In the mid twentieth century, Afghans believed their nation could be a model of economic and social development that would inspire the world. Instead, political conflict, foreign invasion, and civil war have left the country impoverished and politically dysfunctional. Theyhoped to see Afghanistan become a more just and democratic nation. But their visions for their country were radically different, and in the end, all three failed and were killed or exiled.
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Justice Olney. Canberra: Aus- Afghans with the knowledge and tacit approval of the Brit- tralian Publishing Service. This man created the original framework for current ethnic tensions and hostili- Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad. David ties in Afghanistan. Berkeley: University of California Press, Edwards has become known popularly as a special- or mujahidin and their assembly line Jihad. These U.
He taught English in Kabul during the ents caused the collapse of the Afghan center in and s but has not conducted field research inside the coun- the Taliban are the progeny of this collapse. For Edwards to try. Using information from Persian language ishing. He misses no chance to ridicule Taraki. In place of ethnographic data, that country. The source he cites for this portrayal does latter book was based on biographical narratives of three he- not in fact say this.
Per- Afghanistan. However, his made up the bulk of the population and the millions of Af- discussion is uninformed by the fact that virtually all tribal ghan migrants who moved to Peshawar and vicinity. Generally speaking, in Afghanistan as elsewhere, 51 , which awkwardly translates as sword cuts on no- both men and women are able to uphold honor and incur ble man. The reality is that Afghans who migrated to doing so he strains ethnographic logic. Peshawar were predominantly from the Paxtu-speaking Two chapters in part 3 use the life history of Muhammad eastern and southern parts of Afghanistan.
Iran absorbed Amin Waqad to portray the rise and fragmentation of Is- lamist parties in Peshawar. Again, there are questions of eth- most of the Persian speakers except for the Kabulis who mi- nographic integrity. In discussing the tribal assembly con- grated to Pakistan thinking that their prospects for moving vened by Muhammad Nadir near the shrine of Mulla of on to the West were better in Pakistan.
During my own Hadda in , for example, Edwards states: fieldwork in the summer of , Peshawar was flooded with migrants from Kabul—mostly from the elite, who did the government had decorated the meeting ground with not appear as uncomfortable as Edwards would want us to black banners. He uses The problem is that the source he cites for this information Pakhtun, Afghan, Afghan Pakhtun, and tribal Afghans, among contains nothing resembling what Edwards narrates in this others, interchangeably and with an Orientalist noncha- quotation.
Perhaps this is an oversight, but it would be quite lance that distorts the ethnic and tribal configuration of Af- unusual for the avowedly Sunni central government of Af- ghanistan. The book contains nu- outside observers, Edwards is convinced that the Paxtuns merous conceptual shortcomings that cast doubt on the vi- dominate Afghanistan. But an objective, historically, and eth- 27 , and tribe is interchangeably used with Pakhtun nographically informed analysis of the Afghan state and its culture, Paxtun society, tribal culture, tribal Afghans, Pakhtun central machinery establishes that it is not the Paxtuns who ethos, and honor.
A basic assumption in anthropology is that have ruled Afghanistan, it is a consortium of Persian speak- all human settings contain inconsistencies and contradic- ers who have dominated from the start.
It may be that to a narrow western interpretive Despite its deficiencies, this is an informative book full of perspective, ordinary contrasts in the Afghan polity appear promise. Interspersed throughout are insights about the reductionism is built around attempts at symbolic and dis- political economy of Afghanistan. The book provides useful course analysis carried out without proper linguistic tools or excursions to the Afghan conflict of the past 25 years as cultural competence.
The book is full of instances where im- portant local categories are misread, distorted, or garbled. A played out in Peshawar. Importantly, it also draws attention few examples will suffice: In Paxtu, sarai with a retroflex r , to the larger question of fault lines, not simply among Af- not salai p.
Paighur means rebuke, blame, ghan peoples but also within Afghan scholarship, fault lines reproach, while kanza means insult; in Persian, sympathizer against which Edwards struggles. The tectonics that produce translates as hamdard not ham nawai, which roughly means the latter are driven by an obsession with stereotypical rep- collaborating; hamkar is a coworker or colleague not a sup- resentations of Paxtuns and their supposed domination of porter, which translates as pushtiban p.
In Paxtu Afghanistan. Social networks, for example, facilitate the upgrad- tier. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hanifi, M. Jamil ing of skills and build community. In Rethinking Refuge and Displacement.
Gozdziak and D. Shandy, eds. Robinson, J. Stanford: Stan- an ethos of cultural flexibility. It is divided into ples of how technology becomes a mode of social control in two parts: the first concentrating on the effects of techno- the life of a nanny, or how even janitorial training programs logical saturation and the second on cultural complexity. Life is colonized by work and technology—engineer- nography makes an important contribution to anthropo- ing magazines litter dining-room tables, e-mail responsibili- logical debates about the existence and contours of an emer- ties are perpetual, technology becomes a centerpiece of fam- gent global culture.
The cultural patterns identified here for ily interaction. In the process, boundaries between home Silicon Valley will serve as a valuable point of comparison and work blur, and the self becomes another project to be for researchers—and, perhaps, a cautionary note for citi- streamlined.
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At age twenty-eight, the ambitious showman from Cripple Creek, Colorado, had become an international celebrity through his immensely popular lecture tour "With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia. Two years into it, however, he was feeling the need for an encore, and Edmund Allenby and T. Lawrence were a hard act to follow—Lawrence in particular. Before Thomas had transformed him into a household name, Lawrence had been a somewhat reclusive figure whose story was well known to only a small number of military and diplomatic insiders. Thomas had changed that picture with his richly embroidered tales of the handsome archaeologist, garbed in the robes of "a prince of Mecca," who blew up Turkish trains and inspired a fierce devotion among the Bedouin tribesmen who followed him.
Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad
Justice Olney. Canberra: Aus- Afghans with the knowledge and tacit approval of the Brit- tralian Publishing Service. This man created the original framework for current ethnic tensions and hostili- Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad. David ties in Afghanistan. Berkeley: University of California Press, Edwards has become known popularly as a special- or mujahidin and their assembly line Jihad.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Journal of Interdisciplinary History By David B. Edwards Berkeley, University of California Press, pp. These "fault lines," always in tension, were illuminated through the sophisticated analysis of three turn-of-the-century figures, the "Iron Amir," the ruler of Afghanistan; a tribal chief; and a Muslim saint. Edwards now studies three recent leaders, none in this case likely to be thought a "hero": Nur Muhammad Taraki a leader of the Communist revolution ; Samiullah Safi, a tribal khan; and Qazi Amin Waqad, a leader in the Hizb-i Islami, one of the anticommunist jihad organizations. Throughout, the events and personalities of the earlier period provide a counterpart to the analysis of recent developments. The result is a book that, even though written before September 11, , provides a superb introduction to the current tragedy of Afghanistan.