Geek Mythology

December 30, 2009

“In Afghanistan there is a saying: It’s the same donkey, but with a new saddle.”

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:17 pm

Malalai Joya has written a lucid book called “A woman among warlords-The extraordinary story of an Afghan who dared to raise her voice.”.In it she tells of her upbringing during the war in Afghanistan in the 1980´s. She describes how the family had to flee the fighting and live in dangerous conditions in Iranian refugee camps where many Afghans where persecuted. Then the family took refuge in Pakistani refugee camps where many of the Afghan orphans would later be recruited into the Taliban. After the Russians are driven out of Afghanistan with support from America the country is left to be ravaged by opposing factions of brutal warlords. The stories that Malalai reports here are incredibly brutal, with rape and murder becoming a commonplace thing in the Afghan scenery at this time. Some of these warlords who fought for power between 92 and 96 when the power vaccum developed would later become part of the new Afghan government under Hamid Karzai that America and Nato now support.

The Soviet empire had bombed and killed their way all across Afghanistan and now the warlords fighting was continuing to tear the place appart. Finally the Taliban took power in 98 and this brought some inital stability to the country but at a high price. Human rights suffered immensley as well as womens rights. Malalai went back into the country to start teaching the women reading and writing in underground schools. The Taliban misused Islam too and crearted a set of medieval, repressive rules in the name of their religion. She took risks teaching these classes but local Afghans demanded it, not wanting their girls to lack education. Many of the fun things for people had to be done on an underground level. Malalai recounts: “It was a challange to learn to eat icecream under the burqa”. Women would meet and dance together in each others homes, wear makeup or western style clothing under their burqas, or have ”Titanic parties” where people would meet up at secret parties and watch the popular film Titanic together. Ofcourse after the Taliban fell in 2001 the first thing that happend was that people went out and bought DVD players and stereos, with music blasting on every street corner.

After the tragic events on 9/11 Afghanistan was now under an attack from the US army and NATO. The goal was to get rid of the Taliban government and catch Bin ladin and his ALQaida men. Civilians in Afghanistan first felt liberated but then eventually betrayed when the old warlords who had been driven away by the Taliban started to return to power with US and NATO backing. On november 19th 2001 the New York times wrote that ”The galaxy of warlords who tore Afghanistan apart in the early 1990s and who where vanquished by the Taliban because of their corruption and perfidy are back on their thrones , poised to excercise power in the ways they always have.” Now old warlords like Dostum and Fahim came back to power at the dread of many Afghans. Sensing that a critical voice was needed within the new government Malalai went into politics.

She travelled to Kabul to attend the Loya Jirga, a big national meeting between representatives from many different regions before the elections in 2004. Here all the different players who had helped America defeat the Taliban where represented. Many of these warlords had long records of human rights abuses yet here they where wearing ”the mask of democracy” as Malalai Joya called it. This outraged her and she delivered a powerfull speech where she denounced the warlords and their cronies. This launched her into the public eye making her message known around the world almost overnight. The BBC news called her ”The bravest woman in Afghanistan”. But it also enraged the warlords who immediatley denounced her and she was banned from speaking again in jirga. She also started recieving alot of support from Aghans who shared her point of view. But she also became the target of threats and assassination attempts due to her comments.

Later Joya met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai. He listened to her and even shed tears when she told her the brutal stories about the women she had cared for who had been raped. She also met with his wife who wanted to start a womens group with her. This was never followed through and Malalai Joya makes her point clearly that she sees now Karzai as being a puppet for the American with the real power behind the throne being Zalmay Kalilzad who was at the time the US ambassador to Afghanistan. Who according to Joya ”many people in Afghanistan considered the architect of misguided US policy in Afghanistan”. It is Joyas opinion that America was repeating it’s old mistake of supporting Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Due to a movie made about Malalai called ”Enemies of Happiness” her message started to spread around the world. The film won some prizes so she was invited abroad to speak about the war in Afghanistan. This lead to her reputation as a peace activist growing. Eventually she was thrown out of the Afghan parliament and has become even more unpopular because of her outspokeness against the corruption and former warcrimes of some of the parliament warlord members.

