Saturday, April 28, 2012

World Affairs / Afghanistan

Ministry Speaker

I don't think I've ever gone to the Schnitzer on two consecutive nights.  I'm living the life of the high society deacon, pillar of my social club, balding, cigar smoking.  OK, not quite the right characterization, but around the theater, I can feel my identify field fluctuating, as other guys play me, or me them or whatever.

I'd hustled over from the salad bar at Safeway, enjoying the excuse to wolf food, alone, though I missed finding croutons.  I dropped the plastic container in torture taxi, having been trained to not treat plastic as an infinitely cheap waste product, contrary to cultural conditioning.

Thanks to PSU for the heads up and for snagging me a general seating ticket.

I got in fairly close on the far left.  The ushers didn't harass me about the no-flash pix -- I'm somewhat in the habit from ISEPP events, where I'm nominally on the video team (and the board), sometimes back stage.  World Affairs Council has different rules.

Sima Samar is my contemporary and she remembers calmer more intelligent days, as I do.  My family hopped a bus in Peshawar that time, not especially iron clad or anything, and had an enjoyable ride to Kabul, not in fear for our lives, enjoying the famous Khyber Pass for its scenery and history.

Glenn Baker had enjoyed living around here too, in Islamabad, occasionally getting to Kabul for inter-school sporting events.  Next, our family hopped an Aeroflot in Kabul and flew to Tashkent, for friendly time with the Borats or whomever, on to Moscow etc.

Looking back, the 1970s were probably a high point in civilization.  Not long before, I'd worked with Palestinians in Ramallah helping with a swimming pool construction project.  Our local crew had explosives, with state authorities not being that worried.

No wall or anything that stupid yet.

Bobby Fischer was at the peak of his career, at the apogee of the Cold War (at its least idiotic).

The long slow slide into Idiocracy was yet to begin, with Fox News leading the charge.  Leave it to Australians to dumb it all down.  Talk about cultural imperialism.

Anyway, Sima is spearheading a long, slow (fast in geological time) slog by the XX half of the species to cut itself a better deal.  This is a global, multi-ethnic struggle and it's easy to pick on the Taliban or some other group while applying some double standard to one's own club or whatever ("we allow women, as long as they let us run things").

So far, I'd say the XXs are going about it intelligently, with many XYs actually helping, including Barack.  Hillary (not present) drew some big applause from the audience.

I'm happy we have powerful women like Sima Samar doing brave and intelligent service.  I'm not as concerned as she is about Iranian influence over some TV and news channels, not to mention ISPs.  That's a neighboring country after all.

It'd be just like NATO to go on a bombing spree and take out all the transmission towers, given its own weak PR.  Shades of Belgrade, where the out of control Clinton administration grounded its ship and blew up the Chinese Embassy.  Like I was saying, the world got seriously stupid really fast, as the aging boomers rose to power.

The era of total incompetence (and hyper-specialization) was upon us.

I'm still thinking Jordan is somewhat in the lead in countering old XY hierarchies, keeping them from just assuming they're entitled and behaving in brutal fashion.  Here and there, pockets of men will demonstrate true leadership skills and civilization will benefit.

Lets celebrate intelligence wherever we find it.  Sometimes it pays to be "gender blind".

There's no reason we can't have more inter-visitation of this kind (Cascadia - Central Asia), with less obstruction from WDC / State.  Sima had gone to Bend as well.

The story about getting visas was just another reminder of how higher education has not yet fulfilled its promise to humanity.

Lets hope the pendulum starts swinging the other way again.