Jihad Watch reader Null has alerted me to a superb example of how the mainstream media — in the case in Britain — misleads the general public. In two recent stories about the female Afghan warrior Kaftar, neither the BBC nor the Telegraph quotes her own words about who she is and why she does what she does.
Today the BBC identifies her as “Afghanistan’s only female warlord” and refers to the fact that “she insists that a male relative accompany her into battle” as a “concession to social mores” that is “in line with Afghan tradition for women outside the home.” It analyzes her phenomenon as arising from Afghanistan’s “old feudal order” which “persists.” It is “an often violent culture of blood feud and local justice where the reach of central government is weak or non-existent.”
What is the ultimate motivation for it all, according to the BBC?
“Zar, zan, zamin” – gold, women, land – in the words of the old Afghan proverb provide the motivation for the violence that underpins local life.
“People get killed over little things, water and land,” said Kaftar with a shrug.
Ah. Feuding tribal people. Of course. Education and welfare benefits will take care of this problem forthwith.
The same author wrote much the same things in a Telegraph piece from last month. Kaftar is “Afghanistan’s only female warlord.” She “joined the resistance during the Soviet invasion, she claims. Her father was a powerful tribal leader and she had a naturally warlike temperament.” Her “only concession to gender roles on the battlefield is that she requires a male relative to be present when she is fighting, in line with Afghan tradition for women outside the home.”
The UN disarmament program inside the country faces immense problems “because outside Afghanistan’s cities the government’s control is weak and armed confrontation is a way of life.”
And what is the root cause of all this fighting?
In the words of the old Afghan proverb, “zar, zan, zamin” – money, women and land – are the root of most of the feuds which dominate life. The tribal system of Loya Jirga, conflict resolution through councils of elders, is the only means of settling the frequent outbreaks of violence. The exchange of money or women is often the preferred alternative to reciprocal killings over generations.
But neither in the BBC nor in the Telegraph did the author, Tom Coghlan, have the courage or perspicacity to pick up on some choice quotes from Kaftar herself on who she is and what her motives are — as reported by the Times in October 2004. And who is she? Why is she fighting? You guessed it:
“We Mujahidin have not been given our rights,” she complains, her face framed by thick braids beneath an open scarf. “We fought for so long but this Karzai Government has given us nothing.”
She is as untroubled as Umm Nidal Farhat by the deaths of her children:
The death of two of her boys along with one of her brothers, slain in combat with the Taleban, appears not to trouble her. It was the death of her commander, the iconic Ahmad Shah Masood, assassinated by a suicide bomber in September 2001, that now shadows her days.
“Oh, Masood!” she sighs. “I smiled as I buried my sons, because they died in the way of God fighting a jihad, and I was proud of them. But Masood was my leader and was murdered. It was the saddest day of my life.”
Now why wouldn’t the BBC and the Telegraph care to mention that she is a jihad warrior? Wouldn’t her ultimate motivations and goals — beyond the quaint primitivist evocation of zar, zan, zamin — be important to tell their readers? Or do both the BBC and the Telegraph wish to downplay the prevalence of jihadist sentiments?
It seems that they do — for this is not an isolated case. They of course are breathing the same zeitgeist as are we all, and are in fact responsible for it to a tremendous degree. As the jihad in the West intensifies, they and others like them will bear increasing responsibility for the general ignorance and unpreparedness of Western non-Muslims for what is coming upon them.