The Right of Return

June 7th, 2010

~ Going back, always going back.

So I just hit my “return” key to write this post, to write another line.  I was going to write instead about the Encyclopedia Britannica filmstrips of the forties and what a marvelous transformation it was to move up to a 13 inch black and white TV (circa the early 1950’s).

Knowing history (and even growing) is like that.  One starts with almost nothing, a very small image of things, always black & white.  Then in time the screen gets larger, perspective grows, one knows and learns a little more – maybe sound is added – later even color.  And as the world turns we get the bigger picture on the big screen, CinemaScope and Technicolor; meaning a wider screen and truer color.  At this point we still don’t have Dolby Sound, Cinerama, I-Max, 4-D Vision, or all the other good stuff that might help in seeing and feeling what is really there – but we’re making progress.

The problem is when people fossilize.  The problem is when they are content with the big boxy film images from the past, grainy black and white stuff with flickers, grating (not great) sound, actors on stage jerking around because the projector does not match the film (being shown).  Most theaters never cared about this last one; nor theater owners.  “Just play the old frame per minute movies on the new equipment”, they said (meaning what they told the projectionist) – “the sheeple will not care, they’ll just get a laugh out of things (that aren’t really funny)”.

So now that you have this short history of film, fact, and entertainment – we can move on with this, my metaphor.  Getting history “through the keyhole” is not good.  I try to throw the door wide open; I encourage you to walk in, sit down / stand up; run around and feel the furniture – to know what is there and where you really are.  So sit down folks, it’s time for today’s production.  This one is Cinerama with surround sound without the pesky Cinerama center lines.  If you’re used to “black & white” and don’t want the bigger vision – just walk out.  Refunds happily given at the refreshment counter…

The Right of Return – a “Donald Clayton” production (ta – ta) 

{Scene opens with a picture of war weary Afghans and the capitulation of the American forces}

The Afghan people have suffered long enough.  It has been two thousand years (or less or more) of endless war.  The suffering WILL continue – see the film footage now.  The Afghans of course are tired of all of this; it’s not the people but the place they say.  They want and need a homeland more like a real home where in the future they can work, live and prosper.

{Narrator / film critic chimes in and says, “Wow, This IS a real plot – What A Movie! – WOW! – Play THIS ONE again Sam; I think we have a winner!}

So all the Afghan scholars looked back, looking for a place with roots to root their aspirations and to which they (meaning “all” the Afghans) could return.  What the scholars found was what everybody already knew (if you were Afghan) and that is there really is and was SUCH A PLACE! It is a land of milk and honey.  God and history gave the land to me (“me” meaning all the Afghans interested in the dream, the land, the place that they dreamed to go).

{There is a musical interlude, almost an intermission.  Great moving patriotic songs, love songs from Afghanistan’s past, songs borrowed from the human rights causes of others all are played.  A chorus sings.  Scenes of all the past wars and suffering are shown.  It ALL is quite moving!}

At first not everybody bought it, or bought into it – meaning the Afghan “solution”.  Some people had their doubts, voiced objections, complained.  Things always go down that way.  But the Afghan people were patient; they lined up their (little appreciated) history and presented all the facts.  New writers joined the fray – spokes men and spokes women who knew the history, backed everything with very good research and facts and more facts.

They explained all of the voyages, the treks across the land, the sparse unsettled nature of EVERYTHING before they first arrived, “like a wilderness” is what they said.  And it WAS.  No, the Afghans WERE NOT lying.  They found it, settled it, taught the natives a thing or two (really everything they know or knew).  And in the end they simply said, “This Land is OURS, This land is Mine!”

{“Oh Glory to the Afghans!  Glory to the great Afghan nation!  The “Hindu” Kush no more.  No more living in the land claimed always by ALL the others; we have OUR historic land which we can claim.  We DO HAVE a RIGHT of return!”  Camera moves to shots of happy hopeful faces.}

Of course the Chinese immediately sided with the Afghans.  The Chinese offered to help them.  The Chinese said that they would do everything in their power – including moving heaven and earth to help the Afghans, their friends.  The Chinese of course knew.  They were there too.  They helped the Afghan missionaries the first time, they promised to help again.  They knew THEY had an equal right to claim this new (old) homeland, but they didn’t and didn’t care.  The Chinese HAD (and have) a HOME LAND; they’re happy with their home – they don’t need or want to move.

