Tuesday, December 27, 2005

cultural metaphore

On Christmas eve with a friend of mine, we went to join some student-mates in the hostel and it didn’t take very long until the entire room was dragged into a closed conversation, and no matter how hard all of us in the room tried to change the conversation topic we ended up talking about poles and poland and we were going round and round, reiterating ourselves and making no sense.

I happen to see the folks again and inevitably the same thing; we talked about Poland with the same ultra-subjective critical scrutiny.
Sometimes these conversations make you wonder and think where it’s rooted; and I think it’s the sweeping generalization. This one is the stereotyping which is a cognitive need to schematize and interpret with a negative tendency.

To escape from the seemingly no-exit situation of interpretations I do think we need to sacrifice our perspectives- a seeing through of those structures which, by their very nature, tend to resist being seen through. Through this radical sacrifice, "The multiplicity of actual human empirical spaces for man’s [woman's] interaction and communication may be made possible. However, I do realise this solution only applies to a very limited number of people, specifically in the case of our student community, quite significant number of individuals are ready for this radical sacrifice, but even within this group a substantial number of them needs an external jolt or force to direct/help them break the resistance of the structures confining them seen through.
Openness is not just enough to achieve this; academic students are often open just for the sake of openness. There is an obsession of openness and freedom. But quite often this openness restrains individual from sacrifice; the popular misunderstanding is that freedom of choice and open conscious do help in making radical sacrifice. Open communication with locked perspective scares off foreigners. I’ve noticed when western students are being open with students from Far East it really doesn’t help to build trust and other forms of cultural capital. It’s perhaps because there is no shared perspective.
The driving force and jolt for this sacrifice is crisis quite often. This program of emancipation requires that we not only acknowledge crisis as an element of man's life, but that we uncover its presuppositions. Crisis, in this view, may lead either to despair or it may engender a radical reorientation or the kind of orientation/activity which will make knowledge transparent to itself.
Obviously, crisis is not the only medium for cultural communication emancipation, or we would have had very rare intercultural communication; as we are building a conservative view here in Europe and typically enough conservative societies do not fancy crisis.
Like I said before, we are open in Europe for the sake of openness. There is an increasing lack of knowledge and imagination. Europe’s socio-economical problems are directly linked with its intercultural and perception problems. In countries like Italy and Germany people are accustomed and habituated to good standard of living, where social costs and wages are high, but the productive outcome is usual; in an economy which is generated more than 70% from export. This makes it hard for Europe to compete with other emerging nations in Asia which produces the same product for local markets in a way lower cost.
Coming back to radical perception; it’s hard for Europeans to make radical changes, which goes against it’s tradition of building on existing intercultural communication knowledge. It’s supposedly the best and Europe has been exporting it for centuries. I want to point out that 'other' ways of knowledge becomes the possibility for emancipation and radical constitution. I’ve noticed with imaginative and emancipated students one could talk about anything and do anything and they are relaxed enough to grant you such a climate.
It is principally through dialogue and communication, that crisis can become a catalyst for change, because it involves, "fundamental realignments of value and perceptions among the participants." This means that cross-cultural communication can become part of a systematic effort to desensitize one's embodied/invariant ways of knowing- the way out of the no-exist world of interacting with one's projections.
Authoritative and confirmative cultures where variety is doomed unacceptable, one is expected to maintain habitual conversational behavior and gestures. Usually, hierarchical culture is this kind of invariant way of cognizing or imagining.
Programs for emancipation are not concerned with individual’s socially dominant cultural background; emancipation is not targeting mainstream intercultural communication.
It’s so when we have to communicate in an intercultural space we don’t have to change and communicate on there frequency, where concepts are unilaterally perceived and humor is not shared. The danger is the predominant context for interpretations and interactions with other cultures is your own standards; this is another discussion where and how to promote communality and where and how to maintain differences for building a pluralistic environment through communication.

I have also noticed that international students in a multi-cultural environment over along period of time are less keen to communicate cross-culturally. This creates repetitive humans. I’ve noticed some of them; there are some with whom you could only drink and some other nerds with whom you could be intellectual. Some of them get habituated to one place, the TV room, kitchen or corridor, others get habituated to each other and they stick together as they were glued together from top to bottom.

Friday, December 09, 2005

we suck - big time

- morning mate, how is it going?
- Yako tako. Aren’t you deported yet?
- I’ve been, wankers didn’t give me a chance to say ‘bye’; sorry, and have a good life
- Are you in Afghanistan
- Yeah
- How is Usama?
- Between us, he is doing quite well. I think he is having breakfast with his master, mr.bush... Have you got a number for Urzand?
- No, but let’s talk later….
This was the conversation I had on Friday with Sonya, a friend, who is on the same program from Moscow while she was riding in a public auto-bus.
As the conversation finished, she noticed she was getting bad eyes from the occupants, who witnessed charismas eve bombs in Warsaw tram stations a couple of days ago; and there is a picture of the perpetrator with description and alert behind her.

In a few seconds she realised the entire bus was suspicious of her phone call, and were steering at her as though she was djabel (the polish devil).
She decided to jump out of the bus in the next stop, before she is arrested by police for having an allegedly suspicious phone call and eventually not having a quite valid visa or at least kicked out of the bus by the occupants.

We both received three month visas for Poland, unlike 62 other people on this program. Who received a one year visa for the full duration of the program. It was two days before our visas expire. Getting deported was a very ‘plausible joke’ among us, and it was quite likely to happen.

When coming to Poland the university recommended that we apply for a one year visa and that is the easiest arrangement to make. But Sonya and my request for a one year visa was turned down without giving us a good reason and we were issued three month visas.
When in Poland our team-mates dubbed us Al-qaida and Mafia as they couldn’t see any other reason for us not getting equal civil benefits.

When meeting with minister of foreign affairs, we brought this up with him and asked him if he could reimburse us the 130 euros we pay for residency card as this only applies to two people, out of hundreds who receive scholarships and this is not fair. But he said he couldn’t help said it’s our problem and he is sorry in a very political way.

