During my two-day visit to Jacksonville, NC, I learned more about Afghanistan than the 43 years I spent in Florence and Manhattan. 18 Marines opened my eyes to the economy of Afghanistan more than the 4234 intellectuals I met in New York City the last 20 years.
These 18 Marines mentioned repeatedly that the kids and youth of Afghanistan hold the future of this country and the region. And I would add: "With it, they hold also our future".
Some of the Marines referred to Afghanistan as the soccer field where foreign Taliban and NATO troops face each other while the local Afghans struggle to survive. "Afghans are hard workers; they break their backs in the fields from sun up to sun down to provide for their families."
What we are doing in Afghanistan with Roya Mahboob, The Afghan Development Initiative, is to open Internet points in local high schools. I was inspired by the Marines to bring modernization, internet, longer school days, and chocolate to the Afghan youth.
If we can merge the ingenuity of Veteran entrepreneurs willing to go back to Afghanistan as civilians and start up new brilliant businesses with the Digital Media Strategies and Online video platform of Film Annex and similar, we can really change the destiny of the economy of Afghanistan and with it the World.
Personally, I think we should open a Pizza Parlor in every town in Afghanistan, but what do I know? I am from Florence.
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