Bicycles are widely used, even through slush-filled winter streets.
KABUL, Afghanistan--The local television stations were jammed Wednesday with tributes to the late mujahedeen leader Ahmed Shah Masoud, the leading candidate for new national hero in the emerging state of Afghanistan. It was Masoud Day, the anniversary of that dark day in September 2001 when the Lion of the Panjshir was murdered, assassinated if you’re bucking for heroic stature, by al-Queda operatives masquerading as journalists.
Every nation-state needs at least a few heroes who can claim the universal support of the populace, even if they never had it when they were alive. Martin Luther King Jr. dead and buried is lionized by politicians who would belittle, harass, persecute and incarcerate him if he were alive today railing against American imperialism as he did before he was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968. With no mouth to speak, the history of Rev. King can be lobotomized and his public memory polished up and made presentable.
The crafting of national mythologies and heroes typically requires the erasure of unpleasant counter-memories, in this case the remembrances of Masoud’s former enemies. I don’t wish to pillory his memory, but I suspect every Afghan resistance leader who is idolized by his followers is hated by the surviving loved ones of his former enemies. The narratives of nation-making in any country are constructed from selected memories, which requires selective amnesia, villains who draw attention to heroes, some variation on the triumph of light over darkness, and a sequencing that presents the social inequality of the status quo as the consequence of history inevitability. Many rivers of blood must be ignored so that leaders who emerge will not be seen standing on the shoulders of the vanquished. Northern European dominance In the United States cannot be explained without the genocide of indigenous people, black slavery, and ruthlessly exploited migrant labor.