Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kite Runner Fishbowl #6: Chapter 21


The picture above is one that Rob sent us last spring from Afghanistan.
Keep up your insightful questions and comments. Remember to bring in textual references/quotations when possible.

Enjoy, and special thanks to Rob for enlightening us!

100 comments:

  1. Rob-

    Are women allowed to go to school and get an education or is that considered something that only men can do?

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  2. Rob-

    What are the language boundaries in Afghanistan? Do most people speak the same language or are there local languages?

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  3. Rob-

    Thank you for answering my question about the realations of the Middle East and other countries. Your explanation really helped me see what was going on in "The Kite Runner".

    Are the taliban still in control over in Afghanistan?

    And have you personally seen violence ocure between a Taliban member and a civilian?

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  4. Rob-
    Who do the men and boys become a part of the Taliban?

    All-
    How has the Taliban influenced the people in Kabul? Have the people changed because of fear or because they like living under Taliban rule?

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  5. Class,
    I wonder why Hassan connects back to the pomegranate tree all the time and it's a big part of the book, but the title is "the kite runner"?

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  6. Rob- What are some of the punishments you get in that country

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  7. ALL-

    When in Afghanistan all of Amir's memories involve Hassan in some way, do you think that Amir finally realized that Hassan was really his friend and not just someone who he played with when no one was around?

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  8. Class-

    why do you think Farid was able to watch the brutal beating at the soccer game?

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  9. Scrach the comment i just made. I meant Amir

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  10. Kristin-
    I think the Taliban has made everyone in Kabul scared. they can't cheer at soccer games, talk to loudly and many other rules. If any one goes again then they will just kill you.

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  11. Melissa-
    According to a couple online sources, yes, Afghan women are "allowed" to go to school. There are schools for young Afghan girls, but only 30% of Afghan women have access to a school. Also, many schools were burned down by the Taliban and according to some sources, girls could be poisened for theying to get something as simple as a basic education.

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  12. Devon-I think Amir can only think of past memories with Hassan because he has not yet resolved his past. I believe once he resolves his past he can finally move on into the future.

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  13. Devon-

    I think that at some point Amir must have realized how huge a part Hassan played in his life. I think Amir always knew that Hassan was his friend, he just didn't like to admit it to himself.

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  14. Personally I would think it would not be worth it to run on the field and try to stop the man being pelted by rocks. The only thing you would accomplish would be entertaining people. If you did that you would die for nothing.

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  15. Moe- I think that Farid was able to watch it because he has already been exposed to things like that so much before. He has almost become "immune" to it, not that it doesn't bother him but he has accepted that it is the way things are done. Amir doesn't quite understand that because he has been gone for so long

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  16. Devon-to answer your question, i think that Amir realizes now that he was a friend of Hassan. He also now misses him and wish he could be with him again. I could tell by him keeping saying he wanted to stay and he got very emotional.

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  17. Anthony-
    I think Hassan connects back to the pomegranate tree because he and Amir had lots of good memories there with him. I also think that the pomegranate tree symbolizes the life of Afghanistan because Hassan had said that it hasn't come to life in years. It seems that the tree parallels with the fighting and the Taliban rule.

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  18. Kristin- I agree with reece. The Taliban is just a scary group of people. People cant be loud at soccer games. They get put in holes and had bricks thrown at their head.

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  19. Class-
    How do you feel about the punishment that was given. How do you feel about it being at a soccer game?

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  20. Davis- I think that Farid was able to watch what happened at the game because it has happened so many times it doesn't bother him anyone. He is use to seeing people die every day and what happened in the stadium is no different.

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  21. Kristen-
    Yes, I think people living in Kabul have changed because there is more poverty and people seem to be more separated. The majority of the things/events that stood out to Amir when he lived there are all destroyed; it seems as if there is no life left. Ever since the Taliban rule Afghanistan seems barren. I think the Taliban have influenced Kabul by people are afraid to go where they are and many people are dying.

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  22. Kristen W-

    The Taliban has influenced in a very bad why Kabul in a very bad way because of all the people they have killed. I think they have changed in fear and because they are living under the Teliban. I think it is both because people are afraid of the Teliban and just the fact that they are living under Teliban rule.

