Tuesday, May 09, 2006

There Is No Chicken, There Is No Egg

Since figuring out which is which, or even if there is a chicken/egg situation here is impossible and fruitless. Further the situation is obviously cyclical and intertwined and well known, today, what AP put up is largely a non-story. So it's about the violence and joblessness, and has an odd title, at best.

Jobs, a lack of, lead young muslim men to terrorism. Terrorism makes it impossible for a stable and growing economy to take root. Thank you for stating it again. Except this time the AP writer didn't belabor, let alone mention the point. It drifted there, nonetheless, and was more than implied in the quotes.

I would have loved to see the journalist mention the kick-up in the poppy eradication programs of this season, and of late. Some research on how that is effecting the job market would be interesting too. Any of the Afghan folks or -philes see anything about that of late? I cant find anything.

E has a post about an interesting, odd and altogether sad incident in the Afghan Parliment. As terrible as it is, I did chuckle when I read the article off the listserv. But I was nodding my head side-to-side to, not tilting my head backwards. Oh yeah, I seem to be forming a habit of late...the incident involved a very courageous Afghan Woman MP getting attacked for her comments during session.

And relating to the above violence thing and "the big O" (as I'm now going to refer tothe spring offensive...ok maybe not, we'll see) I got this tid-bit today:
Rocket/Mortar fire: 08 May, Kabul Province, Kabul City, Presidential Palace Area – (0730), a typical fruit and vegetable cart, loaded with eight 57mm helicopter rockets on a remote controlled launcher, was discovered near the Presidential Palace....a disconnected control wire caused the remote control to malfunction...instructed to be on the lookout for carts, bicycles and motorbikes left unattended.

Eight 57mm rockets, on a fruit cart?? Look below, they aren't the smallest thing (that picture is/was actually a weapons store in Maymana). Eight...I definately woulda seen that smoke plume from my roof.


Greg said...

Terrorism makes it impossible for a stable and growing economy to take root.

Israel, you know, seems like it’s doing OK. Maybe what we need is for the Afghan government to cede all its power to Israel—you know, become an Israeli province or something.

That’s solve things.

Also, I’m not persuaded by your critique of the AP story. You say that the story has “an odd title.” The hedder is: “Attacks, Unemployment Plague Afghanistan.” Well, what do you think the hedder should be? “Attacks, Unemployment Render Afghanistan Minty Fresh”?

Plus, I’m not sure that the link between fewer economic opportunities and terrorism is as appreciated as you think (“the situation is obviously cyclical and intertwined and well known”). A lot of people, particularly in America, seem to think that terrorism can be explained not primarily by economic forces, but by the independent transmission of perverted, evil values. That’s certainly the way Our Great Leader talks about terrorism. While thoughtful people can and do disagree with that analysis, maybe on this point you ought to give the AP a pass.

Finally, it is just the AP. It’s filler. I mean, christ.

Anonymous said...

“Greater Israel”: already knocking on Afghanistan’s doorstep. It could be just a matter of time.

Q. A. Shah said...

Somehow I didn't get the email notification of your comment. Anyway, look below at what type of conversation you've spurned...thanks. Looks like it'll just dissolve into Elders of Zion and Mason conspiracy theories from here. Thanks...see what evil sarcasm does? I'll assume the Anonymous post had the same intent/tone as you though.

But the point about Israel is a good one. I don't know how to counter it immediately, but to point out the lack of parallels between the situations. Israel is very much a military state, or rather operates a military state in or around the occupied territories, and further they brutalize and highly restrict the palestinians just about where ever they are, Gaza now exempt. They don't quite yet do that here, as there aren't really any occupied territories. Futher, I wonder how the economies of the West Bank differ from that of '67 border Israel. I would believe that most of the economic growth is concentrated on the coast. The areas that they are "developing", such as settler occupied areas or parts of Jerusalem I would suspect as not quite growing at the same rate.

So as for the title and my nit-picking, I guess I was looking for a more creative title, but as you point out, it is the AP, and all that entails.

And as for the link between the economic opportunities and terrorism, well I was speaking from my biases and context. Remember, that link or situation, security/stability and economic development and rooting out or diminishing terrorism, is much more discussed here and generally accepted. So perhaps it's my removal from the rhetoric and discourse of the US that causes me to see that as an obvious link. So I still don't want to give the AP a pass on that. I want them to reinforce my biases. My biases are Minty Fresh, after all.

And yeah yeah..the AP...conceded.


cdngirl786 said...

