All posts by Augmented

AFGHANISTAN IS RIGHT HERE! LIES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, by Andre Vltchek

Text and Photos: Andre Vltchek

Deep ravines of Afghanistan

It often appears that “true Afghanistan” is not here in Kabul and not in Jalalabad or Heart either; not in the ancient villages, which anxiously cling to the steep mountainsides.

Many foreigners and even Afghans are now convinced that the “true” Afghanistan is only what is being shown on the television screens, depicted in magazines, or what is buried deep in the archives and libraries somewhere in London, New York or Paris.

It is tempting to think that the country could be only understood from a comfortable distance, from the safety of one’s living room or from those books and publications decorating dusty bookshelves and coffee tables all over the world.

“Afghanistan is dangerous,” they say. “It is too risky to travel there. One needs to be protected, escorted, equipped and insured in order to function in that wild and lawless country even for one single day, or just a few hours.”

When it comes to Afghanistan, conditioned Western ‘rational brains’ of tenure or emeritus professors (or call them the ‘regime’s intellectual gatekeepers’) often get engaged, even intertwined with those pathologically imaginative minds of the upper class ‘refugees’, the ‘elites’, and of course their offspring. After all, crème de la crème ‘refugees’ speak perfect English; they know the rules and nuances of the game. The results of such ‘productive interaction’ are then imprinted into countless books and reports.

Books of that kind become, in turn, what could be easily defined as the ‘official references’, a ‘certified way’ to how our world perceives a country like Afghanistan. Their content is being quoted and recycled.

How often I heard, from the old veteran opinion makers (even those from the ‘left’) – people that I actually used to respect in the past:

“The Soviet era in Afghanistan was of course terrible, but at least many girls there had access to the education…”

It is no secret that ‘many girls had access to education’ in those distant days, but was it really “terrible”, that era? Was it “of course, terrible?” Baseless clichés like this are actually shaping ‘public opinion’, and can be much more destructive than the hardcore propaganda.

Continue reading AFGHANISTAN IS RIGHT HERE! LIES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, by Andre Vltchek

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Conversation: Milk-Bar Clausewitzes, Bean Curd Napoleons: In the Reign of Kaiser Don, by Fred Reed

Source: Fred on Everything

Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point.

Washington must either either start a war in Korea, or gets faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the empire this is a loss of face and credibility, and an example to others that America can be challenged.

Iran has not caved to Washington’s threats and sanctions and clearly isn’t going to. Another strategic loss, a big one, unless–the hawks seem to think–remedied by a war. Iran wants to trade with Europe and Europe likes the idea. Worse, Iran is becoming a vital part of China’s aim to integrate Europe and Asia economically. To the empire this smelñls of death. The frightened grow desperate.

China shows no signs of backing down in the South China Sea. For Washington, it is either war now, when thinks it might win, or be overshadowed as China grows.

Russia has irrevocably gotten the Crimea, is quietly absorbing part of the Ukraine, and looks as if its side is going to win in Syria. Three humiliating setbacks for the empire. Loss of control of the Mideast would be a strategic disaster for Washington.

Continued control of Europe is absolutely vital. European governments have groveled but now even they grow restless with Washington’s sanction against Russia, and European businessmen want more trade eastward. Growing trade with Asia threatens to loosen Europe’s shackles. Washington cannot allow this.

When you have militarily stupid politicians listening to pathologically confident soldiers, trouble is likely. All of these people might reflect how seldom wars turn out as those starting them expect. Wars are always going to be quick and easy. Generals not infrequently advise against a war but, once it begins, they bark in unison. They seldom know what they are getting into. Note:

The American Civil War was expected to be over in an afternoon at First Manassas. Wrong, by four years and some 650,000 dead.

Continue reading Conversation: Milk-Bar Clausewitzes, Bean Curd Napoleons: In the Reign of Kaiser Don, by Fred Reed

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Mosul’s Bloodbath: ‘We Killed Everyone – IS, Men, Women, Children’

Source: Information Clearing House

Iraqi soldiers receive brutal, final order in last days of battle with IS – Kill anything that moves. Results can be found crushed in the rubble

By MEE Contributor

July 27, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The Iraqi soldier looks out from his tiny three-walled room across a wasteland of rubble that crumbles steeply down to the banks of the Tigris River and contemplates the last days of the savage fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

“We killed them all,” he says quietly. “Daesh, men, women and children. We killed everyone.”