As our request for residency in Poland faces more obstacles set forth by the authorities I start to believe my teammates’ conspiracy. It seems like polish government applies bureaucratic restrictions on citizen of the countries, who are not considered friendly and positive bilateral relation doesn’t exist. If you follow the news you can see restrictions on individuals are imposed when relation exacerbate with Byelorussia, after the expulsion of polish diplomats or on Russian band over polish farm products.

On the other hand civil freedoms have been bestowed such as easy visa access and passage to Western Europe without transit visa to Ukrainian citizens after diplomacy was tighten between the governments.

In other words individuals are not really respects as human beings but as a political tool.
In a post conventional war era national states play with individuals to achieve political objectives.

I find this particularly interesting, I was always thought that democratic countries has respect for people as individuals and human beings; I guess my contemplation was rooted in the universal declaration of human rights which we recognised more than half a century ago and the EU essence. Let me quote you article1, part1 of the EU treaty for the draft constitution “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. These values are common to the Member States in a society of pluralism, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination”

All this stuff is part of the truth and not the whole truth. There is not much respect for individual and human being as we claim, but that’s ok, what bothers me is we are not being honest about it. We claim all these great values, while we are miserable. I have a new clause for universal declaration of human rights and EU treaty ‘WE SUCK – BIG TIME’ it’s rude but honest. I do believe honesty is the only conduct to avoid all sorts of hypocrisy.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Alexis de Tocqueville

“The scope of human perfectibility should be particularly feared in the democratic age”
Because it thrives on the obsession with self and one’s own security which equality fosters.
Alexis de Tocqueville

dictatorship vs democracy

“I happen to be one of those people who do not believe in multi-party democracy” Yoweri Museveni has written “in fact, I am totally opposed to it as far as Africa today is concerned …… if one forms a multi-party system in Uganda, a party can’t win elections unless it finds a way of dividing the ninety-four percent of the electorate and this is where the main problem comes up: tribalism, religion or regionalism becomes the basis for intense partisanship”
This explains why SNTV (single non-transferable voting) system, which resulted in a parliament without political parties, was opted in Afghanistan.
Museveni came to power in 1986 and postponed elections, until he saw that they took place in a manner that ensured his victory. Most important reasons were economical growth, coming hard on tribalism and attempts and promises to restore stability.
Museveni’s election terribly resembles Karzai’s.
There is not much difference between self proclaimed democracy and dictatorship, except dictatorship explains itself better

Monday, November 28, 2005

In a long lasting conflict we paint the image of others, conflicts within the conflict mushrooms as it goes for too long; in Afghanistan after the invasion we experienced many different sorts of regional, ethnic, social, personal, and psychological conflicts. The psychological combat is a relief mechanism.
These acts protect the individual from things that would otherwise make him uncomfortable and anxious. One defence mechanism is projection on others –who is perceived enemy and pretty much everyone is an enemy - of feelings, characteristics and desires that we can’t admit exist in ourselves.

A major factor in projection is the creation of a scapegoat. An ‘enemy’ serves as a scapegoat when it is accused of bringing about an outcome that was actually perpetrated by another, perhaps even oneself. The accusation is used to justify ones’ own behaviour, which is similar to that foisted on the others. Everyone is usually seen as aggressive, seeking dominance and conquest and capable of evil and brutality. One can ignore ones’ own behaviour and preserve ones self image because no matter how badly one is behaving, the world is a bad place, others are even worst.

Kabulis experience this in the 90s when belligerent parties were making projection of each other and the outside world; almost everyone in the outside world was considered evil. As the conflict prolonged this became a social trend too, and individuals started to perceive others through a defensive mechanism.

Having an enemy allows one the satisfaction of recognising one’s own moral superiority and the rightness of one’s cause (if there is one).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

“the understanding of the thing you do a bit better” answered Lech Falandysz, law professor, when he was asking what happiness was in his farewell gathering with students, few days later he died of cancer.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Challenges of Liberalism and Post modernity from an Islamic View

Individual is not merely free to choose, she is forced to be free obliged to understand and live her life as an act of successive choices, each rationalized by the commitment only to increase the choices available to her. individual is free to choose but her only choice is to increase her range of choice every other choice is irrational, unauthentic, perverse. She must pretend that facticity, death and the unknown do not exist. This never ending pretense constitutes her becoming for the gilded chains of freedom can never be discarded. Every relationship, every social institution is transformed by post-modern liberalism into a market institution. The only identity actually available to individual in this prison of rights and choices, is the identity of the entrepreneur.

Post Liberalism is a coercive instrument which moralizes and normalizes individual’s life. They go to every mean to feel free.
Liberal (L) governmentality is also concerned with extending the realm of the political rule, is extended to order the affairs of a population to promote its well being. The state and its apparatus is concerned with inter relating the political spheres to the nonpolitical spheres in which the ‘political’ is grounded.

In this sense governmentality is transformed to constitute a set of activities which relate the spheres of the formation of consciousness to the spheres of dominance. Governmentaity is more than police. In eighteenth centuary France police implied complete documentation of society ‘L’ was to be made totally transparent, her scrutiny was to be perpetual and the ordering of her life, her thoughts and her desires was to be complete the dictatorship of the proletariat was an extension of the classical police regime.

Post Modern Liberalism (PML) as a mentality abandons this fantasy of a totally administered and planned society. Classical liberalism recognises the necessity of self governance of the entities it confronts. The sovereign does not exercise its totalising will across a national space ‘L’ is recognised to possess those inviolable individual and welfare rights which allows her to seek the maximisation of pleasure. Classical liberalism saw a society prior to the market which defined individual’s community conciousness defined the social constraints. This recognition of individual as an autonomous, self created and self oriented being required the recognition of the autonomy and self regulating legitimacy of the market and of society. The objects, instruments and tasks of liberal rule were formed, in accordance with the need to promote individual’s rights and the autonomy of the market and society. But the recognition of these rights and autonomy was to be reconciled with the perpetual domination of the liberal, state over, individual and over her society.

