“An empire within an empire,” the Pashtun are essential to understanding the complexities of Afghanistan as a nation-state today. What is the ‘Pashtun universe,’ and why will they always outlast those who try to govern them?
by Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle
It was bound to happen: the remixed Saigon moment at Kabul airport and the stunning comeback of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Pashtuns, has unleashed across the West a cheap Orientalization avalanche.
The whole of Afghanistan is now “threatened” by the return of the “barbarians.”
Once again, Afghan women need to be protected, all Afghans need to be rescued, “terrorists will rebuild” and Afghanistan may even need to be re-invaded for the sake of “civilization.” All because of those wild tribal Pashtun barbarians.
Imperialist pathologies never die. “Barbarian” yields from the Greek original barbaros – as in someone who could not speak Greek, or spoke it incorrectly.
When faced with the sophisticated Persians, the concept evolved. And then the Romans gave it the final contours, encompassing people who could not speak Greek or Latin; deployed militarily skills; were fierce or cruel to their enemies; and came from a non Graeco-Roman culture.
All this eventually coalesced into a toxic Western cultural construct deployed for centuries, the ultimate, pejorative denomination for a warrior-like Other: uncouth; uncivilized; rural, non-urban; prone to violence and cruelty; maybe not a total savage, but close.
As a contrast, Imperial China always referred to various Central Eurasian tribes and peoples as warring, civilized, urban, nomads, agrarian, but never as “barbarians.”
Pashtun Afghanistan is a much more sophisticated universe than the prevailing reductionism that evokes rural subsistence economy, mud-brick architecture, caravans of nomads, burqas and bearded men in sandals brandishing Kalashnikovs.
So as a tribute to the late, great Norwegian social anthropologist Fredrik Barth, let’s subvert Orientalism by taking an – Orientalist! – magic carpet ride to the twists and turns of the Pashtun world.
It’s all about Turko-Persia
Afghanistan may be approached as southern Central Asia; as western South Asia; or as eastern West Asia.
The fact remains that Afghanistan, historically, is a crucial node of Turko-Persia – as much in culture and language as in geography. Turko-Persia stretches east from Anatolia and the Zagros mountains, along the Iranian plateau, all the way to the Indian plains. This has been no less than the heartland of Persian empires.
Pashtuns have an immensely complex ethno-genesis. There are historians who identify Pashtun tribes in Afghanistan as far back as the Achaemenid empire in 500 BC.
Pashtuns may be descendants of the Hephtalites – which by the way are not the White Huns of Central Asia, as demonstrated by scholar Etienne da la Vaissiere. The Hephtalites defeated the Sassanid empire in the 5th century and occupied vast stretches of Bactria and Transoxiana.
But Pashtuns may also be descendants from the Sakas – nomadic Iranic peoples of the Eurasian steppe. And that, famously, would put them as descendants of the Sogdians and the Scythians.
Herodotus wrote that the Persians called the Scythians Saka, and later Oswald Szemerenyi in his 1980 classic Four Old Iranian Ethnic Names; Scythian-Skudra-Sogdian-Saka showed that Saka was the Persian name for all Scythians. An earlier form, Sakla, suggests historically the conquest of the entire steppe by Northern Iranians – literally Scythians.
What’s certain is that Pashtuns have multiple origins; after all they are a tribal confederation.
Pashtuns have a knack of linking multiple lineages (zai, in Pashto, as in “son of”) with tens of millions of people into a single genealogy, right to their, arguably mythic, common ancestor: Qais, a contemporary of Prophet Muhammad.
These lineages merge into larger clans (khel, in Pashto) and lead to tribal confederations, the most important of which are the Durranis, the Ghilzais and the Karlanri, which the British called Pathans. The Pathans are the indigenous inhabitants of the mountains that straddle what is now an artificial Afghanistan-Pakistan border; they only became Pashtuns much later, adopting their language and culture.
The 11th century capital of the Turkish Ghaznavids lay in what would later become territory held by the Ghilzai tribes. This intermingling is explainable because Afghanistan was always the eastern frontier of the Persian and then Turko-Mongol empires.
The large nomad tribal confederations emerged only in the early 13th century, in oases in the southwest Afghan desert, or congregating peasants in the eastern mountains. It’s an array of heterogeneous groups interlinked by a code and value system establishing their social relations: the Pashtunwali.
Pashtunwali has integrated quite a few elements of Muslim morals, but it’s in contradiction with sharia law in many aspects. French scholar X. de Planhol succinctly described it as “a set of rules that model the customs (adat), character (khoui) in relation to social exigence (raouadj), and thus define ethnic identity (khouyouna).” Pashtunwali regulates individual honor and also regulates a set of sanctions, with death prominently featured.
In the Pashtun world, everything must be decided by a jirga (assembly). They happen at every level – home, village, clan, tribe, whenever necessary. The number of participants varies from a dozen to thousands. I’ve been to a few. It’s a fascinating exercise in direct democracy.
There’s no “conductor.” Results don’t come by vote, but by a consensus that must naturally evolve once there’s no opposition to a decision. Elders are way more influential than youngsters. This is how the Taliban decided their new caretaker government.
As much as the Pashtun code is one of the most meticulous on the planet, Islam has brought to the fore quite a few moral issues, sometimes in contradiction with pashtunwali. To add to the complexity, there are juridical norms imposed by a hereditary nobility, coming from the Turko-Mongols.
Starting in the 11th century, Afghanistan received an influx of Turk nomads, preceding the 13th century Mongol conquests. At the time, virtually all of Bactria was Turkicized – except for the Pashtuns.
Balkh, the legendary capital of Bactria, which stunned Arab invaders described as “Mother of Cities,” the richest satrapy of the Persian empire, was the dominant city in the Afghan northern plains for millennia, located north of the Hindu Kush. Those waves of Turkish-speaking nomads were over-spilling from Turkestan, which included the khanates of Bukhara and Samarkand: they merged with the local Persian population, and Dari – which is Farsi (Persian) with a different accent – remained the predominant language.
Peshawar was a completely different story. Historically, Peshawar was closely connected to Kabul because it was its winter capital for centuries (Kabul was an Hindu kingdom well into the 11th century). Afghans lost Peshawar when it fell to the Sikhs in 1834; later it became part of the Raj when the Sikhs were defeated.
Peshawar is the Pashtun Mecca. Pashtun tribes living in the mountain valleys above Peshawar never in history answered to any government. For them there’s no border and ID papers: only their rifles.
A key Pashtun characteristic is that they have been living essentially at the margin of great empires. They evolved based on their own norms and had the freedom to build their own system of reference. And that explains why they are so independent.
Pashtuns identify two types of land: Yaghestan (“the land of rebels”) and Hokumat (“the land of government”). There may be serious internal social differentiations, but the whole Pashtun social body comes together when it’s a matter of facing external conditions. That explains the fierce fighting spirit against any foreign invader, be it British, Soviet or American.
So we’re talking about extraordinary social cohesion – with a coordinated reaction towards external events. No wonder Pashtuns believe the political structures they develop are superior. History has shown that once neighboring imperial structures started to weaken, Pashtuns ended up forging “their” state.
And don’t forget the Turko-Mongols
Between the 16th and the 17th centuries, Afghanistan was squeezed between three empires: the Uzbeks of lower Central Asia; the Mughals in India; and the Iranian Safavids. The Mughals and the Safavids were fighting for Herat and Kandahar. Pashtuns privileged the Safavids, even though they were Shia. Afghan territory, a natural extension of Iranian mountains and plateaus, facilitated Safavid influence.
