Skip to main content

Afghanistan - a segmented society

Afghanistan is, from an anthropological perspective, a segmented society. The primary patterns of political loyalty are to families, clans and ethnic groups.

Fundamentalist secularists tend to see religion as a cause of problems. It is in fact human nature that is a cause of problems religion tends to temper the worst aspects of human nature.

It is important to remember that religion tends to follow a segmented identity. When the UK was primarily segmented a thousand years ago Christianity followed the conversion of clan chieftans.

The division between Sunni and Shi'a Islam started out as a political division and became from that an ideological division.

To understand what is happening in societies it helps to deemphasise religion and look at the tribal loyalties.

The word Afghanistan is pronounced as if all the first three consonants are swallowed up and elided together. The languages spoken are those which tend to ignore the constancy of vowels and focus on the consonants. Hence words such as Pashtun can be written "Pathan" and pronounced as P'tan or Pushtoon.

The Pashtun are just under half of the population with Tajik about a quarter and other groups such as Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen and Baloch as well as other smaller groups. Different areas tend to be dominated by different ethnic groups.

What the UK is currently doing is taking on the Pashtun in Helmand. The problem is that you cannot win "hearts and minds" by shooting people. The UK armed forces are, therefore, have been given an impossible job. The more people they shoot the more likely people are to join with the opposition known as the Taliban.

This is not a complex ideological issue it is the simple traditional human one of my enemy's enemy is my friend.


Daniel said…

you have a link to a spam blog in the sidebar: Big Blunkett.

This is the kind of thing that can really hurt you in the various search engines, as they feed it back into the rating for your blog.



Popular posts from this blog

Statement re false allegations from Esther Baker

Statement by John Hemming
I am pleased that the Police have now made it clear that there has been a concerted effort to promote false criminal allegations against me and that the allegations had no substance whatsoever.
I would like to thank Emily Cox, my children, Ayaz Iqbal (my Solicitor), my local lib dem team and many others who supported me through this dreadful experience. There are many worse things that happen to people, but this was a really bad experience.
It is bad enough to have false allegations made about yourself to the police, but to have a concerted campaign involving your political opponents and many others in public creates an environment in which it is reasonable to be concerned about ill founded vigilante attacks on your family and yourself. Luckily there was a more substantial lobby to the contrary as well, which included many people who were themselves real survivors of abuse, which has helped.
I am normally someone who helps other people fight injustice. …

Homelessness vs Selling Books

Candidates in elections tend to find themselves very busy with lots of things to do.  It is, therefore, necessary to prioritise things to ensure that the important things are dealt with.

To me the issue of homelessness and rough sleeping is an important issue.  Therefore, when Birmingham's Faith Leaders group contacted me to ask me what I would propose and whether I would work with them to make things better I was pleased to respond with my views and indicate that I would work with them after the election.

The Faith Leaders Group (Bishops and other religious leaders in Birmingham) have now sent out their report.

Sadly, according to their report,  I was the only candidate for Yardley to respond.  The group in their report said:

"Particularly disappointing was the lack of response from some of those candidates seeking re-election as MP for their respective constituencies."
It is worth looking at the priorities of my opponent.
Interestingly today she has decided to be at th…

Millionaires and politics

The Labour Party spent most of the last election criticising me for being a successful businessman (aka millionaire). That is business in the private sector employing over 250 people. It is worth looking at the situation for the Labour Candidate now:

For the year 2016-7 Annual Income from Parliament74,962Specifically for her book51,250Other media income etc5,322.82Total declared income131,534.82

Traditionally anyone with an annual income of over £100,000 has been considered to be a millionaire. I did not use my position in parliament to increase my income.

I have been asked for sources for this. This BBC piece looks at how one should define rich. It was written in 2011 so the figures will be slightly out of date. There are perhaps 2 relevant pieces:
"In 1880 a rich person would have had £100,000 in assets or an income of £10,000 a year, he says. About a hundred people a year died leaving £100,000 and by 1910 this was 250 - "a microscopic fraction of the number of death…