Friday, September 30, 2016

Pashtunwali

Yesterday, watching a war movie I liked quite a lot -- "Hyena Road" -- there was a passing reference, just an itty-bitty scene, that got its hooks into me. In Afghanistan, where the war was being prosecuted anew after so many had failed before, the on-screen character made reference to "Pashtunwali," a word defined by Wikipedia as:
Pashtunwali (Pashto: پښتونوالی‎) or Pakhtunwali is a non-written ethical code and traditional lifestyle which the indigenous Pashtun people follow. It is a system of law and governance that began during prehistoric times and is preserved and still in use today, mostly in the rural tribal areas.
The character on screen said that this ancient code predated Islam and in some cases considered Islam as an unnecessary burden on matters that had long before been dealt with. And lord knows my superficial Internet surfing hardly qualifies me to speak of such a thing. But I feel the hooks of it all -- the before-ness: What came before the tinsel of civility and religion? And before that? And before that?

There is always a before-that until -- like the old joke about the bird flying in ever-diminishing circles around the mountain peak -- we all fly up our own assholes and disappear. Stop at any point on this before-that trajectory and there are nothing but green lights urging one and all further and further into the beyond-that.

Yes, civility is possible and probably wise. Yes, religion can have its time and place. Yes, war works and so does peace. Yes and yes and yes and yes ... before-that and before-that ... and it's not some philosophical bullshit. It's true.

Before-that ...

It's time for breakfast.

2 comments:

  1. Even the big bang had a before i suppose.

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  2. Take care of oneself and let the world take care of itself.

    ReplyDelete