{The camera pans to pictures of the Great Chinese armies, the nuclear armed aircraft carriers, the missiles, the cannon and the endless artillery, the thousands of Chinese aircraft and bombers, ten thousand landing craft – enough to move an entire nation across the seas and waters.  The narrator says: “Wow!  It does look like the Afghans do have some support for this thing.  Maybe they really do have a clear right of return!}

The Afghans of course did not say, “Might makes right”.  They just wanted the right to have those citizens (of the new country) to be freely accepted by the new counties that occupied the land of the Afghans original “old country”.  They didn’t (in terms paraphrased by others) “want no gringos or wetbacks to impede the progress of the Afghan infiltration”.  The Afghans of course were too polite to use these racist words; but that’s what they thought about the “johnny come latelys” that occupied the Afghans ancient land in America.

In the beginning the Afghans plan was to “work with” these people.  Share the land, space, cultural experiences and observe “cultural expression”.  Then (of course) more Afghans would (WILL!) follow.  The (old) native villages will then of course have to move.  Chinese made bulldozers might help do the trick; or maybe just wait for the “brown flight” as the new browner race moved in, in numbers – in ever daily increasing numbers as the Chinese boats kept bringing all the new fresh Afghan faces ashore – by the thousands, by the the millions of Afghans that there really are!

{The narrator asks the question:  “Is there a blockade against these people?  Why won’t they let the Chinese ships freely in?  Why won’t they let the Afghans cross the borders and get to their native lands.  The Afghans WERE here first; EVERYBODY knows that now!  Let the Afghans work, play, bring and raise their families, have four wives and maybe two dozen children from the four – it IS cultural and (religious) tradition!  Oh please, Let the Afghans have their way!  It is SO RACIST to have it any other way!}

So Israel had to stop and think about the Afghans.  Some in Mexico had to stop and think a bit about it too.  The Americans had to think about the Afghans.  The native Americans just thought that the Afghans were invaders, but they had to then look at their own history too.

The question on everybody’s mind was of course, “Is there a RIGHT to return?”  Who’s rights are effected?  Who has the right to just live and stay; or does population rule EVERYTHING; the greater the numbers, the greater the weapon power and “you win”?

{The narrator makes the following announcement:  “The Chinese government today just announced that 50% of the “Chinese” population is really “Afghan” and the Chinese are demanding the full right of “return“!}

Now a billion Chinese “Afghans” are coming over (across the Pacific once again) in the great fleets built by China with all the American dollars that they made, with the steel that they made, in the ships that they made and are making.  It is like a great “family reunion” in America now.  What goes around has come around.  Pharsi and Chinese signs are everywhere.  All the new laws are in Chinese, all the new temples are Chinese Mosques from where Buddhism is spread – like it was in the beginning when the first Chinese and Afghans “discovered” this great land a thousand or so years before.  I guess things really do work out.  I guess “return” is good.

{There is a great beating of melodious drums; Chinese drums, Afghan drums, Korean drums too (some Koreans were Chinese so these people are Afghans too).  Streamers are flying, kites are flying, there are pictures of the Great Bamian Buddhas fully restored; recreations of the great Chinese sea-going Junks that crossed the seas so long ago so all of this could happen.  The camera does NOT “fade to black”, instead there is a burst of color; not the words “The End” or “Fin”, but “THE BEGINNING” fills the screen.  The audience (meaning you) doesn’t know whether to stay, or leave!}

Epilogue:

“Give me a break!  An “epilogue” to a movie?  How Lame!”, you MIGHT say.  That IS what people say when they miss the point of a whole movie, not just the Britannica film strip version of things.

The real point is that all the points I made ARE true.  The events depicted really ARE Afghan and Chinese history (that YOU SHOULD know).  Every person in every culture is very culturally blind; and politically blind too.  I’m not saying “restricted or tunnel vision” – I said blind, I mean blind.

The BLIND ARE still leading the blind.   Glasses, contact lenses; laser surgery even, will not help.  Even the sighted following blind leaders around doesn’t make the leaders see.  So what to do?  Join the A Thousand Ships of Light flotilla is what I say.  Make a poster or a sign; post something on the web – send an E-Mail or two to make it happen.  You don’t need to pack your bags yet.  Just get ready.  Spread the word!  Post up a real storm before the real storm hits.

Photograph of Chinese Premier Chou En-lai (Zhou En lai) and Prime Minister Daoud (Daud) of Afghanistan – Kabul, Afghanistan – January 1960.

