P.J. O'Rourke goes to Afghanistan
Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:47 AM
Yes, that could be the title for a very funny movie.
Instead, P.J. O'Rourke writes about his Afghanistan journey in a cover story for The Weekly Standard:
If you spend 72 hours in a place you’ve never been, talking to people
whose language you don’t speak about social, political, and economic
complexities you don’t understand, and you come back as the world’s
biggest know-it-all, you’re a reporter. Either that or you’re President
Obama. I called my wife. She said, no, she certainly is not vacationing
at government expense in some jet-set hot spot with scads of her BFFs.
Looks like I’m not President Obama. But I am a reporter, fresh from
Kabul. What do you want to know about Afghanistan, past, present, or
future? Ask me anything.
As all good reporters do, I prepared for my assignment with extensive
research. I went to an Afghan restaurant in Prague. Getting a
foretaste—as it were—of my subject, I asked the restaurant’s owner (an
actual Afghan), “So what’s up with Afghanistan?”
He said, “Americans must understand that Afghanistan is a country of
honor. The honor of an Afghan is in his gun, his land, and his women.
You take a man’s honor if you take his gun, his land or his women.”
And the same goes for where I live in New Hampshire. I inquired
whether exceptions could be made, on the third point of honor, for
“Oh yes,” he said.
Afghanistan—so foreign and yet so familiar and, like home, with such
wonderful lamb chops. I asked the restaurateur about other similarities
between New Hampshire and Afghanistan. “I don’t know,” he said. “Most of
my family lives in L.A.”
I wonder whether the memory of this recent trip will endure as long as O'Rourke's experience with livestock.
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