Afghanistan Aftershocks

February 23rd, 2015

The first post, The Happy Baker, was posted on Qala Bist (.com) on October 6, 2007.  Among other things, the website was to be about Afghanistan, as the name implied.  That was a long seven years ago.  Much has happened since then.

I have posted quite a bit about Afghanistan since 2007.  However, I haven’t written a lot about the time that I spent there.  Most of the words and pictures about the country, from the country, are from my father, perhaps like a diary of his of sorts.  Even the posting of those letters and those pictures is not yet complete.  It is as though I barely have started.

Afghanistan, specifically Qala Bist pictures, Hoover Dam, Trinity Site / Atomic Cafe, Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy limousine thing, and a few things connected to Kansas are what people seek when they visit this site.  It really is like the Wizard of Oz, and why the cow jumped over the rainbow – it was so not the moon.  I’ve linked the Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole song for maybe the 50th time.  Maybe someone will really listen this time.

The Wizard of Oz was released on August 15, 1939.  The movie was in full color.  Initially only about 12 million people, one in every 10 Americans, saw it.  The black & white war (film footage) coming out of Europe, starting just two weeks later, would have a much bigger draw.  The real Germany was so into color, even though the ‘reel’ Germany was so black and white.  This is maybe my 86th post about the distortions made possible by the media.

Am I getting through (to you) yet?  A black and white movie about rainbows just wouldn’t make it.  A war movie about ‘a wonderful world’ just wouldn’t make it.  That brings us full circle to the 35mm color film covering Afghanistan.  It’s more about Oz and Dorothy and a Rainbow than it is, or ever was, about war.  The media promotes such a different meme when the topic turns to Afghanistan.

So many of the people I read are totally giving up on America.  America is not about being, or bringing, a wonderful world anymore.  It is not about pure food, pure minds, pure water, pure thoughts and pure deeds.  The ‘homeland’ never heard the phrase, “in purity there is security.”  We seem to live in a world where most people see ‘pure’ as just another 4-letter word.

Today’s Afghanistan is so unlike the Afghanistan that I knew.  In my Afghanistan animals were everywhere, and were usually making themselves useful.  It was not just a land of ‘cars & trucks’ moving everyone everywhere.  Airplanes and aircraft were few.  I’m repeating myself.  You really don’t get it, you really don’t care.

How can one have a movie without mechanization, a war movie without the automatic machines?  If Pablo Picasso were painting today the picture of Guernica would not have the animals, modern movies and modern war have taken the animals out of life and life out of the animals.  The planet is rapidly dieing.  The only animals left are to eat, or are pets that eat the animal remains of the other animals that are left.

War creates a panic about procreation.  Insecurity makes the populations surge.  States start it.  They see people as money, large populations as strength, over-population is seen as strategic reserves.  This consciousness (really lack of consciousness) trickles down to the weak minded and the most insecure.  Those populations vastly increase to the detriment of the many, the few, and the special.  Afghanistan, like Oz, was once very special.

To ‘give up’ is to lose hope of an ‘ever again.’  It is to believe in a ‘never again.’  Did I mention that in America (and elsewhere) the middle class is dead?  I don’t just mean economically, and politically.  Politically the middle class is useless in the land of the rich.  The only value the middle class ever had was middle class values, middle class involvement, the middle class participation in things.  That is over and gone, gone forever.  The middle class has been bought out, was sold out, has sold out to the poor and to the rich.  The middle (center) can’t hold because there is not a center anymore, America has been gutted and fracked and swindled and there I go being all poetic about it, about the end of a world.

A civilization in collapse is not unlike a civilization in retreat.  All civilizations begin with a ‘hope,’ with the tangible belief in a ‘getting better,’ as in things will get better.  ‘Better’ is defined by the values of the civilizations founders, it’s what they see as ‘good.’  The new civilization is founded on a resurgent technology, electronic things that distract, inform, and amuse – a virtual unreal reality.

For the last thirteen or fourteen years we’ve lived with civilizations in collision.  An old world of animals and life forms and ideas and abstractions and great diversity and dreams was confronted by a technologically driven new materialism, a mind control method and apparatus gone viral.  The viral thing won.  Thank Snowden, thank Apple, thank Zuckerberg of course, thank Google.

‘Net Neutrality’ is code for every idea presented on the web is essentially equal.  There is no value judgement, or quotient, to equal.  All ideas are just an opinion, or the truth – you decide.  There is no life behind anything to say, just pictures (maybe) and an illustration or two (sometimes).  It is dangerous territory.  Image is everything, substance is not even there.

Being ‘connected’ (connectivity) is the buzzword that leaves unanswered, “Connected to what?”  A smartphone cannot connect you to the vibrations of the earth.  An earbud cannot make you feel.  Twitter is no substitute for a real conversation which in reality requires flesh and blood, a presence, not just a voice on a phone that says, “I wish you were here, I wish you were near.”

The defeated civilization and civilized persons will retreat into reality, leaving the virtual reality landscape largely uncontested.  The new life will involve (evolve) into becoming connected with those that are unconnected.  The virtual reality is based on the idea of ‘what is is what was.’  The new life will be centered on ‘past forgetting,’ on leaving all the scaffolding behind.  Sometimes it is just really time to start over.

All God’s Children Have Shoes

May 6th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #5 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

All God’s Children Have Shoes

~ Growing up in the land of the free.

We seem to have some time to kill while we are waiting for the past to synchronize with the present – here, in Syria, in Afghanistan.   This is only the sixth or so, our last letter (meaning my mother’s) was written on the sixteenth.

So, a plane or two had been shot down over Russia (then).  Nobody knew who owned the plane (or why), or what it was really up to (before it came down).  At least that is what the western media said.  Russia said it looked like war.  It wasn’t until the seventh when Russia (then) broke the silence and said they had the plane and the pilot.   Reports are circulating that Syria has “the pilot”, a survivor from the bombing run on Damascus; maybe it’s like Japan capturing the pilot of the Enola Gay.