Afghanistan – Ancient Land with Modern Ways – page #175 photograph from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

As Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai visited Afghanistan in late January of 1957.  In 1960 he returned pursuant to a frienship treaty that celebrated 2,000 years of Chinese-Afghan friendship inherent to the Silk Road commerce through to Rome.  The agreement referred to a “new silk road”.  Now there is a new “New silk road” that is bringing the first railroad into Afghanistan – a China connection!

Photograph of Radio Kabul central control panel in 1960.

Afghanistan – Ancient Land with Modern Ways – page #114 photograph from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

Does this man look Chinese.  Of course not.  He IS an Afghan.  But the Afghans and Chinese have been pooling their genes for maybe 5,000 years so what is YOUR point?  I’ve made mine.

Chronology – the Afghan version of the world and the history of the Afghan people; maybe even (after 1222) Afghanistan.  There is no mention of a “home land”.

Afghanistan – Ancient Land with Modern Ways – page #198 “Chronology” from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

If you look to the year 453 (A.D.) you will find the secret to a tremendous amount of history.  Like #1 – Who really “discovered” America first.  #2 – Why the Aztec / Maya expected a return of wise “white men”.  #3 – Who the real “four corners” originators of all things really were.  #4 – Why the “swastika” design is found both in Tibet, China, and the Southwest region of the USA; brought to Afghanistan by the Romans and before by the Greeks.  The Afghans didn’t really use it; the Chinese more often did.  #5 – And then there are all those cliff dwellings (in the Southwest), like in Bamiyan (in Afghanistan) so long before.

No, America’s presence in Afghanistan is NOT about the Taliban.  It IS about the history; about Bamiyan a bit, about Qala Bist and the underground vaults with treasures, maybe maps, maybe all the records that have been “lost”.   It’s about all the other cities (ruins only half explored).  It’s about China and the great encirclement – circle game – bases from Bagram to Osan and Okinawa in-between.

Oh yes; a WAR is coming.  But it is always good to know WHY.  If everyone knew “why” we could stop it.  It’s the “Y” of history thing.

Meanwhile:  The Thousand Ships of Light post is here.  The Artists Wanted post is here.  The All Ashore that are Going Ashore post is hereYour Map and the itinerary post is here.  And the Four pictures of Qala Bist picture post is here.

But one more image before I go (for today):

“Head of Buddhist monk found in Afghanistan in 1923, dates to First Century A.D.”

Afghanistan – Ancient Land with Modern Ways – page #31 Photograph from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

The Buddhist influence in Afghanistan lasted for 1,000 years.  Afghanistan was a major center of Buddhist activity and thought; and as the text associated with this photograph makes clear, “By the First Century A.D., Afghanistan had developed Buddhist traditions which flourished for nearly a thousand years.  Afghan missionaries spread out to carry Buddhism to all parts of Asia.”

The Afghan missionaries that went on the Chinese Junks to America and the Yucatan probably looked something like “this” (meaning like the face in the picture above).  Looks “Afghan” to me; or maybe too like a Greek God.

[First posted 2010.06.07 / Monday  The Right of Return]  1:25 P.M. Mountain War Time

Five pictures of Qala Bist

June 5th, 2010

The arch at Qala Bist – Qala Bist / Qala Bost, Afghanistan – April 1959.

Clayton Family Photograph by Fred W. Clayton from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

The remains of the city of Qala Bist can be seen above the arch.  The man in white gives a sense of the scale of the Arch at Qala Bist (Afghanistan).

The arch at Qala Bist – Qala Bist / Qala Bost, Afghanistan – April 1959.

Clayton Family Photograph by Fred W. Clayton from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

The arch in detail at Qala Bist – Qala Bist / Qala Bost, Afghanistan – April 1959.

Clayton Family Photograph by Fred W. Clayton from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

This photograph shows the partial restoration and repairs to the “right side” of the arch at Qala Bist in Afghanistan.   The geometry of the underlying arch is a ten pointed matrix that yields to a randomly repetitious orbit of ten five pointed stars. The arch is composed of mud brick, fired mud brick, glazed brick, and incredibly beautiful glazed tile.

The Arch at Qala Bist before the restoration – Qaleh Bist / Qala Bost, Afghanistan – April 1959.

