In and Around Kabul

These are photos that I have taken in and around Kabul over the past couple of years. Kabul is a bit dangerous. It’s also a fun place. I have never had a bad experience in the city. Chicken Street is a riot even if it is a bit pricey these days. City Centre is a nice place to have a cup of coffee on the roof and survey the city. The Kabul Coffee House is a great place for an Ice Mocha with other ex-pats. Night time at Wazir Akhbar Khan Line 15 is a great place to dance the night away or have a few drinks and check out all of the femme ex-pats, Chinese hookers or Filipina gals. The Marco Polo Restaurant is good for excellent Italian cuisine. Some of the Chinese Restaurants actually serve chinese food. lol

I do know of people who have had terrible experiences there. One friend of mine was beaten badly in a roust of the local underground clubs. The “police” took him outside and beat him until his ribs were bruised black and blue. Then took him to their “police station” and kindly accepted a couple hundred dollars for his release. During this same raid, a group of Filipina girls were taken out and raped repeatedly. This set off a huge international incident. The Chinese “Restaurants” are raided about once every three months. Any place that sells alcohol is subject to being raided by one faction or another. Womens Beauty salons can be raided at any time if they are accused of being houses of prostitution. The accusation of prostitution can stem from an incident as simple as a local Mullah walking by and hearing loud laughter. Police at checkpoints will attempt to bribe you for a 20 spot to pass through their territory. This is easily defeated by stating loudly and aggressively that you are US Army and not backing down. This works as I’ve used it. The local police are scared to death of the US Army. Now that I train them and am on cheek kissing terms with the local Regional Commander, I’m pretty much untouchable. Not that I go off post alone these days. Since being hired by this new company and moving to the West, it’s UAV MILCON or nothing. Can’t go wrong in an armored vehicle.

This place wasn’t always so terrifying and violent. Before the Taliban, before the War of the Warlords. Back when the King was attempting to enact liberal reforms. Kabul was a haven for dope smoking hippies. That was the 60s and 70s. Kabul was also a Euro holiday spot. Places like Mazar-e Sherif, Ghazni and Herat, even Q’andahar, were tourist spots as well. Of course, that all came to a screeching halt when the Soviets came crashing in to install peace and prosperity at the tip of the communist sword. Back in 2006. As I was driving around, I did see a few tourist running around. I saw a couple of backpackers in September of 2007 sneaking around Kabul and I’ve heard of the occasional tourist and backpacker passing through Herat since I’ve been here. It will be years before the tourists come back in any respectable numbers due to the terror element. Such a shame. There is much to be seen and much to experience in Afghanistan.

Random Thoughts on the Destruction of American Liberty

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The DNC and GOP are evil.

Neither are good for the country.

Both are good for their respective Lobbyists and Special Interests.

Both target key demographics and lie to them to get elected.

Unions represent the interests of their respective organizations. Police Unions represent the interests of Police. They lobby for legislation that will benefit the Police. Laws such as COPS and 1033, qualified immunity, confiscation, etc.

The Wars on Poverty, Crime and Drugs were initiated by Democrats. All of these so-called wars benefit the Police, empower the police and destroy the rights of the Citizens.

The War on Terror was initiated by Republican Bush 2. However, Obama has taken that war and run with it. He’s made it his own. The NDAA, NSA spying, police militarization, assassination, rendition, invasions and occupations…all of these things were started by someone other than Obama, the Democrat. Yet, Obama has taken them and injected elephant steroids into these programs and gone about the business of destroying the Constitution.

Any Political Party that centers on the corruption that are American cities is bound to be corrupt.

Police have, historically, been Democratic run organizations. Not Republican.

Military members joining the police forces enmasse is a recent phenomenon. This is happening recently as a result of the terrible economy and programs put in place by respective Clinton, Bush 2 and Obama DOJs.

Our current volunteer military is only 30 years old. Prior to the “All Volunteer” military, our nations military services were made up of careerists who retired after they left service and draftees who were mostly poor. These draftees left the service and went into all career fields and some into none as most were from the poor or lower middle class.

This preposterous idea that the Police forces in the military are made up of mostly ex-military is patently false. I looked it up and it can’t be proven or disproven because no one (not even the DOJ) keeps statistics.

I have been researching American police forces for some time now because of Obama’s continuation of Bush’s War on Liberty. Police come from predominantly working class familes. They enter the police force between the ages of 21 and 24. That does not give the majority of them time to enter the Military, ETS and then join the police as a goodly majority of Police have at least 2 years of college. This is a prerequisite for some, if not most, Police forces.