PML is concerned with the elaboration of theoretical systems but his self centeredness leads him to construct fragments of his own life into theoretical positions. It is never the theory and always the self his own self and no other which is the centre of his universe. It is this obsession with the death of the self

PML is freedom within the family, community and the market. But to make individual free in these spheres politician has to invent means for shaping and managing individual’s conduct and perceptions. individual’s “public” evaluations and conduct are evaluated by codes of orderliness, prudence, civility and consequentialism. Her “private” deliberations and behaviour are to be moulded by equipping her with languages and techniques and self understanding and self mastery. To be free individual must be taught to accept as natural and rational the pleasure/efficiency maximizing, conduct, characteristic of post enlightment libral society. Individual’s becomes free when she becomes a normal citizen of a liberal social order. Freedom is nothing else.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Is violence a need or a mistake? violence comes to existance when people mishandle or can't handle a conflict. However, as time pass violence transforms to a habit. i think current crisis and world war three is a bit of both. western response to 911 strengthening anit-western ideology leading to fundamentalism in the middle east and asia. because of lack of understanding of global policy and the emergence of islamic radicalism in the middle east and asia; bankruptcy of left governments in the middle east and asia; impoverished democratic governance; oil curse. so it was clearly a mistake. but it's also a need. the emergence of right wind, pragmatist, extreme government in the US needs to wage war
It would have been fun if we let out our souls for a couple of hours every 24; for example when we are deep at sleep it takes off. It could have been a great relaxation for the body, bearing the weight of the soul and the soul being caged in by the body. Every morning we could have been refreshed and reborned just like a child. The age of the soul in the body would have been the same as an infant, therefore innocent and unambiguous. We wouldn’t have had all the hatred, suspicion, jealousy and distrust we are thought and inserted.

Actually I thought about it when I was to argue about an issue and I needed a devil advocate. It was so cool. I think I really figured out the issue. If our souls would have left the bodies then they could have met and discuss issues and figure out things that we can’t normally and the next day, we know all about it without exhausting our brain.
I bet there are stuff you want to discuss it honestly with someone – as a matter of fact I want to discuss everything honestly with people.

You know, there are people just want to be extreme for some reason, they either want to be part of something real big, perhaps because they feel flecky on their own and what they are, or they want to be the best.
I have a classmate who is even not American but his opinions are very right wing American, and he pretends to be one.
I wanted to have a very honest chat with real him. Clean from all sorts of acquirable values. So I could figure out what is exactly going on in his brain.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

from one of the lectures - interesting

Decisions (i.e. foreign policy) are made by people, as individuals and institutions; individual decision makers are wrapped up in several layers. Domestic and transnational. These layers are mingled and there are connections among them. these impinges directly the ablity of decision maker under both conditions of certainty and likelihood.

Decision-making: is the process of evaluating and choosing among eclectic alternatives course of action (or inaction).

In a decision willingness and opportunity are driving factors.

There could be several different causal reasons for a given decision: we wear jeans because everybody else does, we wear it because it looks good, we wear it because it’s cheap and durable, we wear it because we hate skirts, we wear …… no matter what a decision has been made.

In political decisions (and any decision) it’s important to know what are the willingness’s as oppose to opportunities.

Some people stresses that a good decision is not good or bad but it’s the rational one. Rational decision is to maximize benefit relative to the cost. This means gathering a lot of information and calculate cost against benefit, after identifying all of the options. So rationality is purposive and than posses; humanistic and organizational capabilities imposes a limit on rational behavior.

The neo-liberal prospect is that rationalism spoils values. (not quite sure how to explain it, but will do some studies)

What is outlined above is bollocks and can’t happen in the real world. Great deal of research has been done in this regard, one could do it’s own if not sure about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Is violence a need or a mistake? violence comes to existance when people mishandle or can't handle a conflict. However, as time pass violence transforms to a habit. i think current crisis and world war three is a bit of both. western response to 911 strengthening anit-western ideology leading to fundamentalism in the middle east and asia. because of lack of understanding of global policy and the emergence of islamic radicalism in the middle east and asia; bankruptcy of left governments in the middle east and asia; impoverished democratic governance; oil curse. so it was clearly a mistake. but it's also a need. the emergence of right wind, pragmatist, extreme government in the US needs to wage war

Saturday, November 12, 2005


sisters is my favourite polish band, they are sort of into 'soul' music. i got pirate album of them the other day, and was listening to it the other night. i wrote the lyrics and i think this was the best.

You ask me about all my inspirations. You won't be surprised if I tell you.

what I write it comes from my emotions from my felling; my love wide as an ocean.

From your side you've untouched my feelings.

from your smiles, your absence always killing.

From whole life; from all sort of situations; from my people, from my education.
From home, from street, from money; from free; from you; from him; from everything; from books; from god; and I am still glad that I can see that

They asked me about my secret feelings.

Don't ask about songs and their meanings.
But if I stop talking let you listen.
The old last sing comes.

From home, from street, from money; from free; from you; from him; from everything; from books; from god; and I am still glad that I can see that
From home, from street, from money; from free; from you; from him; from everything; from books; from god; and I am still glad that I can see that

You have to know I have to tell you that; I am gonna change but real me is what you got my hearth is rich you offer trusting you
the truth is that if you say one word.
I will feel it.
I will write it then, I will sing it.

You so make me unforgettable.
You so make me unforgettable.
You so make me unforgettable.