Afghanistan – Ancient Land with Modern Ways – page #30 photograph from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

This photograph shows the remarkable arch at Qala Bist in Afghanistan.  The caption for this picture says, “Remains of the massive arch of Qaleh Bist near Lashkargah date back over 1000 years”  The date that this photograph was taken is unknown.  But if you read the article linked here carefully you will notice two things.  One, the “fort at Bost” dates to 500 B.C.  Two, there was a Kushan presence here and “the round concrete plug” does not seem to yet exist; or is it the photographs that I am talking about (or both)?

“Under” the Arch at Qala-i-Bist Afghanistan – August 22, 2007.

Photographic image by “Nathan” – taken while stationed with the U.S. military in Afghanistan.  This image is used to safeguard this extremely important world cultural site information.

There are only two official World Cultural Sites in Afghanistan – there probably should be twenty (20).  However, Qala Bist is the one (not on the list) that I am most interested in.  “Nathan” took this picture; he had a blog and posted it (the picture).  There has been no public word from Nathan since February 16, 2009.  I pray that he is OK; that everyone he comes in contact with stays OK – being in the military is usually a hard, hard thing.

What impresses me most about Nathan is his posting of a quote (in his last post) from April 23, 1910, “Man in the Arena”.  These are the words Fred (my father) always said about his  work in Afghanistan – history full circle once again.

The point about the small picture from “Bost” that Nathan brought us is that it seems that the cover (the concrete plug) to underneath the arch has been lifted since the major U.S. military presence there.  This raises many, many questions.

But before I point them (the questions) out it should be noted that this could be another “tunnel down” into the recesses of Qala Bist.  The recess (tunnel) at the arch may still remain (plugged).  I do not know; maybe someone with a camera in Afghanistan (at Bost) could clarify all this for me (and you).  But to continue…

This “shaft” does lead eventually to water, to tunnels and to more tunnels – perhaps to 10,000 miles of tunnels underneath the sands of Qala Bist and halfway north to Bamiyan and way over to near Kandahar, even north toward Ghazni.  I’ve been in these tunnels, “crevasses” (as they are called in Afghanistan) – they’re called “Qanat” in Iran.  In the southern half of Afghanistan they are everywhere – I’ve mentioned this long, long before.

So it would be a “military necessity” to open up these tunnels and send some bodies in.  A thousand military operatives maybe; maybe two thousand or even three.  It is the “underground” war in Afghanistan; win that one or ONE will lose!  But, it’s not so much the “sand-hogs” that I might think about.  It is the “other” tunnels – niches – caves and their contents that interests me more.  You see the “lid” on Afghanistan has been blown open (quite literally) as you can see.

So watch the content of those caves and caverns and cravasses folks.  The contents ARE important.  Their truth could save the world; or kept concealed – destroy it.  Meanwhile; I’ll just carry on with my bit and my pieces because like the tunnels, it all connects you know.

[First posted 2010.06.05 / Saturday  Three pictures of Qala Bist]

[Re-posted 2010.06.07 / Monday  Four pictures of Qala Bist]  7:45 P.M. Mountain War Time

[Add-a-post 2010.06.09 / Wednesday  Five pictures of Qala Bist]  3:10 P.M. Mountain War Time

Twin towers.

June 5th, 2010

~ Afghanistan, the lines of communication, and the Rachel Corrie (and a few other things).

No, this post is not about the “twin towers” that you might be thinking about.  Or, at least not so much.  Let me explain.

I think it was December of 2001 (maybe it was 2002) that I wrote my annual “Christmas letter” about “Camels in the snow”; about Afghanistan in winter and Afghanistan in summer because it is always summer in southern Afghanistan near Kandahar – going to Herat.

The camels in the snow picture is one of my favorites.  It was taken in northern Afghanistan of course – in Kabul.  It shows the fully loaded camels working (walking), standing in the snow next to our Mercury Station wagon; which because it is (was) a Mercury and now Mercury as a car name is now gone (this week’s news) makes me think that the picture and the post (meaning the Christmas letter) might be relevant even now.

I never sent the letter that year.  Everything was too depressing.  The nation was in one and moving toward two more “Asian” wars – “terror war 1”, Iraq war 2, Afghan war 4.  If you know your history you know that I am right.