This went on until in the early 18th century when Afghan tribes rebelled against declining Safavid power. An independent political entity around the Durrani tribe emerged in 1747, and Ahmad Shah was crowned King of the Afghans in Kandahar, via a loya jirga (grand assembly).
This first Afghan state south of the Hindu Kush was quite homogeneous. The structure was basically Turko-Persian, in fact Turko-Mongolian, much more than based in Pashtun tribal tradition.
Since the late 10th century, every major empire from the borders of northern India to trans-Oxiana, Iran and Anatolia was founded by Turks or Mongols. Some would last centuries – like the Ottoman Turks. Afghanistan was in fact ruled by Turko-Mongols for no less than 750 years, until the Pashtuns formed a state in the mid-18th century.
Yet an Afghan state was definitively established only after the Great Game between the Russian and British empires. That was Afghanistan in the late 19th century configured as a buffer state between Russian Central Asia and the Raj. The Brits needed it to block the road to India and the sea of Oman to the Russians, who were getting ever closer after they set a protectorate in Bukhara in 1873.
Drawing up the Russo-Afghan and Sino-Afghan borders was not a problem. The real issue was the border with the Raj along the 1893 Durand line, dividing the territory of numerous Pashtun tribes just so imperial Britain could control the main access points to the Indian subcontinent, the Khyber pass and the Quetta corridor. The Durand line was only definitively drawn in 1921. It divides Pashtun lands in two – and was never, and will never, be recognized in Afghanistan as a real border.
So if we had the first Afghan state with a strong Pashtun majority, the second was a colonial invention bearing a complex ethnic mosaic. Before the 1979 Soviet incursion and the 1980s jihad, that accounted for 40% to 55% of Pashtuns, 35% to 45% to Persian-speaking ethnic groups, and 10% to 15% to Turkish-speaking ethnic groups. It hasn’t changed much since.
The creator of modern Afghanistan, “Iron Emir” Abd-ur-Rahman, actually “Pashtunized” northern Turkestan, transplanting sedentary Pashtun populations from the south from the Durrani and Ghilzai tribal confederations, and then encouraging nomads to migrate.
And that’s one of the reasons why the ethnic composition of Afghanistan is extremely tricky, especially in the west and in the north. Everyone is in perpetual movement – alliances included (the Taliban profited from it for their lightening fast surge before arriving in Kabul on 15 August).
What is immutable is that across a structurally unstable nation, Pashtuns consider themselves top of the heap – and the “owners” of the Afghan state. And yet their perpetual intra-ethnic strife always wins over communitarian solidarity. There’s always a huge clash between the Durrani – who in fact took over the state since the mid 18th century – and other Pashtun groups, especially the Ghilzai. The Ghilzais are more egalitarian in spirit and do not accept Durrani hegemony: they just consider them more manipulative.
Mullah Omar, for example, is Ghilzai. But former Afghan President Hamid Karzai is from Sadozai Durrani descent, an impeccable lineage, and later he inherited the leadership of the Popalzai sub-clan.
The Durrani elite supported Karzai in late 2001 because they identified him as their own return to power after the socialist PDPA, civil war and Taliban interregnum. Other tribes were deeply disorganized and could not agree on anything. The only other possible option would have been Massoud the Tajik, a true nationalist, and respected even by Pashtuns. But he had been assassinated on 9 September, 2001.
Down with the nation-state
Pashtuns have a natural aversion to the Westphalian notion of the nation-state. After all they see themselves as an empire within the empire. Centralized power usually tries to neutralize them by bribery built like a system of government (that was the modus operandi during the Karzai years).
Afghan political life, in practice, is set in motion by factions; sub-tribes; “Islamic coalitions” (what the Taliban de facto forged to come back to power); and regional groups, usually led by warlords since the 1980s jihad. Add to it religious conflict, with hegemonic Sunnism, the Shi’ism of the Hazaras and the Ismailism of the Pamiri Tajiks always clashing.
In Afghanistan, Islam is as much ideology (the 2004 constitution recognizes an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) as religion. It’s the stepping stone of Afghan identity, Pashtun or not. Every tribal member adheres wholeheartedly to Islam, even when there are glaring differences between sharia and pashtunwali. Afghans as a whole may be defined as the quintessential Natural Born Muslims.
The “historic” 1990s Taliban – who now compose the majority of the interim government – are Pashtun tribals who speak Pashto and so affirm their identity, much more than emphasizing being member of a particular tribe. What is unshakeable for these men issued from rural conservatism is their suspicion of the city – especially Kabul and its modernists – and the Pashtun superiority complex in relation to other ethnic groups.
Even as the NATO-occupied Karzai years were a disaster, the Taliban were also in crisis and internal disarray most of the time. Their ideology could be accused of being more Pakistani than Afghan: after all the Taliban as a movement was born in Pakistani madrassas, and the leadership all these years was based in Balochistan.
Taliban 2.0 may suggest they are venturing beyond tribal identity, and the perennial Durrani-Ghilzai confrontation is being pushed to the background. But the bitter negotiations for the interim government seem to spell otherwise, opposing the Doha “moderates,” some of them Durrani, some Ghilzai, to the “warrior” Haqqanis, who are Karlanri.
In Afghanistan, prior to the latest, horrendous four decades of war, the center of the rural political order revolved around landowning khans. As a rule, they were allies of the state. But then, starting with the 1980s jihad, this old elite was smashed by young, self-made military commanders who rapidly built their own political bases. The new generation, who fought NATO on the ground, now also expects to have a future in the new Kabul arrangement. As far as state building goes, this will be extremely tricky to negotiate.
So the big question now is how the old Pashtun breed, having learned the lessons of their dismal governing experience in 1996-2001, will be able to circumvent the inherent weakness of every Afghan central government. The periphery tribal system is bound to remain very strong, with nearly autonomous territories controlled by warlords that are not tribal chiefs, but in fact competitors for regional power and sources of income that should be feeding the state coffers.
And here is the ultimate challenge for these Pashtun warriors; to forge an Islamic system where the center can hold. The dire alternative, to paraphrase Yeats, will be mere anarchy loosed upon the Afghan world.
Thanks Pepe for trying to untangle for your readers the complexities of the interactions between — traditional tribal confederations — and the institutions of Western Modernity that are being imposed on the Pashtuns (“Pashtuns have a natural aversion to the Westphalian notion of the nation-state”).
You are the first author that I encounter using the terminology “tribal confederations” :
” Pashtuns have multiple origins; after all they are a tribal confederation.
Pashtuns have a knack of linking multiple lineages (zai, in Pashto, as in “son of”) with tens of millions of people into a single genealogy, right to their, arguably mythic, common ancestor: Qais, a contemporary of Prophet Muhammad. These lineages merge into larger clans (khel, in Pashto) and lead to tribal confederations,…”
There is no certainty on how tribal confederations emerged historically. To the best of our present materialistic knowledge approach the first tribal confederations started to appear in the wake of the extremely rapid warming at the tail-end of the Younger-Dryas some 11,700 years ago. If an optimal answer is impossible the most satisfactory one is given by animistic heuristics, or the tribal formation of knowledge, which indicates that tribal cultural unification started immediately after their emergence most probably during the Eemian inter-glacial period sometime between 130 and 120,000 years ago…
What is being observed in archeological studies is that neighboring tribes started to unify culturally; meaning that they started to share the same daily material culture (observed mostly in pottery but these pots were mostly an afterthought). The cultural unification operated at the deeper level of “the worldview shared by the individuals” (religious or other). Those interested by this process of tribal cultural unification that led to Tribal Confederations can check my presentation of that subject in Part 2 of my last book.