You so make me unforgettable.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Warsaw Diary – the scenes and places

still there is nothing to indicate that four, five or six times victorious armies had marched through the city (unless you go and look for it in the museums). the cafes shone with elegant women. the trim and slender officers like practised actors impersonating soldiers than like fighters. everywhere one sense activity and confidence and ….. (other things which i don’t know at this point)… which had risen so vigorously from the ashes of the centuries.
here i am, standing on the top of notorious palac kultury i nauki. the building which automatically wins in the "most attention demanding structure in a european capital" category. this massive, city-like tower stands at the center of the capital of the largest country in new europe. it's been called freaky huge. the panorama is beautiful, one feel like being able to see all warsaw or maybe all poland from here. i think if i brought a pair of binoculars i could have seen the entire europe ;-))) that would have saved me a lot of traveling and fare ;-))) it was built in 1955 as joseph stalin's "gift" to warsaw, the palace of culture and science still stands as the tallest structure in the city as well as in all of poland. at over 234 meters, this bad boy still has the upper hand on all of its modern neighbors - thanks god i didn’t measure it, was just thinking whoever has done it must have had quite a lot of fun or in another words it must have been a communist with a good sense of fun and adventure - oh look!!! there is another building called ‘marriott’ trying to compete, but i don’t think so. if you come and stand here at the top you would think non of these modern glass structures will make it this high.
oh and by the way, the tower is standing on the largest square in europe (that is a big statement to make, since i haven’t been to many european cities, but that is what i have been told and i am telling you. you can always not believe it)
i think it was makar shnip a friend of mine telling me the poles had a big debate whether to keep or destroy it in the beginning of 90s as a sign to refuse communism and its gift. but i think they decided to keep it.

a female friend was saying it’s a very boy-ish symbol, and often polish girls discuss among themselves that they will put a condemn on it ;-)) i love the idea; i’ll definitely take picture of that and send it to you.
i love the confidence in young poles. the good sense of time, the past is the past, and warsaw is where the future is being shaped. there is a great interest in whatever they are doing. i am not saying there is no whinging. there is quite some of that; i was warned about it when i was coming and on the first few days of our introductory course pan piotr enlightened us about it with a great emphasize on the polish synonym for it; i think it’s something like “narzekają”.

warsaw is a very expensive city comparing with other polish cities, poles come from far and wide to make their fortune; centered around marshal street and solidarity avenue, warsaw is the business capital and where trends are set. it is also the academic centre of the country, warsaw's is the country's leading university, and its offshoots, such as the school of economics and political science, are leaders in their fields. the lively student population numbers some 150,000 alone.
warsaw university, where i study, has over 60000 students including quite a substantial number of international students. established in 1816 uw offers courses of studies in 35 fields of arts and sciences. it comprises 18 faculties and 25 independent research and didactic units. it probably has one of the largest numbers of phd scholars in europe. i visited the faculty of oriental studies, where i will be based. i’ll do oriental media studies – not quite sure what that is.

the faculty has extensive farsi classes and lectures and since it’s establishment (don’t know when) it has graduated around 60 students with ma degrees on afghan and iranian history and culture, some of whom speaks better farsi than i do. i was wondering how many people in kabul would speak better polish than a pole. but i figured it out - i will ;-))
on the other hand, warsaw is an immensely moving place to connect with the past. the rebuilt city centre is the old town with its proud royal castle. in addition, the former jewish ghetto is a stark reminder of the unforgiving hand of history.
the old town in the heart of warsaw resembles to a quaint provincial town or one feel being in a city of 17th century - a fortified town of modest stature. warsaw was founded by the dukes of this region of poland, mazovia, in the late 12th century. their castle, which was transformed into the royal seat in 1569, was the most important edifice and it remains the focus of the area to this day.
it’s very elegantly rebuilt and it’s hard to think 98% of it was destroyed. life is slower in the old town. it gets slower in the paintings you see in the old town squire; paintings of feasts and palaces of 15 century exposes life much slower. it’s good to see that as it makes one think we always haven’t been jumpy. fragments of the old city walls still survive, and within the old town there are many landmarks, including the historic cathedral of st. paul's. the wall surrounding the old city was destroyed during warsaw uprising and the communist didn’t build it for quite a while; it was built in the last days of communist regime by a special order from the chief of polish communist party. it’s told he was strolling in the presidential palace garden which is a cross the river and he saw st. paul and all these other gigantic churches with their shining crosses; that’s when he ordered he doesn’t wanna see those crosses again and the wall should be built around it to conceal them. he hated the religion more than his fear of another upraise.
also went to the museum of history in the old town and watched warsaw's wartime tales. one can fail to be touched with the sheer power of the ancient city in having overcome all the odds to rise once again from rubbles.
loved the royal castle, i think after its construction was completed in the 60s or maybe beginning of 70s it was included on the unesco list.
the sigismond column is also quite noticeable as you get to the palace. i think kind sigismond iii moved the capital from krakow to warsaw. and the typical situation, krakovians doesn’t like him very much and i bet there is no sigismond column in krakow.
from the edge you could see a straight shot down krakowskie przedmiescie or across the wisla river a nice view of praga and the swietokrzyski bridge. krakowskie przedmiecie is the street where my university is located. i’ve got some shots of this view.
for a change there are also great places out of city center. the lazienski park area, with its palaces and gardens, is a favourite with poles and foreigners alike, as is wilanow, i think i’ve got pictures of wilanow.

Friday, September 30, 2005

international tongue twister

i thought you might like this http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/index.htm. it's probably the world largest tongue twister website. i loved the persian and polish sections. this is a great resource for afghan media espicially radio to use and update, or maybe create their own. interactive programs are still very few in afghan radio sector and it's one of the most important part of the radio industry. this could be used to create interactive radio programs. i think tongue twisters, jokes, proverbs and poems are a profound part of afghan culture and bringing afghan culture into the media scene is something which needs to happen. if i ever get to have some free time i'll create a website with afghan proverbs, jokes, tongue twisters and folkloric stories to be used as a resource center by media.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Warsaw Diary

I’ve got a camera now, and I could start to do my program. I would like to find someone who could be part of it and help around, it’s not gonna be a lot of fun if I just do it all by myself. We are meeting with the minister of foreign affairs, Adam Daniel Rotfled. he is apparently a super clever guy. He is widely respected by Sejm, the government and the public. Foreign ministers have become extremely important and it’s one of the strongest positions in the government since the beginning of 90s.
In the volatile period of 1989 -1993 there was a lot of struggle in side the government and state to push their agendas and priorities and they were stepping on each other toes regularly, but one thing lech walesa, Hanna suchacka (as head of government) and sejm agreed upon was to have a strong foreign minister who is dealing with international policies. I’ll try to film the meeting/ceremony; not exactly sure how long it’s gonna last and what we’ll discuss, but I guess he wanna make sure that we don’t party too much as his ministry is paying for us ;-) just back from partying with guys who’ll leave for Poznan, Krakow and wroslow and it’s 0505 in the morning

Monday, September 26, 2005

Went to the theater today to watch a famous polish play called z’ezdenia ‘the slaughterhouse’ by amirslov xx. It was about an artist (musician) who was at the same time a butcher; it’s about his struggle to find his place in the world among art, love, family and intellect. It’s a post modernistic play with weirdly linked scenes and an unexpected ending. At the end the guy committed suicides as he thinks it’s some kind of achievement not many people gets to do ….. I know …it’s bizarre …
it’s different than common plays now days with the very American influence of happy ending. shit happens but at the end every thing is zaebicz It’s getting too much… I don’t like it much anymore.
I like amirslov, he has got his own style. I’ve been looking in museums for one of his famous paintings, but no joy yet. It’s the simple portrait of a man with single lines forming his body, hands and legs. Several circles one inside another is shaping his head; and it says at the bottom “Why didn’t De Vinci paint me?”