Police Brutality, of late, is a direct result of the Bush/Obama war on Liberty and the Constitution.

Both the Military and the Police are tools of the State.

Police forces have been given qualified immunity. This means that they are not accountable to the citizenry and not held to the same law as the rest of the citizenry. They are, in fact, above the law. Bush and Obama have brought this about via legislation, “Wars on…,” and court appointments.

This must change or America will no longer be a free nation but, instead, little better than Maoist China.

The Democrats are no better than the Republicans. They are the same. This is an age old tactic. Divide and conquer.

By choosing D or R, you are defeating yourselves and destroying America.

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Video

Somewhere in America (Westernized Muslim Women and Hijab Pride)

These are Muslim women who do not understand Islam and the meaning behind the hijab. The hijab is humility and chasteness. There is nothing humble or chaste about most of the women in this video.

The hijab, chadori and other Islamic accoutrement that these women are wearing are nothing more than an expression of their being from an Islamic culture. It is not an understanding of Islam or a representation of their Islamic beliefs.

These women have a choice, obviously, as to how they wish to live their lives. let them go to Saudi Arabia and prance around as they do in this video. That would be an excellent and hard lesson for them in the realities of Islam.

American Muslims are, apparently, no longer Muslims. They’ve lost their “Islam.” lol Muslims in name only. haha

This video is not a vision of reality for Muslim women in the Muslim world. It is an expression of Women who grew up Muslim in the West and, apparently, in extremely liberal Muslim families. This would not be possible in most of the Islamic world.

Body fitting pants and a hijab are as compatible as liberty and slavery. One may as well be a Nun and wear a bikini.

This video says nothing except that Muslim women in America do not to understand Islam or the realities of Muslim women in Muslim countries. The Hijab, the Chadori and other Muslim clothing articles of this type are meant to convey a sense of humility before Allah. They are meant to be a sign that the woman or girl is chaste. These women almost universally wear curve revealing clothing. This completely negates the head coverings that they’re wearing.

I challenge any of them to move to Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Pakistan. Live for a year or two in Egypt or Turkey or many other traditionally Muslim countries outside of the larger Metropolitan areas such as Cairo. Try dressing their as they dress in America. Experiment with going out in public without their hair covered. After that, then come back and tell us how free you felt to dress as you please.

Muslim women outside of the Muslim world have fooled themselves into believing that they have choices. They have fooled themselves into believing that if they wear the hijab that they are good Muslims.

Reality would beat these girls and throw acid in their face almost anywhere outside of the West.

Enjoy those freedoms but understand that you have those freedoms because you DO NOT live in a Muslim society.

Muslim Woman Raise Your Voices! Be Heard! Fight!

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The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa—whether the garment covers “only” the face or the entire female body—are often described as seeking to impose a “ban.” To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face. The proposed law is in the best traditions of the French republic, which declares all citizens equal before the law and—no less important—equal in the face of one another.

It is way past time for the world to band together to take on this unjust tradition.

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Could anything be more obvious and yet so ignored a danger to women of this world as this despotic, idiotic religious/ethnic tradition?

Burqa, Burqa, Mohammad, Hijab!

The dumbest bit of fabric ever devised by an evil group of patriarchal assholes!

For these woman, like the women in Afghanistan and other countries where the rights of girls and women are being stripped away under the pretext of religious piety, feminism is a life and death matter. A spectacular example is the life and near-death of Malalai Joya.

She had committed no crime, had set up an orphanage and a health centre, been elected to parliament, but for her affront to the dignity of the new male-dominated institutions, for calling it a sanctuary for “warlords and theocrats” and comparing it to a zoo, she was thrown out of office by a majority vote of parliament, threatened with death, abandoned by the government, forced to move from safe house to safe house. She has survived two assassination attempts.

She is also banned from flying. To get to Australia she had to leave home under the all-enveloping burqa – a garment she describes as “disgusting” – travel by van to the Pakistan border, then by another van to a city in Pakistan, then fly to Bangkok, then to Sydney. The journey took almost three days. As the most outspoken woman in Afghanistan, she lives with the constant risk of murder.

On April 12 a leading Afghan feminist and member of the regional parliament in Kandahar, Sitara Achakzai, was abducted and then murdered by Taliban gunmen.

