Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Afghanistan: The Killing Fields

It’s astonishing how prescient novels like Animal Farm1984Brave New WorldThe Man in the High Castle, and yes Kafka’s The Castle turned out to be. Totalitarianism dominated the history of the 20th century in the forms of Stalinism and Nazism with detours in places like Cambodia and Bosnia, which were the sites of genocides. In the 21st century fundamentalism, the country cousin of totalitarianism has clearly reared its head. Why have the Taliban been able to gain such a foothold in Afghanistan repelling both the Russians and Americans, despite these superpowers' military might? Is it simply the resistance to colonialism or is these upsurges less political than spiritual--a revolt against modernity itself. In a recent photo essay in The New York Times Magazine, "What Will Become of Afghanistan’s post-9/11 Generation?," Kyana Hayeri, points to the pushback against a cosmopolitanism that threatened tradition.Tribalism is a characteristic of Trumpism. So it should not be surprising to find how threatening women’s rights can be in a society which thrived on "religiously" prescribed roles. History has shown that the perception of imminent chaos has fueled both totalitarian and fundamentalist regimes. One awaits the novel about the aftermath of the United States' exfiltration of Kabul.

Read "Paris Journal: Totalitarian Tourism" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

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