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Afghanistan’s Bruce Lee ‘reincarnation’ becomes Web hit

(Reuters Report) – From the ruins of a bombed-out palace above Kabul,

a young Afghan man bearing a striking resemblance to kung fu legend

Bruce Lee is high-kicking his way to Internet fame, aiming to show

another side to his war-weary nation.

Videos and photos of Abbas Alizada, 20, posted on the Facebook page

"Bruce Hazara" show him performing back flips and striking Lee's

famous poses. They blazed through Afghanistan's small Internet

community this week, part of a publicity burst he hopes will catapult

him to broader fame.

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"I want to be a champion in my country and a Hollywood star," Alizada

said at Kabul's desolate Darulaman palace, where he trains twice a

week, swirling nunchakus and sporting a Lee-like bowl haircut.

At a workout at the palace, adorned with photos of thousands of

civilian war victims as part of a protest exhibition, Alizada showed

off his wiry physique, doing push-ups on his fingertips and sparring

with a partner. Two assistants dabbed his brow and fixed his hair for

the cameras.

Alizada is from a poor family of 10 children. His parents could not

afford the fees at an academy of Wushu, a Chinese mixed martial art,

but the trainer took him under his wing.

Darulaman palace, built in the 1920s by King Amanullah Khan, was

damaged by decades of fighting for control of the capital. It is now a

ruin pocked by artillery craters and bullet holes, overlooking an

as-yet-unfinished national parliament building.

"The destruction here makes me sad, but it also inspires me," said

Alizada, who refused to be filmed in one room where the walls were

daubed with graffiti reading "death to Americans".

He rejects the name Bruce Hazara given to him by friends in

recognition of his ethnic heritage, saying he prefers to be known as

the Afghan Bruce Lee in a country riven by tribal divides.

Questions of national unity are poignant in Afghanistan, where Taliban

insurgents are flexing their muscles with near-daily attacks.

This year has been the bloodiest of the war, as foreign troops

drastically reduce their presence.

Alizada's recent success on the Internet and at a martial arts

tournament in Kabul reflects some of the changes in the country since

the U.S.-led intervention toppled the Taliban after the Sept. 11, 2001

attacks.

Helped by the spread of TV and the Internet, Afghanistan has witnessed

a rapid rise in interest in sports under the government that succeeded

the hardline Islamists, who had banned television and many sports and

martial arts.

"The only news that comes from Afghanistan is about war … I am happy

that my story is a positive one," Alizada said.

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Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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