What I find most fascinating is how different have been the diverse geographic outcomes from this historical process of tribal animistic cultural unification :
— in East-Asia tribal cultural unification shifted seamlessly into a process that culminated with the emergence of the first Chinese power societies. Those were in reality governed by the traditional tribal men of knowledge who continued to share their animist worldview to the subjects of their evolving power institutions… If the Chinese are a-religious it is because their uninterrupted sharing of animism+ (animism+ because animism received add-ons that actualized it to occurring changes in real life). Animism+ in China is called “Traditional Chinese Culture”.
— in contrast to China in the TriContinentalArea animism was violently destroyed sometimes around 10,000 years ago and gradually replaced by religious worldviews that evolved into Monotheist religions that helped to ensure the institutional reproduction of the first empires some 5,000 years ago.
— and from my understanding of your presentation the Pashtun tribes unified sometime in the early 13th century by sharing a common code of conduct and social value system : the Pashtunwali. Your description of the “jirga” appears a quite accurate description of the traditional tribal decision making at the unanimity of all those who are participating in the assembly (“They happen at every level – home, village, clan, tribe, whenever necessary. The number of participants varies from a dozen to thousands. I’ve been to a few. It’s a fascinating exercise in direct democracy”).
You furthermore write :
“A key Pashtun characteristic is that they have been living essentially at the margin of great empires. They evolved based on their own norms and had the freedom to build their own system of reference. And that explains why they are so independent. … the ultimate challenge for these Pashtun warriors; to forge an Islamic system where the center can hold.”
But but how and when did the Pashtun then adopt Islam ?
Thanks Pepe! The US should have understood this mosaic before they entered Afghanistan. They may then have decided to stay home!
all that – with no industrial base naturally.
ask yourself something: how come, under the NATO occupation, NOT ONE aircraft was shot down using specifically surface to air missiles – all the while ground forces were heavily relying on air assets.
consider, that under the Soviet intervention, SAMs were readily supplied to the muj, some even say they might have changed the outcome of the intervention.
so how come no sams this time around for 20 years straight?
Air power is a myth….boots on ground is a reality…..this is the ultimate error the west consistently makes because of its fear to get soldiers killed, I think they are poor quality warriors as compared to other segments of humanity…..Viet Nam they used more bombs than the second war….yet they lost, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria same story……But my native Afghanistan is a different story ; Pepe doesn’t know the half of it, it is our fundamental mindset to make sure we never accept foreign rule; we all of diffrent tribes come together to drive out invaders but later on are back to our tribal affiliations and manage to live in peace under complex rules between tribes which a foreigner can never understand no matter how they live amongst us. As for weapons the Afghan Taliban had wide open channels in Pakistan where another 30 million Pashtoons live and are affiliated to our tribal structure. In Americas recent defeat Pakistan played a major role; they are very experienced warriors who have been battle hardened along with us for the last 40 years and have become a nuclear power along with manufacturers of sophisticated rocketry, aircraft, nukes, Tanks etc. the west will never dare to take them on upfront.The Pakistanis also played a major role of Serbian defeat in the Balkan wars of 80/90s
.General Javed Nasir, man who helped turn the tide after the Srebrenica genocide of Bosnian Muslims by Serbs.
General Javed Nasir was former head of ISI and had reputation to be a practicing Muslim who would not compromise on the interests of Islam and Pakistan In 1992–93, Nasir defied the UN arms embargo placed on Bosnia and Herzegovina when he successfully airlifted the Pakistan’s sophisticated anti-tank guided missiles (Baktar Shikan/HJ-8 Red Arrow), which helped them turn the tide in favor of Bosnian Muslims.
As Bosnian Muslim forces took the fight to the Serbs, it forced the the Europeans to push for a settlement. Whereas previously they had allowed daily slaughter of Muslims, now they feared Muslims might actually turn the tide.
While airlifting sophisticated anti-tank guided missiles to Bosnian Muslims, he pushed the Government of Pakistan to allow the Bosnian to immigration Pakistan.
Typically instead of awarding him accolades as a war hero. In 2011, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia demanded the custody of the former ISI director for his alleged support of the Inter-Services Intelligence activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Muslim fighters of Bosnia against the Serbian army in the 1990s, the Government of Pakistan has refused to hand Nasir to the UN tribunal.
That is not the only major role he played in helping muslims being killed by giant powers. Under Zia-al- Haq, he played a part in helping Afghan Mujahadeen against the Soviets and later in 1992 Peshawar Accord helped to end civil war in Afghanistan.
“The Pakistanis also played a major role of Serbian defeat in the Balkan wars of 80/90s”
Thanks for reminding us (Serbs, Christians) of your role in former, today’s and future wars against us!
I think therefore I am..
I read therefore I think … (I am…)
The atom… the star….the return.
Set up the premises-(God willing)-
So my comment, – my comment- is ….relative.
O “frame reference” where art thou?”
“art thou only a frame of reference?”
more importantly- without our frame of reference “where art thou?”
I guess until I figure out a better or more comfortable space that would be my comment.
This is a follow up to my previous post (assume it is a follow up )
When one speaks of Empire, (which on a grand scale is the illusion the article is really speaking to) an important question is left out intentionally.
How many doors does one have to pass though before one arrives at a definition of Empire- who controls an Empire? Do you ever get to meet them?
How expansive is their reach?
Is it near or far from you?
Can one actually see an Empire if one can never identify the actor(s).
Did one see infants being abused? How much blood was spilled?
Has a crime been committed?
We do not recognize a crime has been committed?
Then what do we do?
What is the effect of imperialism-if it is always hidden- if no one tells the truth- no one will pay for what was done. There is no “popular” victory here.
What is the point of mentioning 9/11 every year if the the government responsible will never be brought to justice? The pimp of the United State – a valuable hooker.
The true control system-
If the ultimate point of (criminal) imperialism- the very nature of the system -is to dismantle any connection to a Creator- we are the victims- the system -our system is hijacked– it has always been this way– every Empire–there is no remedy to the system- other then to dismantle it.
This is not secular in nature- the suffering will continue into the future- one can not quantify the pain – that will ensue due to this system of the Wicked and Satanic – they will not be punished in this life.
But we live in that system of control
until that systems leaves
we will not get any better.
Afghanistan is not different then all other Empire on planet earth that has ever been (there was never an Islamic Empire okay they are antithetical in nature– try to define properly— )
The same fate that awaits Afghanistan is already present in ours… there is no religious country on planet earth…all religions have been dismantled.
It is so bad, that all we as a civilization have left is whatever is left residing in each person- that is it.
No Empire is going to bring that back– if it is not already present in the person already.
and for that to happen all the present systems need to be scrapped…. one can not will an article of writing into existence to make that happen…it is counter-reality.
I enjoyed and appreciated Pepe’s presentation of the Talib/Pashtun dilemma in the emerging national context of Afghanistan. But I doubt whether the equation Talib/Pashtun is helpful. There are quite a few Pashtun Afghani’s who do not at all identify with the Talib way.
