My friend Faine Greenwood, an awesome multimedia journalist based in Phnom Penh, turned an inside joke between my colleagues and me into a graphic that is going to be printed on t-shirts.
…you start using Afghan insults against other expats.
…you know the pricing scale for contract killings in your city.
…you don’t scream when you find a toenail in your bread, you just pick it out.
…your phonebook includes “stalker #5” and “harasser #9.”
…you find it kind of gross but not at all weird that the hotel reception clerk is staring at full-screen photos of dismembered corpses on his computer when you check in.
…you know how to walk in a burqa like an Afghan woman.
…you refuse to let anyone put a flash drive in your computer for fear of porn download viruses.
…you’ve been accused of running a brothel and of being employed at a separate supposed brothel.
…you get hit in the face by a malfunctioning semi-manual washing machine on the spin cycle and fall on the floor laughing madly while clutching pairs of underwear to your chest.
…you look at this A Softer World and think, ‘that’s a plausible scenario.’
…you have a list of people to whom you’d love to send phony Taliban night letters, and that list is four whole pages long. Single-spaced.
(Because this list needed to be updated.)
This is a hilariously common problem.
So, so much more dangerous.
That’s what a couple of Afghan senators think. From a paywalled gem of a story by Pajhwok:
[Lawmaker Maulvi Munib] said a number of foreign countries had succeeded in luring young Afghan girls and boys into adopting their culture.
He did not name any country, but asked the government to fulfill its responsibility toward that end. “It is more dangerous than atom bomb when your youth is inspired by a foreign culture,” the Maulvi said.
He said some people wore such clothes that one could not differentiate whether they are made for men or women.
Maulvi Abdul Wahab Irafan from Takhar province said Afghanistan suffered less during three decades of war compared to past few years due to the invasion of foreign culture.
“The invasion of foreign culture is more dangerous than suicide attacks, bombs blasts and other terrorist activities,” he remarked.
Y’hear that, shiny suited, pink t-shirt wearing, emo kid jeans loving Kabul youths? Well, you better. Because your country is suffering because of your foppish fashions.
Today in WTF war news: Afghanistan’s ironically social media-savvy insurgents have jumped on the Twitterz with the account @alemarahweb.
How long before the account manager, Taliban communication upstart Mostafa Ahmedi, gets into a tweet brawl with Pamir 303 commander @Daud1970?
Please, someone, make this happen.
NATO watches Kabul with tethered white surveillance balloons that resemble cartoon bombs. On a windy day earlier this month, one of them broke free.
43) Getting to work will provide vibrant and fun new challenges
Gravel roads, potholes, outhouses, overcrowded buses, short-term hired bodyguards, highwaymen, kidnapping, overnight camping in fields, snaggle-toothed crazy ladies casting spells on you, frightened villagers, organ thieves, exhibitionists and lots of healthy fresh air.
Minus the fresh air, that’s my commute to work every day in Kabul.
Jerome Starkey’s prose makes me laugh at horrible situations:
In an exclusive interview with The Scotsman in his mountain bolt hole, Amrullah Saleh compared the Taleban to Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and accused the government of being “ultra soft” on the brutal, mediaeval insurgents.
“Mountain bolt hole.” Oh dear.