In Afghanistan, Humor Finds Its Way in Lost Translation is an article that Eileen Guo on The New York Times At War.
Funny isn’t an adjective often used to describe Afghanistan. Yet to many Afghans, the war and the foreigners waging it can present a surprising source of humor.
Afghans around the country tell anecdotes about encounters with NATO troops. The best of these are encapsulated, shared and sometimes aggrandized in the form of half-funny, half-sad tales told over warm chai or at picnics. Sometimes told with a laugh, sometimes told with a tone of bitterness, these stories tend to be about cultural mishaps and miscommunication that, 11 years after the start of the international intervention, still occur with alarming frequency.
Every province seems to have its own variations of these tales. Here, I will share three that I heard while meeting with local entrepreneurs in Bamian, Kabul and Kandahar city, respectively. All of them are based – or so my informants tell me – on actual events.
But even if they are apocryphal, these are the narratives that Afghans are telling in everyday conversations about foreigners – when the foreigners aren’t around.
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