Today is the celebration of Eid al-Fitr here in Kabul. Last night I sat in the garden gazebo with the Marine who replaced me, Cousin Jim and a Swedish officer, smoking cigars and watching the fireworks. For once, not tracers! These were actual fireworks visibale from the city across the airfield.
This is one of two Eid’s throughout the year, this one marks the end of Ramadan. Eid means “festivity” and al-Fitr “breaking of the fast”. A 3 day party, not unlike Mardi Gras but with fewer beads. The feast tonight will contain many wonderful foods that I truly enjoy. There is also a lot of body art that is applied, known as mehndi.
There is a lot wrong with Afghanistan. But, in order to truly help any group of people, you first have to understand their world-view and how it differs from yours. This also applies at the personal level, within your own community. People who are naturally good at this are said to have tact or good political sense. It is a valuable survival tool and also helps prevent normally bias in yourself, since the more you are exposed to a “new normal”, the less traumatic having a “new normal” land on top of you is.