Praying for Rain is the fruit of Wojciech Jagielski's eleven voyages to Afghanistan between spring of 1992 and autumn of 2001.
In a world and in times dominated by compromise, evolution and general acceptance of the unpleasant discovery that reality differs significantly from how we would imagine it to be, for a European any voyage to Afghanistan is a return to a world of forgotten, if not betrayed, ideals and truths. In Afghanistan there are no shortcuts, there is no room for pretending, everything has a fundamental dimension. Those who live there believe in God for real, and freedom brings an aftertaste of anarchy.
Mostly counter to the will of the Afghan people, the history of Afghanistan has been an endless string of revolutions and counter-revolutions, tragically flawed attempts at finding a perfect way of life, and immediate rejections of all that was foreign, imposed, that proved itself a mistake or required abandoning usually utopian expectations. Praying for Rain is a chronicle of the birth and demise of Afghan regimes. It is a story of fratricidal wars, a galaxy of commandants, warlords, hallowed mullahs and bold warriors. Above all, however, it is about the uncompromising search for the Absolute, which at times has been deadly but has simultaneously allowed the Afghan people to retain their dignity, freedom and faith in fundamental values.
The book was distinguished in the Warsaw Literary Premiere competition in November 2002; awarded with the "Bursztynowy Motyl / Amber Butterfly" during the 7th Arkady Fiedler competition for the traveller's book of the year organized by Biblioteka Raczynskich / The Raczynskis Library. During the third edition of the Jozef Tischner Awards, Praying for Rain emerged victorious in the category for "socially focused opinion and essayistic writing that teaches us to accept 'the unfortunate gift of freedom.' " In May 2003 it was nominated for the 2003 NIKE Literary Award.
- Wojciech Jagielski
Modlitwa o deszcz / Praying for Rain
W.A.B., Warszawa 2002
125 x 195, 456 pages, illustrations, paperback