My first contact with Islam was in Afghanistan. I had been through Iran overland to get there, but it was in the days of the Shah’s White Revolution, which had given rights to women and had secularized society (with the aid of a little detention, without trial, and torture). In my naive, historicist way, I assumed that secularization was an irreversible process, like the breaking of eggs: that once people had seen the glory of life without compulsory obeisance to the men of God, they would never turn back to them as the sole guides to their lives and politics.
Afghanistan was different, quite clearly a pre-modern society. The vast, barren landscapes in the crystalline air were impossibly romantic, and the people (that is to say the men, for women were not much in evidence) had a wild dignity and nobility. Their mien was aristocratic. Even their hospitality was fierce. They carried more weapons in daily life than the average British commando in wartime. You knew that they would defend you to the death, if necessary—or cut your throat like a chicken’s, if necessary. Honor among them was all.
Stuk is van Theodore Dalrymple en uit 2004. Het is misschien ietwat lang, maar dat moet geen probleem zijn, zolang u nog geen kogels aan het poetsen bent en denkt het met woorden af te kunnen, heeft u tijd zat.
Headerfoto komt hier van:
I recalled some lines from Kipling’s ‘Young British Soldier’:
‘When you’re lying out wounded on Afghanistan’s plains,
‘and the women come out to cut up what remains,
‘you roll to your rifle and blow out your brains.’