Dec 29, 2010   //   by peretz   //   links  //  No Comments

This has float­ed across my link­space over the past week:

  • Pajh­wok News — a local Afghan run news ser­vice, recent­ly signed con­tract to pro­vide video and pho­tos to CNN.
  • How to write about Afghanistan — amus­ing read­ing. (Thanks Ben Atlas!)  I guess we have to study it hard­er, since we’re fail­ing so far.
  • Jim Gant: the Green Beret who could win the war in Afghanistan — inspired reading.
  • Kuchi, Afghan Nomads — Megan has been called a Kuchi, in par­tic­u­lar by one enthu­si­as­tic boy.  Sup­pos­ed­ly since the Kuchi wan­der great dis­tances in remote places, they are pro­fi­cient smug­glers.  A Kuchi tribe has cur­rent­ly tak­en up win­ter res­i­dence in Jalal­abad (a tem­per­ate low­er val­ley).  There is a Kuchi out­post right across the street.  Dave says I should­n’t peer in with binoc­u­lars.  “That’s the kind of thing that will get you shot.”
  • The Kuchi peo­ple have Kuchi Dogs which come in Sub-vari­ants like: moun­tain-type, lion-type, tiger-type.   Last line in Wikipedia arti­cle cau­tions: “They are still a very prim­i­tive breed; per­haps not suit­ed to gen­tle soci­ety.”  Then again, you can get them in the Bay Area. 
  • Pash­tun Dances: Attan — spin­ning sim­i­lar to whirling Dervish­es, and Khat­tak.  I’m sure some­one some­where has ana­lyzed the sim­i­lar­i­ties of var­i­ous spin­ning dances, such as Lezkin­ka of the Cau­cus, the Dervish­es, or stick dances of the Tharu, etc.
  • I find this pecu­liar —> The­o­ry of Pash­tun Descent from Israel:
    Israel is plan­ning to fund this rare genet­ic study to deter­mine whether there is a link between the lost tribes of Israel and the Pash­tuns. (Wikipedia)

    “Of all the groups, there is more con­vinc­ing evi­dence about the Pash­tuns than any­body else, but the Pash­tuns are the ones who would reject Israel most fero­cious­ly. That is the sweet irony.”
    —Shal­va Weil, anthro­pol­o­gist and senior researcher at the Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty of Jerusalem
  • The Extreme Tourist — Aus­tralian Trav­el Show about Afghanistan.  One of our con­tacts here in Jalal­abad has worked as the local fix­er for the show.
  • NYT Video: Ashu­ra in Afghanistan — Kab­ul’s annu­al Ashu­ra fes­ti­val, in which Shi­ite Mus­lims whip them­selves to the point of blood, reflects new free­doms and old tra­di­tions in today’s Afghanistan.
  • Graph­ic Pho­tos of the same event —“Muharram is the first month of the Islam­ic cal­en­dar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fight­ing is pro­hib­it­ed… [I guess the alter­na­tive is to focus agres­sion inward.] The tenth day of Muhar­ram is called Yaumu‑l ‘Ashurah, which is known by Shia Mus­lims as ‘the day of grief’. On this day the death of Imam Hues­sein, grand­son of Prophet Moham­mad, is mourned. He was killed in the 7th cen­tu­ry bat­tle of Kerbala.”
  • A friend in Kab­ul told us about the best place to get the down­low of social hap­pen­ings about town. He had for­got­ten the name of the site, so he called a friend. Can you guess what it is? Couch­Surf­ing Group Afghanistan. I’ve been impressed by CS in the past, say by how many couch­es are on offer in Iran, but I had not until that point con­sid­ered surf­ing in Afghanistan 😉 Have a look for yourself.
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