All in all this book is a very heavy read. It takes you deep into the troubled world that is Afghanistan today. There are so many tragic stories she relates about the immense suffering of the Afghan civilians aho have been caught up in 30 years of brutal warfare. The picture she paints of her country is very dark and one becomes very pessimistic for Afghanistans future when one reads her assessment of the state of things in her country. But the warlord policy that is now in place is something that is a huge obstacle to the countries future. By allowing the corruption to continue regular Afghans see the former warlords now filling their pockets with foreign aid and drug money. The Americans and NATO forces who have put them in power and support them have become very disliked because of this in many Afghan peoples eyes. Even vice president Joe Biden said ”America has replaced the Taliban with the warlords. Warlords are still on the US payroll but that hasn´t brought a cesation of violence. Not only is the US failing to rein in the warlords, we are actually making them the centerpiece of our strategy.”

Malalai says that her country has always been used as a battlefield for a much bigger chessgame taking place between foreign players, wether it be the Russians, the British, the Americans, the Iranians or Pakistanis (the list goes on). But the massive support that America gave to the radical islamic movements in this part of the world has now brought America back to the region into a much bigger quagmire. I am honestly very discouraged about how things will turn out for them there. By backing Hamid Karzai who cheated his way into winning the recent election and also supporting many misogynistic, drug dealing fundamentalist warlords their chances of gaining local support will be bleak at best. But I like the quote that Malalai has in the book from one of my spiritual mentors Martin Luther King:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

December 28, 2009

The more you ignore it, the cooler you look.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:22 pm

December 23, 2009

Merry christmas!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 4:43 pm

Icon, crayon on wood, 2009

December 22, 2009

British hell.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 6:15 pm

I never did like London that much. It always felt like a big tourist trap with bad food and cold showers. Here is a guy called Ebbot who does an acoustic cover of the old MISFITS tune “London dungeon”. The song is about when the band got thrown in a London prison after a concert they played there. This tune has great lyrics, just listen to the opening lines:

“They called us walking corpses
unholy living dead
they had to lock us up
put us in their british hell”

The mass narcosis of consumerism.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 3:55 pm

“The contemporary shopping mall is a classic instance, striving to ape the complexity and interest of a traditional market, but with one, overarching difference; the space is privatley owned and entirely under private control- the air is cooled and conditioned and gently muzaklaced; the lighting, level changes, transparency and detail are minutley orchestrated to slow your gait within microseconds and lull you into buy-mode; and no one, other than the owner, has any right to be there. Everyone else is on sufferance. Anyone undesirable, or homeless, or obviously poor, can be summarily shuffled out so that the mass narcosis of consumerism never stops.”-

Blubberland, the dangers of happiness by Elisabeth Farrelly

December 21, 2009

Rocket Room 4 year anniversary!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:58 pm

Don´t miss this party!

December 20, 2009

Boppin’ Steve!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 9:29 pm

I just wanted to congratulate Boppin Steve for winning the big Swedish television competion Dansbandskampen. Here he played with his band The Playtones. I’ve seen him perform at a couple of different places but always been amazed by the raw energy that this guy brings to the stage. Here he is from a clip when I saw him at the Rocket Room in 2007 backing up the Domestic Bumblebees playing Leadbellys old song “Ain’t that a shame”. Nirvana did a cover of this tune as well!

December 19, 2009

More hilarious stuff

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 1:25 pm

December 18, 2009

The most awesome shirt.

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 7:27 pm

If there is one thing I want this christmas it’s this tshirt!

I can’t believe Im back in school!

Filed under: Main — Mackanlee @ 12:36 am

Last nite I had a dream that I was back in school and that I had to take a big test. When I got the test I looked at the questions and I knew that I was completley fucked because I hadnt studied nearly enough. One of the questions was about the Easter islands. That dream reminded me of an old movie called Top Secret! with Val Kilmer. In it he plays a rock n roll singer who travels to east Germany to perform. He gets caught by nazis(!) that throw him in jail. In one sequence he dreams that hes back in high school, but is awoken and is relieved when he realizes that he is only being tortured by the Germans. Maybe this is one of the funniest scenes in a movie ever.

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress