Occasion for an Afghani Meltdown?

April 14, 2007

So yes, I was talking about meltdowns… A couple of days ago this writer had a meltdown of his own while thinking out loud in response to a post by Joshua Faust on Registan. (That comment concluded with: sorry, I am pissed tonight.)
The occasion for my Afghani meltdown then was a nagging feeling that Afghanistan was, yet again, being ignored by the big media in the US. If not for the aggregated stories that I receive through Barney Rubin’s listserve and the good fight that the blogger community puts up against relegating Afghanistan to the dustbin of oblivion, by relying only upon print medium (not to mention television) one cannot hear much about Afghanistan these days. Most Americans are at a serious risk of forgetting such hard-to-learn but pleasant-to-pronounce lilting place names as Jalalabad and Tora Bora.

Here is one more cause for concern: Time Magazine follows in the footsteps of Newsweek earlier to keep its audience in oblivion about Afghanistan. Read the story on Huffington Post’s Eat the Press. While the Time Magazine’s Asia, Europe, and South Pacific editions carry a cover story about Talibanisation, the American edition carries a cover story about, ahem, The Bible.

Time Afghanistan

Musharraf’s Meltdown: “Yes, Indeed. Very Angry”

April 14, 2007

We live in tense times. It does not take a lot nowadays for tempers to flare high and expletives to fly. From foreign correspondents to military dictators, people in positions that are usually associated with civility and decorum are finding it easy to lose their temper and let forth volleys of emotion and abuse. These are the days of raw nerves.

The other day Afghanistanica quoted from a post by the journalist Jeane MacKenzie who had a “Khareji Meltdown” earlier after being told by a Mullah on a local radio station in Helmand that she, an American woman, is too old for marriage. Her retort, just before a storming out and a slamming of the door, came in this form:

“I hate this country and every single person in it. Including you.”

Musharraf Meltdown

Now we learn that the Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had a meltdown of his own on an American television program, lashing out at president Karzai for his Afghan counterpart’s continued criticism of Pakistan’s lack of cooperation in the war against the T-word (moratorium still in effect.) In a sweeping neglect of all the diplomatic niceties that usually exist between heads of state (though not so much between these two) Musharraf said that he was “yes indeed, very angry” at the Afghan president, that Karzai’s claims that Mullah Omar was in Pakistan were “absolute nonsense,” and accused Karzai of “total lack of understanding” about what was going on.

If similar exchanges in the past are any indication, we are awaiting an ever more colorful retort from president Karzai within the week. Late last year both leaders found themselves on American television programs, and prodded on by their hosts, let forth generously with mutual allegations and criticisms. Once, in a particular show of bravado during a speech in Afghanistan, president Karzai quoted a Farsi poem* inviting his Pakistani counterpart to meet him “on the battleground” so that he may experience true Afghan Ghairat and bravery for himself.

Needless to say such exchanges, besides revealing the sophomorish attitudes of both these political upstarts, do no good to the two countries’ national interests and their fight against a common enemy.

گر ندانی غیرت افغانی ام
چون به میدان آمدی میدانی ام