Sunday, September 18, 2005

warsaw diary

Tima (sorry if I have misspelled your name) just walked to me very happily in the library and whispered
- wylbory
- what
- afghanchikam wylbory
- the election?
- Tak
- Yes, polling is today.

Not everyone in Poland knows that election is happening in Afghanistan. But a lot of people knew about it today. So, the election is happening, I think it’s a political process not a change. It’s not gonna change anything; it’s a step toward a stable Afghanistan. There is gonna be a lot of problems (I’d rather call them issues) after the election when the national assembly start working. I think the SNTV sets up a bad precedent the way parliament will function. It’s gonna be drastically fragmented and hard to get any legislation out of it. There is gonna be no parties and it’ll be very difficult for civil society to lobby the parliament. not many parliamentarian will be educated, even not at least high school degrees. The parliamentarian will come from rural Afghanistan and they are commonly illiterate. They will be super dependent on professional staff and deputies; and the same thing which happened in Poland between 89-93 will be repeated in Afghanistan …. (visit congress library for info)
This is the best case scenario.
The worst would be if there are bad intentions, and that would be when warlords, extremists, westernists, mullahs, karzaists and etc start fighting each other.

Warsaw diary

Poles are quite open and getting opener comparing with a few decades ago and other Slovak nations. My polish mates interact with me the same as they do with the poles, but I’ve noticed some other Slovaks do not interact with others the same as they do with their countrymen, even with foreigners they know well. Poles are being as funny with me as they are with other poles, and I consider this openness.
Obviously, this is a generalisation and it’s an impression, NOT an opinion.

Warsaw Diary

Life has been quite interesting over the weekend as I get to hang out with the people. I have been wondering around Warsaw in the last thirty five hours; went to the mall, museums, pubs, restaurants, libraries… weekend is quite lively here as oppose to workly which is the other five days of the week.
It was great as I saw Poles life and it’s great to have a life ;-) it’s great because it’s pure life separate from other things. Things are important but they are part of life not the whole life and it’s great to have the ability to separate things from life for a couple of days.
A lot was happening in the old town and centruim, people were getting married, there were several matches and concerts. There was a running match so the road was closed to traffic. The athletes were running for fun and the pedestrians were running for life. The Pop concert sounded quite interesting, I wanted to watch or photograph or dance; but my friend Nathia can’t stand heavy pop music, so I skipped it.

One of the most interesting things for me in Poland is I get to know people from zero and I achieved quite well over the weekend.
I think there are people who are genuinely nice and they are friendly to anyone. Genuine nice people or ‘humanists’ like people as they are and don’t have much exceptions; often they don’t like those who doesn’t like people.

Some people like those who are like them and share the same things and values, they are naturally part of the same social group and didn’t have much choice in choosing to be part of where. This is an easy way to be part of a community (and being part of a community is what everyone needs). ‘communitist’ find each other and it doesn’t take them very long to understand each other, because they all know what each other expects and they behave accordingly.

Others connect on the basis of their common values/ interests/statue. You could have a very good situation in a certain place or certain job but you might disconnect as your statue or interest change. My favourite one is friends with a common language, people who has different backgrounds but are in a place which they don’t speak the language of the country but they speak common language.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An Afghan Diary in Warsaw

My only and biggest problem is meeting people and making friends. People are reluctant to spend time with others unless they know them or feel familiar with them.
I’ve made some friends but they are not yet ready to spend time with me. Whenever I ask them if they want to hang out. They say ‘let me see’ ‘I’ll let you know when is best for me’ ‘I’ll call you’…
I’ve realised people in my circle (Polish academic circle) are not that open to new people and for one reason or another they need more time to mix up with others.

What I definitely don’t like is colonies or clubs, i.e. Georgian club, Belarusian club… Some of the students have started to form their own clubs and it’s not good. They’ll live and interact with certain walks of mind which isn’t different from their past experience, so it won’t be very educational and fun. Perhaps, clubs are an obstacle for free and cross cultural integration of people.

An Afghan Diary in Warsaw

First Week:

It’s Monday September 5th 2005; I arrived into Warsaw airport around noon. I was in the plane or transit on a bench in the last fifteen hours. I’ve already noticed a lot of changes in the way people interact and execute things. I flew from Kabul to dubai, dubai to Istanbul and Istanbul to Warsaw. Most contrasting changes I’ve noticed in the last 15 hours – which I would have normally slept – in these four airports includes, convenience, services are more designed to facilitate things as oppose to the traditional way of my part of the world complicating things. there are restaurants and lounges to relax, proper toilets, people actually wait in the queue which is a great convenience.
In Kabul airport a friend who is a cop at the airport helped me skip the lines and don’t wait at all and go straight to the lounge.
Especial attention has been paid for handicaps. Stairways, WCs and other public facilities are handicap friendly, while this is not common in Afghanistan with around three million handicaps.
There is less and less people in each of the planes I get into; when flying from Istanbul to Warsaw I was the only person in the row. Apparently, having some seats empty is for some flight safety reason.

The other difference is in cops and security personnel aggressiveness; they are more relaxed as you come toward Europe. They probably do the same job, but they treat people with more respect. They ask for a document when its needed and different people ask for the papers they are supposed to see; not exactly like Afghanistan where a cop needs to see everything and so does the flight attendant and so does….

