!!! 4) Next time when a citizen of the U. S. or Soviet stops at a gas station, please remember the following statistics : On page 231 : 1 to 1.5 million people had died and estimated 2 million wounded and maimed . Needless to say that the foot soldiers of 'em satanic governments is only a tiny portion of these gruesome numbers 5) I wonder if this dog Karzai ( and a U.S. lapdog to boot) has any self-respect and a lowest degree of feeling of shame ( He also reminds me of Viet-Nam 's Diem brothers) " Perhaps the reality of what he (Karzai) had hoped to do and what the U.S. was prepared TO LET HIM DO had been made clear" p247 (My emphasize) And to think he can look into his eyes in the mirror and the eyes of the people around him ! I think the severest punishment that we want to impose is to pray for his longervity, to live until a very ripe old age so he can look into all of 'em eyes everyday. 6) A sad end ! As the book wins down to a closure , the author asks Carmen, the female partner of another well-known journalist, Lee Shapiro who was presumably murdered by some faction while doing his war reporting in this region, perhaps because of his secret about his Jewish background revealed among other reasons , and Carmen 's reply make one cries with Carmen also . The author: " If Lee had known what we know now, do you think he have kept going ? " Carmen turned back to me with tears in her eyes . " What do you think ? " How about you.? Are your eyes moist or dry ? 7) Final thought P272 " The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global war on terrorism have been great American tragedies...." The question is what can anyone do anything about it? You tell me

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Goeds

  3. 4 out of 5

    Javed Ahmed

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heinrich Dahms

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jose França

  9. 5 out of 5

    Horace Derwent

  10. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Samuel Miller

  11. 5 out of 5

    بشرى

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kammy

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