REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

Okay, Afghanistan.

POSTED BY: NIKI2
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 2, 2009 22:21
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009 2:57 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


I started this in another post, but maybe I can give you a bit of insight, so I'll finish here. I lived there, back in ''58-'61. It's a land you of which you cannot conceive.

The homes of the poor (by far the majority) are made of mud walls...mud and straw. Roofs are flat, so they grow grass in Spring and sheep graze on them. When the brief rains come, they wash away the houses. Heat you can't conceive of in Summer, and shamals--dust storms that will kill--six foot snows in Winter.

The gutters, called "jeuey ditches"? Upstream a horse pissing; downstream a woman washing clothes, a child drinking. The childhood death rate is incredible. When we were there, every female over the age of 13 wore a chadri (the head-to-toes veil you may have seen pictures of, or on the train in FF's "Train Job"). No woman could be seen outside without one. In their homes, women were essentially slaves--couldn't be seen without chadri by any male but close relatives. Men ate together in one room; women served them then ate after them in another.

Women, children really, usually married around the age of 13 to men in their forties--the lifespan is maybe 3/5ths of ours for the poor. This was because it's so poor, a man couldn't afford a wife until mid-life, and the childhood birth rate was so bad a woman had to start early to have any survive.

Everyone had servants--you had to, only a few American women ventured forth, and we got a lot of attention when we did. I was 9-11, so I roamed freely in the bazaars, but my mother (bitch that she was in many other ways) had balls; she did her own shopping. The reason most didn't was that you went to the butcher's stall, pointed to what cut of meat you wanted, and he shooed the flies off it before whacking it off for you. Melons abounded, but you had to choose carefully, as the farmers would inject water (remember those jeuey ditches?) to make them larger.

They're a magnificent people--still are I know from friends I still have. Generous to a fault, but proud, strong and sneaky as hell if they don't respect you. Driving our jeep one Winter, it got stuck in the mud in a village. Nobody in sight as we drove through initially, but the minute the jeep got stuck, suddenly we were surrounded by Afghan men, who cheerfully picked up the jeep and put it on the road, laughing "Daiwana Americans" ("crazy Americans"--anyone trying to travel the roads in Winter in anything but a horse-drawn carriage or a donkey WAS crazy).

The shah--there was a shah back then--was a despot, yes, but as I said elsewhere, he wanted to bring the country into the twentieth century, and he knew he was "monarch" mostly in name...the tribal leaders in the villages were the real power. He removed the chadri while we were there--causing bloody riots in Kandahar (the second city, in the South, ever a stronghold of the mullahs, explaining why the Taliban is still so strong there). My mom was involved; she got three of the pattern companies in America to send patterns, and held sewing classes for the Afghan women. They had a fashion show to show off what they'd done (attended of course only by females), and mom got death threats but managed to do it anyway.

Islam has such a strong hold for a good reason. Life was unbelievably hard, and at its best only transitory--in such situations, the afterlife is everything and religions are very, VERY strong. The mullahs ruled supreme, and punishments were extremely harsh. For women especially. The concept of Insh'allah (got's will) exists so strongly because how else do you explain living like that except tha it be the will of some Higher Power for some unknown purpose?

We were there because my dad worked for Pan Am; they gave the Afghans their old DC-3s to start Ariana Afghan Airways (which still exists). The Afghan mentality regarding maintenance was to fly the plane until it fell down in the desert (literally), then walk away. Afghans brought to America to be trained as engineers refused to go home (do you blame them?), so dad and others were sent to train Afghans to maintain the airplanes over there.

That's just a taste--when you talk of Afghanistan, the war there, our soldiers, please try to bear in mind that they are people, in some ways better than Americans, in other ways worse, but people who fight to survive in conditions harsher than you could ever imagine...and they do it with good cheer, relishing the small joys and minute comforts life gives them.

