Afghanistan Spring?

From a Tunisian friend, February 2011.

Some Tunisian friends invited me to a celebration of last year’s spring uprising in their country.  That revolution, at least in Tunisia, seems to have gone as well as anyone could possibly imagine, with democracy decisively triumphing over tyranny.  My friends were enormously proud of their country, as well they should be.  They were also proud that the Tunisian army, during the initial uprising and after, seemed thoroughly aligned with the will and mood of the people.  And my friends were proud of their country’s alliance with the United States, which they told me dated to 1789.

Do such sentiments exist in Afghanistan?  I like to think they do.

One place I locate potential for progressive change, first cultural, then political, is in the forward-leaning members of the Afghan military.  The common conception is that the ANA are a backwards army and corrupt at every level.  I’m well aware of the horrible incidents where supposed ANA allies turned their weapons on US soldiers.  And I know first-hand the difficulty of day-in, day-out collaboration with soldiers with vastly different backgrounds, perspectives, motivations, and allegiances.

Call me a fool then, but my take is still that there are many Afghan officers and soldiers, mostly but not all the young and the educated, who heavily invest in an ideal of pan-Afghan unity, are dedicated to the principle of rule of law, and are ideologically inclined to Western notions of representative government and free expression of ideas.  That’s based on 100s of hours of conversations, dozens and dozens of meals, and countless missions spent with the ANA.

I don’t know enough about all of Afghanistan to assert that such ideas are representative.  And Afghanistan isn’t Tunisia, or even Arabic, and all that has gone well in Tunisia has not been easily replicated elsewhere.  But I am sure those sentiments exist in the minds of at least some Afghans, waiting for nourishment and outlet.

Just saying.

Also from a Tunisian friend, February 2011.


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