why not?

went out to this one remote valley today and met with some people. it was not the standard treatment i was used to getting from similar other visits – especially given the positive track record the institution i happen to be working with.

this was different. the worst and therefore the most important experience of its kind. no inaugurations. no flowing welcoming words. reluctant hospitality. very clear, vocal and legitimate expressions of deep-seated grievances stemming from percieved/real neglect, powerlessness, and that most important of all elements in the afghan psyche: unfairness.

and the question that was running through my head all along as i was listening to the sorry narratives of the locals was: what keeps these folks from engaging in the kind of behavior one sees in other parts? given the incentives structure we have propped up and are still feeding, the most rational thing -strictly speaking from a development/governance/resource allocation perspective- would be to blow shit up. so what keeps them from doing it?

all sorts of answers came to my mind: an inherent propensity to pacifism and nonviolence? (not likely, given the history) tired and scared of war? no guns? too busy with life and work? their grievances are not as real as they make them out to be and in reality they are much better off? (once again not likely for very painfully evident reasons); the absence of an insurgency option in these areas? other socio-political-cultural-historical reason?

why not here? and if there are answers, how much of those answers are reproduceable in other areas?

but before that, another kind of why not: why not invest in their lots too? why penalize them for being too ‘non-kinetic’?

am i in a reality warp here and going crazy? or is something seriously wrong with this picture?

disclaimer – it should go without saying, but the nine and a half persons that we are in the editorial board of this blog do not condone or encourage or otherwise sympathize with violence. we are not that action-oriented. all we do is ask difficult and inconvenient questions that churn up your stomachs hopefully. as the voice in the matrix says, it’s the question, stupid. or something like that.

~ by safrang on March 28, 2010.

3 Responses to “why not?”

  1. Mr. Hamesha, this is the NDS. We need to have a little chat.

  2. Hence,

  3. […] has posted a video of the fado Ó Gente da Minha Terra by the talented mariza in reply to the post porque no that i shot from bamyan when i was there a few days ago, which i thought would be a shame to not […]

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