OUT TO LUNCH
The jury is still out on whether the new look Taliban are any different from the old look Taliban and whether Afghanistan can look forward to a bright and prosperous future under its new government.
Of course, when I say the jury is still out I am largely talking nonsense and pandering to the somewhat deluded lefty minority who appear on our TV screens from time to time suggesting that things could be very different this time around now the evil influence of the western patriarchy has left.
A news report last week quoted a Taliban spokesman as saying that Afghanistan is now one of the safest places to be in the world. With a poorly educated lunatic standing on every street corner carrying one of the automatic weapons that the US Army very kindly left behind I’m not in the least bit surprised that the average terrified Kabul citizen is breathing a sigh of relief and saying thank heavens we have peace and stability in the country now the imperialists have cleared off.
Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light and Sky News UK carried disturbing pictures of two very bruised and bloodied Afghan journos who had fallen foul of the new order by covering a demonstration by a few brave Afghan women who were marching against the Taliban and getting beaten with rifle butts for their troubles.
But this was obviously anti Taliban propaganda and there was equally prominent TV coverage of another demonstration by pro Taliban women who assured the new government that they were there to do their best to rebuild the country.
It can only be a matter of time before ads start appearing in the Afghan Sunday newspapers calling for applicants to fill key government positions with the politically correct rider – “We are an equal opportunity employer. Preference will be given to candidates with very long beards”. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Being more on the side of the imperialists I suspect that Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban isn’t going to be much different to how it was in the late 1990’s. After all, when you are mentally stuck in the twelfth century and your core competency is blowing things up and beheading infidels you don’t really have an awful lot to offer the modern world.
Add to that a pathological hatred of women that ought to tempt the #MeToo movement to open a Kabul office where they could actually be of some use and a non-existent tolerance of LGBTQIA+ rights and you begin to realise that these unsmiling, bearded thugs don’t exactly leap out of bed in the morning full of the joys of life.
A typical day for a Talibanista probably goes something like this. Get up, comb insects out of beard, stroke automatic weapon, have brekky and get out on the street looking for an unaccompanied woman to hit. Then spend the rest of the day hanging around on the back of a Toyota bakkie looking menacing and keeping a sharp look out for another woman to hit.
Being that menacing really takes it out of a chap and there’s no opportunity to go home, pour a large scotch, and settle down with a good book to the gentle strains of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy coming out of the stereo speakers.
This is why booze, books and music are all banned, including musical instruments. Once a chap starts falling into such decadent ways you have the imminent collapse of society on your hands. Before you know it, the men are shaving and being kind to their women folk and we all know the damage that has done to Western society.
Here, I feel, the Taliban have got things so right. Make life so unbearably dreary and dull for your menfolk that it will drive them crazy and make them want to kill people, if only for something to do.
Now whether this translates to a good life for the average Afghan remains to be seen but I’m not optimistic. The new government have no obvious skills when it comes to delivering on even the most basic services like electricity and clean water.
In fact, I’m surprised that the Taliban’s ‘grande fromages’ haven’t actually banned electricity leading, as it does, to the purchase of decadent Western gadgets like curling tongs and pop-up toasters. When you’ve elected to lead what can only be described as a stone-age existence, coming to terms with something as sophisticated as a power station or a water purification plant must be heavily stressful.
But if they are going to make the country work they are going to have to have a few guys who know about these things on speed-dial. And threatening to shoot people unless they get the power up by nightfall isn’t going to work because the sort of people who provide these services prefer to send in an invoice.
Which brings me to the subject of money. According to news reports there were huge queues at the few functioning ATM’s just after the withdrawal of US and UK troops. Most of those in the queue were unlucky because there wasn’t enough cash in the machines and withdrawals were limited anyway. This isn’t the sort of thing to inspire confidence in a new regime but it’s early days.
So, how are the Taliban cabinet when it comes to deciding on macro-economic policies and job creation? Since they’re not terribly keen on books or formal education my guess is that the only economic policy will be to look after the poppy fields and keep the international drug trade going. Fortunately the decadent West has a ready market of heroin addicts.
The real question though is who will recognise the Taliban as a legitimate government and who will want to do business with them? At the moment nobody is rushing forward to offer foreign aid and the future for Afghanistan looks bleak. But it’s only a matter of time before China gets involved, if only to get at its traditional adversaries.
While China is well known for persecuting its Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang province and forcing them into labour camps I doubt whether this would bother the Taliban too much as far as a matter of principle is concerned. After all, money is money and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Now it begins to look as though the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has also been ‘captured’ and isn’t quite so independent after all I have noticed a sharp ramping up of gloom in the comments section of various online publications. I have to say that it came as no surprise to me that the IEC told the Constitutional Court they were talking twaddle and went on to give the thumbs up to local elections.
Now all the ANC have to do is to remember to register candidates which might be more difficult than it sounds seeing that Luthuli house staff remain unpaid and with very little prospect of being paid in the near future or being able to look forward to future job security or a well funded retirement scheme. Sadly, that’s what happens when you elect to work for a criminal organisation masquerading as a liberation party.
Bearing in mind that virtually every independent state entity has now been ‘captured’ by the corrupt ANC I decided to spare myself further anguish and head off along the scenic coast road to Hermanus to search for calving whales. It’s amazing how sitting on a bench on the cliff path watching these magnificent creatures can help put life back into perspective.
Lunch was at a small restaurant overlooking the ocean with more whales floating idly by and for a short while it seemed as though God was in his heaven and all was well with the world. And the news that the loathsome Carl Niehaus had finally been sacked from the ANC ended a perfect day.