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  • johnpi 5:26 pm on January 30, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Denial-istan, , , , , ,   

    Afghan men struggle with sexual identity, study finds.

    As if U.S. troops and diplomats didn’t have enough to worry about in trying to understand Afghan culture, a new report suggests an entire region in the country is coping with a sexual identity crisis.

    An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

    (More …)

     
    • johnpi 5:31 pm on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Whoa – this is too much. The last line of the report calls homosexuality, “an essential social force underlying Pashtun culture.”

      • Willow 10:28 pm on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        It’s not that uncommon in highly gender segregated societies, historically. Look at the Greeks. Same thing. Homosexuality as an identity/lifestyle is bad, but gay sex is fine, because women are inherently treacherous, dirty and spiritually impure. You’ll find more or less these exact sentiments in the enlightened works of Socrates and Plato. :)

        • Naeem 11:38 pm on January 30, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          AA-

          I see where you’re making the distinction b/w homosexuality and gay sex. However, I don’t think that gay sex is ever seen as ‘fine’ in these gender-segregated societies (like KSA). It is still seen as an abomination, but one less so than homosexuality.

    • razib, murtad fitri 12:21 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      i’m not one to get too fixated on semantics, but after reading the linked article i really think that part of the issue is that american categories don’t map well onto pashtun ones. and a cursory reading of history will show that the pashtun understanding is more common than the american one; the modern western model of companiate and romantic homosexual relationships between adult males is rarer than the pashtun model.

      • razib, murtad fitri 12:22 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        i mean an open acknowledgement and tacit acceptance of companiate and romantic homosexual relationships as anything less than bizarrely deviant. such relationships have existed in the past in likely in most cultures.

    • luckyfatima 1:39 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Oh gosh, why oh why did I take a look at the comments on the original article. Sigh. Excellent points you have, everyone above. Hmmm, I had been told by Pakistanis of other ethnicities that the ‘Pathans’ liked boys and such. I always just thought of it as a stereotype. Interesting to think of it contextualized and compared to Greek notions of gender and sexuality.

      • razib, murtad fitri 2:32 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        elite athenian women basically lived in purdah. one way you distinguished aristocratic east roman (greek) and and west roman (latin) women in public was that the former would wear a veil (the romans also engaged in the ‘scandalous’ practice whereby men and women ate together, a practice they adopted from the etruscans). the greek elite norms seem to have been widely shared among eastern mediterranean elites and further into mesopotamia and persia.

        the exception to this were spartan women, who were independent actors because their menfolk spent so much time in the barracks. the liberty which spartan women exercised was generally an exception to the various characteristics which admirers of sparta singled out as praiseworthy….

        • muffy 4:41 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yes, and Egyptian women had more rights than either the Greeks or the Romans. My understanding is that this held true even while Egypt was under Greco-Roman control. I wonder when the concept of “purdah” became widespread in Egypt, because it certainly wasn’t prevalent as long as in other parts of the middle east (and it’s not indigenous to Egyptian culture).

    • Muffy 4:08 am on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I must take issue with the way the article conflates “homosexual sex” with “sex with boys.” The two are NOT the same. The latter would better be described as pedophilia or pederasty, not homosexuality. Furthermore, a lot of the same-sex encounters described amongst various cultures, e.g. the ancient Greeks and Samurai, are more characterised by man-boy (or man-adoescent) love than man-man love (between two adults).

    • johnpi 3:27 pm on January 31, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I have my doubts about this study for a number of reasons.

      1) The formative myth of the Taliban is that one day Mullar Omar pulled together a mob to attack a militia tank commander who had kidnapped a local man’s child for sexual use. The man was lynched from the barrel of his tank. This implies to me that Pashtun acceptance of homosexual conduct – or more specifically, ‘using boys for pleasure’ – is more dynamic than presented in this Fox News story.

      2) The anecdote being cited in this report is interpreters working for the coalition forces. I’m not comfortable making assumptions that the Pashtuns that go to work for the coalition are representative of the rest of the population.
      Also, as Razib alluded to, who is ‘active’ and who is ‘passive’ matters from what I’ve read about notions of homosexuality in that part of the world – but also in this part of the world too. The construct “contracted gonorrhea anally” is ambivalent at best and misleading at worse about what part of this behavior they were engaged in, and lends itself to being used by haters who want to disparage all Pashtuns as ‘fags.’

      3) A lot of people don’t like the Pashtuns, both in the West and there in South Asia. Rightly or wrongly, they get blamed for Pashtunistan being global headquarters of Spectacular Terrorist Attack Inc., which has caused so much pain and persecution for many of us. We may be biased against Pashtuns and therefore inclined to enable nasty stereotypes out of pure dislike.

      4) AIDS. Anal sex is the highest-risk-possible way of transmitting the AIDS virus. If Pashtun men were so sexually gregarious with one another, then there should be a serious visible AIDS crisis in that country on a par with sub-Saharan Africa (where AIDS is transmitted more hetrosexually than homosexually).
      One possible response to this point is that Afghans are so isolated that AIDS may not have disseminated very deeply into that population yet, but that theory doesn’t hold. The Taliban’s earliest supporters were the trucker mafias who wanted safe routes to move goods back and forth through Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. The transit trade has been notorious in India for spreading AIDS along their routes in that country, and it’s fair to assume that the same pattern would exist in Afghanistan. The transit mafia truckers had almost 10 years of Taliban rule in Southern Afghanistan to establish AIDS in the region – and yet, Afghanistan does not have a major AIDS epidemic

      I would like to hear from some actual Pashtuns/Pathans, if we have any reading the site who are willing to speak out about their observations of gay conduct in their culture.

