Friday, October 30, 2009

Some Progress in Town...Inspite of Problems

We've had an exciting week here in Kabul. Since Westerners were killed, you likely heard about the attack on the Guest House where some UN staff resided. More on that in a bit.

A couple hours later we had a rocket attack. One rocket landed in the lobby of the luxury Serena Hotel in the center of town but didn't detonate. Lots of soiled underwear among the hoity-toity who stay there I'll bet.

We were also blessed with earthquakes this month. We had one on
22 October that measured 6.2, followed by a 5.8 to the southwest on
24 October and last night's 6.0, followed by a 4.2 aftershock.

We've also got a cholera outbreak due to heavy rains that are causing mudslides and soiling the water. Though that is mostly to the east of us, there are cases here in Kabul also.

Add the excitement to the east in Pakistan and the bad guys here trying to disrupt the runoff election and you have "high anxiety," at least among the Western media.

Now about the attack on the guest house. For me the picture below is a strong counterpoint to some asinine comments by a retired Sergeant Major over on "American Thinker" and some cheerleaders there who shared his stilted view. That view being that "all Muslims are evil" they "don't care about human life in Afghanistan" and "they aren't willing to fight." To those sentiments I say, pardon my French, "BULLSHIT!"

In the first place, two Afghan guards died defending the guest house occupants. There was a 10 - 15 minute gunbattle before the police arrived (probably a faster response time than in many US cities). Around these parts the security guys tend to run toward the sound of gunfire. That's a good thing.

One policeman died trying to rescue the UN staffers. As the Reuters picture below shows, an Afghan Muslim police officer is carrying a German on his back to safety. So much for "evil, don't care, won't fight Afghans!"

The weather is also changing more rapidly than last year. I've already mentioned the rains. Well, there's also more snow...a lot more. It's going to be a cold winter!

The snow has reached down near the 9,500ft line.

Now for the lighter side of progress...

Only the richest Afghans throw away anything that might be useful.
You never know when an old empty plastic jug might come in handy.
Yet these scenes are becoming more rare.

There's still some ruins about, but they are rapidly being torn down and replaced... new mansions.

I wonder which Bollywood star is going to live here?

Looks suspiciously like LA.

Even the less-affluent are getting into the building act.
This is one of many "cliffhouses" being expanded.

And the hillsides are getting a bit more colorful too!

And even on a day that saw a shootout and rocket attack
in the middle of town, the balloon guys were out in force.

They even found a buyer.
In a country where the next meal is iffy,
when you can spend money on balloons,
it's a sign that things are improving.


momcat said...

It absolutely how resilient these folks are under such extreme pressure and difficulty. They are a great testimoney to those of us living without war, pestilence and natural disaster!

simplypallu said...

That mansion looks only a bit like something a Bollywood star would live in. But mostly, I'd expect to see an Indian politician in such a monstrosity. For some reason I don't like shiny palacial houses. I'd rather have multiple houses in different corners of the country / world if I could afford it :D

J. L. Krueger said...

And don't ever compliment an Afghan on a nice piece of clothing, like a new leather jacket. They're likely to take it off and offer it to you even though it may be the only jacket they own. That's how generous these people are.

Many of these houses will at least be home to the extended families. So in that sense they aren't too large at least. But I'm with you on the "gilded look" too much for me. I'd also like the means to have houses in multiple parts of the world/country. Ok, maybe one big one for parties. :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

Humans are much the same the world over. Some of all groups and religions are indeed worthless, but most people are striving to do their best for themseles and their families.

Wonderful and poignant pictures.

Barbara Martin said...

The balloons must have a soothing effect to the people who purchase them.

Thanks for the update, J.L.

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Bernita said...

J.L., sorry I've been away.
One of the things I've regretted over the months is that my husband didn't get to see the pictures on your blog.
But our daughter is home now - weary to the bone after a year - but safely home.

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simplypallu said...

Long time since you've posted here. I hope all is well with you. Also, greetings for the new year!

J. L. Krueger said...
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butterflysong said...

Hey Stranger! I hope things are well...although I can imagine you're stress levels are pretty high! I hope you got to celebrate the holidays a bit...hugs from the blogosphere!

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Dart. said...

Thanks for replies to my comments at Jonova.

A quick one re broken bones. Harvard did a trial years ago on people needing new hips and other joint problems. Almost all patients responded well to eating a spoonfull of groud up chicken cartilage each morning with most opting out of surgery as a result. Not surprizing really. Even my dog knows to eat the whole bone. It contains all the ingredients to make.... - new bone!

Always apprecaite your JoNova contributions.

Keep up the good work out there.

Faieq Zarif said...

Dear John, the picture of the billboard with doctors is announcing the start of TV 1 and its soap opera about doctors. It's not about getting a check up.