THEY are not the enemy--the Taliban, Al Qaeda, yes, but those are the enemies of the Afghan people as much as they are ours. The Taliban have power because we Americans helped support and arm them, "freedom fighters" to help evict the Russians. Once in power, they became only slightless less tyrannical than the Russians; but they shared the same religion, and were powerful. The vast majority of Afghans don't want them there any more than they want us. Just don't dehumanize the Afghan people, if you can manage it, please.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009 6:50 PM

DREAMTROVE


Couple questions

We armed the Taliban? I thought we armed the mujahideen and the northern alliances, but just what i recall. Not that it matters

I heard that low life expectancy was due to high drug use and civil war. any thoughts?

I know that rural villagers in africa seem to have a higher life expectancy than the urban population, wars, diseases, cut that down a lot. It seems the rural farming life overall is a pretty decent one, here as everywhere, so I have to guess that it's hitting them somewhere that's else.

Just thinking

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009 7:53 PM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Mujahideen forces were unable to defeat Soviet forces during much of the war, however, the mujahideen won when the Soviet Union pulled troops out of Afghanistan in 1989, when they overtook many of Afghanistans cities from the Federal Government, followed by the fall of the Mohammad Najibullah regime in 1992. However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, and many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other over the power in Kabul. After several years of devastating infighting, a village mullah organized a radical splinter group of the mujahideen, a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban.

Essentially the mujahideen were the acorn from which the Taliban grew. We supported the first; now we're fighting the second.
Quote:

I heard that low life expectancy was due to high drug use and civil war. any thoughts?
No, they had low life expectancy and a high childhood death rate long before either. Afghanistan has produced hashish for centuries--in fact Black Afghan was at one time sold with the gold seal of the royal family stamped on it. The poppies are a relatively new development, and came about because what farming there was became almost impossible due to the devastation of the wars, as did employment of other kinds, so it became a high-yield financial crop.

And there's been no essential "civil war"--the current wars have been mostly against the Russians and now us, with battles between the Taliban and mujahideen and Al Qaeda as well. There have always been battles between tribes, but no "civil war" per se within the country as a whole.

Africa is for the most part a fertile country; Afghanistan is desert and baren mountains except for places humans have taken up habitation and tried to scratch out a living. There's a HUGE difference between the two, as far as farming and survival. The Afghans live better than what I've seen on TV of the desert-dwellers in Africa, but aside from a few places, it's that way all over, whereas Africa is, far as I know, largely "farmable" and has far more water, certainly. Afghanistan is land-locked, and dry for most of the year.


That's mostly the countryside in Afghanistan


These are typical dwellings in a village. Kabul is much more modern, but the villages are poor--the buildings are made of straw and mud.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan comes in second for shortest lifespan AFTER Africa...not sure why that is. I'm not sure which population would have a longer lifespan, but I would guess those in the cities fared better...life in the villages was as rudimentary as human survival permited for the most part.

"In Afghanistan, men and women live on average to 41 and 42 years respectively, according to the WHO." It doesn't break it down to urban v. rural. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/05/21/life-expectancy-who.html

"Once you get out of Africa, the next worst country for life expectancy is Afghanistan. The citizens of Afghanistan face near-epidemic levels of disease including life-threatening diarrhea, typhoid, malaria, hepatitis and rabies. Taken together, these factors mean that every Afghani can look forward to a hardy 42.9 years of misery before shuffling off this mortal coil." http://www.rotten.com/library/medicine/life_expectancy/

I hate that, by the way. The PEOPLE are Afghans, the CURRENCY is the Afghani. Just a pet peeve I hear all the time and it makes me cringe.

The CIA puts average life expectancy estimations (2009) at total population: 44.64 years; male: 44.47 years; female: 44.81 years. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/210
2.html


Are you starting to get a bit of a picture? Can you conceive of living a life like that?