Any man who is for this bit of oppressive fabric is an uneducated lout and, most probably, a bigot.  Any woman who has a positive view of the burqa or hijab is a self hating, propaganda  laden soul who has no idea of her own potential as a human being.  God did not intend for half of humanity to be covered and marginalized or he’d have not blessed women with the intelligence that is so obviously present in their gender.

The UN and every other so called humanitarian organization should be ashamed of themselves for not doing all that they can to stamp out this stain  on human dignity.

Some Muslim women argue that they wear the hijab out of a desire to appear humble before God.  It is their personal beliefs that motivate them to wear the hijab (veil).  This is all good and well for those Muslim women who have a choice.   The problem is with the millions of poor, uneducated women who do not have the same choices and opportunities as these women.

On the other hand, we have the women in places like Afghanistan and the Sinai who are forced to wear the hijab and the burqa.  These women do not have a choice.  These women are subjugated by the medieval minds of men who have no respect for women and see them as only a vessel for their seed in the production of offspring.

It is all good and well that educated women from privileged backgrounds in the Middle East, other predominantly Islamic countries and the West have the choice as to whether to wear the hijab or not.  The unfortunate outcome of their donning the hijab, though, is that said decision is used by oppressive forces and backward, patriarchal madmen to enslave the minds and to physically oppress of millions of women in Central Asia, the Middle East and India.  These men use Islam, the hijab and the burqa as a means to keep their boot heals squarely across the neck of women in all of the lands of Islam.  To women who are forced to wear these garments, the hijab and the burqa are not a symbol of humility in the face of God, but, a symbol of systematic rape, oppression and violence.

Islam is like any other religion.  There exists both beauty and ugliness within the pages of all religious books.  Evil men and women pick and choose the verses and suras which back their decrepit and despotic philosophies in order to further their personal wealth and twisted designs.  Good men and women use those words and phrases from these books which advance the cause of humanity towards a better tomorrow.

Until all Muslim women have the freedom of choice to wear the hijab, I believe it is the duty of all peoples to take a stance against the use of the veil for ill intent.  This obligation is especially incumbent upon Muslim women whose Sisters in Islam are the primary victims of this particular form of oppression.  This is a choice that Muslim women have to make.  I agree that the hijab when it is worn in free choice is an idea of beauty.  Humility before God (for those who believe in these religions) is an appeal to the grace of humanity.  It is, indeed, a beautiful act.  The problem is that millions of men across the Muslim world use the hijab and the burqa not as an appeal to God but as a tool of personal power and in acts of narcissism and nihilism.  These acts are in direct contravention to the Qu’ran, the Bible and the will of God.  To deny or ignore these acts and the suffering of these women is to deny reality.  Muslim women must stand together on this issue.  The oppression of one is the oppression of all.

Lipstick Jihad — an excerpt

Our tears are sweet, our laughter venomous,
We’re pleased when sad, and sad when pleased,
We have broken every stalk, like a wind in the garden
We have picked clean the vine’s caldelabra
And if we found a tree, still standing, defiantly,
We cut it’s branches, we pulled it up by the roots.

—-Simin Behbehani

Lipstick Jihad is an excellent book about a womans journey back into her Iranian homeland.  Azedeh Moaveni was born in the States and raised amongst the Iranian diaspora caused by the Revolution in 1979.  Later, she returns to her home in Teheran to cover the Reformist movement at the turn of the century.  She writes about the challenges of living in Iran as an Iranian-American and the inner conflicts of dealing with the [sur]reality of Islamic Iran as juxtaposed against her familial and diaspora created memories of her homeland.  It’s a moving story told from a unique inside outsider perspective.

I’ve enjoyed reading the book.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2005/03/lipstick-jihad-interview-azadeh-moaveni http://www.amazon.com/Lipstick-Jihad-Growing-Iranian-American/dp/1586481932 http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2008/10/lipstick-jihad/

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Last year some time, France banned the Burqa.  I agreed with this ruling wholeheartedly.  Some argued that France should not meddle in cultures and customs of the various immigrant peoples who inhabit their country.  Still others argued that the burqa and by extension the hijab or veil is part of the right to “freedom”  of speech a part of the expression of the culture of Islamic peoples.  I simply can not agree with this.

To me the hijab/veil and the burqa is a symbol of oppression.  It’s a relic of the patriarchal systems of our forefathers and a means of control.  It’s the tool used to enslave women.  We used similar tools of oppression here in the dark ages of the west.

