Friday, October 24, 2008

Dangers of Complacency

This week a woman working for a Christian aid group was shot to death near Kabul University. Her crime, according to the Taliban, was that she was "spreading Christianity." In reality what she specialized in was educating the disabled.

Her real crime was complacency. She got into a routine, taking the same route to work everyday at the same time and walked alone, probably because she felt safe.

It's easy to get complacent here in Kabul where Westerners are rarely greeted with a hostile glare and where the local merchants greet Westerners with enthusiasm. One simply doesn't feel threatened in Kabul.

While everyone knows that there are Taliban and Al Qaeda here looking for targets, the local people are so friendly and helpful that it is difficult at times to be cautious. I've been in neighborhoods in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and Newark where I did not feel as safe as I do in Kabul.

The house I live in right now is in the middle of town. We have Afghan families living right next door to us. Their chickens wander the sidwalk outside the compound. The street in front of our house is a poorly maintained two lanes which is frequently difficult to navigate due to traffic. We have a wedding shop, car repair shop, computer stores, beauty parlors, banks, restaurants, street vendors, and travel agencies across the street and around the corner. In other words, I live among them and I do not feel threatened at all.

That's where complacency can creep in. In part that is why I take so many pictures. By always looking for a good picture, my eye is constantly roving the crowd, looking for that which may be out of place.

A while back I posted a picture of this restaurant where the sign read "HeIty and Tasty." They've fixed it...sort of. It now reads "HeaIthy and Tasty" which is an improvement, but they are still using an uppercase "I" for the lowercase "l." The Dari script on the right side of the sign is a transliteration of "Afghan Fried Chicken" on the left, rather than a translation.

Shopping with dad.
Boy in modern clothes, dad in traditional clothes.

The never-ending supply of fresh produce.

These graves near Darulaman Palace are a new National Monument.
They are the thirteen members of Parliament who were killed by a suicide bomber last November.

The mountains to the south of Kabul.

Mountains to the east of Kabul with the demining camp by Darulaman Palace in the foreground.
Another reason these guys don't get attacked as much by the Taliban is that when that happens, the locals take up arms and avenge them.
So it is equally for good sense that the Taliban don't interfere with them too much.

You frequently see some very nice horseflesh on the roads around Kabul.

The guy on the left is selling phone cards.
Note the wad of cash in his left hand.
The young lad seemed to be trying to make change.

A dress shop on a little side street.
Such a sight would have been impossible in Taliban days.

Donkey love.
She didn't seem to be all that cooperative.


preTzel said...

That is so sad that she was murdered. :(

I loved the pictures, as usual. You do a great job JK.

Charles Gramlich said...

Very sad. What nasty folks the Taliban.

That is a gorgeous horse.

The Muse said...

That was really sad. You are right though, always remain on your toes!

I have been telling my teen this for years. What you said, and to never trust anyone.

Do have a good weekend, J.L., and take care of yourself!

Vodka Mom said...

wow that was incredible! I love the scenery, and hope that you are NOT getting complacent. Thanks for the incredible field trip.

be safe.

Ello said...

Oh wow that is so sad. I feel terrible about that. poor woman. you take wonderful pictures, but do people ever get upset with you for taking their pictures or do they not notice you?

Keep safe, bud.

Barbara Martin said...

Very sad about the woman.

The horse seems to have more control over the rider than the other way around. At least the horse looks well fed.

Travis Erwin said...

Great pics as usual. Isn't donkey love the purest form of love around?

Reb said...

It is sad that that woman died because of complacency. It is probably how she lived her life though at "home" as well. People always take the same routes to and from work, rarely venturing off their beaten path in case they see something new.

Lovely photos, keep away from complacency.

Ello said...

Just checking in on you and making sure you are ok.

Jenn Jilks said...

You are right about complacency. This is what they teach victims of domestic and sexual abuse: to change habits and behaviour. Fascinating posts. Incredible photos.