That said I have been thinking about the following:
“So as a tribute to the late, great Norwegian social anthropologist Fredrik Barth (with link), let’s subvert Orientalism by taking an – Orientalist! – magic carpet ride to the twists and turns of the Pashtun world.”
The link provided by Pepe (Eriksen’s tribute to Barth) paints a warm picture of the anthropologist as a humanist but does not clarify his more theoretical notes on ethnic identity (and boundaries), his best known work.
Just to contribute to our understanding of the issue, allow me to share a link to one of the writings by Barth on the Pathans (Pashtun) and let’s see to what extent his analysis concurs with Pepe’s presentation of their ‘tribal confederation’. Frankly, I myself must re-read Barth on this matter.
“Even as the NATO-occupied Karzai years were a disaster, the Taliban were also in crisis and internal disarray most of the time. Their ideology could be accused of being more Pakistani than Afghan: after all the Taliban as a movement was born in Pakistani madrassas, and the leadership all these years was based in Balochistan.”
The Taliban as a movement was born in madrassas in Peshawar, not Balochistan. Even when Pepe asserts that their leadership was based in Balochistan, which formally is indeed a part of Pakistan, that particular region is ethnically is a mixture of Baloch and Pashtun identities, apart from immigrants from Sindh, that is. The Baloch seem to be heavily influenced (supported?) by Indian meddling and the second and third by Pakistan meddling.
“Even as the NATO-occupied Karzai years were a disaster, the Taliban were also in crisis and internal disarray most of the time. Their ideology could be accused of being more Pakistani than Afghan: after all the Taliban as a movement was born in Pakistani madrassas, and the leadership all these years was based in Balochistan.”
The Taliban as a movement was born among Afghan displaced youngsters in Pakistani madrassas in Peshawar. That does not necessarily mean they were driven by Pakistani ideology (to the extent that such ideology exists).
I was in Islamabad in summer 1990 where I became friends with a Pakistani army officer. Having read the reports of the nascent Taliban apparently ‘created’ by the Pakistani army, I asked him why they were doing this. He suggested we walk in the hospital grounds and I could smoke a cigarette, he didn’t smoke. I understood that he didn’t want anyone overhearing. Satisfied we weren’t eavesdropped, he said,
“It’s not us, it’s the UN”. I remember the exact words as the choice was odd to me. I asked what purpose the UN could possibly have. He said the “UN have asked Saudi Arabia to open thousands of madrassas throughout the Frontier which housed millions of Afghan refugees. He did retort with his own question, “how do you think poor ignorant madrasah students can drive tanks?”
I realised that by “UN” he meant “US CIA”.
It was just another round of weaponising wahabbis to destroy Muslim societies.
Dear Laodan, you write: in East-Asia tribal cultural unification shifted seamlessly into a process that culminated with the emergence of the first Chinese power societies. Those were in reality governed by the traditional tribal men of knowledge who continued to share their animist worldview to the subjects of their evolving power institutions… If the Chinese are a-religious it is because their uninterrupted sharing of animism+ (animism+ because animism received add-ons that actualized it to occurring changes in real life). Animism+ in China is called “Traditional Chinese Culture”.
What you call “the traditional tribal men of knowledge who governed the first Chinese power societies” were the “holy men”, the shamans who accumulated knowledge on astronomy, nature (biology, zoology, weather etc.).This culminated into the Xia xiaozheng, the “Small calendar of Xia” (the text is contained in Kongzi’s Ligi). These holy men were later the court astronomers/court astrologers/surveyors at the court of the early kings. They were not themselves kings: those were the former hunters, whose mastery in the use of weapons had brought to power. But the influence and social position of the shamans remained very high, like the thousands of oracle bones prove. These oracle bones prove also that these shamans-astronomers were the ones who developed the Chinese writing. Of course they were also bearers of the animist world view. This world view plus the knowledge of astronomy, zoology, biology, medicine, calendarics etc. culminated into what you call the a-religious animism +, and what I call the Chinese heavens religion because of its astronomical/calendarical priority and because of the aloftness of their “temples”: the five holy mountains, which were astronomical observatories five/four thousand years ago. If you are interested in all this, my book on the subject (“Der Himmel und die Chinesen”) will be published in 2 months by the Ostasien Verlag in Germany.
You write :
“What you call “the traditional tribal men of knowledge who governed the first Chinese power societies” were the “holy men”, the shamans who accumulated knowledge on astronomy, nature (biology, zoology, weather etc.).This culminated into the Xia xiaozheng, the “Small calendar of Xia” (the text is contained in Kongzi’s Ligi). These holy men were later the court astronomers/court astrologers/surveyors at the court of the early kings.”
Yes absolutely. In reality the word shaman is the appellation that was used in the Eastern part of Siberia and in Manchuria to designate ‘the traditional tribal men of knowledge” which is the more generic term used today to describe the tribal function of “knowledge formation” that was practiced universally during the age of tribal societies that followed small bands…
About the following : “These holy men were later the court astronomers/court astrologers/surveyors at the court of the early kings. They were not themselves kings: those were the former hunters, whose mastery in the use of weapons had brought to power “.
The description you give does not fit with the reality of the societal evolution — from tribes that have been unifying culturally into “tribal confederations” for thousands of years — into the new model of power societies. The subject is too vast to be summarized here in a comment. I ‘ll just summarize how “the retreats in the underworld of the men of knowledge from the different tribes that participated in a process of cultural unification” transitioned into what I call the split into specialized functions of the traditional role of tribal “wo(men) of knowledge. I address this matter in Volume 5 (societal Governance and Societal Evolution) in the series I’m working on presently that is titled “From Modernity to After-Modernity”.
The prior animist sages who acted as the symbols of tribal cultural unification had been called to gradually take on more governing tasks (fighting flooding,etc…) and without knowing it their role transformed into some sort of governors who soon would transfer their charge to their biological descendants. My thesis is that the concept of Tianxia is rooted in the process of tribal cultural unification : one symbol of unity : the sage, one territory, one people (the sage being the wo(men) of knowledge recognized as the wisest by her or his peers).
The passage from “tribal cultural unification” to “power societies” was gradual and left the men of knowledge in charge of the governance of the emergent power societies. They then restructured the traditional functions of the animist (wo)men of knowledge into 5 specialized sectors :
1. The “animist-sage governor”.
2. The (wo)men of knowledge acting as advisors (“state council of the confederacy”).
3. Health care.
4. The Wu communicate with ancestors.
By taking on the direction of governing the animist sages ensured the continuity of animism along the path of the emerging Chinese power societies and by actualizing the animistic “philosophic” worldview with their daily culture the Chinese expanded its knowledge base in continuity with “add-ons” that molded animism into a pragmatic philosophy centering on the principle of life that later got encoded in the Yi-Jing and the Tao.
This idea of the animist sages assuming the direction of governance has been alive along the whole imperial era and is still well alive today. In other words governance in China has always remained the fact of the men of knowledge (continuity in China versus rupture in the Tri-Cotinental-Area where the men of power dominated the men of knowledge).
All of this is very interesting, Pepe, but it has nothing to do with why the US invaded Afghanistan in the first place. Always remember, the false-flag attacks of 9/11 were the pretext for all the US wars of this century, all for Israel. General Wesley Clark reported shortly after 9/11 that the plan was to “take out” 7 nations in 5 years. All these nations were Muslim, so the so-called “war on terror” was in reality a war on Islam.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) was the lone ‘no’ vote in Congress against the war in Afghanistan in 2001, voting against an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) shortly after the attacks. At the time, she was reviled for being unpatriotic, even receiving death threats. “When I voted ‘no,’ I said it was a blank check and would set the stage for perpetual war, and that’s what it’s done,” How right she was.