Anyway, the twin towers imagery reminded me that year of the other and earlier towers spread across the lower stretches of Afghanistan.  I’m not talking minarets here; the tall towers around all the Mosques; there to watch (as in watch towers); there to listen (to the call from God); there to communicate to the people the love of God and the call to prayers.  My towers (the towers of which I reference) are older, much much older you see.  They ARE the towers that gave inspiration to the prophet Mohammad and to his followers and to the later architects and engineers of all his realms.  The towers were (of course – sure, you knew this all along) the towers of Alexander (as in “The Great”).

I used to climb the old abandoned towers in Afghanistan.  No, Alexander’s towers after 2,300 years WERE long gone.  But there were towers not unlike them (still left).  The old minarts at the ruins outside of Farah (Afghanistan) were perhaps the best example; stopped the car; I got out; walked over to the towers and slowly climbed the ancient spiral staircase up and up.  My parents watched, my mother worried a bit; my father knew I might learn something.  I did.

I was stopped about half way up by the broken stairs (really mud steps) supported by wood around a central pillar inside the larger pillar outside.  The “old forts” in America have many staircases of this kind – Fort Point (in San Francisco), Fort McKinley (in Maryland), Fort Saint Augustine (in Florida) – there’s one at a memorial in Gettysburg – you know the drill; if you don’t know, go see one.  About the mud, don’t worry.  The new ones (2,150 years newer) are all made of stone and marble – not mud; but then the new staircases are only 2 to 3 stories high; not the ten or twelve that I am talking about.

So Alexander the Great built these towers all the way from Greece to Kandahar as his armies marched (ever forward).  The towers were for communication, the secret secret of his success.  The towers “had his back” all the way back to Greece from where new troops, reinforcements, new armies could be summoned; called up; sent forth to reinforce those already on the front lines in (say) Kandahar (but I really mean in Gaza).

Of course he had other armies, closer than the ones in Greece; armies stationed all along the way near and in communication with the towers.  Any “enemy attack” could be rapidly responded to; any effort at a flanking movement, an attack from behind, a pincer point – you get my point.  The towers were the safety net of safety through clear unimpeded communication.

By day Alexander (in his towers) used the miracle of mirrors; flashed the sunlight across the arid wastes literally almost at the speed of light.  At night he used the fires (the signal fires), not the smoke.  Again messages moved nearly at the speed of light across all the half of Asia; from Europe almost to the Indus; Alexander always knew what was going on (and almost instantly).  It didn’t matter if he were in Kandahar or in Greece – he KNEW.  And he had fast horses too; in case of really bad weather.  The Pony Express thing, except he had horseman trained as runners (in case the horse died or was killed) – one could run that extra lap and get the message through in even the worst of weather (inclement as they say today).

In time his enemies learned to first attack a tower; then attack the main force (in Kandahar / or is it really the coast of Gaza?).  But Alexander’s generals knew that if a tower goes down (or off-line) that that is where the trouble is and bingo-bango “help was immediately on its way” (from two directions of course) in his own pincer move.

So with all this wisdom, foresight, and planning why do WE not speak Greek today?  The answer is quite simple.  It is the “two towers” problem; the message of the twin towers.  Here’s how it works; or why it doesn’t.  There is this line of towers; say numbered one to 33.  You want to take out a point at tower 11; you attack tower 7 and tower 4.  Troops rush from tower eleven to help towers 4 and 7.  The rest is history as (your) main force closes in for the attack.  In no time the tower game is broken, the lines of communication are gone, the empire crumbles.  And it did.

So watch your towers folks; there are NO easy lines of communication.  Think broadly, cast a wide and ever wider net; it IS like fishing, like the sea thing, like “fishers of men” or something.  Like if you fish; fix the net (work) first.  You get my drift.  Just a bit of history; a bit about Afghanistan; and now maybe I can find the pictures.

Love and peace on this almost D-Day and the first day of the Six Day War.

[First posted:  2010.06.05 / Saturday  Twin towers.]  12:40 P.M. Mountain War Time

Update:  3:50 P.M. Mountain War TimeSong links added to this post.  The ship Rachel Corrie is of course not the song Richard Cory, but thoughts such as this do cross ones mind.

The second song linked (above) is Ebony Eyes which is a reference to being lost in an air ship when the beacon towers (searchlights) originally set up by the Charles Lindbergh TSA (Airline) to guide planes safely across America failed (or at least failed to find this one ship).

Update:  4:25 P.M. Mountain War TimeHere come the pictures folks.  Near Kabul.