Also women are losing some cloths and they are getting increasingly naked (if I may use that term). It’s hard to stop steering at parts of their body when / if talking to them ;-)))
They also seem more independent and relaxed. They do things more comfortably, for example they’ll run if they are to catch a flight in the last minutes, which they wouldn’t normally do in conservative Muslim countries.

- Djien’ dobry
- Djien’ dobry
- … …
- How long are you intended to stay in Poland?
- Ye’den Rok
- Woo lalaaaaa …. You wait here…

So of course like everywhere else I got a little special treatment and hospitality. Around 200 passengers got checked in whom I was before and then they let me go in.
As I was going from security to security I felt a different kind of sense of humour(but can’t still call it Pole, because I don’t know them that well) the cops go excited by things which weren’t that exciting for me and their excitement was very perceptible. It was also very invariable and steady. One of the cops was saying “woo lalaaaaaa” every time he got excited. But it was the same ‘woo lalaaaaa’ to different exciting things. It was like he has to be / get excited. It was definitely making him feel different, most likely in a good way. For a moment I thought we all need to get happy and excited it’s not for fun sake, it’s a need; people do it in different ways.
It was Victor’s birthday yesterday. We were having drinks on the roof of the hostel. There were Poles, Ukrainians and Belarusians. They were all speaking in their languages, but they understand each other. At one point Ivan was struck by this and he shouted out ‘guys, have you realised we all speak in different languages but we understand each other’ and everybody laughed.
Makar said after a few minutes ‘there are only a few chromosome differences between mankind and monkey and it isn’t much. We are all human. We should understand each other’

The major difference during the last week was not about people; I don’t think cultural shock is connected to people. Although people speak different languages and has diverse values, but they are not that different. On the other hand things and ‘life tools’ could be very different. It’s the place one need to adjust to not the people. I am now eating different food, using different kind of transportation and I have to do chores such as laundry. This is all a change.

Went on a nice excursion on Friday, a nice place, around 60km west of Warsaw. It was organised by the university. Everyone was invited, only if they were singing a song. I had to sing and surprisingly contrary to what everyone else think the party thought I was a good singer and I was invited to sing again. We performed a folkloric polish dance. it was interesting and challenging.
Parties are a good place to know everyone on their personal counts; Crazy dancers, sociables, depressed, seclusionist…. We have all of them in our group. Among all I liked a seventeenth century song called ‘Sokole’ and you could listen to it here www.muzyka.pl it’s about a soldier going to war and his lover praying for his save return….

Something just crossed my mind about sharing my Warsaw experience with others.
I probably could do a five minute weekly TV program. “An afghan diary in Warsaw”. I’ll suss out if it could be aired in Tolo or Ariana or RTVA.

- life in Warsaw and more generally in Poland
- my life, what I do, my friends, my colleagues – maybe one friend guest every week.
- Polish prospective and knowledge of Afghanistan and its issues. Different people, ages, gender, professions… Universytet Warszawski professors to a McDonald’s waitress…
How to do it:
- the possibility of doing it in corporation with a TV channel in Warsaw. If the channel could help to provide a camera and a cameraperson, in return they could also broadcast it.
- Ask the embassy for assistance, if they could buy a camera? UNESCO?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

در جست وجوى ملاعمر

كابوس چهره هاى بى شمار دارد. گاه پياده مى آيد و گاه سوار بر موتورسيكلت. در تاريكى مى آيد و لباس سياه مى پوشد و در دل تاريكى مى رود و قبل از آنكه ديده شود، ناپديد مى شود. تنها در سال ۲۰۰۴ دوصد انسان را محكوم به مرگ كرد، رقمى كه از نظر دشمن پيروز او تا حدى زياد به نظر مى آيد. اين كابوس همچون يك بيمارى سمج همواره به افغانستان مى آيد و تن رنجور اين بيمار را ضعيف مى كند و به همين خاطر سراسر اين منطقه كه تقريباً نصف آلمان وسعت دارد، هنوز منطقه خطر به شمار مى آيد.طالبان هفت سال تمام چرخ تاريخ در افغانستان را به عقب بردند. دختران را از درس و مدرسه محروم و ميراث فرهنگى را تخريب و در عوض فردى چون بن لادن را مهمان محترم و ويژه شمردند و بالاخره پس از واقعه ۱۱ سپتامبر بود كه ايالات متحده آمريكا اين كابوس ساخته و پرداخته خود را از اريكه قدرت به زير انداخت. از آن زمان به بعد طالبان ديگر از تيتر اول رسانه هاى جهانى هم پايين آمده و جايى در كوه هاى پاكستان مأوا گرفتند و از همان جا و هر روز به خاك افغانستان حمله و گريزى مى زنند. اخبار و اطلاعات كمى در مورد اين منطقه در دست است. دولت پاكستان هم اين منطقه را براى روزنامه نگاران غربى به عنوان منطقه ممنوع اعلام كرده است. در سال ۲۰۰۳ دو گزارشگر فرانسوى به خاطر اينكه مى خواستند از يكى از اردوگاه هاى آموزشى طالبان ديدن كنند، به زندان افتادند و ديگرانى هم كه قصد ورود به اين منطقه را داشته اند، از پاكستان اخراج شده اند. اما اين به اصطلاح طلبه هاى جنگجو در حال حاضر تا چه حد قدرت دارند؟ چه چيزى هنوز در آنان انگيزه جنگ و مبارزه را ايجاد مى كند؟ رهبر يك چشم آنها «ملاعمر» كجاست؟ آيا هنوز هم با يار گرمابه و گلستانش يعنى «اسامه بن لادن» رابطه اى دارد؟
رشته كوه افغانستان در واقع مانعى طبيعى ميان آسياى مركزى و زمين هاى هندوستان است، منطقه اى كه متجاوزانى از اسكندر و چنگيز گرفته تا اتحاد شوروى سابق زمانى در آن به دشمنان خود چنگ و دندان نشان داده اند. خشك و خشن تر از اين سرزمين ساكنان آن يعنى پشتون ها هستند، قومى با ۲۵ ميليون جمعيت كه در دوسوى اين مرز زندگى مى كنند. پشتون ها به اصطلاح حكومت ناپذيرترين مردم دنيا محسوب مى شوند و تا به حال هيچ كس نتوانسته بر آنها غلبه كند. زمانى بريتانيايى ها سعى كردند تا با تز «تفرقه بينداز و حكومت كن» بر اين قوم غلبه كنند و بدين ترتيب در سال ۱۸۹۳ خطى مرزى ميان ايالت «پشتونستان» كشيدند. اما «پشتون ها» كه خود از چندين ايل و طايفه مختلف تشكيل شده اند، هرگز اين خط مرزى دروغين و ساخته و پرداخته بريتانيا را نپذيرفتند و همواره به اين سو و آن سوى مرز يعنى ميان افغانستان و پاكستان در رفت و آمد هستند