These things and like items used to oppress people should be relegated to the dark past.  Discarded and forgotten for all time.

How would I feel if I were forced to wear similar tools of oppression.  What’s the difference between the hijab and the star of David which the Nazis forced on the Juden of 1930s era Germany?  What is the difference between this attitude and the attitudes of White Americans towards Blacks in the early 1900s in the Jim Crow Era of the South?

I see no difference.  Women in Iran are thrown in prison and tortured and raped for the simple offense of being seen in public with a non-relative male or showing too much ankle or for having the audacity to think and speak out.  They’re beaten on the streets for showing an inch too much of hair.  Young Men are brutalized by the basiji thugs for accompanying non-relative females from a Cafe to the curb to hail a taxi.

Do we excuse these behaviors in the name of cultural diversity?  Do we welcome this into our countries?  Do we allow this barbaric behavior into our neighborhoods?

I think we should not.

Someone will make the comment eventually; “So what do you want to do?  Invade Iran?”  That is not what this is about.

We can’t do anything about the barbarism of Islamic Sharia in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

However, we do have the choice of not tolerating it’s introduction into our own home countries.

I think that is where the world should make it’s stand.

I’m of the opinion that banning the burqa was not going far enough. The hijab should be banned as well.  Similar resolutions should be introduced in the UN to end this oppressive reign of terror on women.

Hedging on Guantanamo

Europe’s Hedging on Inmates Clouds Guantanamo Plans
(New York Times, March 16, 2009, Pg. 1)
 
European countries that have offered to help the Obama administration close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay have begun raising questions about the security risks and requirements if they accept prisoners described by the Bush administration as “the worst of the worst,” according to diplomats and other officials. The concerns, and a deep suspicion of whether the American intelligence community will share full information on the prisoners, are likely to complicate the resettlement effort, which is critical to President Barack Obama’s fulfilling his pledge to close Guantanamo within a year of his taking office.

EU Could Aid U.S. by Taking 60 Detainees 

(Financial Times, March 16, 2009)

Up to 60 Guantanamo Bay detainees could be taken in by European Union countries, according to the bloc’s senior justice official. Jacques Barrot, the vice-president of the EU, said Europe’s response to any U.S. request that it take former detainees would be a “test issue” ahead of a trip he is making to Washington this week. “We are open to co-operation to help close Guantanamo as long, of course, as the methods used there are not replicated in other places,” he said, adding that Washington would need to give the EU complete information on the background of the detainees sent to Europe.

U.S. Challenged on Sealing of Detainee Files
(Washington Post, March 16, 2009, Pg. 15)
 
The Justice Department has filed “unclassified” records in federal court outlining the government’s cases against more than 100 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, but the records are not being made public. The move has triggered a legal skirmish with detainees’ attorneys, who say the excessive secrecy greatly complicates their work, especially in light of looming hearings. Three news organizations have also joined the fight, saying the government is keeping valuable information from the public. The government says it wants to keep the records from public view for now as a national security precaution after it discovered classified information in the documents.

Afghan Women “mark” International Women’s Day

Afghan Women Celebrate Int'l Women's Day

I swear to God.  I did not make this up.  That was the real title to this picture in an International Newspaper.

What a celebration?  Oh, the irony.  Utter lunacy…

They’re marking it alright.  Marking it right off the calender.  It means nothing to these women.  And even less to the men who force them to wear these disgusting bits of cloth.

My opinion.  These things should be outlawed INTERNATIONALLY.  The hijab.  The Burqa.  The Chadori.  The Veil.  They should all be outlawed.  

Period.

Islam and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Since I’ve been in country, that scene more than any other is universal. A guy with his lady hitting the road on a bike. She might be his sister. His wife. On the rare occasion, she may even be a girlfriend. It’s quite an odd scene. A burqa just doesn’t seem to fit in with the easygoing reputation of motorcyclists. Guys [and gals] on motorcycles are supposed to be rebels. Mavericks. That doesn’t seem to fit with the uptight, dogmatism of which the burqa is symbolic. The Burqa is for the woman anonymity and for the man it is honor. No man should look upon the face of his wife without his permission or it is a stain upon his honor. If the wife looks upon the face of another, that small act dishonors both the man and the wife. Strange thought process, that is. Thankfully, it’s one that is losing favor with the younger generation. Of course, this transformation occurs mostly in the cities. The countryside is still conservative.