Camels in the Snow – Kabul, Afghanistan – December 19, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

December 19, 1958:

This photograph was taken on the way from the Paghman Mountains on a trip to supervise the construction of the warming lodge for the first ski area in Afghanistan.  The rope tow poles would go up a few days later on a sunnier day.

Update:  6:25 P.M. Mountain War TimeThe minarets.  So I’ve spent two hours looking for the “old” photographs of the very old minaret ruins.  They seem to be terribly out of focus, and there was only one picture.  Alas.  It also seems they may be gone now.  I can’t find like pictures in either Herat or Farah or anyplace in-between.  But this photograph gives you a good idea of the way it was – except the “was” was much older.  Anyway, Luke Powell has done a nice job photographing Afghanistan – so take a look at some of his other images; more modern than mine, but nice.

December 19, 1958

December 19th, 1958

Camels in the Snow – Kabul, Afghanistan – December 19, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

December 19, 1958:

This photograph was taken on the way from the Paghman Mountains on a trip to supervise the construction of the warming lodge for the first ski area in Afghanistan.  The rope tow poles would go up a few days later on a sunnier day.

[First posted:  2010.06.05 / Saturday  December 19, 1958]

December 1, 1958

December 1st, 1958

This is Post #50 in the new Series “Going to Afghanistan”.

~ The roots of a $1 Trillion Dollar “discovery” and a little about oil from the gulf.

I know you probably find it a little hard sometimes to see things “my way”.  A little documentation is always nice.  You can get your own copy of this from the Agency for International Development (AID) (archives – it was ICA in 1958) if you don’t believe me; if you think I photo-shop things myself.  These documents are real.

So I am posting a few “family mementos” – papers from the past to show that “what’s new” is maybe not so new.

Exhibit ‘A’ is a simple list from Fred’s Division (not military, but maybe a little like military just the same) – maybe like the first American Invasion of Afghanistan (circa 1958; not the 2001 one at all).

I didn’t see it as an invasion then; I saw it more like “doing good”, like “a trip”, like “my life” in Afghanistan – a nice place (then).  But looking back on the documents (from now) makes them seem a little more disconcerting.  The projects, but more – the priorities – are clear.  You don’t need it spelled out with big numbers, starting with “one”, to make the point.  You don’t need a document deliberately without a date to make the point.  But here it IS and it is so abundantly clear (now).

10 of the Projects of ICA in Afghanistan – circa 1958.

Clayton Family Document from the Donald Clayton collection – This image is contributed to the Public Domain under the parameters of Qala Bist Blue.

This list shows the project ID numbers and the ICA USOM/A person in charge of the specific project.  Actually, several projects often fell within the parameters suggested by this list; and as you will see by subsequent documents the “scope” of the parameters was often changing.

Projects pertinent to the identification of and development of (exploitation of) Mineral Resources and coal production in Afghanistan was in the hands of Robert Davis in 1958.  This is perhaps interesting to consider in light of the release two days ago of the U.S. Military assessment of the potential (in 2010) of the Mineral Resources of Afghanistan.

This thing goes a long way back folks!

In case it is not as clear to YOU as it is to me let’s look at this list a bit with fresh eyes.  The exploitation of Afghanistan’s natural resources is #1.  #2 is reconnaissance and mapping; there were no satellite surveillance systems then, no ground penetrating radar; but a good geologist (like Fred) could see things just the same (and did; and so did many others).

The Helmand Valley was first about electric power (not agriculture, more the ruse).  Fred was an engineer that built dams and airports; irrigation was act two – “power” always precedes food on THIS planet.  Which brings us to “industry” and Industrial Districts (in Kandahar); industry needs power (back to #3).

#5 is “Educational Facilities” the battle for the “hearts and minds”.  Kabul University (an American project) was not about philosophy, theory, religion and good government – it was there to teach science (nuclear engineering, chemistry – things like that).  #6 brings us finally to “food”; but not food in the old way (old ways) – this is “new food” folks, maybe not genetic engineering “GM” (yet, but not too far from it.  Lashkar Gah was an American community (per design), tractors and chemicals all made in the U.S.S.A. – Whoray!

#7 is the “Air Power” thing.  KIA was the first “Jet Port”; Bagram came close behind; then the Russians built Kabul (International Airport) and the war was on.  #8 is of course about the OIL!  Roads to replace camel trails and caravans, trucks burning fossil fuels always coming in; you’ve seen the pictures, the trucks – Fred’s car; all the other “American” cars there (mostly just for show) – a real CAR SHOW with all the American models and the model of America – America using Oil!