By 2001, the Taliban had all but wiped-out opium cultivation in Afghanistan. By 2005, the CIA had ramped up heroin production to being 90% of the world’s supply. The war in Afghanistan was never about nation building, only nation destroying, and that includes the millions of lives and communities in Europe and the USA destroyed by heroin addiction.
Back to the 90s, Professor Amin Saikal (himself an Afghan, born in Kabul), former Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East & Central Asia) and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University, presently adjunct professor of social sciences at the University of Western Australia and still a frequent commentator on radio and television, succinctly defined the Taliban: ”Taliban is Pakistan”.
Of course call it taliban or call it Pakistan its the some thing but what is the difference is now as compared to the 90’s that its going against the empire.
Thanks Pepe for one more of your cogent summaries of history — always a pleasure to read and to learn from; and, for getting prompts about new avenues to explore.
…A key Pashtun characteristic is that they have been living essentially at the margin of great empires…
…So we’re talking about extraordinary social cohesion…
Can’t help but think about Ibn Khaldun’s concept of ‘Asabiyyah’ or ‘Solidarity’ when I read those passages. Khaldun was of course thinking about historical and social phenomena and looking at cooperative human behaviour and the emergence (also, disappearance) of polities. This asabiyyah is strongly influenced by kinship but is not limited by it. Asabiyyah is extendable to unrelated people, as long as they share a common existence and experience. He posited that a hardy community with a strong sense of solidarity came from the edges of ‘dynasties’ or empires to eventually take over the polity, the people of the empires having grown sedentary, and lazy, and possessed of a weak sense of solidarity; this cycle was then repeated throughout history.
Could Khaldun’s asabiyyah come into play in Afghanistan? Only time will tell.
reminds me of Spengler’s reference to the “Fellah type,” a not-so hardy community:
S p e n g l e r , The Decline of the W e s t , II, pp. 105-107.
Thanks for reminding me about Spengler, pogohere.
I had begun to read ‘Decline’ with his promise of predetermining history and exploring the logic, if any, of history; but somehow soon after, I don’t remember the reason why, I sort of drifted towards Toynbee and ‘Decline’ was put on the backburner. Perhaps I should revisit it in view of the current state of the West.
“He posited that a hardy community with a strong sense of solidarity came from the edges of ‘dynasties’ or empires to eventually take over the polity, the people of the empires having grown sedentary, and lazy, and possessed of a weak sense of solidarity; this cycle was then repeated throughout history.”
This was more or less how the Arab historians viewed the whole of Persian history, ie. as a series of nomadic or barbarian invasions, conquering the cities and taking power over the city-people; then becoming sedentary themselves, and in turn being conquered by other barbarians.
Pepe does not seem to appreciate the term barbarian. But I think it is a fitting term.
Barbari bread, aka barbarian bread, is a kind of bread that you will find in absolutely every city in Iran today. Together with lavash, taftun, and sangak, it is one of four traditional bread styles in Iran. They called it barbari, because it was the kind of bread that the Turco-Mongols made. The reason they called the Turco-Mongols barbar was because they were a bit rough around the edges, a bit gruff and crass, unsophisticated, vulgar, unlearned (even if not unwise).
It can hardly be argued that next to Rumi and Attar and the numerous men of knowledge which a civilized country like Iran was producing at the time of the Mongol invasion, the smartest guy in the Mongol army would have still seemed very uncouth and lacking a depth of character which comes from living a life more complex than herding animals around the steppe.
That uncouthness and lack of refinement, which is the natural state of all beasts, is what the Iranians were talking about when they called the Turco-Mongols barbar. But I am sure that the Iranians fully understood that their own ancestors were also barbar at some point. And eventually the Turco-Mongols in Iran also became civilized and literate and much more refined.
The Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad had a special Guard, composed entirely of Turkic “ghulams” aka slaves. These were made to continue living their nomadic lifestyle in the hills outside of the cities, and were forbidden from contact with the people of the cities, lest they become ‘corrupted’.
They were a fighting force to be reckoned with, and incredibly loyal to the Caliph, incorruptible and unbribable. They were so good at their job, that eventually they occupied all the highest ranks of the military. And then we have the period which is called the “Turkic Ghulams Period”, in which the Turkic military commanders were the de facto rulers of the Caliphate, and they would even install their own puppet Caliphs.
The point is, the Abbasids who had the idea for the Turkic Guard, were clearly aware of Ibn Khaldun’s thesis, but in practice it wasn’t so much about being on the edge of an empire, or solidarity, as it was about simple lifestyle.
Military combat was understood to be all about physical prowess during that age of the world. And as the Parthian cavalry had demonstrated over a thousand years earlier against the Roman legions, strong nomadic warriors on horseback could make minced meat of the most powerful and well-organized and heavily-armored infantry.
The Turkic nomads lived on horseback, hunted on horseback, and fought on horseback. Sedentary people wouldn’t have just been physically weaker than the nomads, which they were by a significant margin, but their horseback skills would have been a joke in comparison as well.
In Iran today, there are still provinces where city people, rural farmers, and nomads, all live together. Generally, the city people are on the plains, the farmers in the fertile valleys, and the nomads in the mountains in the summer and on the plains in the winter.
If today, weapons were swords and spears, and the three populations were to send their average young men to compete in hand to hand combat, the farmers would beat the city guys hands down no doubt about it. And the nomads would beat the farmers and the city people 2 on 1, in my opinion.
Even as recently as the last century, during the above historical episode, the Bakhtiari nomads were the decisive factor in the revolutionaries’ success.
I don’t know how much all of this relates to the Pashtuns. There are city people, farmers and nomads among the Pashtuns, just like among most other Iranian people, because that is the system and the lifestyle that evolved on the Iranian plateau — which Afghanistan is an extension of, as Pepe correctly notes.
But today is no longer the age of nomadic cavalry winning wars. Technology and advanced weapons win wars.
And even thousands of years ago, the city people were outsmarting and outmaneuvering the barbarians. The Great Wall of China is an example. It was built to keep out the nomads and barbarians, who would have thought it was magic, for sure.
The Great Wall of Gorgan was the same solution to the same problem, by the ancient Iranians who were faced with the nomads.
And the truth is, the nomad threat was always there for Iran, as for China, and also for the Romans who had the German barbarians on their borders. During periods when centralizred power or imperial power was strong and well-managed, the barbarians didn’t have a chance in hell. Iran had centuries-long periods where the steppe nomads were held at bay. And for example under the more powerful Roman Emperors, the Germans could not even have dreamed of seeing Italy.
But all it would take was one year, when for whatever reasons, the central power was weak, and that year the hordes which were contained within their own realm through imperial/centralized power alone, would then begin to trespass, where the damage brought about by their presence was, namely the grazing of agricultural lands, and the stealing of women from farming communities.
The nomadic horde is by nature always looking to go further and further and find greener and greener pastures. Add to this a war god mentality, and the fact that they did not see that the damage they were doing to agriculture was ‘bad’ because: “horse eat plant.” Or stealing women to rape and make children with was bad, because “man take woman.” Or letting their horses into libraries, because “horse eat plant”. And this is essentially what the Turco-Mongols were.