________________________
Together we are greater than the sum of our parts

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 12:03 AM

PIRATECAT


NIKI2, who's got. Anyhoo you might be a bleeding heart but to go into any country with pushing an American view isn't gonna work like your mom. I get irritated when English people talk crap about America in the US. Go home. Now you just described any mexican border town. What I have found out in my travels is you can not help people unless they help themselves. The whole flying the plane till it crashes. Well just go to Africa after the peace corps leaves once every thing breaks they go back to getting water out of streams. The world is ancient and America is just an experiment. America's path to get rid of jobs and still feed the world will come to an end with in 50 years. Talking with Brits and American Troopers in that war have told me how small the people are and how gay the dudes are. It is an ancient intersection between waring nations. And I just don't think you can really get much done over there.

"Battle of Serenity, Mal. Besides Zoe here, how many-" "I'm talkin at you! How many men in your platoon came out of their alive".

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 3:15 AM

KPO

Anti-Russia before it was cool.


Nice personal view Niki2, thanks.

I would guess malaria and AIDS would be why African life expectancy is lower.

Heads should roll

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 3:33 AM

KPO

Anti-Russia before it was cool.


Quote:

The world is ancient and America is just an experiment.


Keep travelling... I like the US but it is not the world's only civilised country, nor the pinnacle of human civilisation as we know it.

Heads should roll

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 6:12 AM

BYTEMITE


Where did she bad mouth the US anywhere? Maybe I just missed it, but I really think that wasn't the point of her posting this.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 6:15 AM

PIRATECAT


KPO, I disagree with that. Just look at the hygiene in France. England is still a ghetto. I might find Istanbul or Haifa interesting but I don't want to live there. And I don't try to give the cultures I've met my way of thinking. I just want them to stay there if their not gonna change coming here. Life is cheap outside the USA. Even though students get crap filled in their head by the educators who don't live in the real world who will tell them it's all wonderful. Nations that once was doesn't mean they have it today going on. Quality of life and opportunity is still in America. I've known people who go overseas with the great white hunter attitude that doesn't cut it. So they feel important. I traveled enough over seas there is to much in the US to see and do. Staying in a Hilton or a tour bus isn't what I consider traveling. That is seeing the sights.

"Battle of Serenity, Mal. Besides Zoe here, how many-" "I'm talkin at you! How many men in your platoon came out of their alive".

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 6:57 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Pirate, I've seen enough of you to "get" your attitudes, so I won't address most of what you wrote. As to America "feeding the world", that's a joke. You throw away enough food every day to feed a lot of people in developing nations, and don't even notice it. As to the REAL efforts to bring medicine, cleanliness and education to poorer nations--it's been going on far longer than 50 years and won't stop in the next 50. There are at least enough Americans who can manage empathy with other humans and who understand how the REAL world is that they'll continue trying.

So you've heard from troopers how vile the Afghans are, eh? Gee, I wonder why they get that impression. Ask someone who's lived there; ask even a lot of the troopers who I'VE heard in interviews who are impressed with them. Rural villages haven't changed much, no--but I've seen pictures of Kabul, I'm still in touch with a website full of people who were students there when I was and beyond...the changes have been dramatic, very dramatic, and they've continued since the Russians left and continue today, and will after we leave.

No, bringing a nation that was ignored by the world and still firmly in the throes of the time of Christ isn't easy and can't be done in a hundred years, but yes, they've progressed enormously given that and continue to move forward. They didn't GO BACK to the chadri, it was forced on them. They didn't GO BACK to jeuey ditches.

When we drove into Kabul from the airplane, mom hollered "my gawd, it's Mary, Joseph and Jesus!" We were passing a man leading a donkey with a woman and child sitting on it. They WERE our concept of Mary, Joesph and Jesus. In the cities, that's how far they've come.

When I was there, yes, it was and still is a "buffer state". Russia wanted it, so did we. Russia would give them a hospital; we'd counter with an airport. Russia would give them a REAL road (which ironically, led to Russia); we'd give them a grain siloh. Ariana Afghan Airways continues to this day, planes don't fall down in the desert anymore...before, they lived the way they'd always lived; now, those that can be part of the modern world have adapted and progress continues, if only other countries would stop bombing it back to the stone ages, it would continue. It will despite the wars, wait and see.