What remains of this part of Mosul’s Old City, where IS militants made their last stand, and what lies beneath betrays the horrific final days of the battle.

Hundreds of corpses lie half-buried in the broken masonry and rubble that was once a bustling, historic quarter. The stench of decaying flesh, which comes fast in the 50C summer heat, overwhelms the senses.

Feet are the most distinguishable remains; there are many poking from the rubble.

That final killing spree has left its mark, and it is one some appear keen to cover over.

Feet poke from the rubble of the Old City of Mosul (MEE)

Over the last week, armoured bulldozers have trundled back and forth over the crumpled houses, grinding uncounted corpses into the rubble.

But the dead refuse to go away. Rotting body parts glow a reddish-brown amid the pale grey of the undulating heatscape of masonry, dust and broken buildings.

“There are many civilians among the bodies,” an Iraqi army major tells MEE. “After liberation was announced, the order was given to kill anything or anyone that moved.”

Continue reading Mosul’s Bloodbath: ‘We Killed Everyone – IS, Men, Women, Children’

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

WHY I REJECT WESTERN COURTS AND JUSTICE, by Andre Vltchek

There is a small courthouse from the ‘British era’, standing right in the center of Hong Kong. It is neat, well-built, remarkably organized and some would even say – elegant.

Earlier this year I visited there with an Afghan-British lawyer, who had been touring East Asia for several months. Hong Kong was her last destination; afterwards she was planning to return home to London. The Orient clearly confused and overwhelmed her, and no matter how ‘anti-imperialist’ she tried to look, most of her references were clearly going back to the adoptive homeland – the United Kingdom.

“It looks like England,” she exclaimed when standing in the middle of Hong Kong. There was clearly excitement and nostalgia in her voice.

To cheer her up even more, I took her to the courthouse. My good intentions backfired: as we were leaving, she uttered words that I expected but also feared for quite some time:

“You know, there are actually many good things that can be said about the British legal system.”

*

I thought about that short episode in Hong Kong now, as I drove all around her devastated country of childhood, Afghanistan. As always, I worked without protection, with no bulletproof vests, armored vehicles or military escorts, just with my Afghan driver who doubled as my interpreter and also as my friend. It was Ramadan and to let him rest, I periodically got behind the wheel. We were facing countless detentions, arrests and interrogations by police, military and who knows what security forces, but we were moving forward, always forward, despite all obstacles.

From that great distance, from the heights of the mountains of Afghanistan, the courthouse in Hong Kong kept falling into proportion and meaningful perspective.

Continue reading WHY I REJECT WESTERN COURTS AND JUSTICE, by Andre Vltchek

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Conversation: Red Shi’ism (the religion of martyrdom) vs. Black Shi’ism (the religion of mourning), by Dr. Ali Shariati

Source: Iran Chamber Society

Islam is a religion which made its appearance in the history of mankind with the cry of “No!” from Mohammad (PBUH), the heir of Abraham, the manifestation of the religion of the Unity of God and the oneness of mankind; a “No” which begins with the cry of “Unity”, a cry which Islam reiterated when confronted with aristocracy and compromise.

Shi’ism is the Islam which differentiates itself and selects its direction in the history of Islam with the “No” of the great Ali, the heir of Mohammad and the manifestation of the Islam of Justice and Truth, a “No” which he gives to the Council for the Election of the Caliph, in answer to Abdul Rahman, who was the manifestation of Islamic aristocracy and compromise. This “No”, up until pre-Safavid times, is recognized as part of the Shi’ite movement in the history of Islam, an indication of the social and political role of a group who are the followers of Ali, known for their association with the kindness of the family of the Prophet. It is a movement based upon the Qoran and the Traditions; not the Qoran and the traditions as proclaimed by the dynasties of the Omayyids, Abbasids, Ghaznavids, Seljuks, Mongols and Timurids, but the ones proclaimed by the family of Mohammad.