The difference of course is that America was not trying to keep it a secret that they had used a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb, a new weapon that no one had ever seen before on the battlefields of the middle east, meaning west, not east Asia.  No, this time the secret was kept from America.   Only one or two of the agencies within the government knew it would happen and they did not tell the President – he had no “need to know”.  That’s how turf wars are; they are wars for turf and territory and the hearts and minds of men and women and all the children too.

Assuming that they really have him it makes sense that they are working him over like they work over the detainees at Guantanamo (Bay).  Fair’s fair in love and war, one side sets the standard and the other side is sure to follow.  I’m sure they’ve checked his teeth.  Secreted pills are so easy to swallow; it’s better “red line” than dead.

How much does a pilot need to know when flying a “weather plane” (that was the cover for the atomic bomb run).  The cover for the latest bomb run was “Hezbollah“.   Like if the Japanese had captured Paul Warfield Tibbetts Jr., it would soon come out that the pilot knew it was more than a weather plane, it was in the name, “War-field” – who would ever believe the ironic details in the script?  One never has to look to far.

It’s like the Boston bombings, or not unlike the Boston bombings.  Agencies don’t always communicate.  There is always something one or another branch of government wants to hide.  There is always something that no one wants to hide, or one that thinks something hidden should be revealed.   Do you think the first third Reich was one happy family that just worked well together?  No; there’s infighting, there’s outsourcing, there are differences in the way powerful people see things.  There is always a struggle for power if not the constant possibility of an outright coup.

While one person might see one flag, another person sees a field divided by those with opposing stripes.   While one person sees a field of blue; all another person sees is red.  It’s a matter of perspective (always).  It is never so much what you might be told; it is what one believes.

Every story needs a hero.  Every dark empire needs an underground or underpinnings that can be revealed that offers proof that there was always light, always hope, always the push for the possibility of change even in the confines of the darkest hell, or hell on earth.  Like Mr. Tzarnaev “singing like a canary” maybe the Israeli pilot is “singing like a canary” too.  He (like Tsarnaev) knows he has no rights, that he’s been conned, that only the truth and nothing but the truth “so help me God” will ever make one free and ready to meet ones maker.

The “back story” in the story from Afghanistan, meaning mine and my mother’s and my father’s, is of course “the diary”.  The diary has (as she has said) the details, the whole story, the things that one does not just drop in the Mail, or the Embassy mail, or even the American mail where even the stamps are stolen; where even whole letters might disappear.

To understand the diary and the why and how of how things work I must explain a few things, first.  It is clear from the past several posts that there were “enemies” everywhere, or potential enemies.  Go back and read things carefully if you don’t really understand.  There was Russia (the Soviet Union) of course.  There was the Afghan government, it had its own agenda, not necessarily just the American one.  Within the American community there was a real villain (meaning antagonist to Fred) in the form of a “pseudo” boss, the “acting” Director.  The Embassy did not always see eye-to-eye with USOM.  Things were so bad that plans were made to secure an “ark”.  My mother writes so glibly that the real danger that there was is not always entirely apparent, from my parent.

The diary was not really written in code.  If it were nobody could ever read it.  Anyway a pen, a pencil and a typewriter was all that was ever at hand.  The typewriter did not travel well, it was too valuable and too heavy.

My mother learned shorthand in high school.  She was very good.  She had a shorthand version of her own shorthand that really helped to speed things up.  She could record far more in less time than any man then alive in Afghanistan and not one other person alive could ever decipher her notes.  Even she could not decipher her own notes after the passage of too much time, hence her concern about “keeping up” with the diary.

She typed up her shorthand (shorthand) notes using lined paper.  The typed area was almost as wide as the paper itself.  The typing started very near the literal top of the page and ended only at the bottom of each literal bottom.  She typed on both sides “back to back”.  The idea was efficiency, to have the lightest, easiest to carry or conceal manuscript possible if it ever had to be secreted out of the country or had to be kept secret within the country.    But that was not all.

Everything she typed was typed without any capitalization or punctuation.  There was no spacing between words, or paragraphs or sentences.  Nothing was indented.   Everything was in English of course, but it was in an English that virtually no living soul would ever have the patience to read (as she mentioned to her mother, “you will perish trying to read it“).  I believe my grandmother took her warning seriously, and never did.

To demonstrate how this works I shall borrow from a paragraph above:

Now imagine trying to read this entire post without paragraphs and with paragraphs written like that.  Then recreate nine pages and without any numbers (meaning page numbers) that verify what really is “back to back”.  Nobody in America today, or at least very few, are willing to go to the lengths my mother did to make sure that her message and the truth would get through.

There is a lesson here.  My only comment at this time is that when I get through with all of her letters then I might try to upload the diary.

So, reading between the lines is easy when you get used to reading lines that are hard.  The only question is what to do when the message gets through.  The truth always has the potential to change everything.  And the truth always comes out in the end, so that means that in the end EVERYTHING will change; you can bet every bank that there ever was or that will be on it.  And I do believe you will see.

So do all God’s children really have shoes?  Is the Pope really Polish?  Does what was once written really hold water now?   Is it just a letter we’re reading or is it a diary?  What will be said if the pilot stays alive and is allowed to speak up; as if Tibbitts were shot down and was captured and tortured and was tortured about the mission and the death and the destruction that his “success” in life would really mean, really bring?

Every sentence, every chapter, every page of history can always be easily rewritten.  Some times history is just copied.  Sometimes it is rewritten because of the finding and identification of a new source, or a better source.  Keep looking.  Keep searching.  The truth really is out there and the truth will make even the most downtrodden prisoner eternally free if he or she is not guilty as charged after EVERY affidavit is in.  And EVERY affidavit is NOW coming in.

2013.05.06 – 23:10

The Bangladesh Marathon

May 1st, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #3 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

The Bangladesh Marathon

It’s May Day in America.  It’s MayDay in Europe too, and in NATO countries and in all the countries where we have partners.  It’s May Day too in Afghanistan where I was on that real May day in 1960 when Francis Gary Powers and his U-2 flying from Peshawar (Pakistan) took off, but never landed.