If nomadic cultures weren’t held in check, they naturally overran and destroyed civilizations. When the Seljuks entered Iran, the army was away with Masoud Qaznavi, son of Mahmoud who committed atrocities in India, and the farmers all escaped and hid behind the city walls, and everyone watched in horror as the flocks grazed all the farmlands around the cities, and they watched and watched, until they starved. The Seljuks were Turks of course, but Mahmud Qaznavi was also a Turk, and he was from Afghanistan.
Mahmud’s father was Sabuktegin. Mahmud is an Arabic name, but Sabuktegin is Turkic, because Sabuktegin was born with the Turks on the steppe, still living the traditional lifestyle, whereas Mahmud was born in civilization. As such, Mahmud was a first generation civilized barbarian.
But basically, once the door was opened, all the hordes of Central Asia came in one after another, and the Qashqai Turks even made it as far South as Shiraz itself.
Anyway, long story short, the Taliban did not technically win the war against the US. As long as the US was there, the technological disparity was so large, that the Taliban didn’t even stand a chance, and meanwhile, all the US needed to do was control the plains where the cities and the industrial production are located, and the Taliban could take refuge in the mountains in “nomad territory”, but they couldn’t create an industrial base to rival US military power in those mountains, to then force the US out with their advanced weapons.
The Taliban stayed in their hidey holes in their mountains and waited out the US, and the US did not have enough competent troops who could even climb the mountains, let alone fight on them. This is not the same as Turkic cavalry rushing an enemy army and absolutely devastating them.
Anyway, this is what your comment about Ibn Khaldun reminded me of.
Afghanistan especially the mountain areas are very different than most of the world its just to tough to rule
Nothing much to add except perhaps the nomads succeeded because their societies were shaped by geography and climate, themes that Ibn Khaldun explored in the shaping of men’s — a writer of his milieu would of course use the male pronoun — temperaments, and this demanded leaders that rose through meritocracy.
It’s interesting that in his late 60’s Khaldun met Tamerlane during the siege of Damascus. He apparently told the khan that he’d waited 30 to 40 years to meet, in his words, ‘ the Sultan of the world, the King of the earth’ — Tamerlane and his horde apparently being the proof of Khaldun’s asabiyyah theory; burnt cities and pyramids of skulls notwithstanding — and they sat down and discussed history in the conqueror’s tent. Tamerlane was illiterate but was interested in history, keen on listening to recitations of historical chronicles, and, apparently, Khaldun’s exposition of his theory and how it related to his (Tamerlane’s) own power.
I believe the Talibs won because the Afghan government forces and the people themselves didn’t resist ie they won by default. Now the challenge — and it’s a big, big one — for the Talibs is to assume the role of government and deliver what good governments deliver: security and prosperity.
Your knowledge of Middle Eastern history is impressive. Much praise.
I myself am half Turkic, half Persian. And when I was younger, the debate among my fellow half-Turk history students was fierce, over the question of which side were superior, the Turkic or the Persian.
I myself was always more partial to the civilized nature of the Persians, and found it really hard to empathize with some of the idealized romantic views that my friends held in regard to Tamerlane and Genghis. They used to identify with the Turco-Mongols, and as such saw the burnt cities and skull pyramids as glorious, while I saw it as genocidal bloodthirsty savagery, which I felt was completely needless and unprovoked, which as far as I was concerned, spoke to the character of the Turco-Mongols.
But credit should be given where it is due. Teimur, in spite of his lameness, was a great conqueror, and in spite of his illiteracy, was highly intelligent. And later conquerors like Nader Shah Afshar, circa 1700s, claimed inspiration from Teimur and Genghis.
But the fact of Turkic heritage and influence in Iran has become a bit dangerous today with Erdogan and his Neo-Ottomanism, even though the truth is that most Iranian Turks see themselves as their own thing, eg. Azeri, and do not look too kindly on the idea of joining Turkey per se, but now Aliyev who is Erdogan and Israel’s little idiot, is trying to muster upo pan-Azerbaijani sentiments, and…the never ending story continues. So I hope you will not hold my trolling of the Ottomans and Neo-Ottomanism on the other thread against me.
Thanks for the compliment.
I think the Saker’s blog — and I hope Andrei is reading this — is one of the very, very few forums that are able to change minds, both the articles and the comments; so I say no harm done with the Turk-trolling.
Speaking of which, I’m still trying to figure Erdogan out; I could be wildly off the mark in what follows but here goes:
Erdogan is of course acutely aware that his country is the successor to the Ottomans and I believe he’s trying to get Turkey to gain what he sees as its rightful place in the world.
To that end he’s trying to forge an independent foreign policy; putting a bit of distance from US overweening influence (via Nato, they always play the Nato card with Turkey) by cosying up to Russia — buying S400, a strategic system, requires a lot of trust — but at the same time not being too close to Russia.
His refusal to recognise Crimea as belonging to RF I see more as his keeping a wary eye on the possibility of an independent Kurdistan/Israel2.0 emerging on his southern territory than plain enmity towards Russia; and I think RF understands this — how else can we explain his UN speech about Crimea and his friendly welcome by the Kremlin not two weeks after the speech?
His involvement in Libya (one time part of Ottoman realm, of course) is his way of saying, ‘Hey, guys, I’m here, let’s you and me talk, I’m important, relevant, I’ve a role too.’ He changed abruptly from being good friends with Assad and his family to being Assad’s enemy. I’m inclined to think he was prodded initially by US/Nato but the main motivation was an opportunity to return to being a significant regional player; out of Nato’s shadow, Turkey to be treated in its own right, not as an appendage. This was of course before old Ottoman rival Russia stepped into the fray. The calculus has changed somewhat now.
I’m no expert on Azeris but I think his ‘Turkic-brotherhood’ initiative with Azerbaijan has traction there only because of what Turkey could immediately bring to the table militarily. Otherwise it’s ho-hum, business as usual, just like the situation with the Turks in Iran and perhaps even Turkmenistan.
He gave the correct etymology of the word.
Who achieved their aim, USA or taliban?
“you have the watches, we have the time”
The taliban in the years leading to NATO pullout were in control of at least 40% of Afghanistan.
There are many things that win a war apart from obliteration of the enemy.
You have a very good ability to turn topics towards glorification of persian culture
“You have a very good ability to turn topics towards glorification of persian culture”
What on God’s green earth are you talking about?
Pepe’s article contains the term Persia- over a dozen times. My comment hardly even mentions the Persians, as they are fully irrelevant to the topic I was discussing.
But since you have brought it up, practically every polity that sprang up on most of the old Persian empire lands, was a Persianate, and this includes Afghanistan. And pretty much every single invading people eventually assimilated into Persian culture, including the Mongols and all the endless profusion of Turks.
The Arabs changed the language of half the world to Arabic, but in Iran they could not touch the Persian language or the culture, and the same goes for Afghanistan, where the main language is still Persian. Just look at all the Chinese-looking people in Afghanistan who speak Persian.
The Abbasid Caliphate was a Persianate. The Ottoman Empire was a Persianate, where Persian was even the official court language, up until the 19th century. In Afghanistan, Persian was the court language through all the Turkic dynasties, which is why it is called “Dari”, ie. court language. And in Iran, ruled by Turkic dynasties since Mahmoud Qaznavi declared independence from the Samanids a thousand years ago, Persian has been the official language through and through.
All the Turkic imperial dynasties in the whole region took up Persian customs, spoke the Persian language, and basically pretended to be Persians. They must have thought Persian culture was glorious, to use your term.
