Jul 10, 2018

Meeting Miss Iowa

I happened to meet Miss Iowa in downtown Washington DC today. I gave her and her mom a mini tour on Pennsylvania Avenue, showed some landmarks on both sides, and snapped a couple of pictures of her in front of the FBI Building. She said she has been following the American drama series called "Criminal Minds" and it features the FBI Building in Washington DC. (I have never watched this show)

Toward the end of our tour when I asked her and her mom what they are in town for, she said she is here for the beauty pageant's event. It was then that I realized what an important guest I have on board and toured. She was so humble and when I asked her to take a photo with me, she delightfully conceded. Her mom took out her white sash from her purse, which the words "Miss Iowa" were embroidered on. Then she draped on her right shoulder to pose for a photo. It was so humbling moment to meet her; alas, I forgot to ask her name. If I were the judge and if I were to appraise her personality, I would give her 100. She absolutely deserves to be the winner of the beauty pageants. Go Miss Iowa!

Jun 29, 2018

An Encounter with a Protester

This afternoon, I was on my way back from the Folklife Festival at the Mall in downtown Washington DC, as I was about to cross the 12th street and Pennsylvania Ave I was flagged down by an old lady named Mary. I got off my bike and went close to her to hear what she was trying to say. She asked me where the National Portrait Gallery is. I gave her the address but our short exchange struck up an interesting conversation in which lasted a couple of minitues.

I asked her where did she come from and has she ever been to DC before. She told me that she was in DC to join the protest against Trump's policy on children's separation from their parents at the borders tomorrow on June 30. I asked her a few more questions on what exactly she thought of immigration and especially child separation and eventually what would she think of illegal immigration and as a protester what she would ask Trump to do. She did not have much to say but her final words were "I am here to protest against Trump," "He is not my president and I don't like him." I asked her whether she reads the newspapers, she said, she doesn't trust the newspaper any longer.

Mary has travelled from Denver Colorado at the behest of her daughter who is an attorney in Washington DC.  She told me that her daughter called her to come to DC and join her for a protest tomorrow.

As we separated, I started thinking about the expenses of her flight that could be spent on children's shelters and children's education, perhaps, to those children who are now separated from their families at the border. And of course I thought of Mary's lack of recognition and understanding why she was going to protest besides frustration and anger which is now becoming inherent in liberals. It is this anger, frustration, and ignorance that now play a big role in creating a big rift between right and left. The result of this gap is the rise of populism on both sides, which eventually could be a backlash to democracy and liberal values.

Dec 2, 2017

Feeling Absurd

Absurdity doesn't go away, it has recently been persistent in numerous ways. I began to think if it is in fact the existence itself that perpetuates the absurdity. One may wonder weather it is an entity that operates within the sphere of life and if so, wouldn't it be proper to say life is absurd?

Feeling absurd is just like you become part of it. It carries you from one level to another, it passes through your judgement, it blurs the path which you go through, lest you find the trace. You are thrown into an opaque world. You are absurd.

The landscape that absurdity occupies is not minatory, you are not being thrown into a hostile state, it is rather a placid tedium not known to you. Absurdity is a liminal world, albeit not in spiritual sense or something that would include ritual. The climate of absurd world is desolate, dolorous and inescapable. It forces itself into you to do away with your desire to live. Such is the state that I am thrown in.

This is an undated note which I found in my notebook. I thought I should post it here. It reminds me of the Myth of Sisyphus that I read a couple of years ago.

Oct 2, 2017

From the University of Arkansas

In regards to my previous blog post on Bahar Jalali's racist tweet, today, I received the following e-mail from the University of Arkansas saying that Bahar Jalali does not work in their institution. 

The University of Arkansas was contacted by a reader of your blog, http://www.afghanlord.org/2017/09/bahar-jalali-afghan-educator-or-racist.html regarding Bahar Jalali. There is no employee on our campus named Bahar Jalali, so to refer your readers to Dean Michael Miller isn't useful to your cause. If you could please correct this on your blog, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you,
Laura Jacobs
associate vice chancellor
The information is corrected in my previous blog post. I would like to ask the readers of this blog that please do not contact the university anymore. I am sorry that I misinformed you. Bahar Jalali has probably worked their before but not anymore. She may have forgotten to update her Linkedin profile, which says that she currently works there. 

Sep 30, 2017

Bahar Jalali: An Educator or a Racist?

Bahar Jalali is a well-educated Afghan-American woman. According to her Linkedin profile, she has received her MA from the University of Chicago and studied her doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley. She has taught at American University of Afghanistan for six years.

I was hoping that those Afghans who grew up in the West have skipped the inherited hatred of the Hazaras, but it turns out that I have been wrong. Here it is an evidence from an American born Afghan woman:

What makes Bahar Jalali, an American born Afghan to harbor such hatred towards the Hazaras who have been persecuted throughout the history? She says that the Hazaras should leave Afghanistan. That is exactly what the Taliban wanted almost two decades ago.

In November 1998, when the Taliban force took over the city of Mazar-e Sharif for the second time, the Taliban/Pashtun governor of Balkh, Mullah Manan Niazi, announced that the Hazaras are infidels and killing them is not a sin. Niazi then gave Hazaras three options: convert to Sunni Islam, leave the country, or die.

It is surprising to read such a racist tweet by an Afghan-American woman regarding the Hazaras who have been oppressed by her people for centuries. She must know better than anyone else what the Hazaras have been through. I can't help but to surmise that she has is a racist and she hates the Hazaras; the same people who have been working hard to rebuild the country. The sons and daughters of the same people whom she hates serve in army and police. In fact, when Jalili worked at American University of Afghanistan, the Hazaras have been protecting her from danger. The Hazaras were security guards at the compound where she held her classes.

I might write another blog post on this, but for now what can be done about it? What would you do to help her learn that she must take responsibility for her actions?
Remember she is an American citizen and she lives and works in the US.

Aug 26, 2017

Stories of Eclipse from Around the World

Wouldn't be interesting if stories and reactions of people regarding the eclipse collected from around the world?

That would a fascinating work because it would not only be entertaining but also enlightening and informative. People will learn about different culture and people's myths regarding the eclipse. It would also tell us about the world view of particular culture influenced by religions and traditions. I guess this would be an anthropological project for, perhaps, a Ph.D. candidate or anyone else who would be interested in folk culture and myths.

If I do this project, I would start from my father. He used to tell us stories that earth is on a giant horn of an ox. But the weight on its long horn of the ox causes its neck to hurt or ache. And that is when the earth quake happens when the ox is changing the burden from one horn to another.

When the eclipse happened, he blamed it on people's sin that evaporates like cloud in the air and rise up until it reaches the solar or moon and finally covers it. Maybe most of the stories would narrate in similar fashion, but I'm doubtful that a person in Africa or South America would think the same way that my father does. It would definitely be different and collecting stories of such myth is worth it.