Eisenhower was President, Nikita Khrushchev was Premier, in Afghanistan there was a King.  I’ve posted about this day before, when our servants in Afghanistan (meaning our cook and our houseboy) got all excited because they had just heard “it” on the news.

It was just after school, I had just come home.  My father was at work.  My mother was working with the Afghan government preparing an exhibit for a South Asian trade fair that had just started or was soon coming.

The news coming in on the radio, the only media of the time, was from Radio Tashkent (in “Russia”).  “The United States had sent a plane or planes over Russia.  The United States had dropped a bomb.  The situation certainly looked like war.  The Premier of the Soviet Union (and all their partners) would soon respond.

Our household help “partners” in Afghanistan were rather upset with me (and my family).  We were Americans, by our actions we had brought the world to the brink of thermonuclear war.  (Then) neither Kabul nor anywhere else in Afghanistan would probably be nuked (Afghanistan then was so far off the radar), but even the “servants” knew it looked like the end of the world as they would know it.

The world is still struggling with whether to turn to, or to turn off, the media as it pertains to “news”.  The latest word out of Boston (and the “bombing”) is like listening to Radio Tashkent.  One keeps hoping for another side to the story, for a change in slant, for a reason for hope and not just misery and despair.  One (in ones mind) secretly hopes that there really was no real bombing.

On this note, I first put up and then took down (yesterday) my link to the footage of “an aeroplane” that fell out of the sky at Bagram.  The “load” had shifted.  The hercules aircraft (really a 747) had become like the Hercules (the nation-God) whose weight of the world had become (or is very rapidly becoming) too much to hold.  “The weight shifted,” so I dropped it (maybe).

Most Americans are so busy reliving and replaying the images of Boston that they aren’t paying attention to the “falling out of the sky” situation in Syria.  Like a bolt out of the blue (from Thor) the catchy “Syria Sarin” connection is like the Radio Tashkent report of the American bombing; it gets people all excited, but if the only thing the plane dropped was the pilot then the only question is, “Did he explode?”

The reason that I took down the link (to the Bagram “bomb” disaster) was that seven of the reportedly eight people on board really died.  The eighth person (I guess) just went AWOL or missing.  Anyway, families are grieving, and lovers who lost their playmates are looking for new ones.

Seven Americans (or eight) are dead in Afghanistan; three Americans (or four) are dead in Boston.  In Bangladesh the number of dead today passed the number 400!  So why isn’t America and aren’t Americans grieving and wailing and demanding answers and clamoring for house to house searches and the arrest and seizing and torture (or do I mean just “questioningwithout rights) of those responsible; of those fellow Americans and their NATO and European partners who are responsible for the 400 DEAD?  It TOO was in the news.  Don’t we care?

In 1960 when the U-2 “fell out of the air”, it “was raining” the U.S. President said, “It was a weather plane from NASA”, was the retort, the media report.  The reports (all lies), this time came from the Voice of America (in America), not from the Rushkies in Russia; not from Radio Tashkent and the clear channel stations covering the world like Sherwin Williams red paint.

In 1960 (too) the Bangladesh of today was then known as East Pakistan.  Like West Pakistan on the Afghanistan border the East Pakistan country was (with West Pakistan) one country, one country under God, one Moslem nation that was (then) an American partner and that is why we had all those airmen and secret airplanes carrying secret cameras and stuff sitting in Peshawar (West Pakistan) flying west and not east.

So, Afghanistan (then, and also now) was not too close to their Pakistan neighbor.  The border was close (sure) – the two sides even touched (sure) – but it was like the U.S. border with Mexico; maybe neighbors, but not always friends.  “Keep your citizens home,” and your aircraft too, maybe.

The U-2 flew over Afghanistan to bomb the base or bases or basis of Russia, the U.S.S.R.   The base of support for doing this was the base in Pakistan (West), the cave north of Karachi, the Pakistan airport that did not exist as an American airport according to both the Pakistan and American side.

To “respond, to retort” to the American / Pakistan bombing the Russians would have to fly over Afghanistan (Afghan territory) to blast the smithereens out of the base in Peshawar and that would look like Pakistan and the Soviet Union were really at war – Afghanistan would be forced to take sides (meaning one side or the other).

What was worse was that America could not take a side unless they admitted that they had lied and owned (or owed up) to owning the planes flying from the base cave in Peshawar and now you can easily see how the whole “Bin Laden cave in Afghanistan” meme thing got started; it WAS May Day and MAY-DAY and why not do it again (and again and again) if people are so easily confused about all the lies and the original story the first time?

Are you following this?  Probably not (maybe).  It’s hard to stay focused when the story is really about East Pakistan, not West.  The story is about the “servants”, not the house and the home.  The story is about the life that real people who live and work for 10 CENTS an hour live or don’t live (when they die, as in death, an early death) for nothing, working marathon hours in the Bangladesh Marathon that has no finishing line and won’t ever end.

Where (really) are all the “Happy Wal-Mart Shoppers” with the happy faces and the prices beginning to fall?  Where are they now?  Is it because (Wal-Mart shoppers) think that Muslim people are sub-human, should just work as slaves, that they feel so good about saving all the money, and saving America too?

Of course America needs to wage war on “Islam”.   How else can one expand the slave population in (America’s partner Egypt), with (America’s partners) in Bangladesh and make “new partnerships” in the new slave-state of Syria, and “slave-state” of Iran when the “nuclear” (weather type “plane” lie) is put to rest and America has everyone in Iran working for the “new lower prices” rate of just 6 CENTS an hour.  The stock market will soar; until dry lightening strikes or the “load” shifts and then everything crashes (like in Bagram, maybe).

