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The UN is giving Afghan children a board game called The Road to Peace to promote reconstruction.

The foldable cardboard game is illustrated with a swirling path from one corner labeled The Past — with tanks, explosions and a Taliban-style execution — to The Future, which shows cheery family scenes, factories and a sweeping blue river.

Along the way, up to six players take turns spinning a numbered wheel and moving improvised game pieces — a button, twig or coin will do — to corresponding numbers on the path representing events or trends in Afghanistan’s recent past.

A player who lands on a bad space, such as girls being denied education, must move the game piece backwards. “Landing on a positive scenario, such as the signing of the Bonn agreement in 2001 that established a political process and transitional government, lets a player advance toward the brighter future,” AP writes.

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Comments

  1. I wonder if Afghan children are acquainted with board games, and if so, I wonder if the game is designed to adhere to the conventions of indigenous board games. Otherwise it would be an attempt to sell foreign concepts in a foreign format. Merely having the game printed in their languages may not be enough.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    It IS an attempt to sell foreign concepts like individual rights, respect for others and change by political processes. We used to do a lot more, but the left, fearful that some propagande might leak back home and reflect badly on them, put the kibosh on it. Ulimately, the war on terror will be won by teaching our valuse and ridiculing the values of the Imams.

  3. Nels Nelson says:

    I hope the game mechanics are more complex than described, as Chutes & Ladders will hardly hold the interest of 10-14 year-olds.

  4. I expect that most Afghan kids would react to a line like “a positive scenario, such as the signing of the Bonn agreement in 2001 that established a political process and transitional government” in pretty much the way most American kids would…with a yawn.

  5. The foldable cardboard game is illustrated with a swirling path from one corner labeled The Past

    Traditional pre-industrial societies don’t equate the past with the dark ages, and the future with a golden age, like we do. So even there, the message is lost.

    — with tanks, explosions and a Taliban-style execution

    The Taliban, despite its horrors, equates to stability and legitimacy in the minds of many Afghans. Take that away, and there comes tanks, explosions, and anarchy. So it’s strange to see these lumped together as “the past”.

    — to The Future, which shows cheery family scenes, factories and a sweeping blue river.

    Cheery American-style nuclear family scenes, with women and children holding power unimaginable in Islamic society? Those will go over well in Afghanistan.

    Nice try, this board game, a real A for effort. Someone in the Arab/Islamic world is bound to point out that the Shah of Iran said something similar about a golden future.

  6. Katherine C says:

    I’m not sure about this game. For one, it’s obviously a propaganda tool designed to try to bring the children around to western ways of the thinking. While I do agree with some of the values they’re including, such as giving education to women, I think this should be advanced by logical arguments to the adults in charge not through propaganda to children. Not that I think it’s likely to be really successful anyway. Afterall, I know it’s not board games that influenced me as a child but the world I had to live in everyday. My guess is that for these children it’s the same.