The Language of War

by bicyclemark 1 Comment

The De-Landmined Kabul Golf Club

Afghanistan is a country of many ethnicities, tribes and languages, which many people can explain to you if you have the time to listen.  But there is one language you don’t often read about that is spoken throughout Kabul and no doubt the nation. In café’s and restaurants, over lunch and late into the night after dinner, Afghans and foreigners alike, are speaking the language of war.

The language of war consists of words connected to violence and armed conflict, both in the present and the past tense.  It is made up of the saddest and most terrifying stories; about murder, kidnapping, threats, moments of extreme panic, and people who have been lost to any of these.  It is spoken by those who have been here for 5 years or 5 days, spoken while passing the rice or just passing time at a friend’s house. Beyond any of this, it is spoken with an ease and regularity that makes it one of the most widely spoken and understood languages in the nation.

I find history to be one of the most important and interesting topics one can discuss, no matter how exciting or mundane. I find personal experiences to be a constant source for learning and inspiration. Yet after almost one month listening the accounts of what it was like in what terrible situation, from both participants and observers, I find myself hating history and personal experience.  Unable to listen to the language of war because something about it seems so bad for everyone in the conversation.

Surely there are import lessons to be learned from discussing these topics.  Surely if our nations, our fellow humans, can carry out all the terrible actions of war, then we can confront them and not be afraid to examine these events among friends. Why should the language of war be considered taboo, when hiding the truth can only serve to keep us from learning lessons and not repeating mistakes.

While I know how important testimony and understanding are, especially in the context of war or violence, I am taken aback by the language of war.  I want to stop the stories. I want to turn up the music. As strange as it may seem, the more the language of war is spoken, the less meaning it has to me, the previously outspoken citizen journalist.

bmtv95 Wire Comparison 1

by bicyclemark 5 Comments

The Wire gives alot of great examples of the type of behavior and power struggles that take place in all levels of life.? In this video, I look at 2 particular Wire characters and who they represent, and juxtapose that with what is happening in the middle east. Yes, Im serious.

More War Crimes

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

There are many events that take place in this world that we… myself included.. can describe as crimes. Crimes take many forms and have different degrees. Among these forms, one of the most horrendous in my eyes – becuase it is so tacidly approved of and glorified in our collective culture, is war.? Stop with the World War II references, there hasn’t been a just war since… since.. how can anyone call a war just? It is a contradiction in terms, especially in 2009, when as a world we know so much more about why things happen, why people suffer and who benefits in keeping in that way.? It is not a mystery of why one group hates another, there are very clear causes and those causes are rarely addressed because too many people profit from perpetuating hatred and conflict.

This World, That World

by bicyclemark 2 Comments

Watch my talk “Not Soy Fast: The Silent March of the multinational GM Soy industry” Tuesday at 12h45pm CET, 6h45 EST. Streaming from one of these links.

Inside we are several thousand, over the past 3 days, shuffling about the Berliner Congress Center. Some for the first time, some for the third time, and many for the 25th time. The voices are loud and plentiful, people waving a laptop in one hand, planting them in front of neighbors to show them something they’re working on. A whole line of guys in one corner all have those Madonna headsets, though none of them has said a word in the last 30 minutes.? The flying object guys connect their flying objects to various sockets, an occasional test to see how the take off would look or the propellers are spinning. They don’t notice the Italian hacker walking around in his flowing robe with a bottle of grappa and a stack of plastic cups for anyone who wants to partake.? He comes over to the group of people I am with