So, when there is no place to go and no place to turn and everything that one tries to do, say or think just turns all the mud into blood and blood on the streets and blood in the factories and in the air and on the floor is there anything one really can do to turn it all around, to stop it, to try and start over?

Turn up the volume on this one.  Wooden ships.  It’s not only a possibility, it is the only answer as we go forward on the road that we (meaning mainstream America) seems so determined to go on, on and on.  So, let lightning strike, I’ve been struck before (literally – but I can’t seem to find the post).  I’ve heard about the bombs falling and going off and about how they might go off.  It’s tiring.  It’s just old news and is not good news.  The good news is to KEEP CARING; to never let “all human feelings die”, to not become so numbed out about the news that the truth about human misery, death, suffering, injustice, pain is like (in ones mind) another commercial – one second it’s there – then it’s gone, it goes.

Are there any human beings left in America; and if so, where?  How many of us are beginning to feel like we may be The Last Man or Woman on Earth.  Now the Zombie meme is getting traction.  It is not the night of the living dead, it is the day of the dead that still wallow around as if they were living; grateful or flag waving or not, they are still dead, are still the silent majority that (like in Nazi Germany) saw (or knew about) the slave-labor camps and never spoke up, that just enjoyed the good life while the bombs fell on other places and not on the homeland, the fatherland, you know the drill.

So THOR please help us.  I don’t mean the coming movie.  I mean the natural power of the skies, a convergence of the heavens, a weather plane without cameras, a new set of rules because it is so totally obvious that the old rules, the old rulers, just haven’t worked and certainly don’t work today and will never work in the future so why “carry on”?

I wrote a few posts about the north of Korea, North Korea.  I made it clear that the message was “they’ve had it”, they’re “up to here”, “It’s not business as usual” – the old order is “so over”, at least over there.

Now in Guantanamo the message is the same.  The hunger strike and strikers are growing.  Death is the only way out when there are NO RIGHTS, NO HOPE, just torture forever and never a trial, charges; much less a judge or a jury.  Obama said he would close it.  How many times has he lied?  Mengele is a Saint when compared to Obama, he’s the real angel of death just repackaged to look like he’s human, like he has a heart and a soul when his sole purpose is to stress us and divide us and take all of us down; meaning to turn all of us into Zombies, all of one kind, like the kind that he is.

I would love to go back.  I would love to see Kabul again like it was when I left it.  I would love to live again in Carson City with a population of two thousand five hundred.  I would love to live again in a world where “Union Made” was not just a label, but meant that the products we used were made by those with a hope of a future and by people who could afford to buy food.  Now America is a nightmare on main street happening with far more soon to happen.  We paid for the movies, now we wait while all of them come true.  It’s no Love Story, meaning NO Love, the story.  This time it’s new, you’ve never seen it before, it’s never happened before.  It’s an original; a designer’s original with a no money back guarantee – ALL SALES ARE FINAL, finally.

So welcome to May.  I am sure (like this post) the month will be a long one.  Keep the faith.  Love (or at least really like) your neighbor.  Pay a fair wage, demand a fair wage where you work.  Nothing worthwhile in life is ever even “half” free so free yourself from the temptation of ever so low prices.  The GMO corn and canola and soy beans will kill you one bite at a time, so if you want to die get a gun – it will probably be so much quicker.

Yes, the wooden ships really are sailing.  You pass by them each day.  They are there in the water, they are there in the rain, they are there for anyone to see them if one will just see the pain.  Hercules may have dropped the ball, but all that that means is that he can’t carry us off to where we never wanted to go.

Be happy.  Hoist your sail, it’s all up to the wind now.

2013.05.01 – 21:37.

Getting out: Dodge and Bagram

April 30th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #2 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

Getting out: Dodge and Bagram

When the letter below was written Bagram was a very new military airfield built for the Afghan government by the Soviet Union as a place to land the Soviet Migs that the Russians had given to Afghanistan.  Just about exactly 53 years ago most of the American supplied planes that comprised the Ariana Afghan Airlines air fleet were stuck on the ground at Bagram as the letter will tell.

Fred is stuck in Kandahar, again.  Everyone (meaning a bunch of Americans) are stuck trying to get in or out of the country.  It’s not exactly chaos, but tensions are rising.

The road from Kandahar to Kabul was still mostly dirt in the spring of 1960 – the “Kabul – Kandahar Highway” was still a dream, but my father was working on it, working on making it much better, with asphalt and all.  The Mission Director (of USOM) had different ideas, he wanted just slurry seal or something cheap and similar.  It took Fred 13 hours to go the 325 miles.  Now the old caravan route is about 25 miles shorter.  In 1960 there were still as many camels as trucks; now there are just trucks.  And the journey is faster: six hours, not thirteen.  But as you can read, in 1960 the journey was safer.

The Lataband Pass is the “high” road that is the A-1 that they now use; the Kabul Gorge route is the “low” road that was by far the better road back then.  So much of that nice road work shown in the first pictures I posted from Afghanistan was washed out by the flood pictured in the words below. 



Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 No. Forest Street
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
(rubber stamp)
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #9


Kabul, Afghanistan
April 19, 1960

Dear Family, – Kenneth, Freddie, Grandma,

Maybe someday you will get a letter from us and we shall get one from you if this interminable rain ever stops.  It has been raining here for so long that we have been thinking in terms of Noah and how to build an ark.  Actually we have our ark pretty well ready, but I will get to that later.  The facts seem to be that it has been raining for seven days and the clouds are very low this morning.  However, we think this might be a thick, rising fog as there is no rain falling.  A while back I wrote that they were allowing the use of Bagram airport with its paved runways for commercial flights now during the wet weather and during construction of the Kabul airport.  However, paving does not help if one cannot see the mountain tops around about as flying here is strictly on a visual basis.  Result is that there have been no planes coming or going for days.