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

هنگامی که دوره های مختلف فکری را نگاه می کنيم، می بينيم که چقدر مهم اند از لحاظ شکل دادن به ايده ها و مفاهيم. مثلاً دوران اخیر که مفهوم تجدد پيدا شد ) دهه هفتاد میلادی). تجدد يعنی اينکه ما بايد نو شويم، و مدل اين نو شدن هم اتحاد جماهیر شوروی سوسیالیستی بود. ما می‌بايست از لحاظ صنعت و تکنولوژی، از لحاظ نهاد های اجتماعی، سياسی، علمی و بسياری چيزهای ديگرنو شويم.
معنی نو شدن اين بود که ما برای آنکه "آدم" بشويم بايد شبيه شوروی ها شويم. این نظریه جنبش ناسيوناليستی و چپی بود که عبارت از احزاب خلق و پرچم بود. نظر به آن بود که دنيای امپرياليسم و کلونياليسم که مسئول همه بدبختی ها و بيچارگی های ماست و اسلام و بنیادگرایی دینی همدست با امپریالیسم خون ملت ها را میمکد، اتحاد جماهير شوروی و سوسياليسم، به عنوان راه نجات همه ملت های عقب مانده و بدبخت و کشورهای جهان سومی مجسم میگردد.
در دوران کودتای 7 ثور آمريکا و غرب به عنوان مظهر امپرياليسم سخت منفور روشنفکران می‌شوند. در این دوران است که جنبش های ميانه، قطب مخالف این جریان به افراطی گری کشيده می شوند و همینجاست که جنبش های مذهبی راديکال پيدا می شوند. رادیکالیزم مذهبی و روشنفکری میانه لزومأ با قطب مخالف ایدولوژیک که امریکا و غرب میباشد هم اهنگ و همنظر نبودند. اما در آن زمان متحدین مهم بود؛ و این دو دست با هم کردند تا سوسیالیزم و مدرنیته نوع جهان سوم را از بین ببرن.
بعد از فروپاشی سوسیالیزم افراطی گرایی دینی بجان غرب افتاد و غرب را گناهکار و مسوول بدبختی های خویش میشمردند و این زمانی است که دهشت افگنی فرا مدرنی پرورش میابد.
بعد از 9 سپتمبر بخشی از روشنفکری و مذهب گرایی نزدیک به غرب و امریکا می شود و بازگشت به خود و اصالت بومی و به اين ترتيب می خواهد که آسيب شناسی فرهنگی - تاريخی ما را توضيح بدهد. و غرب هم از این روش حمایت مینماید. امروز افغانستان دو مرتبه برگشته است به طرف مفهوم مدرنيته. يعنی تمامی آن زبان راديکال ضد غرب و ضد غرب زدگی و ضد امپرياليستی جای خودش را داده به مسائل جامعه سنتی و جامعه مدرن. اينکه تقصير از بيرون نيست و، خلاصه، "کرم از خود درخت است" و "از ماست که بر ماست" و از اين جور چيزها. چون جو تاريخی عوض شده، دستگاه مفهومی هم عوض می شود. به هر حال، ما اهسته اهسته آموخته ايم که مشکلات خودمان را در خودمان ببينيم. يک نوع "رفلکسيون" يا انديشه بازتابشی در ما پيدا شده که می تواند برگردد و به خودش نگاه کند. پيش از اين ما هيچ وقت به خودمان برای يافتن عيب‌مان نگاه نمی کرديم و هميشه دنبال گناهکار و مقصر در بيرون می گشتيم.
حرکت اجتماعی، سیاسی و فرهنگی در افغانستان در سه و نیم سال اخیر يکباره زيگ‌ زاگ غريبی خورد و تصوری که ما (خصوصأ ورشنفکران ما) از مسایل اجتماعی داشت، ناگهان جهت خود را عوض کرد و به جهتی رفت که هيچ کس انتظارش را نداشت. امروزه با آمدن نوع آمريکايی جهانگيری تکنولوژی، پراگماتيسم و گريز از انتلکتواليسم بر جهان حاکم شده است. در نتيجه، بخش عمده روشنفکران می روند در بدنه بوروکراسی ها و تکنوکراسی‌ها جذب می‌شوند و کاری را که به آنها تکليف می شود انجام می دهند. ديگر نه آن نوع قدرت رهبری اجتماعی و نفوذ اجتماعی – سياسی را دارند نه سودای تغيير انقلابی جهان را. يعنی، مقام عقل کل را دست داده اند.
عمده ترین دلیل آن خل جنگسالاران از قدرت سیاسی است، اما با راندن جنگسالاران از قدرت سیاسی حادثه دیفوژن رخ میدهد ایشان جای روشنفکران را در اجتماع اشغال مینمایند و کاری را که روشنفکران باید کنند که رهبری فرهنگی و سیاسی است بدست جنگ سالاران قرار میگیرد.
در جامعه افغانی از طيف راست سنتی خيلی محافظه کار مذهبی تا طيفی که خودش را روشنفکری دينی می داند، همه در ايمان دينی يا به جای آوردن آداب شرعی مشترک اند، اما حتی در همان حوزه مسائل ايمانی هم اختلافات فراوان هم دارند. خيلی از روشنفکران دينی به ديدگاه‌های تازه‌ای از طرح مسائل در باب رابطه دين و دولت و جامعه رسيده اند که با ديدگاه روشنفکران لائيک فرق اساسی ندارد. آنها هم به آزادی، به دمکراسی، به پارلمانتاريسم، به عقلانيت و انديشه انتقادی رسيده اند. اينها از ديد محافظه کاران سنتی از حوزه دين خارج شده اند. ولی اينها خودشان را دينی می دانند و مهم اين است که خودشان، خودشان را چه گونه تعريف می کنند، يعنی خودآگاهی‌شان و کردارشان چه گونه است. ما نمی توانيم تعريف خودمان را به آنها بدهيم.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Walk