Women are doctors now, and educators and more. Afghans have evacuated and there's a large number of them here in California. Some go to universities here and DO return now, to better the country. They've adapted; they speak lovingly of their homeland, but they're Americans and they adapt to our culture. There are enclaves, like any dispossesed civilization, which practice the old ways and do things I abhor; but that was true of Americans who lived there, too, it's human nature.

As to "gay dudes", you sicken me. Yes, because of their physical characteristics, it's long been said that on the whole, Afghan men are prettier than Afghan women. That doesn't make them gay, and by the way, watch out, your homophobia is showing a bit. In a country where women were nothing but ghosts walking around in shrouds it's inevitable, but there are no more homosexuals there than here proportionately. Yeah, if one just looks at people and doesn't bother to get to know them, one could come to that conclusion. It's bullshit.

The rural parts of Afghanistan are cut off from civilization, roads are hard to keep going in a desert. You wouldn't last ten minutes there.

I didn't stay in hotels, and the only tour bus I've ever been on was in Paris. I've ridden Afghans (horses) and camels, I traveled that country in a jeep and stayed in "hotels" that were little more than rooms with charpois (a bed made of woven straw)...I've climbed the famous statue of Buddha careved out of a mountain in Bamyan which the Taliban blew to smithereens, and wandered it's caves of blackened ceilings where the buddhist monks hid from Ghengis Khan. America knows nothing of a land of such antiquity. You know nothing of that country, so your opinion is of no value to me.

KPO, thanx, and "duh"...AIDS, of course. Didn't even occur to me. That explains it. Malaria, not so much--Afghanistan's got enough disease to wipe half of America out, they just had generations to harden to it, so more survive.

You're right, Byte, that's NOT why I posted it, and I don't knock America. I wouldn't live anywhere else and I'm proud of my country for the most part. That doesn't mean I'm blind to it, nor does it mean I think it's God's gift to the world. I can admire a people's ability to survive horror and deprivation without it meaning I despise my own country. Some manage (somehow) to both hate the rest of the world in comparison to the US AND hate America and Americans at the same time. Dunno how they do it; don't want to.

I wrote it to try and give a glimpse of the country we've invaded and which few American's are capable of understanding, in the hopes that it will help avoid some of the stupidity with which America so often goes into countries; if we'd learned anything about Iraq, maybe we'd have thought twice of invading; if we understood Afghanistan better, maybe we'd be less inclined to see its people as less than human. It's human nature to see the world from the perspective of our own civilization; it's a major failing in America and has led us into wars we're not prepared to fight.

KPO is right, we're not the pinnacle of civilization, not by a long shot. That some are too blind and ensconced in their small view of the world isn't my problem. There are many here who aren't--those of you are the ones I'm talking to.



________________________
Together we are greater than the sum of our parts

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 8:39 AM

FREMDFIRMA


Well spoken, Niki.

I never posted in quite this much detail cause, well, you *know* what the response from your average amurrrikan is gonna be, well enough.
*eyeroll*

But as a supporter of RAWA I knew most of this already, especially since I have a lot of Pashtun friends in Dearborn, one of the largest arab-american communities in the US, some of whom worked at the same cab companies I did.

RAWA is seriously pissed at us, and I don't blame them - one thing I am still holding a grudge about is that one of their better english speakers, a nice lady who sent me a beautifully drawn breaking-the-chains poster, wound up a casualty of "collateral damage" from our bombing.

The worst of it is that while I have been passing them office and photographic equipment, and have to do so in a very roundabout fashion so that if/when they get named "terrorists" by the State Dept no one is gonna come hunting MY head about it - all the photo evidence in the world won't make anyone give a shit, sadly.

I'd just as soon ship em rifles, but I respect the way they wanna do things enough to support it even if I don't think they're playin hardball enough.

It's SOMETHING, and that's a whole damn lot better than nothing.

-Frem
http://www.rawa.org/index.php

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 8:45 AM

NIKI2

Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...


Thank you, Frem. And Didn't know about RAWA; how do I join? Sent 'em a donation just now, but can't find a place to join on their website...?

