The Taliban's acts of cultural vandalism - the most infamous being the destruction of the giant Bamiyan Buddhas - had a devastating effect on Afghan culture and the artistic scene. The Taliban burned countless films, VCRs, music tapes, books, and paintings. They jailed filmmakers, musicians, painters, and sculptors.
I remember reading 'The Grapes of Wrath' in high school in 1983. My family had immigrated to the U.S. three years before, and I had spent the better part of the first two years learning English. John Steinbeck's book was the first book I read in English where I had an 'Aha!' moment, namely in the famed turtle chapter.