“Americans, who are you?”

I left the following comment at zenpundit :

Kabir says,

“I don’t touch ink or paper
This hand never grasped a pen
The greatness of four ages
Kabir tells with his mouth alone”

Tom Tom Club (Wordy Rappinghood) says,

“Words in paper, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease”

And Asia Times writes,

The channel broadcasts in Pashto language from 12 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon and 6 pm to 8 pm in the evening. The programs include jihadi taranay (jihadi motivational songs….

And drones the size of bees, some day

And mobiles crossing the Kush; they play

Tribal songs for jihadi alms, a call-to-arms

On 11/11 our cell phones say:

And Americans can talk endlessly about the importance of democracy, but they never thought to explain to the chiefs why they came back to Afghanistan. They arrived with suitcases full of cash to buy help – but they never told the chiefs that they were there because the way al Qaeda attacked the US on 9/11 meant that many Americans couldn’t find so much as a fingernail of their massacred relatives to bury because the bodies were ground to dust.
Not to be able to bury one’s dead or even a piece of one’s dead — knowing THAT would have meant a great deal to the chiefs and those in their tribes. But the Americans never explained, never even cried, never showed emotion. THEY NEVER ACTED HUMAN; they never interacted with the Afghans in ways that are the same for all — not only all humans but all mammalian creatures. In other words, they displayed not a whit of common sense.
What do you talk about when you first sit down with a man whose life has been circumscribed by war and who knows nothing about you and your tribe? The answer is you tell me of your battles, I’ll tell you of mine and in this way we establish a commonality of experience.
You transform the rug or patch of sand you’re sitting on into the terrain of the battle, and you use sticks and stones or teacups as place markers for the troops to show how the battle was fought. In this way, you demonstrate that the battle is truly in your heart, that it means enough to you that you can bring it alive for another.
If you don’t show what’s in your heart, then you haven’t established a basis for developing a mutual understanding, so then there is no way to move off the dime. Only when you’ve demonstrated by your stories of war that your tribe also shed much blood for independence, can you move on to explaining stuff about government. You can explain that you were losing too many of your sons in battle so you devised a type of government that would help defend your freedoms and with less bloodshed. And so on.

Pundita, “Americans, who are you?

Contra Pundita, I bet this has been done sporadically between some who are working together as NATO attempts to build an Afghan Army – one able to protect its borders and serve as an irritant to transnational groups in the region. Many stories have yet to be told….

6 thoughts on ““Americans, who are you?””

  1. Americans who are you?

    Tell us your tale of woe, oh Western White sojourner of desolation.

    So we can tune our machinations to maximum profit, you simple fatherless fux.

    I normally love Pundita, but this is simple womanish nonsense, she actually knows better. These people need and deserve to be treated as men, full of moral agency and responsibility, and hence for their actions; deserving of death. If you think the Death Warrant is not signed by their embrace of terror, which they succored and clasped to their hearts, then the Heroin of whose effects they are well aware that they grow damns them. If these particulars are not enough ye should consider in your efforts to bring the light of modernity to the savages waiting for your Gospel – that they fought Islam until a mere century ago as it was too Progressive, that three decades ago they began the war that circumscribed their lives to reject modernity in all it’s forms. So if ye would not chastise them for terror and Heroin, then chastise them for rejecting thee and the light of thy revealed truth.

    Think of them as white and from flyover country. That’ll make it easier.

  2. Being of Near Eastern heritage myself, I can relate to what Pundita is saying. My founding/cultural/war narrative is called “The Field of the Blackbirds” where the cultural identity is based on a battle where my forefathers got their backsides handed to them, which accounts for a great deal of the victimhood/sense of persecution/the-world-owes-us-something that accounts for the darker side of that culture.

    Just as the Near East has a culture that Americans need to bridge, America has a culture that the Near East may try to understand. The simplest expression of that culture is “Get a life.” Stop complaining and playing the victim card and nursing centuries-old feuds, pull yourself together, and make something of yourself.

    Honor and revenge play an important part in Near Eastern culture. There is such a thing in American culture — think of the celebrated feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. The thing is about the Hatfields and the McCoys (my source is Wikipedia) is that they overcame their hatred and one of the principles had a religious conversion — a “come to Jesus moment” if you will — and came to some manner of apology for his actions and forgiveness to his adversaries.

  3. @ elfster:

    I think she means during the Horse Soldiers Rumsfeld early days and to get the cheifs to hand over bin laden way back when….before NATO and COIN.

    @ Pau M:

    That ‘s a brilliant comment about “get a life.”

    – Madhu

  4. Yes, I was talking about the earliest days, before the invasion, when the CIA showed up in A’stan with suitcases stuffed with millions of dollars to buy help from the chiefs. Typical Sahib behavior, but of course the U.S. was in a big hurry so no time to act human.

    If they’d taken a little more time pre-invasion and acted human — done simple humans things such as showing the Pashtun elders videos of people jumping out of the burning towers, if they’d expressed their grief to the chiefs and asked for help without pressing money on them right off the bat — things would have turned out very differently.

    If they’d acted human, if they’d acted in the manner of a guest asking for help — yes, things would have been very different.

    Instead, they acted like the lords of the manor — and to add insult to injury, bragged about how they were going to help the Afghans.

    A report was published just a few months ago which mentioned that the Pashtun chiefs STILL didn’t know the specifics of why the US had come to A’stan, and so they continued to suspect US/NATO motivations for being in their country.

    Meanwhile, in the early pre-invasion days, AQ was doling out $50 ‘gifts’ to thank chiefs for their help. 50 bucks, you understand — not millions of dollars.

    Madness. Absolute madness. But whenever you see that much madness over a period of so many years, there is usually a reason not rooted in madness but in hidden motives.

  5. Pundita,

    War is a cruel teacher, we’ve had years of it. And I don’t care about how they see us. I want it over, even if we have to go to a truly dark place. I doubt I’m alone.

    They’ve had decades of war, and feuds that go back centuries. And they surely know the effects of their main cash crop.

    I don’t care Pundita. I very much doubt they do. Surely we see no sign of it.

    They will bow to the strongest, and that may well mean the most ruthless, and the one who stays it out.

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