Last Saturday father*, Hyde, and Sanger finally got off to Kandahar on his second try.  On Monday Bert Hyde got a plane back into Kabul, the only one that has flown since the 9th.  Father* was supposed to return on Thursday as we had a small, special dinner planned for them.   That morning the Delhi plane took off, but returned after an hour of flying because it could not get through the Ghazni pass.  Since the 11th people have been accumulating in Kandahar, Kabul, Amritsar and other places waiting to go someplace else.  I am glad it did not develop this way last year or we would still be sitting in Amritsar waiting for our “April 12″ arrival in Kabul.  There have been a lot of parties in Kabul either given without the guest of honor (in transit) or cancelled because he did not arrive.  I went to one, and of course our dinner on Thursday went on without father*.  I heard a few days ago that there were over fifty people accumulated in Kabul.  Then there is the mail and shipping, etc.  It will take Ariana a long time to get out from under this.  One of the sad things is that two or three of the planes are grounded at Bagram where there are no mechanical facilities or storage sheds.  Otherwise the time could have been in to do some much needed mechanical work.  One wonders how Ariana can survive even with subsidies, yet we need it so desperately.

Father* could not wait in Kandahar forever so on Thursday afternoon at one he took a “Dodge Personnel Carrier” – magnified jeep made for the navy so it can even go on lake bottoms, four wheel drive, extra gears, big wheels etc., brand new for one of the projects – and started to Kabul with a couple of other people.  86 miles out of Kandahar they picked up an Austrian trying to do it in a little Russian car taxi.  He had a three hour head start on them already.  So in about thirteen hours of travel time they got to Kabul.  They managed to average about 25 miles per hour, starting with 28 per hr. on the first stretch that was in relatively good condition.  This vehicle is our “ark”, and one could figure it would get through almost any place.

Sunday we took this vehicle down the gorge road a ways to see the busy river crashing its way through.  There is such a high silt content that the water does not exactly churn like clear water, but splinters into small droplets everywhere it meets obstacles.  It was busily chewing away at the road some places and we are sure that by now in some of the places where it was already working behind the retaining walls the road must be gone.  The Lataband Pass {map} was working for a while although rumors have it that it was closed by slides.  There were some bad ones in the gorge too.  So, if mail is slow, you see why.

We are all well although father* got very tired on his long drive in the rain and dark.  He has been busy documenting all of his problems for Mr. Cawlthorn who is supposedly due in Washington on the 18th of April.  I have been semi-retired working on patching the family clothes – and this is a big job since it has not been touched for the last year.  I enjoy it in the rain.  Half of my time is taken up with cleaning up after the dogs, but they are still cute.  Sheelah is supposed to be a long hair I have learned.

Boys, you will get a big kick out of this.  Kidston railroaded a commissary meeting into voting that this one should affiliate with the Karachi one.  Eve was not even told much about it and said the action was really crudely done.  Now the latest scope is that Karachi refuses to have us, saying it would take $60,000.00 to put into the order they want us in.  Also, the Embassy has taken the warehouse space so they have to operate out of ICA warehouses on this side of town.  Oh joy!

{Page #2}

Mother, I hope you got your desert trip.

To go back to the old questions.  I did not bother to pay Copenhavers again as it was done by then.  I had paid American express on Sept. 5, air mail.  I have never used your address on anything on any of the forms we have had except for the Carson City post office.  Anything you have forwarded to us we have changed to this address – this particularly would apply to American Express.  The one exception is the Grollier Society books.  I explained to you and to them carefully, that last year we received one book “Book of Knowledge Annual” before we left Carson and I sent them a check for that.  I never received any other and the billing you eventually forwarded showed the Harrison St. address, so I presume that is where the book went and it was probably returned by the P.O. to them.  There should be two books each spring, and they are very interesting to read them and save.  My letter to them was very clear after you finally sent me the report on it all.

I am glad to notice that my letters seem to be coming to you better now that I have complained to your post office and started putting my “guilty conscience” notes under the stamps.  Someone sure made a haul last fall on the stamps.

No gardens here yet, everything is drowned out.  Lots of the mud walls are down and much trouble for the people.

Much Love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

{Father* is Fred W. Clayton, Lloydine’s husband and father of Donald (in Afghanistan), Kenneth (in Reno, Nevada) and “Freddie” (Frederick Martin Clayton in Redlands, California).    The letter to Hemme (her mother; “Grandma”) is the original, Kenneth and Freddie receive carbon copies of Page #1 of the same letter.  Lloydine has adopted the use of father to avoid referencing Fred in letters that may be intercepted by parties unknown.  Ghazni Pass is also known as Batai Pass.}

2013.04.30 – 18:35.

Afghan Hounds & Commodity Losses

April 29th, 2013

Click here for Afghanistan Central:, the portal to the Going to Afghanistan” series.

~ This is Post #1 in the Series “Leaving Afghanistan”.

Afghan Hounds & Commodity Losses

It has been a long-long time since I have posted anything from Afghanistan or about Afghanistan.  My mind has been more on Korea.

When I was in Afghanistan the country had been at peace since long before the United States had fought in the First World War, the Second World War and in the “Police Action” in Korea, now known in the United States as the Korean War.

In those days the United States had only a handful of military men in Afghanistan.  The only ones there were Marines, the Embassy Guard that guarded the United States Embassy.  The Marines lived near the embassy at the “Marine House”.  They never worried about IED’s, hostile nationals, any enemy of any sort; they were stationed in Afghanistan, not Germany or Korea.

If you have read the letters in the “Going to Afghanistan” series you may have noticed that they were filled with enthusiasm and hope.  I stopped posting in the series as I “lost hope” that America’s endless war in Afghanistan would ever end, (then) like the never ending U.S. war in Korea.

Now there seems to be reason to believe that the U.S. excursion into Afghanistan may be ending, just as my tour and time in the country was approaching an end in April, fifty-three (53) long years ago.  For my father, for my mother, probably even for me what was once an adventure was becoming an ordeal.  The American plan (then as now) was not working.  Morale was low.  The writing was on the wall.

