I Get Mail – Did you really write 18000 words on Afghanistani culture and the MRA who approves of it?

Yes. Yes I did.

It’s not exactly 18,000 words though. It’s around 14,000 words. The other 4000 or so are the words I have quoted from the MRA.

How long did it take?

7 hours or so.

I may have finished earlier, I was playing Football Manager at the time


Because the people of Afghanistan and indeed Muslims fight two battles. One against their theocrats, fundamentalists and their faith. They struggle to associate a clearly out of touch faith with a vibrant modern world while their “leaders” are often dangerous traps. They don’t want their kids growing up to “Hate the Great Satan” but their kids fall in with preachers who do.

When the 7/7 bombings happened in the UK, there was a lot of people who were puzzled. The Muslim community of Leeds and Bradford were stunned. The bombers were “Nice” kids. They were normal. Some of them were loved even. Sure they got into trouble but what lad hasn’t in the UK’s “male culture”?

How did you know so much about it?

Experience from talking to the few Pashtun and Afghan people. Reading about it helped too and ultimately paying attention to the region and to people coming out of the region.

It’s not a cut and shut case. We have been treating Afghanistan like a country when it really is a series of tribes. Asking them to pay allegience to a flag all of a sudden is not possible. The formation of the Sioux Nation required a cohesive movement among them to shift from tribes to a loyalty to the “Sioux”. Afghanistan has not had that yet. There has been no leader among all Afghans to make them unite nor has there been any external force since the Russians that made them unite (and that worked out poorly because they united under luddites who broke their nation apart).

There are a lot of stories coming out of Afghanistan. They involve progress but also chart the monumental fight we have on our hands to get people the things they need. And the problem is decades of Islamic Fundie rule has resulted in people losing the knowledge to understand that there are some things that they need. Sometimes you are trying to get them to accept ideas that aren’t all that clear to them.

The argument Karen Strachan made was one that was echoed by various “Anti-west” sentiments about the liberation of women.

I often say that women are complicit in the systems of abuse because of the preponderance of wife burning being committed by the Mother In Laws. We see it in the west with slut shaming to a lesser extent. We see it in Afghanistan too. We need a generation of women who will ignore what happened to them painful as it may be and throw open the curtain of purdah and push their girls out the door. Force them to be the generation of changes.

Many of the women who were burned by acid were sadly burned by other women.

As I said.. Both sides are oppressed by the Afghanistani culture.

It’s just that women are oppressed by the culture and by men too.

And it’s our duty to keep eyes on Afghanistan and try and keep them free rather than watch them backslide into the hands of forces lik the Taliban.

Why did you write so much?

Because it was needed. Because you have to see every side of the argument you were making without some MRA coming in to tell you that it’s because I was quote mining.

And nearly everything in there was horrible. It was hard to pick parts to quote.


  1. CaitieCat says

    Football Manager too? Man, we like a lot of the same things. :)

    I’ve got two FM games on the go: one in FM 2009, which is currently in 2032, where Tottenham has become the many-times world champions, and my younger players were all born after the game started. The other is in FM 2013, in which I have East Bengal, current two-time holders of the Asian Confederation Cup (the Asian version of the Euro League, basically; India hasn’t gotten into the Champs League yet in that game). Can’t get used to the shape of the season in India yet, though, that big break in the winter is so hard to deal with, keeping the players fit. And the crushing cluster of games around the Federation Cup and Durand Cup (and start of the NFL season) is BRUTAL on a small squad. I’ve had sets of three games in four days, for example. The only saving grace is that two of those games are usually against 2nd Div or lower teams.

    Cool. :)

  2. machintelligence says

    I read it and then had to leave it be for a while. I an still suffering from a bad case of “How can anybody believe this stuff?” I guess the ability of people to rationalize and delude themselves surpasses my understanding.

    I became an atheist because I never believed the bible stories or the descriptions of God, but unreflective folks swallow it hook, line and sinker as long as it is fed to them by authority figures and everyone else seems to believe it too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>