Qandahar. Herat. Kabul. Bagram. This blue burqa is ubiquitous throughout the Big A. The first time I saw a burqa on a motorcycle I was a bit taken aback. LIke I said above, it just does not fit. They should all read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s a good book and they could use some Zen in Afghanistan to go with their motorcycles.

Under the thumb of Islam — Women in Afghanistan

Afghanistan. Infamous for the Burqa or Chidori. It’s the land that the Taliban made famous by oppressing women. The famous scene of the woman being shot with an AK-47 by a cold and heartless talib. The women here are a mystery to me. I’ve met a couple. One who spoke almost no English. One who had lived in exile with her family in London and returned briefly to live with her Aunt and Uncle.

Walking around Kabul, you see Afghani women covered from head to toe in the burqa or chidari. You’ll see women covering themselves with the hijab. Occasionally, you see Afghan women who go uncovered in public. It’s rare. Usually she will be from a family who had spent time outside of Afghanistan during the past 30 years of war. Families who have adopted a Western and liberal attitude.

What I find ludicrous about the whole hijab, burqa, chidori tradition is that it is in no way a choice of the woman. If you ask an Afghani male, he will usually tell you that she is wearing it because of her family or her husband. “If you have a beautiful wife and you don’t want other men looking at her, you tell her to cover herself.” “Her family is traditional so they tell her to cover herself.” Men in Afghanistan think that it is a stain upon their honor if other men look at their wives. Somehow that blame is transferred to the women. It is their fault that men find them attractive. Therefore, the women must cover themselves.

The Arab Islamic attitude with which I have become acquainted is even more weak of mind and spirit. If a woman is raped, it is her fault because she put herself in that situation. She put herself in that situation because she allowed herself to be alone with a man not of her family. It’s her fault because she went uncovered. It’s her fault because she wore tight, form fitting clothing as opposed to the loose clothing prescribed by Allah and Muhammad. The man shares no blame even though he committed the heinous act. It’s not the man’s fault that he raped her. He couldn’t help himself because he was overcome with lust. His weakness is forgiven. Tolerated. Excused. In my opinion, that weakness of spirit is encouraged in the Arab Islamic tradition. We are to believe that Muslim men have no more control over their lust than toddlers have over their bowel movements? This attitude towards women spreads with Islam. In Islam, women are objects to be controlled, owned, traded, bartered for and sold away. Mere property at the whim and mercy of men. Yet, we are told that women have rights in Islam.

In accordance with Islamic sharee’ah, women who are raped must have four male witnesses. If these four witnesses are not forthcoming and the woman admits that she is raped, she is guilty of adultery. Punishable by death. If she is not put to death then she is exiled from family and community.

This is Islamic Justice!

An interesting story illustrates the attitudes of Islamic men towards women. I was driving around Kabul with an Afghani. As usual, I was taking pictures. Each time I took a picture of a woman, he would get upset and grunt or in some way express his disapproval to me indirectly. Finally, I asked him what the problem was. He told me that I should not be taking pictures of women. His real problem was that I was taking pictures of Afghani women. Islamic women. Yet this same man carries around a phone with a gigabyte of hardcore porn which he will show you in the manner of a bragging adolescent. I mean hardcore as in animals and women. I told him that he was a hypocrite. I offered a deal. I would stop taking pictures of Afghan women if he would erase all of his porn. Of course, he balked. I told him to shut up and drive. lol

Another ludicrous example of the traditions here and elsewhere in the world of Islam. I met a young woman who had lived most of her life in Switzerland. She had gone to all western schools from grade school through University. Her family moved back to Afghanistan a couple of years ago. They spent most of their family money in the process of returning. This girl is quite beautiful. So her father used her beauty to form a business partnership. She is to be married to a man in his 60s. She will be his second wife. Expected to give him the son that his first wife had yet to produce. She has a degree in mathematics that will be for naught as her husband to be is a traditionalist. She will be required to wear a chidari and will not be allowed to leave the house much less hold a job. Once she stepped back inside the world of Islam, she became property. She has no choice in this matter. No say.

This is the world of Islam. The justice that Islam affords women.

These are Islams victims. Future and present.

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NGO volunteers from London pose with their students in Kabul.

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As mysterious as she is beautiful.

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Hijab, Chidari, Burqa … the arrogance and folly of Islamic men. Why would you cause to be hidden such beauty.

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