The history of Islam follows a strange path; a path in which gangsters and ruffians from the Arab, Persian, Turk, Tartar and Mongol dynasties all enjoyed the right to the leadership of the Moslem community and to the caliphate of the Prophet of Islam, to the exclusion of the family of the Prophet and the rightful Imams of Islam. And Shi’ism begins with a “No”; a “No” which opposes the path chosen by history, and rebels against history. It rebels against a history which, in the name of the Qoran, Kings and Caesars, follows the path of ignorance, and in the name of tradition, sacrifices those brought up in the house of the Qoran and the Traditions!

Shi’ites do not accept the path chosen by history. They deny the leaders who ruled the muslims throughout history and deceived the majority of the people through their succession to the Prophet, and then by their supposed support of Islam and fight against paganism. Shi’ites turn their backs on the opulent mosques and magnificent palaces of the Caliphs of Islam and turn to the lonely, mud house of Fatima. Shi’ites, who represent the oppressed, justice-seeking class in the Caliphate system, find in this house whatever and whoever they have been seeking:-

Fatima:
the heir of the Prophet, the manifestation of the “rights of the oppressed” and, at the same time, the symbol of the first objection, a strong and clear embodiment of the “seeking of justice”. In the ruling system, these are the cries and slogans of subject nations and oppressed classes.

Ali:
the manifestation of a justice which serves the oppressed, a sublime embodiment of the Truth who is sacrificed on the altar of inhuman regimes, and which lies hidden in the layers of the formal religion of the rulers.

Hassan:
the manifestation of the last resistance of the garrison of “Imamate Islam”, who confronts the first garrison of “Islamic Rule”.

Hussein:
bears witness to those who have been martyred by the oppressors throughout history, heir of all the leaders fighting for freedom and equality and the seekers of justice, from Adam to himself, forever the messenger of martyrdom, the manifestation of bloody revolution.

Zeinab:
bears witness to all of the defenseless prisoners in the system of executioners, and is the messenger left after martyrdom, and the manifestation of the message of revolution.
Continue reading Conversation: Red Shi’ism (the religion of martyrdom) vs. Black Shi’ism (the religion of mourning), by Dr. Ali Shariati

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn

Conversation: THE WEST SPREADING NEW WAVE OF FEEL-GOOD MOVIES AND FALSE HOPES, by Andre Vltchek

Watch blockbuster movies from the “south” and chances are you will start to believe that the world is not really such a desperate place. Perhaps you might even get convinced that under the present imperialist and turbo-capitalist global arrangement things can always get better. If you live in a gutter somewhere in Sub-Continent or Africa, you could simply try hard, you could “believe in yourself and love yourself”, you could “listen to your instincts”, and everything may eventually fall into the right places. You could get acknowledged, rewarded and even catapulted from your misery into some plush pastures that are covering the tall green hills of success.

Think twice! Or… don’t think at all – just bury your head in the sand.

There were always books written and films produced just in order to please the Western funding agencies and propaganda machine. I described the process, colorfully, in my recent political/revolutionary novel “Aurora”.

Just think about Kite Runner written by an Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini, or about all those bestsellers by Salman Rushdie or Elif Shafak, books about India or Turkey, but intended almost exclusively for a Western audience, and often despised in their native countries.

The works of Rushdie and Shafak can at least qualify as “literature”. But now both the Western markets and mainstream media are demanding more and more of ‘feel good’ rubbish books and movies from poor countries, more and more of those simple, picturesque and ‘positive’ stories that are actually confusing and give false hopes to the local population of many poor countries.

Do you still remember Slumdog Millionaire? How realistic a scenario was that? First of all, it was not even an Indian film; it was a 2008 British movie, directed by Danny Boyle, who also had directed Trainspotting. It took place in the Juhu slum of Mumbai.

In 2011, I filmed in the same Mumbai slum where the movie was produced. I asked many, how likely was such a ‘success scenario’ in that filthy and hopeless neighborhood? The dwellers of the Juhu slum just dismissed the entire charade with derogatory gestures; why even waste precious words?

Continue reading Conversation: THE WEST SPREADING NEW WAVE OF FEEL-GOOD MOVIES AND FALSE HOPES, by Andre Vltchek

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someonePin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on TumblrDigg thisBuffer this pageShare on StumbleUponFlattr the authorShare on RedditPrint this pageShare on LinkedIn