#9 – always “number nine” – more oil folks.  Oil for asphalt, oil for trucks, oil for cars – make Afghanistan dependent on oil.   And then we have the “Code 10” “Ten code” #10.  It means everything from “fight in progress” to “bomb threat” to “off-duty”.  You take your pick, we’re talking “Afghan regional transit” here; sounds like a roadside bomb to me; or maybe just neglected infrastructure – this country ain’t going nowhere under the Americans baby (not maybe).

Let me make it CLEAR.  I never saw all of this this way until today!  This list was made before Fred came along; Fred (my father) did not make this list.  He was given this list by someone “higher up” the chain.  I’m not convinced he even understood at the time “the plan”, the “stakes”; what someone was really after.  He loved Afghanistan and the people; but too – he had a job to do – let’s put that job to an end – a real end – like let’s stop that JOB right now!

Stop the drilling Take down the walls and dams and damn walls!  Let the people free!

Note:  For more documents and documentation check the monthly posts under 1958; the document list is growing.  I will try to make a “click here” list; but you know that I’m still looking for pictures of two old cars and columns east of Beirut (so don’t hold your breath).  Maybe I should create a new catagory “Documents” and make it real(ly) easy.

[First posted  2010.06.16 / Wednesday ]  11:35 P.M. Mountain War Time

November 30, 1958

November 30th, 1958

Kabul Wall from Russian gas station at Lion’s Gate – November 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

Where the old west gate to Kabul once was the Russians built a gasoline station; one of three in Kabul.  Even the Americans kept going on Russian oil.  This view of the wall is looking toward the southeast.

USOM Mail Room under construction – Governor’s Compound – Kabul Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

The Governor’s Compound was another name for the USOM Staff House (compound); the areas surrounded by “compound walls” made of adobe.  The Mail Room building was the fourth of four primary buildings built in the compound.  It too was made of adobe bricks, but unlike those of the southwest U.S. these adobe bricks were fired in Kilns, although not all Afghan adobe bricks were fired.

USOM Mail Room under construction – Governor’s Compound – Kabul Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

In this Governor’s Compound photograph one can see more details of the construction.  As an engineer Fred was naturally interested in construction details.  The wood casement windows, locally constructed, are in, as is the door frame and door.  The adobe bricks have been plastered over with a compound of sand and cement.  The foundation is of stone set with cement mortar.  The poplar tree poles for the roof are going in (or up) and the “roofers” are placing the cross members.  Aren’t you glad you know?  Think of yourself as an engineer or at least as a member of the family.

Koh-i-Sher Darwaza – Kabul – November 30, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

There are two sides to every mountain.  Darwaza means “door”.  This is the southeast door to Kabul, always closed except the crack at Lion’s Gate; the small defile where one goes in.  This is the “outside” of the door as one looks northwest from Kart-i-chor in Kabul (new Kabul – but not the “new city”) outside the wall and gates.

The shadows of the day are getting very long now.  Soon time to go in or home or something.  But first this one last picture of the kiln, piles of bricks four storeys high (as the Brits would say).  Duralamon Avenue is behind us, the Staff House compound is before us.  The cows are everywhere.  To the left are the beginnings of new buildings for the future.

[First posted:  2010.05.28 / Saturday  November 30, 1958]

November 30, 1958

November 30th, 1958

Tea party in Kabul, Afghanistan – November 30, 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 30, 1958:

Fred W. Clayton gave a party of farewell (a tea) for Mr. Richardson; who taught Business Management at Kabul University.  150 people attended the tea, 75 were students and staff of Kabul University, others were ICA and Columbia university people.

Anyway, it has been so many years; so much has happened.  We need names before it is too late.  This picture is about tea, not coffee – but names would still be nice.  Read below.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 34:069 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kabul Province –
KabulUSOM Compound? / USOM Office Compound? / Kabul University?

This photograph was taken on November 30, 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the persons pictured are generally unknown.  The American in the middle is probably Mr. Gordon Strong.  If you have any information regarding any of these persons please E-Mail this website.

