Monday, May 29, 2006

Quiet As It Shouldn’t Be

Today it didn’t sound like a 3rd world city. I could hear the birds singing and leaves rustling with the wind. This at 2pm here, when all one normally hears are bleating car horns, street chatter and the busy sounds of poverty’s overcrowding.

It was oddly serene. Odd because the serenity was continually broken by the sounds of passing rioters chanting, and exchanges of gun fire and whatever else was on hand and would explode. There would be the stillness of a shallow breeze. All the sudden broken by a few gun-shot claps and the swelling noice of a crowd passing. An exchange of gunfire echoing off the hills and buildings. And then quiet. Quiet like you never hear in the center of Kabul.

It’s been even quieter for the past few hours or so; a few sporadic gun shots at most, not full on exchanges. The cars are returning to the streets, a few at least, and not the military/police vehicles or ambulances-rather a few honking taxis and speeding motorcycles. I can hear my neighbors’ children’s voices again, venturing a few steps into their courtyards now.

I’ve heard a few reports that a couple expat guest-houses were ransacked and looted. The fire I saw this afternoon from our rooftop, which may have been one of those houses, is no longer raging though.

I imagine it will be quite a few days more of protests here and there—hopefully without gunfire. And Juma and the funeral processions will be the real test of whether the powder keg is still volatile.

I imagine it will be even longer before the anti-American/West/Karzai sentiments that exploded today will calm down. That is only if things don’t get worse here in Kabul and in the south.

In the least, I hope the evening will be serene, and not oddly so.

9 comments:

homeinkabul said...

hey, glad to hear that you're okay...

Q. A. Shah said...

thanks.

ms. daisy said...

Please be careful.

Q. A. Shah said...

I'm not one to take unnecessary risks, and besides, our security folks would shoot me if i tried.

Anonymous said...

qas - i tried to send you a note and got back a big red "x" back - it freaked me out until i learned that it was a function of the crashed server on my blackberry. dumbasses. anyway, i'm glad your okay but can you come home now? thanks. stay safe, pumpkin. josh

Elizabeth said...

QA- "our security folks would shoot me..."

Speaking of a rock and a hard place.

Thanks for the link to Rashid's article.

I'm still waiting for Olivier Roy to get his hands on this...

Q. A. Shah said...

Josh,
Thank You. 3-4 more months, at least, though.

E,
Yeah, but not a bad place to be in, since now w/ all the reports trickling in on how many places were attacked and looted, our security folks did a really good job. I am only left to thank them.

Rashid's article is the best I've seen so far, and there was another that he published two days ago specifically on the riots. Tell me if you can't track it down. Most of the other news and coverage seems to be pretty generic. Tell me if you come across any other good articles.

Vasco Pyjama said...

Rahilla's house was looted. She's posted photos too. My house is just covered with ash from CARE.

Glad I'm in Thailand, but thinking of youse nonetheless.

Whisky said...

Rashid's article fantastic. Thanks for the link.