The only way out of Afghanistan (for us) was through Korea.  Korea was (then and now) a country with tens of thousands of U.S. troops and military people, men and women “manning” the lines of “freedoms frontier”, living in barracks and Quonset huts and the occasional tent, or for officers a life in the suburban setting of South Post, South Korea.

While Afghanistan was a nation at peace, Korea was (then) a nation recently destroyed by war and technically (meaning actually) still at war.  Where in Afghanistan efforts were promoted under the U.S. flag (meaning USOM), in Korea it would be the United Nations flag that was ubiquitous.

Below is the first letter in the “Leaving Afghanistan” series.  It is a transition to “Korea“.  It may or may not be (now) like the Korea situation following the Korean War, meaning troops stationed in Afghanistan for years and decades indefinitely.  Maybe the point is, it’s hard to leave Afghanistan once one has been there, one wants to stay, to always look back, to take another look, just one more look.  I know.  As you can plainly see, I know.



Addressed to:
Hemme Martin
149 N. Forest St.
Gilroy, California

Senders name and address:
c/o American Embassy / USOM-Kabul
Department of State Mail Room
Washington 25, D.C.
(letter) #8


April 9, 1960

Dear Mother,

This is to be a short letter, but just to say everyone is well.

The two puppies keep us busy but we really enjoy them.  They are such personalities.

Fred is off to Kandahar today after trying to get there yesterday.  The winds made landing visibility too little so they had to return after being more than half way there.

Spring is peaking around the corner here.  Thanks for the news on the dresses, etc.  I am glad you got your dress done.  I finally finished a wool housecoat I have been working on for about two weeks.  It is late, but I was determined to get it sewed even if I couldn’t wear it.  Mostly I have to sew things into different sizes and lengths, and now it is too late to rework my winter things.  I don’t need new things.  However, we all like to hear word about new styles.

Maybe you are in the desert now.  Bet it is hot.

Gilroy must be going arty now.  We shall bring back two originals from here, one is our  sketch (educated scribbling), the other an oil by Mme Choukour of Afghan mountains, a gift.

News of the Sly visit was all new.

Did you get my letter asking for a complete itemization of all things paid by you for us?  The records are mixed up and I must have this list.  I have sent letters that were poorly numbered, but in general they are as follows:  February 12, Feb. 27, Feb. 29, Mar 16, Mar. 29, Apr. 9.

My diary is a mixture of the frivolous and serious.  I’ll try to get it out with me if I ever have to leave in a hurry.  It is purposely written in a manner that is hard to seperate.  You’ll perish trying to read it.

Groceries are just terribly high by the time they get to this inland part of the world.  Commodity losses are almost 30% enroute, due to rain and other damages.

I have been doing tax report and owing them as usual.  Have been sewing and have neglected my other projects for almost a month.

Almost time to think about going home again, especially when it comes to selling things, and doing your own packing etc.

Will close to catch the mail now.  Much love from all of us.

Fred & Lloydine & Donald

2013.04.30 – 04:32.

Day break, Debt break

August 2nd, 2011

Day break, Debt break

~ Nailing down the coffin lid.

OK, Give ME a break.  The idea that the economy can ever come back in a nation that just doesn’t have an economy is absurd.  It doesn’t mean that some (very few) people are just doing fine and making lots of money, maybe MORE money than they have ever made before.  They are, a few “out there”, a few who are still thoroughly grounded in unreality and have no idea of how people are staying alive and keeping up appearances and making America look normal instead of the new normal look that we soon all will get used to.

This is my second day in the new Republic.  It’s a new life, for me and others, and I didn’t even have to move.  The new Republic came to me, the new America, the new reality where debt just does NOT matter as long as you are in the group that doesn’t have to pay, meaning “pay for” all or any of the debt and/or “pay for” any of the consequences for the new reality that we are all living in whether or not we know it.

Wall Street is finally getting the message, even getting the message.   Like I said yesterday, people are not spending and will not spend because they don’t have any money (stupid).  It is not that they won’t spend the money they have, because of “confidence” or something.  It is because they have NO MONEY to spend and NO HOPE of ever getting money to spend.  The consumer economy is over.  Good bye to bad rubbish, it has been a very long time coming.

America and the market should be ecstatic about the “debt ceiling” being passed and the fact that “everyone” dodged the bullet and the market should be up-up-up, at least six hundred points and maybe a thousand.  “Clear sailing ahead.”  Get out your yacht and on your yacht or buy a yacht if you already don’t have one.  Buy a house in Florida or Malibu too, just to store it.  Have friends over, and a party.  Fly them in on your private jet from wherever they might be living and offer them drinks and Pina Coladas (cuze it is summer) and hire a band and let the music play.

The music is (of course) playing.  No, the market is not “up”.  Things will probably go as well with the market (in the future) as things are going in Afghanistan (now, and in the future).  Intelligent people know that the only really sane idea is to GET OUT!   But some just like living in misery and not trying and living as if life is about party-party-party and not about making ends meet for the masses, which maybe is not about US (meaning the U.S.) and maybe more about those that are really struggling and are really sincere.  No, Strauss-Kahn and Rupert Murdock and Paris Hilton, I’m not talking about you.

Yes, it is a while since I have written about Afghanistan or posted things from that place on the web.  Afghanistan was like summer living, party-time, happy days and all the rest once (too).  Like America, Afghanistan had its problems, but like in America the problems once seemed few.

I was in Afghanistan before it was utterly destroyed, left destitute and in ruin.  It was 50 years ago (and change) and before the Russian tanks went in, American armor went in and before the really dangerous politicians had their day.  There was (then) still an Afghan culture that was not based on Toyota pick-up trucks and American bribes.  America is now the new Afghanistan, that is why we are there and why the Afghan experience is coming here.  I’ve lived it.  I know.

Actually, this whole thing started when less than a week ago a person about my age contacted me because he lived in West Pakistan (Peshawar) about 150 miles from me, when I lived in Kabul.  He visited Kabul once, drove through the gorge, had a few dinners and possibly tea.  He recognized a face in an old photograph and let me know.  Since then we’ve been talking, which in these days means emails on the web.

