Sunday, January 4, 2009
I have a new blogging buddy, Layla Anwar, except that she doesn’t blog to make buddies. She is very good at making enemies. The first time I visited her blog I was reading a post that told everyone to fuck off. Yes, in those words.
Layla is a Sunni Arab Iraqi and a big fan of Saddam Hussein. Most visitors to her site are either sycophants or people who would like to kill her – not many in the middle. Some of her “best” enemies have actually come out and said they plan to kill her.
I'm one of the rare "middle" people. I disagree with much maybe even most of what she says, but I genuinely like her. She is an exceptional person.
Layla's main blog is Arab Woman Blues. If you visit this site you must be prepared for some prose that will likely get your blood boiling either in favor of her, or against her.
She can also be quite funny as her other blog Uncensored Arab Woman Blues shows with all her issues on dating in Iraq.
You have to keep in mind when reading Arab prose that it tends to the extreme in terms of emotion. It's difficult to keep from getting wrapped up in emotion when you read it. I guess that’s the point.
Anyway, in the midst of a particularly emotional post vilifying the Imperialist American, Zionist, Safavid Shiite Iranian cabal that has ruined the Iraqi paradise that once existed under Saint Saddam, she strays into areas about which she perhaps should have remained silent - namely, Afghanistan.
In the post she gives three cheers (sort of) for what we in the West would otherwise call “the bad guys.” Of course she can be forgiven because she gets her news from the news agencies/web sites that are pushing the idea that what we are trying to do is nothing less than destroy Sunnis and usher in the American Zionist Safavid state with forced conversion to that apostate sect. In the Afghanistan detour she says: “…where the Afghan Resistance is making strides.”
At this point I take issue. Which resistance is she talking about? Is it the “resistance” in Kandahar that sprays acid in the faces of schoolgirls? Or is it the “resistance” in Kandahar and Khost and across the border in the “ungovernable provinces” of Pakistan that burns down schools and murders teachers? Perhaps it is the resistance that blew up fourteen elementary schoolchildren in Khost the last week of December?
Perhaps it’s the drug lord “resistance” in Helmand and Herat. But, since a large part of their “crop” is ending up in Iran, which now has the highest rate of heroin addiction in the world, that’s probably OK. Anything that rots the evil Safavid state from within is good.
Or maybe she means the criminal gangs (some of which include the corrupt police) who primarily rob merchants and ordinary Afghans. Maybe she means the kidnapping rings that primarily target Afghan school children (especially the girls, many of whom end up raped) and the occassional Westerner. If she means the occasional Pakistani or ARAB suicide bomber, most of whom target civilians in busy markets, they are not well-received by the local populace.
If by making strides she means terrorizing the civilian populace as opposed to attacking the Imperialist Americans and their allies, well that is primarily what the "bad guys" do here.
In reality, official corruption and ordinary crime are the biggest problems in Afghanistan. If the corruption can be negated, then the crime will dwindle and the situation for ordinary Afghans will drastically improve.
There is no comparison between Afghanistan and Iraq. The circumstances are entirely different. The US and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) do not have a single tank in Afghanistan. I live in a neighborhood in the middle of Kabul and I travel around unarmed, both in Kabul and outside of Kabul. In Kabul I can walk the streets. I am frequently in situations here that I would never have allowed myself in Iraq.
It was Afghan tanks that entered Kabul in 2001, not American. That simple fact changes many things. I will be the first to say that the West squandered precious time and golden opportunities early on. Our stupidity and arrogance made a difficult job harder, just like we did in Iraq, but the situation is far from impossible.
Cutting the Gordian knot of corruption should be the main priority. And one can’t say that these people are “used to it” or it can’t be changed because they’ve always been corrupt. That is simply not true. The ordinary people know that corruption is wrong and that it hurts business, but they are trapped in it and waiting for us to do what we promised.
In an alliance of convenience, we allowed the corrupt warlords to get their hands back into the system. It will be up to us to show them the door, or failing such direct action, provide the support to those Afghans who are trying to fight the corruption so that they can do it.