Foreign Intelligence Briefing #387: Thinking Of Afghanistan With Beauty And Humanity

November 4, 2011 

I like this short film by Lukas and Salome Augustin because it reminds me of how beauty and humanity co-exist in a place that we’ve been relentlessly conditioned to negate the existence of both. Societies tend to dehumanize their adversaries in times of war. We do it in order to make the killing easier to shrug off. In the case of Afghanistan, we’ve long made a habit it, going back to the British Raj (remember your Kipling: “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your God like a soldier”). If we succumbed to our media’s treatment of the decade-old conflict today, we’d all share a vision of a brown, war-torn shit-hole; a 15th century den reserved for heroin-making, intolerant, terrorist-enabling fanatics who’d sooner blow up an ancient statue of Buddha than play a round of golf. But it’s never that simple. Despite our society’s seemingly perennial effort to de-sensitize us to the destruction of these people (in the name of their country’s salvation), they are clearly as human and beautiful as we are. What a tremendous shame it is that we were ever meant to doubt it.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    Maybe it’s this constant attitude that because a terrain is barren or rugged, and because a ‘people’ are tribalistic, it is our BURDEN to change thier culture by any means necessary. Strategically speaking, the country has always been important- no wonder then successive empires have tried -and failed- to invade this proud nation of fucking warriors. This kind of romanticism stems from guilt. We invaded this country because a bunch of Saudi Arabians flew some planes into New York. It doesn’t add up, especially when we are fighting people that were armed by the CIA. And why won’t we burn the crops? Why has heroin production gone up, not down? Why have we sacrificed more Canadian lives when we could have, like so many other countries, initiated trad and development programs?

  • Dan

    @Sean Orr… “proud nation of fucking warriors”… ha ha what romantic nonsense. I guess it’s easy to skip over the facts to support your worldview. It must be hard to find the conspiracy because the country has no oil. Too bad the evil western colonizers got in the way of “proud warriors” eh?:

    Between 1996 and 2001, under the Islamic group the Taleban, the educational situation in Afghanistan worsened. The school curriculum was restricted, schools were destroyed and Afghan females were banned from all educational life.
    After the Taleban fell from power in late 2001, an international effort to reconstruct the educational system ensued. Record numbers of students enrolled in school, including the highest percentage of female students in decades.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/features/ihavearightto/four_b/casestudy_art26.shtml

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    Yeah believe it or not Afghanistan existed before The Taliban and will exist after them. Of course, since you regard history as conspiracy, I won’t to mention the fact that the mujhadeen who became the armed wing of the Taliban (which in fact means ‘religious school’) were armed by the CIA. Indeed it probably doesn’t matter to you that of the countless conquerors that invaded what we now know as Afghanistan, conquerors such as Darius I, Alexander the Great, and Genghis Khan, they also fought successive invasions of Turkic muslims. Or maybe it was the Sikh invasion I was thinking about. Or maybe I was referring to the British invasions of Afghanistan.

    I can link to shit to:
    http://newleftreview.org/A2237