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  23. Moe-

    I don't think Amir wanted to watch the beating, but he had to in order to reach Sohrab.
    I agree with what Jake L. said. If he would have tried to prevent it, then he would die for nothing, and Sohrab would never be saved.

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  24. Moe-
    To add on to that question, why is he able to watch the stoning but he cannot stand to see the children at the orphanage being abused?

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  25. Jake- I think that unless you got everyone to go onto the feild it would be absoulty pointles and acomplish nothing

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  26. Moe- I think that Farid was able to watch the beating at the soccer game because he had become numb to it. With all of the violence from not only the massacring thousands and thousands of Hazaras on the street but also the beatings and killings of women who left their house without a male escorting her. Just like we get used to violence on tv or in a movie I think he has just become accustomed to it.

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  27. Ann...
    They are most likly too scared to go to school and they can not find a man to take them.

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  28. When American troops go to the middle east, do they help protect the Hazara's?

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  29. Melissa-
    do you think the m en in that country don't like educated women?

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  30. Anne-
    I think Amir can watch the stoning because it doesn't seem to relate to him like the orphanage did. Maybe, he couldn't stand to see the children at the orphanage because it reminded him of Baba and how he spent a lot of time and money to build the orphanage.

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  31. Shane- I think that american troops help the hazara's by trying to stop the Taliban

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  32. Erica- I think that all the people felt different ways. Some felt that what has happening was horrible but they couldn't do anything about it. Even if they tried they would be killed just as the people on the field were. Other people felt that it was just because they were the followers of the Taliban. They follow everything the Taliban says is correct and they don't think twice about it.

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  33. Melissa-
    It also just has a lot to do with where they live. They don't have convenient access to a school nearby.

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  34. Erica-
    I feel that the punishment at the soccer game was a show they put on to scare everyone else into following the Taliban rules. It seems that even with the fighting going on around everyone still loves watching soccer games. I think the Taliban try to show off their power and they show what they can to anyone in Kabul with or without reason.

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  35. Erica-
    I think that people shouldn't be overpowered by the Taliban. I dont think i would want to live in afghanistan and risk getting killed. The hassaras are normal people, i think that they should be treated jsut like any of the other afghans.

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  36. Robd--

    Will the Teliban attack women on the streets if they are not accompanied by a man? If so what if the woman is with her son?

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  37. Erica-
    I think that the punishment was very cruel and scary. It took place at the soccer game because they wanted the people to know what would happen if you did something against the Taliban. It was hard for the people to get away, so the image of the punishment will always be in their heads, reminding them of what could happen. It imposed a sense of fear in the people.

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  38. All- How do you think the Taliban feels about killing people if they can "punish" someone in a soccer stadium in front of an audience like it's a part of the half-time show?

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  39. Megan-
    To clarify, it was Farid who was able to watch the stoning. Amir is the one who wasn't able to watch the people getting killed.

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  40. Reece-Do you find it weird that it took place at a soccer game?

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  41. Rob, I want to thank you for your answers to all our questions, and I appreciate you taking the time to participate with us! I have a question, has anyone ever attempted to overthrow the Taliban or start a revolution against them, or is that not even heard of? I think what they are doing is absolutely wrong, and if I were there that day they stoned the people to death on the field, I would've tried to stop them, regardless if I died or not, to make a statement, telling the Taliban that I am done being ruled by them! Does that happen often or no??

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  42. Shane-
    I don't think American troops would help the Hazaras because they wouldn't want to get America involved with the Talibans. Americans wouldn't want to feel threatened by Afghanistan. But, I do think Americans would have compassion for the Hazaras, but wouldn't take action in helping them.

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  43. Erica-
    I find very harsh that at the soccer game the man and women were killed and the game still continued. The people of Afghanistan should not live that way because it is unhuman.

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  44. Erica-
    I don't exactly know but there must be something that is holding them back. I think that maybe they don't think that women should be educated because they dont need to be.
    Anne-
    I agree but what is the percent of boys that go to school?

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  45. mgardner-
    I think that the Taliban don't care that they are killing people. It goes back to the class discussion on how they don't consider it a sin to kill people because they aren't Muslim.

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  46. It took place at the soccer game because thay thought it would entertain people.

