Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If you don't report it

If you don't report it then we can deny it happened. So goes the thinking of the Afghan Foreign Ministry in the days before elections in the strife torn country. Huh. Can one sense this was a government installed by King George Bush the II, or what? Same attitude toward the media and the institution of the free press, "Hey can you muzzle yourself for the greater good? We got some things we need to take care of here and we don't want them too closely examined..."

According to the Associated Press
, fearing that violence could dampen turnout, the Afghan Foreign Ministry issued a statement Tuesday saying that news organizations should avoid "broadcasting any incidence of violence" between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on election day "to ensure the wide participation of the Afghan people."

"If we deny it, and the media doesn't report it, who's to say it ever happened?" Is there a more Dick Cheney-esque philospohy? And remember, these are ostensibly the good guys of Afghani politics. The Clarion Content (and Derrida) would tell you that any government that has to be imposed violently against the will of the people has already lost its legitimacy.

Of course, a unified Afghan nation only exists in the mind's eye of Western, external policymakers. Outside of the capital of Kabul, clan, tribe, and religion come first, there is no self-consciously recognized Afghani identity. One is a Pashtun, a Tajik, an Uzbek, or a Turkmen living in a state drawn on a map by Brit more than a 100 years ago. The map has not changed identities or loyalties on the ground.

Fortunately, what Afghani media there is, has stated that it is going to resist demands of the Kabul government for a news blackout, much as it would have resisted the same demands made by a Taliban government.

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