Perhaps you suffer from Iranophobia?
Look, the Persians, the Pashtuns, and the Kurds are the three most populous branches of the Iranian family today. The Kurds are completely consumed by Iranophobia, to the extent that they deny their own Iranian heritage. I can only hope that all Pashtuns aren’t as inimical to their own heritage as you are. Or perhaps you deny that the Pashtuns are Iranians? (Like the Massagetae??) I don’t speak Pashtun, but I understood practically every single Pashtun term that Pepe used in his article. That is how close Pashtun and Persian are.
And regarding the rest, allow me to politely bow out and concede the debate. You are right. The Taliban defeated the US Army. And if the US Army decided to return tomorrow, the Taliban would definitely be able to repel them.
If the Pashtuns and Pashtunwali predate Islam what were the Pashtuns in terms of religion?
If Pashtunwali existed without Islam then it follows that Islamis not a prerequisite for Pashtunwali.
So, if the Taliban can shed their Wahabist version of Islam it should not be too difficult to form a government that includes other groups such as Tajiks,Hazaras etc.
The fact that they are unable to do so suggests that the Taliban are not very independent actors. I suggest that is the root of the problem.
Gobsmacked by this incisive display of Afghan knowledge!
Q: The Pashtun will outlast all empires, but can they hold Afghanistan’s center?
A: My conclusion is that Sunni fundamentalism in Afghanistan has been exhausted after being used to the utmost in accordance with Zbigniew Brzezinski’s satanic machinations. Let’s cut to the chase through all the intricacies of ethno-tribal-cultural affiliations, and the spectacular military rout suffered by imperialism in Afghanistan stands out as (the beginning of) a replication of what took place across the border in China’s Xinjiang province. The Chinese completely checkmated the Empire there with a substantial modernization program encompassing education, industry, and overall infrastructure (that’s exactly what passes for ”Uighur genocide” in MSM parlance, LOL).
NATO threw in the towel in Afghanistan because it is too weakened by greed, corruption, and lack of vision to take on China, further underlined by the shifting allegiances both of the Taliban and Pakistan. The Pashtun, just like the Uighurs in China and the Chechens in the RF, will have little problem going along in turning their neighborhood into a moderately prosperous society. Chaos and violence are the future of the West.
heartily agree with your comment
Follow up to 2nd post :
“”H”istory is repeating itself”
In terms colonizing powers inserting their influence on history (deceptively) look no further than the Greek Heredotus, whom Western Historians have anointed as the founder of the term “”History.
The Greek term “historie” means inquiry, which Heredotus used to define his works. Despite a special care, installed in the departments of detail and accuracy, that secular educationist reflected a personal belief of war as a moral victory. That secular educationist even fabricated (concocted/made up/ pulled out of the proverbial wabbit’s hat ) conversations of other historical figures. Western Civilization (aka colonizing powers) have used this model for eschewing historical accounts and speeches (aka 9/11/ global feminism-both pre-paid for and pre-planned out – both sinister in nature and growth-more later..) whenever they need to, bring into existence a need, or state of colonizing war.
It is funny how the theme of “brainwashing” keeps rearing its ugly serpent head, one might as well just superimpose or insert the word
“brainwashing” in place of the word
in the phrase hisss boo “hisss tory keeps repeating itself. ” (throw popcorn at screen…credits…close curtains)
Funny how the “brainwashing of choice” is the primary and secondary school systems (forget about college as that in or itself brings the discussion to another level.)
My favorite secondary term school required to spit back (homework and or exams) history term (this book was authored by two professor ladies- but was reviewed by about 50 ish or more- history professors of the highest degree order- so I do not understand how I am always the only person who catches this stuff or even understands the implications- )
is the term “ziggurat” which the textbook described as a “large steep platform.”
but that was funny – somehow I recall this definition failed to mention its purpose/ significance, which was for blood sacrifices, for the implied but not mentioned, dark evil purposes.
..why even mention the term, in a public/ private school textbook, in the first case if the two authors never intend to define it properly…unless… that was the purpose… to throw it into the collective conscious (the innocent – who aren’t PhD’s by the way) students and have them absorb the term, without critically thinking about the authors’s intent, so as to have it floating in the brain of said student- so that many years later in life- they are just like woohoo- a blood sacrifice –well that is okay–because I learned in was okay… many years prior….when I was a little child in secondary school—and the teacher, never said anything, and I trusted her… so in terms of right or wrong- well I have to give it a pass because, well they were PhD’s in their field..and they never said anything- nor did the school board.. oh just screw it…I accept …it is okay…history says it is okay (besides the fact it proves Satan and demons exists– but can’t mention this or else You are crazy and not secular enough or our emh. emph. ..academic standards..and by the way I can always pull out the sexist card (if you are not a woman).. so just eat our spoon fed baby food formula (GMO) and like it. )
Another favorite from back in the day…the Powerful Empires of India had its humble beginnings in Northern India which was described in the text as a “battleground” over control or riches of the Ganges valley. The authors noted a historical figure who held the qualifications of a humble “young adventurer” (a.k.a) Chandragupta Maurya) was the one given credit for being the chief architect of the first Indian Empire. The textbook goes on to credit most of what we know about this “young adventurer” (a.k.a. Chandragupta Maurya) largely from reports by Megasthenes, Greek ambassador to Maurya court.
We know that at the time the Greek civilization was deeply entrenched in the “religion” of Paganism (akin to Washington D.C. rolls)
Paganism consists of a “religion” that is deeply ingrained or rooted in the practices of black magic, worship of devils / jinns and their associated spirits.
One of Civilizations greatest thinkers was, the Greek Socrates, was put on trail and subsequently sentenced to death (akin Julian Assange but his is languishing for ever in limbo legal procedures- along with lady judges who refuse to think- but no one can attack them or they will pull out the sexist card– along with all the sexual abuse allegations that other lady prosecutors office (persecutors of “jesus” analogy in real time) persecutors office- from who knows which country he was just passing through- which somehow the original ladies never even pointed a finger at him– but by that time he had to hold himself up as a self imposed prisoner in an Ecuadorian embassy “suities” somewhere in the most heavily surveillance cameras section of England (escape proof)- where he eventually got kicked out of- due to essentially a coup d’tetat crisis happening in Ecuador, leading to the puppet to oust our friendly (akin Jesus) Julian- where he ended up in Belmarsh– aka Guantanamo bay prison, which he is not getting a plea deal out of- even though he never lie to the public (just told the truth- ugly – but still the truth.) Which in essence means he is in trouble not because he lied but because he told the truth… which put us the collective conscious in a bind… a big bind…because who are ya gona call …the Day of Judgement busters.
My apology for getting into a typing battle with a run on sentence…I could not help it his life is in the balance -so I have to say something.
Our learning system/version of civilization/ is akin to that scene out of To Kill a Mocking Bird (authority may not be questioned – NATO or the highway) when Scout (girl) encountered her first grade teacher (authority/ aka Afghanistan vs NATO via sanctions, sanctions, sanctions- Dorthy act 5).
After reading the alphabet, My First Reader, and the Mobile Register, her teacher Miss Caroline, looked at Scout disdainfully lowered her brow and stated
“Your father does not know how to teach. You can have a seat now. I muttered that I was sorry and retired meditating on my crime (Ch 2, pg 23)”
Scout’s first grade teacher demoralized her for knowing how to read and write at such a young age without having been taught this prior knowledge from the educational school establishment (completely feminized by now- the irony).