I (and he) were young when we were on the American-Pakistan frontier.  The lessons of life learned when one is young don’t easily leave one (meaning “you”).   In all the theories abroad about “American exceptionalism” it must be remembered that it is the exceptional experiences of Americans that perhaps hold the greatest lessons.  In this, my experience in Afghanistan was about as exceptional as one can get.  It was a disconnected and somewhat discordant reality that was so foreign that nobody I knew could even grasp it, deal with it, or want to talk about it (with me).

Qala Bist itself (the website) is largely a result of this juxtaposition of past and present, development and destruction, war and peace.  It is much about Afghanistan and even more about me and always there in the outlier experience it is also very much about you.

Actually, the material on Afghanistan in this website is probably in as much disarray and turmoil as the country itself is in.   It got that way because it evolved that way, not because of intention.  Things can improve, despite the major trends of the present and history.  I found (last night) the American phone book for Afghanistan (circa June of 1960).  This book will be the basis for that long-awaited list of names that I hoped to have posted years ago.  This seems like the time, if ever.

I also am starting the posting of the numerous invitations that have somehow survived from the period of 1958 to 1960 in Afghanistan.  They are an important record of life in Kabul as it was and besides the frequent use of full names there is a lot of map information about where people really lived, locations that even the U.S. Embassy probably didn’t know.

The record of course is not perfect.  There are recollections, letters, invitations, maps, names, dates and of course the many photographs – but still, to recreate an image of Afghanistan as it was lived in then is virtually impossible – the variations are too great, the detail too minimal, the freedom of action and activity too incredible for the modern American mind to even grasp.

So as America crashes and crumbles for awhile, I will become (again) an Afghan for awhile.  I will again revisit my second home, a home to which I can never return because quite frankly it is no longer there; time and endless war has changed everything, and then too, there is the politics of it too.  Afghanistan and America, both places are looking like they are the same.

2011.08.02 – 20:33.

Cars & Bars

October 21st, 2010

~ The web makes things so much easier if you remember to use it.

I really do know the difference between a C 47 and a Lockheed C 130 Hercules.  Both are, or could be, cargo planes – hence the “C” designation.  The C 47 was the military version of the most remarkable plane ever built, the DC – 3.  I have no particular fondness for jets.  Sure, jets travel high and fast; but, they leave so little of the romance of flying and seeing things from the air without the perspective of google is not necessarily a bad thing.

My mistake came in the form of a too quickly written late-night email to the Meridian International Center folks in response to their quest for information.  They had referenced interest in official state visits; in this case to Afghanistan.  I responded by referencing Ike’s visit to Kabul of December 9, 1959.  Air Force One, the first one, was a Boeing 707 that replaced the presidential prop plane that had served several earlier presidents before.  The new plane offered Eisenhower his first opportunity to ride in a jet.  He liked it.

The result was a major international trip across the world with stops including Kabul, Afghanistan.  The only air field (airport) in Afghanistan where the 707 could land was the new Russian built military field north of Kabul named Bagram; projected home for the newly supplied Afghan Air Force of Russian migs.  Neither the Russians nor the Afghans wanted Air Force One to land there or the Americans to be there on the base, but the Afghans did not want the Eisenhower visit to be canceled and after all Nikita Khrushchev had just visited Kabul some months before.

It’s hard to Google information about all of this because now there is an aircraft carrier named “Eisenhower” and it has been used to support military operations in (or against) Afghanistan and the word “Kabul” comes up a time or two.  The point is that two American Air Force airplanes landed in Kabul at Bagram for Eisenhower’s visit.  There was the 707 and a Lockheed C 130 Hercules that carried “support” for the presidential visit and according to the best information the presidential car, that 1956 black convertible limousine that was used for the Kennedy assassination reenactments as seen in the Warren Commission report.

Actually there were (are) two virtually identical 1956 Cadillac limousines that were used by Eisenhower for official parades.   Which of the two was flown to Afghanistan is not certain, as the previous link states, information is hard to get.  The situation is further complicated by the fact that evidently plans to use the specially protected car were thwarted in preference for the official Royal Rolls Royce which Khrushchev used to enter the Afghan capital so the presidential limousine sat in the belly of the C 130 until it was flown back to Teheran (Tehran) and then flown back to the U.S. or elsewhere.

No, a C 47 cannot carry a presidential limousine; the doors are too small, the weight of the car is too heavy.  But, a C 130 can.  The plane also carried Fred as it left Kabul, flying south for a tour over Marja (Marjah) and an aerial recon of the agricultural works and new farming village underway.  Fred pointed out the sites and features and took a few more air photographs of Qala Bist – a press report might have said, “President’s Cadillac over Marjah” but there was no one from the press on board.

America and Americans do love their cars.  It is nice to be able to take ones car (by air) with you, no need for OJ Simpson and Hertz.  How many times has a Cadillac been flown over Marjah?  I don’t know, but this was the American involvement in the Afghanistan that I knew – unpredictable, unexpected, random.

Check back.  Maybe tomorrow I can find the pictures.  Meaning of Ike and the jet.  The May of 1964 Warren Commission reenactment of the Kennedy Assassination using the Eisenhower limousine is here.   Still photographs of the car are in the Warren Commission report.  As noted by others in this link the question of why a 1956 Cadillac was used instead of a 1961 Lincoln Continental still seems relevant to this day, maybe the key is the length of the car.

Revisiting Afghanistan Revisited

October 19th, 2010

~ What happens when ones blog gets noticed while in a nation still at war.

But wait, the above sentence may really be a question.

I’ve been on my roof fixing the last of my leaks (I hope).  The Corexit continues to make life difficult.  The intensity of the solar radiation goes on unchecked.   The messaging from Liberia is still bad.  Can things get better or only worse?  That’s what governments are for.  To make life in ones country a little better.