Ok so my friend Hilal has me reading your blog... another way of procrastinating at work.

Anyways, I work for an INGO and I am based in Baghlan where we have a few alternative livelihoods and opium reduction programmes going on. Since these programmes are relatively new with a lifespan of 3-5 years, presently, we cannot measure the effect of our activities on the job market or on the reduction of opium cultivation.

Now, whether or not these people in rural villages would take up arms in protest of the lack of economic opportunities is up for debate; however, the majority of these people that we work with don't even have clean drinking water. Their priorities are health, water and food; resorting to violence is not how they deal with the abject poverty they are facing.

This is probably different for returnees, especially considering they thought they were coming back to a life filled with security and economic prosperity; however, the people we work with for these AL programmes are more appreciative of the work being done to help them rather than frustrated by the lack of immediate impact.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for linking to my post.

Regarding Israel, a few points:

1) Israel did not suffer from 25 years of civil war leading up to instability.
2) The violence in Israel, especially small-scale everyday violence and kidnappings, is nowhere near what it is in Afghanistan.
3) Israel is a country of immigrants- even if they are all Jewish- whereas Afghanistan is a country of emigrants.
4) Israel has benefited from a much more rational package of US endowments than Afghanistan over the past three decades.

Afghanistan should take responsibility for its own problems, but Israel needs to realize that all of its successes are not necessarily due to its own meritous behaviour.

Wasn't it Solomon who wrote, "...the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11

Greg said...

Exactly, which is why it makes some sense for Afghanistan to follow “the Israeli model”: transform itself into a Jewish state, propped up by massive American endowments, military and otherwise. (Where do you think Sharon has been—you don’t really think he had a stroke, do you?)

Now, the first step is to publicly woo millions of Jewish immigrants, particularly from the former Soviet bloc. I’m not sure what the second step is, but the third step is most definitely profit. I mean, shit, even Hebrew-speaking Russians and ill-behaved underwear gnomes agree on that.

. . .

OK, point taken, there might be meaningful differences between the prospects for economic development in Israel and Afghanistan. Still, you don’t endorse Q-dog’s efforts to strafe the AP with his verbal, oh-so-sarcastic machine-gun fire, do you? (“a non-story. . . . Terrorism makes it impossible for a stable and growing economy to take root. Thank you for stating it again.”)

Q. A. Shah said...

You seem to be working under good conditions. And I believe that the majority of the population, where programs are implemented in proper and full scales, are likely appreciative. Though I don't have any background or much knowledge, from what I have learned, AL programs that focus on crop replacement and drug crop reduction seem to fail miserably in coca leaf countries. And, though I'm sure it's similar in SA, here you have the warlords that pretty much force the farmers to grow opium. But yeah, infrastructure I believe (to pat myself vainly on the back) I see as more necessary. You need roads and mills to handle those alternate crops.

Do you think the lack of violence has to do with the ethnic/relious/etc makup of the area you work in?

Thank you for making articulate and concise points that I couldn't. But don't forget the Arab-Israelis, who I'm guessing are largely a non-immigrant population, and who I'm, perhaps maliciously, assuming don't share in many of the economic benifits that Israel bestows on it's recent immigrants/citizens. They certainly don't get many of the gov't handouts, though I'm completely ignorant as to whether there are other gov't programs in place for them.

How come E's articulate and insightful points garner a response but my points don't?...oh wait, nevermind. Given that there are many tales/legends of the Pashtuns being a 'lost tribe' of Israel, maybe we can work out something based of that?

And, just so you know, it's pointed and insightful verbal sarcasm. And didn't I basically acknowledge my (...as some may characterize it...) "hasty and callous" comments on the AP?

Elizabeth said...

G: I don't hold any beliefs about the health of Arial Sharon but frankly, I'm much less likely to believe grandiose conspiracy theories than what I see on everything from Al Jazeera to blogs of activists in Palestine to CNN. I mean... if you don't believe any of that, then you may as well go ahead and make up an entire world-situation to fit a very small number of facts as you see them.

He was pretty old, fat, and not in particularly good health.

And I do think that the AP's story is amusing. This is where The Onion get's its ideas for stories. How come "Man Upset at Division-Sheet Running through Middle of House" is considered funny, while "Palestinians Protest Wall Running through Homeland" is news? Why are "Lack of Money Connected to Poverty" and "Why Won't Anybody Give Me a Loan to Buy a Gun?" funny while "Afghan Violence Prevents Economic Growth" not?

I also thought the article was amusing.