MAN-LOVE THURSDAYS |
April 23, 2010
Name: 1SG (retired) Troy Steward
Returned from: Afghanistan
I have written before about the confusion that Afghan men have with sexuality; the rampant number of homosexuals there are amongst the Afghan male population, the “chai boys” and the young soldiers in the Afghan Army and police who become R&R tools for older, senior members. I have had many people ask me about “Man-Love Thursdays", which I discussed in a post in July 2006.
Well, in case you didn’t believe me or anyone else who has been to Afghanistan and talked about it, now you have a chance to hear about the subject from an MSM outlet.
According to a recent Frontline report, Pashtun men interpret the Islamic prohibition on homosexuality to mean they cannot “love” another man -- but that doesn’t mean they can’t use men for sexual gratification. This story shines some light on how Afghan men can justify this practice in their own minds. I have heard the term “selective compliance," but for a supposedly religious man whose faith says homosexuality is a terrible sin to follow this practice is, well -- pretty selective in my book.
But they say “perception is reality” and in this case I guess Afghan men don’t perceive themselves as homosexuals, so they aren’t. When we would talk to our Afghan Army counterparts about two men snuggled together in a bed, or why the Kandak Commander kept young boys with him all the time, they commonly would say it was okay because they were “deployed away from home." I guess it doesn’t matter that for some “home” is only a few hours drive away and they get there at least every two months.
In May, 2009 The Dude, my former ETT teammate and a guest blogger on Bouhammer.com, wrote a post called "Can You Look at My Wife?", about an Afghan men having a hard time understanding why his wife couldn't get pregnant. After you read that, the following statement from the Frontline story should not be a surprise:
The U.S. army medic also told members of the research unit that she and her colleagues had to explain to a local man how to get his wife pregnant.
The report said: “When it was explained to him what was necessary, he reacted with disgust and asked, ‘How could one feel desire to be with a woman, who God has made unclean, when one could be with a man, who is clean? Surely this must be wrong.’”
Frontline's documentary “The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”, by Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi, is about the Bacha Bazi or “boy play” that is so popular in Afghanistan. I have told many people in the US that they will never even get close to understanding the culture of that country, and this practice is one of many reasons I say that.
If you want to learn a little more about Afghanistan and its culture, then I advise you to check out "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan", which aired on PBS this week and is viewable online. Here's a clip: