All bad ‘gods’ in Afghanistan

Posted on | juli 6, 2011 | No Comments

We, four Afghan researchers, were in Delhi to participate in a conference. It was very expensive to make telephone calls from the five star hotel we were staying in, so we decided to buy Indian sim cards. In Afghanistan, you can buy a sim card from a boy on the street. But in Delhi it was quite a procedure. First we had to search for a shop which sold sim cards and once we were there, there were many forms to fill in, copies of passports and color photos were required, and the man in the shop as well as the mobile company had to confirm from the hotel. So we waited for hours.

The shop was full of every kind of deities. I asked the man: ‘Do you also sell these deities?’
‘No, they are our gods. We have 34 thousand (or million?) gods. We have gods for everything,’ he said.
‘Which one is for mobile phones so I request him to finish this long procedure?’
He smiled, and said: ‘No, we don’t have a god for mobile phones yet.’ Then he asked me how many gods we had in Afghanistan.

‘Our country is smaller, so we have fewer of them. The biggest is called Karzai. He is the god of corruption. Then we have gods for terrorism, they are called Mullah Omar and Hekmatyar. Dostam is another god who mainly does mass-killings….’

He cut me, and said: ‘But they are all bad gods. Is there any good god in Afghanistan?’
I thought for a minute but could not think of any.
A Pashto newspaper in Peshawar had published a report of Reporters without Borders. ‘Without borders’ is translated ‘be sarhada’ in Pashto. But because of some typing mistakes or machine problems it was printed ‘be sara’ (without heads).
Above the front gate of a Karachi, Pakistan, girls school I saw this written, in 2002: ‘THE PENIS IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD.’
From a Dubai hotel to the airport, I found that the taxi driver was a Pashtun, from Swat. At that time the Pakistan army had launched an operation against the Mullah Fazlullah militants and thousands of people were displaced. People were getting killed and schools were burned down every day. I said: ‘I hope your family is safe.’

‘Yes, our village is completely safe. That is the only village in Swat where there is no fighting and no killings.’
‘That sounds good but strange. Do you have a village lashkar (army) or something else for security?’
‘No. Actually there is no mosque and no mullahs in our village,’ the taxi driver said.
Ramazan Bashardost was one of the candidates during the August 2009 presidential elections in Afghanistan. His name is written the same as the month of Ramadan in Dari and Pashto (also in Arabic and Urdu). The election results were not out yet but there were posters everywhere in Kabul with ‘Ramazan Mobarak’ (Happy Ramadan: the word ‘Mobarak’ is also used to say ‘congratulations in Pashto) to welcome the holy month of fasting. A British journalist, who could read some Dari and Pashto words, had written to his newspaper office that the election results were not out yet but it looked that Ramazan Bashardost had won the election because ‘there are posters on every wall of Kabul congratulating him.’
A friend of mine wanted to create a yahoo ID in Peshawar. His name was Abdul Salam. But there was already an ID with that name. He tried abdulsalamafghan, afghanabdulsalam, abdulsalam2010, and some others, but all were ‘not available.’ Finally he entered ‘son of donkey.’ The immediate response was: ‘Congratulations! Your ID is created.’

AUTHOR: Hadi Hairan
E-MAIL: ahhairan [at]


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