Monday, 22 September 2008

Afghan history: first as tragedy, then as tragedy

Robert Fisk's latest column (1) describes how, in defiance of Marx's claim that "Hegel remarks ... all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce" (2), Afghanistan continues to be unspeakably tragic.

Perhaps if you look at it in geo-political terms, it is most amusing to watch the USA make the same mistake that the USSR - and Britain in the 19th century - made. But the reality is always that it comes back to dead people who don't deserve to suffer for the mistakes of their idiot leaders:
... Two of the American soldiers seized when the Taliban stormed into their mountain base on 13 July this year were executed by their captors.

And now it turns out that four of the 10 French troops killed in Afghanistan on 18 August surrendered to the Taliban, and were almost immediately executed.
...

... the Americans probably killed 90 people in Azizabad, most of them women and children. We – let us be frank and own up to our role in the hapless Nato alliance in Afghanistan – have now slaughtered more than 500 Afghan civilians this year alone. These include a Nato missile attack on a wedding party in July when we splattered 47 of the guests all over the village of Deh Bala. (3)
As Fisk pointed out in the column (4) he wrote about the assault he sufferred in Killa Abdullah, in the immediate aftermath of the invasion, it isn't at all surprising that the Afghans lashed out at him, after sufferring the 'shock and awe' of the invasion.

Nor is it suprising that the Afghans are tolerating the return of the Taliban. It is an ancient, atavistic response, but homegrown oppressors will always be preferred to foreign oppressors. Since we've failed to make ourselves liked, we've defaulted to the latter role.

1 - "Why does the US think it can win in Afghanistan?" by Robert Fisk in the Independent, 20th of September, 2008. (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisks-world-why-does-the-us-think-it-can-win-in-afghanistan-936185.html)
2 - "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, " by Karl Marx, 1852. (
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm)
3 - Fisk, op. cit.
4 - "My beating by refugees is a symbol of the hatred and fury of this Filthy War," by Robert Fisk in the Independent, 10th of December, 2001. Reproduced on findarticles. com. (
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20011210/ai_n14426800)

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