Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Put Out More Flags.

The repetition of colonial historiography in the US media has far less to do with what is actually happening in Afghanistan and what Afghans think; and far more to do with how the United States and its allies perceive a war of which they have become weary. Every time, say, a U.S. soldier goes mad and kills 16 Afghans, we will see an increase in references in the U.S. media to how Afghanistan has always been ungovernable, to Brydon, to the “graveyard of empires”, to ”tribal tradition” or to how primitive the people are.

So Myra MacDonald confidently predicts, and I wouldn't bet against her. It's like Praveen Swami set out yesterday: "Blaming Afghans for a fate they did not choose isn't legitimate debate — it is deeply racist libel."

The Pakistani elites, echoing their "troops out" counterparts in the NATO capitals, tell themselves similarly comforting and equally bigoted fairytales about Afghans all the time. It's of the same disorder as the hysterics about drones that Farhat Taj has properly rubbished: “What we read and hear in the print and electronic media of Pakistan about drone attacks as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty or resulting in killing innocent civilians is not true so far as the people of Waziristan are concerned. According to them, al Qaeda and the TTP (the Pakistani Taliban) are dead scared of drone attacks and their leadership spends sleepless nights. This is a cause of pleasure for the tormented people of Waziristan.”

And if you want to know something about the politics involved in the Washington-Kabul relationship and the degeneration of leadership in and around Karzai's palace, here's one story that's worth 100 know-it-all op-eds. At the very least it'll give you a sense of the sinister influence that Hezb-e-Islami is wielding at the very centres of power in Kabul. It was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb that had its fingerprints all over the koran riots last month, but the "primitive" and "ungovernable" Afghan people got blamed for all that, too.


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