In for a heartbreak

May 12, 2006

Speaking of Temporary Autonomous Zones…

The Times reported that 80 members of a primitive Amazonian tribe named Nukak-Makú left their ancestral way of life to join the modern world.


No, they did not leave a jungle.
They just entered one.

“Welcome to the jungle!
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn to live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
***
Welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your shu n,n,n,n,n,n knees, knees
It’s gonna bring you down!
Ha! “
-Guns n’ Roses, Welcome to the Jungle

The Nakuk-Makú are reportedly unfamiliar with the concepts of money, property, government, and the future. One thinks that they should have weighed the decision to join civilization more critically. Maybe they sould have consulted with a more insightful diagnostician of our modern maladies, S. Freud and his Civilization and its Discontents. Or with Hakim Bey and his Temporary Autonomous Zone, just to get a sense of why there are ample and good reasons to be doing precisely the opposite. As a doctor who has been working with them put it, “The Nukak don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into.”

An editorial in today’s Times said:
“The Nukak have every right to make this decision for themselves. But it’s hard to escape the feeling that their self-sustaining existence — which went almost entirely unnoticed by the rest of the world — was holding something open for us, something that has now been lost.”

What a heartbreak.

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Hamesha Replies

May 12, 2006

Q,
Sorry for not replying your TAZ question earlier. I did not mean to leave your question unanswered; just that I am not sure about my answer. But I see that it has upset you, so I will try to describe how I feel about Hakim Bey.
Ever since reading some of his aphorisms and quotes and then a bio of Hakim Bey somewhere, I was intrigued by his ideas. I was especially intrigued by what I understood to be his insolence in subverting certain aspects of mystical Islam (I hope I have not misunderstood this point.) Many in the fundamentalist and even mainstream Islam regard Sufism a heresy and dervishes are persecuted with impunity and sanction (as recently as last month in Iran.) Hakim Bey’s potent blend of mystical Islam, anarchism, and neopaganism makes for a consistent and total rejection of all that people take serious today and are uptight about and are willing to kill and die for, wether in the West or the Muslim world.
Though I do not have the guts for his brand of poetic terrorism (of course I don’t, my most recent attempt at poetic expression of angst attracted reproach -not to say that it was niether poetic, nor expressive), within the sphere of my own privacy I find the concept of TAZ very liberating. Out in the society? No… horrors no! hell no!
Coming from a background of social censorship, parental intrusiveness, and overall widespread religious hypocrisy (ریاکاری) that plagues Muslim societies wherever I have lived (Afghanistan, Pakistan, even the US -actually more so here) you long for such liberation, and when you find them in Nietzsche, in Hafez, in Hakim Bey, you feel fulfilled. I find that in conceptualizing TAZ (and more generally in conceptualizing ontological anarchy) Hakim Bey borrows from and builds on Sufism, Hafez, Nietzsche, Nasir Khusrow, and on the the poet-Ayyar and Rend (عیاران و رندان) (sorry, no equivalent concept in English) of yesteryear’s Khurasan, and it fills me with an unbearable nostalgia and and an intolerable sorrow. I guess I just see Hakim Bey as the last member of an endangered (or long-extinct) species of men who saw the world as a different domain than what it has become, and he recommends temporary autonomous zones as a remedy and a way to turn your small corner of it (in the real or virtual world) into what you want it to be. While poilitical anarchism of the sort that breeds political parties and quarterly newsletters and metro-handouts and punk t-shirts and satiates sophomoric rage repulses me (god forbid if this is precisely what I myself am guilty of), the Ayyar attitude of Hakim Bey is attractive to me in its maturity and sense of tragedy.
Maybe I have completely misunderstood Hakim Bey. Maybe how I see all of this has to do more with what I want to see rather than with what is out there. In which case, I beg of you to not disturb my illusion, I’d rather live with Hakim Bey the mythical figure of my own imagination then.

Slug,
Thanks mate for the infusion of masculine shame and pride and that Ghayrat غیرت افغانی that only we understand. It keeps me in check. If not for the homophobia and shame that regulates social interaction in Afghanistan (and really everywhere) some of us sentimental types may even come close to expressing ourselves. What horrors!
But I honestly admire your goal of outraging the Afghan sensibility. Your methods (mixing…) may be a bit extreme, but not to worry, as an English blogger you have little chance of reaching your real audiences. I know, I know, it still helps just to think it does. Yes, too many Aflogs are cliche but I recommend visiting some of the Farsi blogs on my blogroll. Hatif’s is always a delight.

Shahrzad,
Thank you. You understood without judgement.
And the fact that you were the only female visitor who did makes me think that Slug may have a point after all!


Scream فریاد

May 12, 2006

Scream فریاد
Originally uploaded by Hamesha’s Afghanistan.

I feel suffocated.
This blog was to serve merely as an outlet, and I feel that it has graudatelly evolved into something less (or more) than merely an outlet.
This is NOT good.
I opened this under an alias, hoping to express whatever I want. Hoping to scream, if that is how I feel like. I tried to note it on the blog so that I do not forget and others do not expect otherwise: “occasional outlet for existential angst.”
But I feel inhibited now.
What am I to do now?
Open another blog, under another alias?
Until gradually there too I lapse into a routine, a set of expectations, a set of inhibitions, and then I will have to open yet another blog under yet another alias.
Why do we feel the need to hide? Why alias? Is it just me? Only I am ashamed of laying bare my inner self at its most rotten?
My friends, globalvoices readers, muddville gazette readers: sorry to disappoint. Sorry to be distasteful. Sorry to insult your kind presence here.
I need to scream…
But what about?
I don’t know. I cannot name it.
Or, what is more likely, after all of this, I am still not able to do it. I feel inhibited, suffocated.
That’s it. I am opening another blog, reserved for nothing but pure existential angst, and I am not going to write its address here.
You may safely expect another Afghanistan/current affairs/etc. etc. -related post here by next week.
Or maybe not.
I am graduating soon, my exams are over, and this blog, which comes to life only spasmodically and only when I have tons of schoolwork to do, will dwindle and die. We will see.