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  47. mgardner-

    I think that the Taliban are selfish and that they dont really care about the feelings of the people they kill. They are just sick people. It is pretty ridiculous that they use it as a half time show to "entertain" people.

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  48. Katy- I think the real reason Amir went back bas because he wanted to relieve his guilt. He wanted to redeem himself for betraying hassan.

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  49. Mgardner- I think the Taliban don't care when they kill those people and the stoning on the soccer field. They knew when they signed up for it that this was going to happen and the people in the Taliban are extremist and don't act like they care very much at all.

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  50. Rob- Do you think that there is a way to over throw the taliban? Or do you think that they have completely taken over and there is no way to stop them?

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  51. Shane- that was a really good point

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  52. It is bad enough that the Taliban stoned the people to death, but what's worse is the people sat there and watched the whole thing happen! This is a sign that people don't want to take a stand or are too scared to take a stand, but someone has to put theie foot down. Does this happen in Afghanistan Rob?

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  53. Related to Emily's statement about what the Taliban does is inhuman... What DO the Taliban consider inhuman?

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  54. On page 270 the Taliban in the sunglasses dramatically yells throught the the microphone "ever sinner must be punished in a manner befitting his sin!" i believe that this passage is very significant to the story because it not only shows how Amir has a weak stomach for violence because his life was shelltered from "the real Afghanistan" but it also shows how much violence that Farid has seen to not be able to loose it when he watches the Talibans pulverise the Hazara couple with stones.

    It shows that these two men have grown up in the same place but in a way farther apart than they can even imagin.

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  55. Everyone who commented on my post- Why do they still go to the games when they know they are going to see someone killed? Why wouldn't they stay away?

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  56. Anthony - I agree, but I think that it's ridiculous that they kill people in the first place.

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  57. http://www.joshuaproject.net/profiles/photos/p107909.jpg

    http://www.joshuaproject.net/profiles/photos/p103743.jpg

    I showed Devon similar pictures so she could see the difference between a Pashtun and a Hazara.
    The first one is a Pashtun man and the second picture is of a Hazara man.

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  58. Katy- I think the reason Farid is helping Amir is because Amir is not just there to receive money. He is there to do something honorable and Farid respects that.

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  59. Erica-
    It could be because that is really there own entertainment. And in the gladiator days people would go watch people be killed so that could just be another reason to go.

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  60. Erica-
    a) soccer is such a big part of their culture that they feel that they cannot stop playing or going to games just because of the Taliban.
    b) they are so accustomed to seeing people die due to the Taliban, so it isn't anything new for them.

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  61. Erica-
    I think they go to the games because they like soccer and as long as they arent hassaras, they dont have to worry about it, and as long as they dont cheer. I think the people are used to seeing people get killed.

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  62. Cody-
    That's a really good point. I think these people are acting in fear. The are following all the rules set in place and don't want to go against them because they are scared. I think the people know it's not the right thing to do but the fear is holding them back from doing anything.

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  63. Devon T-

    The Teliban consider the Hazaras to be inhuman because the do not look like the rest of the Afghans.

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  64. Devon- I think the Taliban don't think anything is inhuman. They have basically done every inhuman thing possible so they think nothing is inhuman

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  65. MeganL- America is already involved with the Taliban because of the war. The Taliban kidnaps, torchers and kills troops. Why wouldn't we just take it one step further and protect the Hazara's?

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  66. Do you think it occurs at other sporting events as well?

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  67. All-

    Referring to the question again about the punishment taking place at a soccer game, I think that maybe the Taliban decided to do it as entertainment. Because they find it entertaining, maybe showing the people that they are entertained by it will persuade them to also be entertained. Making people more on their side of the situation, leading to less possible revolts. But it could definitely go either way, the audience could be persuaded but also disgusted...although it might be a possibility I think that most humans would not find it entertaining what so ever. Just a thought...

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  68. Shane- we do protect the Hazara's bye tying to take out the Taliban

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  69. Rob- Are the Taliban and Al-Qaeda somehow connected?

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  70. The Taliban and Hazara's are like Natzi's and Jewish people.

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  71. Devon-
    I think the Taliban thinks that its natural to do what we think is inhuman. Based on their religion they believe the need be strict with their rules. They will make sure they will kill any woman by themselves to enforce this corrupt religion. I think they do it because over years they have evolved a new system for their religion.

