Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Light Bulbs

This graffiti is from the side of a computer school in Khogyani. Three light bulbs. But why? They are striking, but I doubt they're there for art's sake. Unfortunately I can't read the writing around them. I certainly hope, having posted this, that they don't say something like "Down with capitalism and its infernal light bulbs" or "The Taliban will give your family three light bulbs if you join them and live in a cave for a while."

The computers in the school ran off a diesel generator. It's possible the light bulb message is something about possibilities for electrification. In one of his less tactful moments, your correspondent was talking with a local government figure, who mentioned (through a translator) that he would like to improve his English. Always looking for an angle for commercial diplomacy, your correspondent suggested that a lot of people learn English by watching American TV shows or movies. My interlocutor quickly moved to checkmate by noting that he doesn't watch much television, what with the town not having electricity for the most part. It's a very different world out here, and it only increased my respect for the officers out in remote districts who have to build relationships based on so little in common.

Me, I'm just doing my part to prove that we're not always as clever as our wikileaked cables make us out to be.


Anonymous said...

Really good item

Anonymous said...

This is a stencil promoting a candidate for the September Parliamentary elections - each candidate had a symbo, so illerate voters could identify them. The text reads: "Parliamentary Elections - Sign of the candidate Alhassan Muhammad Hussain."

Matt said...

Ha! Of course! That totally makes sense. Although I would have voted for the three goats or the two pens over the three light bulbs. Thanks, Anonymous speaker of Pashto and/or Dari!