Skip to content

“The Greeks, the Romans, the British: they didn’t care what other people thought. Didn’t care about reasons. Just up and did it….”

September 24, 2009

“[The Taliban] were scary. You’d see them rolling up in one of the [Toyota] Hi-Luxes, all jacked up, white turbans gleaming; they were the baddest asses in town and they knew it, too. One of them would be sitting across from you in a restaurant, maybe picking at a kebab, looking at you from across the centuries, kohl under his eyes, and you knew he’d just as soon kill you as look at you. Dumb as a brick, but that hardly mattered. Great cultures are like that. Always have been. The Greeks, the Romans, the British: they didn’t care what other people thought. Didn’t care about reasons. Just up and did it. The Taliban: their strength was their ignorance. They didn’t even know they were supposed to care.”

“The old men, their leaders, were walking junkyards, metal and bullets and shrapnel, heaped over with holes and scar tissue. They’d walk in on peg-legs with ill-fitting plastic arms, and when they plunked down in their chairs it was like watching the frame of an old car collapse. They had these handsome oversize features, jutting chins and enormous hands. They’d pour their tea from the cup and slurp it from the saucer, loud, because it was cooler that way. They’d look at you and you’d think, Jesus, they are not killable. They’re from another world. They beat the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union fell apart.”

“It seemed obvious enough that what lay at the foundation of the Taliban’s rule was fear; but not fear of the Taliban themselves, at least not in the beginning. No: it was fear of the past. Fear that the past would return, that it would come back in all its disaggregated fury. That the past would become the future. The beards, the burqas, the whips, the stones; anything, anything you want. Anything but the past.”

––Dexter Filkins, The Forever War

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: