In the autumn of 1996, the newly installed Taliban decreed that moving pictures were heretical and had to be destroyed. This was obviously very bad news for Afghan Film, the Kabul-based organisation that both promoted Afghan cinema and housed the Asian republic’s entire film and TV archive. One hundred and eighteen of its 120 employees fled; the two who remained, lab technician Khwaja Ahmadshah and a colleague, resolved to risk their lives in defence of cinema.
I’d be the first to admit that I have a soft-spot for archives. I know that archives are not the kind of things that give most folks a “warm and fuzzy” feeling, but like museums and libraries and even the detritus amassed by “collectors” their worth is often underestimated. Folks who work in archives are often obsessively devoted to the material they were hired to protect. This article, from guardian.co.uk, ‘If I find one reel, I must kill you’ hopefully will help you to get the “warm and fuzzies” when you think of archives and their relationship to our history and culture.