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  November 30, 1958]

November 21, 1958

November 21st, 1958

Fruit vendor – Kabul bazaar – Kabul, Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 21, 1958:

This man is a real independent businessman.  This shop is his.  He owns it free and clear.  He works for himself, not others.  He works hard, gets up early, buys his fruit and fresh quail – makes it available to you (or he did).  The scales remind him (and you) of the balance in life, in justice – of the fair measure.  The grapes are for eating, fresh fruit, maybe for pilow – not for wine.  The Afghans drink water and tea.

Don’t you wish you could buy your food this fresh, this pure, this free from plastic markets and plastic packages and packaging?  Would plucking your own feathers really kill you?  Or maybe if you really knew the squab (or the chicken) was a real bird you might not kill it.  So much to think about, so little time.

Anyway, again he looks like a good man, sincere and thoughtful, so we should really know his name.  Read below.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 34:069 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kabul Province –
KabulUSOM Compound 

This photograph was taken on November 21, 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the person pictured is unknown. If you have any information regarding this person please E-Mail this website.

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  November 21, 1958]

The reservoirs

November 16th, 1958

In her letter of November 16, 1958 Lloydine Clayton referred to the impression that the reservoir at Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan reminded her of the reservoir at Hoover Dam on the Nevada / Arizona border (that created Lake Mead).

I have located the Nevada picture in question so that you can decide; or so that you can appreciate the similarities of the memories in her mind.  The photograph on the left is in Afghanistan, the photograph on the right is in Nevada.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Hoover (Boulder) Dam, Nevada / Arizona U.S.A.

Both Photographs taken by Fred W. Clayton – These photographic images are copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Arghandab Dam, Afghanistan – Dedication stone in English and Pharsee – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 31:065 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kandahar Province –
ArghandabArghandab ReservoirArghandab Dam 

This photograph was taken on (or about) October 27 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the persons pictured is unknown.  If you have any information regarding either of these people or their families please E-Mail this website.

Hoover Dam – Nevada / Arizona U.S.A. – 1953.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

This photograph was taken on May 31, 1953 at Hoover Dam on the Nevada Spillway side of the dam.  Pictured is the U.S.B.R. (United States Bridge Rescue) life preserver and sufficient rope to pull one from the waters of Lake Mead (below).  Also pictured is Ken Clayton (Kenneth E.); Donald Clayton; and Martin Clayton (Frederick M.).

This trip was ocassioned by the possibility of a job for Fred in Las Vegas (Nevada) as Assistant City Manager.  He did not get the job; accepting instead an appointment by Governor Charles Russell on the three member board of the Nevada PSC (Public Service Commission).

All was not lost however as the interviews left time to see the Hoover Dam, built in part by the Morrison Knudsen company that also (later) built much of the Arghandab Dam in Afghanistan.  Since Fred was an engineer and fairly well known he (we) got the “royal treatment” and the royal tour through all the elevators, penstocks, tunnels, and generator rooms that made up this (then) greatest of all dams.

Maybe you shouldn’t go there now; “Boycott Arizona”, half the dam and half of Lake Mead are IN Arizona.  Half the water and power goes to Arizona; the other half to California; some water and some power goes to Nevada.  I jest of course – I think (about the “going there” I mean).  But in case you don’t understand the complexity of Arizona’s borders and the issues and the issues surrounding dams I have added a few pictures, maps, and documents for your perusal – the kind only an engineer would save.  But since Fred saved them, I will share them and then you can decide about both the water and the boycott and maybe who should get the power.

[First posted: 2010.05.19 / Wednesday   The reservoirs]

November 16, 1958

November 16th, 1958

USOM Driver in the City of Kandahar, Afghanistan – 1958.

Photograph taken by Fred W. Clayton – This photographic image is copyrighted by Donald Clayton, all rights reserved – first published 2010 on QalaBist.com.

November 16, 1958:

This man is not really a “USOM driver”, that’s what the slide says.  In reality he is an Afghan who is working as a driver and working for “USOM”, the United States Operations Mission.  It is important to keep ones facts straight – Afghan first, not America.  America only pays him, has not bought his heart and soul.

Anyway, he looks like a good man, so we should know his name.  Read below.

Project Identity 720 ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————       [1] 31:065 – Asia – Afghanistan – Kandahar Province –
KandaharUSOM Compound 

This photograph was taken on November 16, 1958 by an American engineer in Afghanistan.  The identity of the person pictured is unknown. If you have any information regarding this person please E-Mail this website.

[First posted:  2010.05.26 / Wednesday  November 16, 1958]

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