The cultural divide that exists between me and my Afghan counterparts is noticeable and other times it is hardly discernible. Being here in Kandahar brings it into sharp focus on a regular basis.
Due to the Internet, they have a very worldly awareness of issues like when Hurricane Sandy devastated the NJ shore. They were asking questions about the area and how people were doing as they are aware that my wife has family there. The ability for any person to learn more via the Internet makes all this possible. They also get to see a lot of western movies ( Rambo, Mr. Bean, etc. - ya know, all the classics)
This morning, the 121212 Relief Concert was on the SAT TV here ( Morning time for us, evening for those back home on the east coast)
So I was discussing that the most well known rock groups were performing to raise money for the people who needed relief. I mentioned that the ROLLING STONES were there.
My Afghan staff looked at me and asked " The Rolling Stones??" - I looked at them and said, "Yeah, you know, Mick Jagger?? Jumping Jack Flash ?? "
One of my staff said, " Yes, I heard that those rolling stones can be dangerous especially when they hit homes..." - I had to restrain the urge to laugh out loud....
I went on, " You know. Like the Beatles - Paul McCartney and the guys - Ya know, The BEATLES????" Again, the response was basic blank stares.
These guys are all in their late 20s and early 30s and the blank looks on their faces told me all I needed to know. They had no idea who or what I was describing. As young kids, they had grown up under 10 years of Taliban repression and that had limited how much music they had access to - The Taliban forbid all music, dancing and other forms of entertainment.
I played a few clips for them on my IPAD from YouTube and they liked what they heard...The divide between our countries can be wide but even with different cultures, some things like the universal appeal of Rock Music can bridge the widest gaps. One of the guys started to dance a little and it was interesting that he danced the exact same way those back home do when they hear the Beatles
I let my guys know that we will have to have a music day where I get to open their world to some of the great music of Rock N' Roll. It has the power to heal (like the 121212 Concert) and the power to tear down that which separates us.
I can't wait to have my guys singing " Hey you !! Get off my Cloud !!" and " Jumping Jack Flash "