In case anyone's interested, here's what chadris look like:
Close your eyes and imagine wearing that every time you set foot outside your home...in dust storms, rain, snow...

And RAWA can be found at: http://afghanwomensmission.org/index.php If you care, check it out!

________________________
Together we are greater than the sum of our parts

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 9:48 AM

KPO

Anti-Russia before it was cool.


Quote:

Just look at the hygiene in France. England is still a ghetto.


No, no - in England it's bad teeth (a ghetto?). Germans have no sense of humour and in Sweden they have their really high suicide rates...

Yep those are the popular national stereotypes - some have a basis in reality, others are pretty much just myths. If you want to get a more objective, less stereotypical idea of a country you could consult countries' statistics on life expectancy/personal income/suicide rates etc.

It sounds like you've travelled to some countries, but formed an opinion on others you've not been to from right-wing reading material.

Heads should roll

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 9:51 AM

WULFENSTAR

http://youtu.be/VUnGTXRxGHg


Hehehe

British and their teeth....

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 11:27 AM

DREAMTROVE


Pashtun are not arabs, just to clarify a point.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 5:03 PM

FREMDFIRMA


I was keepin it simple, DT.

When I said arab-american I meant it as ethnicity in a general sense, trying to explain any further will just confuse americans, especially when you get into individual peoples like the berber, etc.

Pashtunwali is more of a cultural thing, oh hell, here, have a wiki.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashtunwali

Some of the tenets cross over with mine, so I can get along with em ok.

One movie I highly reccommend if you've interest in this topic is an adapted stage play called The Beast.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_(1988_film) <-Add Manually.

Kipling was right, don't piss off the women.

-F

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 5:44 PM

FREMDFIRMA


Copy of that poster, btw.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 6:34 PM

PIRATENEWS

John Lee, conspiracy therapist at Hollywood award-winner History Channel-mocked SNL-spoofed PirateNew.org wooHOO!!!!!!


I lived in Turkey for awhile. This sounds like that. We were warned of murder by Kosher, er, "Kurdish" terrorists if we ventured more than 100 yards from the military base. Guess those nukes weren't much good for self defense?

How can you say that USA has cured infant mortality, by aborting 55-million babies, and injecting the rest with mercury?

Plus the 1-million murders of US citizens every year, killed by medical witch doctors?
www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_awsi_death_01.htm

That's not counting old folks and sick young folks who get genocided in "hospices" by denial of all medical care, denial of food and denial of water, while strapped to a gurney screaming for help. Ask Terri Shiavo. Oh you can't, she's dead (murdered by her husband, twice).

CIA and MI6 run the opium trade in Afghanistan, which "improved" 1,200% since Bush/Obama invaded. Taliban suppressed the opium farmers. Now USA pays the Taliban to farm opium.

The dictator/puppet/president of Afghanistan is a Knight of the British Empire.

I couldn't care less if the Afghans kill all the invaders. It's God's way of weeding out stupid sheeple. That's exactly how Heinz Strangelove Kissinger sees it too, as a Kosher Knight of the British Empire (who literally rapes US soldiers up the a$$, ask Kay Griggs).

Quote:

"In Haig's presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as 'dumb, stupid animals to be used" as pawns for foreign policy'."
-Kosher Lt Bob Woodward US Navy Intelligence in Joint Chiefs of Staff at Pentagon and Vietnam, and Kosher Carl Bernstein, The Final Days, Ch. 14

"Today, America would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all people of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the world government."
-Heinz Kissinger, Bilderburg Conference, Evians, France, 1991

"Thank you for that wonderful tribute to Henry Kissinger yesterday. Congratulations. As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger, filtered down through General Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here.”
-General Jim Jones USMC, Obama’s National Security Advisor





Bagdad still don't have water, sewers or electricity after 19 years of US genocide, with 100 people bombed per day in Bagdad.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009 10:21 PM

DREAMTROVE


Frem

Sorry, just feel the need to correct any oversimplification, like "black on black violence"

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