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  72. Erica- Do persecutions always happen at a soccer game, or was it just a one time thing? If it happens at every game, what happens when they don't have a person to persecute, would they just make excuses to persecute someone?

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  73. Devon- I disagree with you because If you saw a person stoned to death at a soccer game wouldn't you be disgusted by it. I personally would not think it was entertaining at all. I would be horrified.

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  74. Devon--

    It may not only be entertainment, but it may also be to teach them a lesson.

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  75. Shane-
    i agree. thats a good connection.

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  76. ALL-
    With the importance of soccer to Afghanistan do you think that there is some sort of significance of the stoning actually taking place in there? Do you think that it shows how much Afghanistan has changed throughout the book?

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  77. Shane-
    That's is a really good connection. I agree that the Taliban are like the Nazi in some ways. The kill the Hazaras because they are different and aren't from Afghanistan. However, the Taliban are less known around the world because they stay in Afghanistan.

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  78. Devon-
    It happens at every game. I do think if they didn't have anyone they would come up with a reason to take someone and kill them

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  79. Rob-
    So looking on the CIA world factbook, it says that there are two major ethnic groups in Afghanistan. The Pashtuns and the Tajiks. These two groups make up about 60% of the population of Afghanistan. So why is the relationship between the Pashtuns and the Hazaras the violent relationship that is causing a war? Why aren't the Tajiks a part of this war?

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  80. travis-
    I agree but they cant really learn from their mistakes. They cheer at a soccer game ( which they should have the right to do) and then they get put in holes and are stoned to death. So im not sure if it teaches that person a lesson, it might teach other people a lesson.

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  81. Shane- I also agree with you about the Nazis being like the Taliban. But, do you think what is happening in Afghanistan will become as serious as what happened in Germany.

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  82. Devon-I think they can always find someone to kill, they do it as entertainment. I think it happens at most soccer games and thats what the crowd looks forward to at halftime.

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  83. Emily-
    Because what we (a majority of the people) think is inhuman is not inhuman to the Taliban, what actions do they think are inhuman. Such as killing people for no reason is normal for them but not for us, what are their morals, opinions on what is inhuman? If that made any sense at all...

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  84. Trent- You think the look forward to it?

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  85. mgardner-
    The Taliban banned kite running and that was a huge part of the winter in Afghanistan. It seems that soccer is the one thing that they still have that's the same as always, minus the killing during the half time. It's something they can count on and depend on ass their country goes through so much instability.

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  86. I don't think it would phase you as much to see someone die if you saw it all the time.

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  87. Rob- If the Taliban and Al-Qaeda connected; why did they attack us? If after all they really don't like the British, why did they choose the US instead of Great Britain.

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  88. Shane-
    Yes we should've helped out, but it wasn't our business to protect the Hazaras. I think America would have helped out if it got to the extreme like the Holocaust.

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  89. This chapter was a very brutal chapter but their are some ironic moments the author placed in the chapter such as the beating of the Hazara couple but earlier Farid beat up Zimen the owner of the bad orphanage. As well as the hole to the stadium is like Amir is going back in time to his child hood where Hasan was raped and abused by the towns people.

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  90. Austin brings up a good point. We are incredibly fortunate to not know what it's like to walk down the street and see dead bodies and people getting killed and live in constant fear of people like the Taliban. How would we react if any of us went to Afghanistan and saw these things?

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  91. All-
    How do Taliban know so much about the people? How do they find out information? Do they have spies throughout the city to find out information?

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  92. Madeline-
    I think that it does show how much Afghanistan has changed. I think it is also a parallel between how much Amir's life has changed from what he remembers as a kid, to what is going on now.

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  93. Jake-
    I think that it could easily become as bad as it was in Germany. The US and many other nations continually have said Never Again to genocides and yet we continually allow genocides to start and go too far before they realize that they have to act.

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  94. robd--

    Why do they only stone them and not shoot them?

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  95. Jake- I think it is as serious as what happened in Germany, we just don't hear that much about it.

