Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gay, Jews, Nailpolish & She-Males in Afghanistan

I’m widly enchanted by journalist and scholar Nushin Arbabzadah's first book titled “Afghan Rumour Bazaar” which is a must-read for all intrigued by absurd conspiracy theories and crazy fun stuff like gays, Jews, nail polish and “bacha posh” she-males in Afghanistan. Through humor and wit, reflective anecdotes and pithy facts, Arbabzadeh cleverly psychoanalyzes the Afghan mind. About Afghanistan’s once vibrant “Little Israel” she writes: “…The story of the Afghan Jews is a tale of remarkable tolerance. It may seem hard to believe today, but historically it was Afghanistan to which Jews turned to when escaping religious persecution in Iran and central Asia. It was in the dusty, ancient cities of Herat and Kabul, to the west and the east of Afghanistan, that they found freedom to practice their faith without getting murdered in the process . . . Like the rest of the population, the Jews of Afghanistan were simultaneously local and transnational, rooted to the Afghan soil by birth and burial but connected to a global faith through religion…Isolated and yet connected through the invisible ties of spirituality, Afghan Jews were much like the rest of Afghans, sharing with Sunni Pashtuns in particular a belief in being descended from the biblical lost tribes. Such similarities were ultimately why a peaceful coexistence was possible between Jewish and Muslim Afghans for most of their shared history, which dates back to the medieval times.”

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