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August 1st, 2006
Flying Down to Kabul
Map: Airspace Politics: Introduction

When the Wright brothers launched their historic first flight on December 19, 1903, they had complete freedom to chart their own course through the sky. With the subsequent popularity of aviation as a sport and military tool, however, countries applied increased constraints on the ability of aviators to move through airspace. As more and more aircraft took flight, concerns about safety and the desire to avoid unintended deaths played a significant role in such policy decisions. Countries also came to see airspace as a new boundary, which much like land needed to be fortified and defended in the case of foreign threats to sovereignty.

In times of peace, cooperation among nations for use of airspace can provide a venue for governments to further such goals as increased cultural exchange and more efficient international transport. In times of war and conflict between nations, however, airspace use can quickly become a source of contention, even leading to violence. Follow the links in the Interactive Map below to learn about the history and current structure of regulations of the airspace along Simone Kærn’s flight path in “Flying Down to Kabul.”

“Rarely do you see a face, or a whole woman,” writes Carsten Jensen in “A Travel Letter: Behind the Veil in Kabul,” published in 2002 by the Danish newspaper DAGBLADET POLITIKEN. Jensen profiles Afghan women and men and discusses their experiences of life after the Taliban. The story of one young girl’s defiance and desire to become a fighter pilot caught the attention of artist Simone Kærn.

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