So, on Sunday I got an E-Mail like from Afghanistan.  It was more like from the Meridian International Center, whatever group or organization that that is (or was) – I did not recognize the name.  They indicated an interest in information.  They referenced the names of experts.  They claimed to have a contract with the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.  On the web “anything” can be true – or anything can be bogus; and bogus can be scary.

I have no interest in responding to requests for information from the Taliban, from Mossad, from the French or Russian governments or from countless others; which is good because as of yet “none of the above” have requested information.  So, in order to stay as far away from being labeled an “enemy combatant” as possible I started my research about “MIC” and their credibility before I in haste too quickly responded.

I don’t know if I was relieved to find out that the head of Meridian is the man that evidently claims to have started Homeland Security for the President (Bush) himself.  He is, he does – I guess he did.  I guess that fact alone has something to do about Afghanistan, the Taliban, 9/11, the latest Afghan War.   MIC’s President is also a lifetime member of the CFR – Council of Foreign Relations.

Admittedly, it is the Vice President for the Arts end of MIC that sent me the E-Mail.  The Center is planning an exhibition in Kabul and elsewhere and the suggestion is that they might be interested in photographs of my father “Fred” and project partners – Afghan “colleagues”.  It is the type of picture that my father generally avoided – he was really not much of a politician and it was the “higher ups” that usually got most of the publicity and credit when credit and publicity was due.

So with or without a picture of Fred and his small involvement in a century of relations between the United States and Afghanistan I’m sure that the MIC cultural exchange exhibit will do just fine – will it help the people of Afghanistan (or of America or elsewhere) – of that I do not know.

When I wrote “April the First” (circa 1989), the unfinished story about my experiences in going to and living in Afghanistan I made the observation about those (in life) that go to some far-off place to teach and not to learn.  It is my impression, as I have tried to convey in the website “Qala Bist”, that most of the American involvement in Afghanistan over the past fifty years has been to “teach” and not to “learn”.   It is sad.   Afghanistan as a nation and as a culture; even as an ancient nation-state had so much to offer.

When my father left Afghanistan in 1960 he left American farm tractors, American built airports, American aircraft and Pan American trained Afghan stewardesses that could offer “coffee, tea, or me” with the best of them.  He left American construction equipment, American designed buildings, American built roads and an American plan to develop the potentials of Afghan tourism.  Like Conrad Hilton (founder of Hilton Hotels and grandfather of Paris Hilton) as portrayed in the television series Madmen expressed, “I’m going to Americanize the world whether they want it or not.”

What is clear, what has always been clear over these past fifty years is that the “Americanization” of Afghanistan is not sustainable.   The larger question is whether “Americanization” itself is sustainable.  What existed in Afghanistan as late as 1958 was a society that was born and defined by the vicissitudes and vacillations of a largely adversarial onslaught of at least 3,000 years of history.  From this 3,000 year history the nation had learned (substantially) to live at peace within its borders and at peace with the the whole of the world and with a fundamentally ecologically sound and forever sustainable (though not perfect) cultural community.  Afghanistan was closer to Thomas Jefferson’s dream of a nation of “small independent agrarian farmers” than probably any nation since has realized.

Fred left an Afghanistan forever changed.  His best intentions were to “help” Afghanistan and the Afghan people and in so doing to help America and Americans as well.  What was created instead was a headlong rush that made Afghanistan a pivotal point in the cold war; which lead to “progress” and the Soviet invasion; which lead to drafting an “international” Arab militia; which led to bin laden; which apparently led back to Afghanistan and 9-1-1 and the war in Afghanistan that we’re in today.  There were no small number of broken promises along the way.

Fred too was forever changed by his experiences in Afghanistan.  His family too was mightily impacted and also changed.  Seven years after leaving his most promising son was dead and his wife soon would be.  Everything in his life (that went horribly wrong) could be traced back to 1958, 1959, or perhaps 1960.

In the sequential narrative of comments and letters that have been posted on Qala under “Going to Afghanistan” (the series) we have not yet come to the point that Kenneth, my mother and I arrive in Afghanistan.  But to skip ahead it is important to point out that my mother too “worked” in Afghanistan.  She did not just “work” as an unpaid foreign service officer’s wife, she worked for and with the Afghan government.  It was not a “Department of State” position.  She also worked with educators in Afghanistan in establishing the Kabul International High School and served as the schools first principal.

Her cottage industry work put her in contact with “everyday” artisans and craftsmen as Afghanistan struggled in completing Kabul’s first International Trade Fair in which it would offer the best of its cultural products to the world.  She was the first woman to work closely with the Royal Government of Afghanistan in such an important and public capacity.  Had these early efforts received official American support American homes might be as filled with handcrafted items “Made in Afghanistan” as Afghan homes are filled with machine-made items made by American based corporations.  I guess the very concept at this point is a real stretch.

So, is Afghanistan’s future based on the extraction of mineral resources and the eventual creation of capitalism’s “factory towns” filled with chemical pollution?  Should Afghanistan be a “tourist destination” with a hundred Hilton type hotels and tens of thousands of “service industry” type jobs featuring Afghan women as maids and waitresses and housekeeping valets at the beck and call of foreign businessmen?  One generation away from a rural ranch lifestyle in Nevada loomed (for me) jobs as busboy, dishwasher, and change-boy in the Casino industry of Nevada – my story of America; maybe the Afghans and Afghanistan deserve something better.

The purpose of this post is not to cut off communication, but to start building it.  I am not saying that I don’t have a picture or too of interest – but, maybe the picture might be of “mom”.

The good news is that I seem to be posting again.  Maybe the winds will blow once again from the west and not from the gulf (of Mexico) that has literally divided us.  Maybe the sun will be cooler in the winter months before we can “have at it” once again next spring.  Maybe too there will be a life after Liberia and things can be more like they were before, but “hey” maybe not so much – remember:  America is still at war!  There IS a war on in Afghanistan and 100% of every dollar spent there by the United States is borrowed.

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!}


“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

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