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  96. Hi,

    I will try to answer your questions...I think the discussion was very good by the way...

    mgardner - girls are allowed to go to school, but not across the country. In the South, it is discouraged and the Taliban tend to burn down girl's schools. In Kabul, the girls go to one school the boys to another.

    ericaw- there are two national languages - Pashtu and Dari. Dari is a version of Persian Farsi. In addition, there is Urdu, Uzbek, French, English, German, and Turkish spoken. Most Afghans speak at least two languages, either Pashtu or Dari and then one of the others. Most Pashtuns refuse to learn Dari and the Tajiks and Uzbeks in the North refuse to speak Pashtu. Dari would be understood by most of the people in the country, however, it was discouraged by the Taliban since it is so close to what is spoken in Iran and the Taliban did not get along with the Iranians (the Taliban are Sunni Muslims, Iran is a Shia Muslim country).

    moe - the Taliban have a great deal of influence over a large part of the country, at least where there are Pashtuns. Yes, I have seen some of violence that is the result of the Taliban. I know a number of Hazaras and know that they are treated very poorly.

    KristinW - People join the Taliban for a number of reasons. After 9/11 and during the first part of the conflict most of the Taliban were refugees from Pakistan that wanted to return to Afghanistan. Boys and men join for a number of reasons, some because the pay they are given is more than they can earn in Afghanistan (the Taliban pays $250 a month - an Afghan solider makes $160 a month). Some join because of their religious beliefs (you can erase your sins - something from the movie Kingdom of Heaven), others because there is little else for them to do.

    erica - there are two courts in Afghanistan, depending upon the crime. One court is similar to our system and they put people in jail. The other, for crimes against religion, the punishment is generally very harsh. Recently an Afghan converted from Islam and was sentenced to death. The Taliban only use Sharia Law for their courts, so punishment is very severe....death, cutting off of hands, etc.

    travis - in those areas that the Taliban control, most women do not venture out of the house. If they do they must be in the company of a male family member. The age of majority comes into play here, so the son would have to be over 14 (the age of manhood in Afghanistan).

    Part 2 follows

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  97. Part 2

    Cody - very good question but the answer is no. Most Afghans want to live in peace and will put up with a great deal of discomfort to be able to do so. The requirements to live under the Taliban were servere, but at least you were able carry on a life, so, nobody was willing to risk death....

    MeganL - the Hazaras like the Americans very much, I have worked with a number of them and found them to be the most honorable people in Afghanistan. For America it is a very delicate issue, we are not to show favor of one over the other, however, most folks I work with prefer the Hazaras to the rest of the ethnic groups....

    mgardner - the relationship between the Taliban and AQ is interesting. The Pashtun have an honor code called Pashtunwalli, that predates the Pashtun conversion to Islam. In that code, anyone (friend or enemy) who asks for sanctuary must be given it by the Pashtun (even if they were just fighting each other). bin Laden asked for sanctuary after leaving Sudan, the Taliban were obliged to give it to him. Does that mean they agreed with bin Laden? Hard to say. The Taliban currently is only concerned with Afghanistan, they are not looking at the rest of the world, AQ is....so they do not agree on all things..

    emliyw - the Taliban are caught up in what we would call "old testament religion" doing things that were done by the Israelites in that time period - stoining for adultery, and so on. The judicial system for the Taliban in still stuck in that time period.

    Anne L - another good question (all of them are). The major issue, other than heritage, between the Pashtun and Hazaras is religion. The Pashtun are Sunni Muslim (Arab focused) and the Hazaras are Shia Muslim (Iranian focused). There is a great deal of animosity between these two groups which adds to the historical hatred. The Tajiks do not like the Pashtuns but do not get along with the Hazaras either because of religion. The result is what is known there as "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

    mgardner - AQ attacked us because of our involvement in Saudi Arabia and the first Gulf War. bin Laden wanted to come to the aid of the Saudi government but they (the Saudis) chose the US over him and that made him mad.

    Travis - stoning is found in their religious laws, shooting is not.

    All - the soccer stadium is rather large in Kabul. It is like the coliseum in Rome and the soccer games are similar to the gladiators fighting. Since most people attended soccer games it was a very good place to show the people what happens when they did not follow the laws laid down by the Taliban, hence most punishment was done during soccer matches.

    Keep up the good work.....

    rob

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