Agathe, John, Mani and I started our Yakawlang – Chikh Chiran expedition/walk today. “the estimated flight time is 25min… we are gonna be a little bumpy, but nothing to worry about and don’t panic until we start panicing” said the pilot who was flying us from Kabul to Bamayan. “how do we know when you are panicing?” asked Mani.

As we took off john and I were singing “
بـــعد از خدایگانه خدای دلم توئــــــــــی
ائیــــــــنه تمــــــــام نمایی دلم توئــــــــی
بعد از خدا که زنده گی ما بدست اوســت
سوگند میخورم که یگانه خدای دلم توئـی
ای چنگ غم به همراهی اشک و آه مــن
سازی بزن که نغمه سرای دلم تـــــــوئی

Agathe and I were watching the pilots closely to see when they start panicing. We were cracking jokes about how would we take over the plane when the pilots panic.

We went to the station from the air strip. Ali was great – hospitable, nice – as usual.
Bamayan is colder than Kabul, even during the day. Some of us had to put on jackets.

We talked about all sorts of things with Ali. I found out the expression. “به هر صورت خوب بود یا بد بود" “ it might have been good or bad, but anyhow” means it was crap.

When we asked ali, how was the distance learning program or how is the solar system? Or other things we weren’t sure about and wanted his feedback. He said “it might have been good or bad, but anyhow” which means it was crap.

We went to see the chief of police, General Wahadat, we wanted to get a weapon from him, and the idea was to use it if we confront wolves.
On the tiny screen of a video camera he was watching some music.
He was helpful, but as everyone else he was shocked and not convinced that we were gonna do the walk.

We set off for Yakawlang around 1200 with Ali. He is so nice that he didn’t bargain for a better fare, but the price was not outrageous. I realized once you are so cool, others (majority) would also be cool to you.
Ali told me on the way “its unusual to start a trip at 1200 without having lunch, but you guys are unusual so it’s fine”

We stopped by the Buddahs and with a small bribe to police, a police took us to the top. On the way down two kids showed up and were trying to take some money out of Mani. They started coughing and prtended to be sick; Mani asked the litter girl if she smiles so he takes a picture, he’ll give her some money.
On the way everyone was telling all sorts of stories. Ali was talking about a girl who has finished school in Iran and now has returned to home in a village of 15 houses in the middle of nowhere and at least two hour away from Bamayan. She once came to the station and wanted to work and sleep there, she is bored in the village.
Yakawlang is absolutely beautiful with waterfalls and amazing color of mountains and interestingly the mountains change color in different times of day as sun light angle changes. A lot of water in the beautiful valley, the water is quite fast and the driver said there are also some fish in it, he said animals can’t cross the river.

We stayed in UNhabitat meeting room, we moved some chairs and tables and made some room to sleep there are charts and leaflets on the wall which looks like typical consultant work and I don’t think the gus here understand it. the crazy precision of figures and time make it impossible to be any practical document.
Ali didn’t want to stay with us. John and maybe gat assumed he is thinking of his reputation and don’t want to be in a room with a foreign woman. But it’s hard to tell with him if he was being polite or if he was concerned.

The guys in UN are mostly from Logar and with extensive experience of hazarajat, were wondering if they were here under Taliban or not and how would they see the perception of Pashtoons has changed since then.
I am getting sleepy, that’s it for today.

more stuff coming...
10 years old children attend classes under scorching sun in Sharana of Paktika province. A total of 78 students including two girls are enrolled in Hisababa School. The students come from tormikhai and hisa baba villages whose school was burnt down by insurgents a month ago. Abdul Ghafoor the teacher said “the reason we have picked this location is, it is the central location for both villages and it’s close to a security checkpoint”

This year the number of students returning to school in paktika has substantially increased, but it’s still surprising to see children in the open air, with no chair or mattress and hardly a couple of books attending a school next to a bumpy road with US armors blowing dust at them, as they pass by real fast.

The two teachers in the school receive no wage or support from the government or any NGO. “I think it’s the right thing to do and I don’t have another job” said Bacha Gul one of the teachers as he was waving a long stick to the students so they stay calm.

Paktika is considered a volatile province with a long border with Pakistan and a high rate of cross border insurgency. “THEY fire rockets at our compound at nights when moon is full. they can’t fire more than three, the security forces spot them after firing two, but one time bastards got my generator” said Russell the logistic officer for UNOPS.

Christian, a colleague and I went to Paktika to assess/survey the possibility of expanding radio voice of paktika reach before parliamentary election.
The PRT is going to pay for six repeaters to be installed in the next few months. If the project happen, it’s the first province in the country which most of its population is covered by FM signal.

Friday, June 10, 2005


"this is a country of roses; people are also like rose. they are sweet but they have got thorns"
she doesn't like roses, and she thinks Afghans grow them a lot.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Bad Farsi

Farsi is getting corrupted as part of NGO-ism domination. There are a lot of English words used by NGO staff (mostly national); some of Farsi and pashtu document used internally in NGOs and UN are not even starting from the right direction.

The situation for verbal Farsi is worst than that, این ارتیکل بسیار اینتریستنگ است, this is how some people speak.

I got Hiwad our librarian and researcher to find the correct and standard Farsi equavelt of technological terms, which is the most difficult part, like mobile phone, frequency, software, rechargeable as well as for management words and abbreviations like: voucher, receipt, NSP, finance…..

He did it very well and we sent it round the office and miraculously everyone this afternoon was speaking a better farsi.