Scout is made to feel so bad that she refers to her own actions as criminal instead of being proud of them.
In this exchange one is made to see through eyes of the teacher the narrow mindedness that is fostered in the small town of “education ville(aka Western Civilization).
So as that song goes:—“We don’t need no education! We don’t need no thought control!….Hey! Teacher!
Leave them kids alone!”—So what happens then? What is the reliable and “true” history? Was ever “ziggurat” built only for bloody human sacrifices, child sacrifices? In ancient Sumer or Babylon also?
Is English the primary language of the “Bostonian” anyway? Oftentimes he or she writes like on “magic mushrooms”.
The 3rd post was referring to my 1st post (aka) what I was referring to when I mentioned the term “relative”
Post Script (P.S._ ) our friendly neighborhood Mr Rogers (aka Kermit aka Julian the hermit always stuck up in as a prison situation – who is in desperate need of a prison break – Talaban where are you- Julian is knocking)
was quite literally uplifted in the air out of the “Ecuadorian embassy suits” into essentially a mobile version of a straight jacket on 4 wheels (petty wagon) by police as he screamed in his faint Kermit voice:
“UK must resist” (repeat…
and sent off
Which I (we) only know about because Ruters decided to stake out the ground
so what have we learned the “lessons of their dismal governing experience (Pepe)” about the British public–
they are only interested in waving their little place mat flags during bre-exit proceedings (aka they actually did this)
If I was British I would have had the enlisted the entire population to do continual sit in aka Gandhi style until British authority “yields” to “justice”
But I guess we have all been feminized so that image is just a pipe dream better left off to dreamworks or Hollywood, or more likely wishful thinking..
“It was bound to happen: the remixed Saigon moment at Kabul airport and the stunning comeback of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by Pashtuns, has unleashed across the West a cheap Orientalization avalanche.
The whole of Afghanistan is now “threatened” by the return of the “barbarians.”
Something remarkably strange and interesting:—take a look at the picture headlining this article.
Against a background of ancient Pashtun warriors, all of them men of course, we see in the foreground on one side an image of a young more contemporary Pashtun man with calm dignified expression, a resolved expression. On the other side is an image of a young more contemporary Pashtun woman, and she has what may be reasonably deemed the “crazy demon eyes” expression.
That perhaps says very much. One of the major foundations of the system of “Pashtunwali” Pashtun culture is the utter mutual hatred between the adult men and the adult women based
on mutual so-called virtuous-honorable-moral-decent feelings of rage-disgust-fear-shame at any sexual attraction, thinking, feeling and behavior between men and women. The men take drastic steps to protect women’s “honor” of unapproachability and of freedom from the creepy sordid evil lustful looks and thoughts of men, and the truly virtuous-honorable women seethe with disgust and rage at even imagining any man feeling “sexual lust” about them—and probably dream of some miracle whereby the men would simply be all exterminated once and for all.
This is actually, one suspects, a system very much favored to become globally imposed, by certain global elites. It is a fundamentally virtuous system based on some primordial ultimate warfare and hatred, not between races, not between nations, not between religions, but ultimately between the men and the women of the human species. A very similar system though expressed somewhat differently prevailed in the West in the 19th century up until the 1960s.
Now what is really going on? No other species on the planet behaves like that!—We might think of some “invisible enemy of humankind”—maybe the true Satan, his influence.
If there are these constant and systemic mutual feelings of anger, fear, disgust and shame down to the personal lives of every man and every woman, then clearly there will never be any peace or harmony or love amidst all humankind at large. This is one major blueprint for pervasive perpetual war on all levels everywhere.—The true Satan, defined by Lord Jesus as murderer and liar, will be triumphant.
The God-given detached analytical intellect is the tool by which these base feelings and energies can be defused, but presently “emotionally detached analytical intellect” tends to be actually much opposed and discouraged in prevailing human education everywhere, in Western societies, in Islamic societies, probably the same in Russia, in Africa and in Asia.
Finally, it stands elementary-logical, that the conflicts and troubles so strong, dominant and pervasive between men and women over countless issues, are a major factor contributing to the whole phenomenon of the “LGBTQ+” people, and without all the strife and mutual hatred between men and women such people would scarcely exist at all. They are those who simply give up on the heterosexual area and seek alternatives.—Among the Pashtuns themselves, evidence shows that systemic man-boy sexual relations have risen as the “alternative” escape from the whole ugly morass dominating the relations between adult men and adult women.
I don’t see the “crazy demon eyes” in the photo of the girl, and I also don’t see “constant and systemic mutual feelings of anger, fear, disgust and shame down to the personal lives of every man and every woman” in the picture either.
I see these thoughts emanating from your mind, thoughts which you are projecting on to a picture.
Well, so how would you describe the girl’s eyes as presented,—not that I think this is how every real Pashtun girl or woman looks! One supposes that those eyes might also embody “fear” of some sort, but they sure are not like the eyes of the young man which seem to simply suggest a pleasantly confident and even friendly expression.—Of course, these are all subjective impressions and “projections”, but objectively speaking based
on anticipated consensus from all observers, the expression of the girl is indeed different from the expression of the boy. Any disagreement with that statement?
I don’t disagree.
But, you should see most of my photos then. I just can’t take a good photo. My wife says I “pull a face” every time I see a camera. I get an uncomfortable, almost horrified look on my face, or I can’t stop squinting, or frowning, or just any of a multitude of abnormal reactions, and so far, I haven’t been able to overcome it. My best photos are the ones where I didn’t know I was being photographed.
Do you disagree that the poor girl in the picture could have just been uncomfortable?
Do you disagree that the girl could have been simply told not to squint, so she opened her eyes as wide as she could? I know I have done that plenty of times.
Besides, clearly the girl has a very light eye color, and I am guessing — if I know anything at all about the Middle East — the photographer may have asked her to really open up her eyes as wide as she can, in order to display that she has blue or green eyes.
Also, girls are generally a lot more conscious of their appearance, especially at that age, and you could probably find heaps of photos online of girls that age, who are pulling weird faces in front of the camera, because they are uncomfortable and self-conscious.
Do you disagree?
As for the rest of your hypothesis, I wonder if you have actually lived in a Muslim country, or you are just assessing things from afar?
I happen to live in a very small town in Iran. In my town, everyone is very conservative as far as appearances go, and they wear the “chador” which is the maximum hijab that Iranian women don. But get on Telegram and look for “groups nearby” and you will find a near endless variety of sex workers of all shapes and sizes, with semi-nude and fully nude profile pictures, just within a few kilometer radius.
You have been peddling these views about Islamic countries here for a while now. Iran is supposedly the most strict Islamic country there is (together with Saudi Arabia) and all I can say is, Google “Iran female models” or “Tehran street fashion” and see for yourself if you think these girls fit your criteria of what women are like in Islamic countries.
They are just normal people, living normal lives.
No, it is not crazy demon eyes. It is a very famous photo – the face of the girl. But the art is a mashup, i.e., an artist made it.
The girl Gula was a refugee and was angered. It is not welcome for a girl of traditional Pashtun culture to reveal her face, share space, make eye contact and be photographed by a man who does not belong to her family – is the descriptor.
Here is the color photograph and history. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl
You can also go find history of that photo from National Geographic. This is now. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/pages/article/afghan-girl-home-afghanistan