      • aziz 1:34 pm on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This implies to me that Pashtun acceptance of homosexual conduct – or more specifically, ‘using boys for pleasure’ – is more dynamic than presented in this Fox News story.

        I havent read Rashid’s book so this is the first ive heardd of this founding myth. But it seems that the myth is based on a reaction to a kidnapping and pederasty, not homosexuality per se. It would be much the same story if it was a man’s daughter kdinapped for sexual purposes instead of a boy.

        The larger issue of homosexual behavior among the Pashtun is kind of a non issue – whether its true or not, the only real relevance is the impact on public health. In that regard I find testimony from health workers in the field to be pretty compelling. Still, does it really matter?

        Im just not sure why its news either way. Its treatment of women that matters more uin terms of correlation to human rights and a return to traditional Islamic norms about women’s status which teh Taliban have essentially rejected, as have most extremist groups.

      • cbarwa 3:00 pm on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        The formative myth of the Taliban is that one day Mullar Omar pulled together a mob to attack a militia tank commander who had kidnapped a local man’s child for sexual use. The man was lynched from the barrel of his tank. This implies to me that Pashtun acceptance of homosexual conduct – or more specifically, ‘using boys for pleasure’ – is more dynamic than presented in this Fox News story.

        Most accounts have this as the rape and kidnapping of some local girsl – consdering the honour element involved, this would have been pretty commonly understood to be beyond the pale in Pashtun society.

        • aziz 3:21 pm on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          agreed, and that makes it even less relevant to the homosexual tendencies or lack thereof of Pashtun males.

          i think homosexuality is a pink herring :)

    • name 7:07 pm on February 28, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

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  • johnpi 8:57 pm on November 17, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Denial-istan, , , ,   

    Wild theories: Only one in four Pakistanis believe Taliban militants responsible for bomb attacks (video).

     
  • johnpi 1:15 pm on May 15, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: Denial-istan, , , , , , , ,   

    For the western forum that Huffington Post represents, a producer for Link TV focuses on how the Western media conflates Talibanization and Shariah law, and how many women support Islamic law but oppose the Taliban.

    However, the actual video she produced for Link TV, Women vs the Taliban, which surveys worldwide media coverage of the Taliban and the women who resist them, also highlights the denial that has been prevalent until recently about how aberrant the Taliban actually are. A clip from Nai Rahain’s Pakistani TV talk show is excerpted. Here, Rahain describes two guests responses on her show after the flogging video came to light:

    Both my Peshawar guests were in complete denial of women’s rights being violated in Swat, to the extent that Mr. Shahraaz Khan accused Samaa of ‘making up’ this [flogging] video and doing a great disservice to Pakistan by airing it. Ms. Shagufta Malik was firm in her belief that her government had a solid control of the area and post peace-deal no such events had taken place. They both denied women being banned from leaving their homes or accessing public places, even though my sources confirmed that due to threats from TTP, shopkeepers of popular markets in Swat and Malakand including Bara Market, Sitara Market, Abaseen Market, Waqar Market and Waqas Market had strictly prohibited women coming unaccompanied by male family members.

     
    • GreesHeniahen 4:02 am on February 10, 2010 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Perhaps the most compelling sunless tanning products I’ve heard about are lotions and sprays containing dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the active ingredient.

      Apparently the sugar interacts with the dead skin cells, a color transformation occurs. This change as a rule lasts close to five to seven days from the original application.

      I’m honestly wondering if anyone can point me in the correctt direction as to the finest and cheapest option that’s known to work. I really don’t want to end up all Orange.

  • johnpi 12:28 pm on May 5, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Denial-istan, , , ,   

    The Huffington Post is asking people living in Pakistan to sign up to send reports “- either snippets of information or full-length stories – about how the political crisis affects life in Pakistan. If you are interested, this is an opportunity to have a continued conversation with Americans about what’s happening in your country.”

    A great idea. That’s how Huffpo got the excellent “Denial-stan” article that I linked to here earlier this week. If you live in Pakistan and are reading this – contact Huffpo and go for it. The less information is mediated by Western media and Western Muslims, the better.

     
    • PI.info 12:32 pm on May 5, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      The less information is mediated by Western media and Western Muslims, the better.

      If it weren’t for those darn outsiders…

      (Jokes on me this time ;-) )

  • johnpi 7:47 pm on May 3, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Denial-istan, , , , ,   

    Denial-istan goes to Baghdad.

    Iraqi ‘executioner’ defends killing of gay men.

    “We see this [homosexuality] as a serious illness in the community that has been spreading rapidly among the youth after it was brought in from the outside by American soldiers,” he said, in an interview in the Iraqi capital. Abu Muslim is not his real name. “These are not the habits of Iraq or our community and we must eliminate them.”

    If it weren’t for those darn outsiders…

     
  • johnpi 8:23 am on May 1, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Denial-istan, , , Indian secret agents, , , , , ,   

    Denial-istan.

    In the absence of national leadership or even basic coherence at the top, rumors and ideological punditry masquerade as reason. A television anchor insists that all the attacks are the handiwork of Indian intelligence agents. A talking head on another channel claims that the Taliban are misunderstood – all they want to do is to bring swift justice to the country. Another strategic expert assures viewers that everything happening in Pakistan is the U.S.’s fault. Drone attacks are creating anti-Americanism, and its only natural that those attacked will retaliate wherever they can. If the US were to simply stop the drone attacks on Pakistan, everything would be just fine. The fact that Pakistan was spinning out of control well before anyone had heard the term drone hamla, is left out of the conversation.

    More Denial-istan.

    The conservatives themselves are men reacting to the threatening Western presence and targeting women who are often the victims of wars and the political instability that it brings. With the threat of outsiders, women become burdened with the need to carry and preserve culture.

    If it weren’t for those darn outsiders…

     
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