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Thread: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

  1. #91
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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    What we have on this thread is a superficial Western-tourist view of Afghanistan, from the mouth of an Afghan sycophant to the West in [I]Foreign Affairs,[I] the discussion journal of the US State Department.

    From another thread on this site, I'm copying a posting I made giving a realistic view of monarchical
    Afghanistan from a genuine radical Afghan perspective:

    Yes, by the 1960s and '70s there were some droplets of enlightenment to be found in Kabul, to a considerable degree more from Soviet influence than that of "the West," as Foreign Affairs no doubt tries to portray matters. That was the social base of the Saur Revolution after all, in which a key role was played by Soviet-trained Afghan military officers. Afghanistan like many other Third World countries balanced between the USSR and America during the Cold War, and a modernizing Soviet influence in Afghanistan did not begin in the year 1979.

    The original book by Dr. Anwar ends during World War II, at a moment when Afghanistan was one of the most socially backward countries in the world, exceeded in Asia only by the theocratic slave state of Tibet. So instead of quoting from the his words, much of which are devoted to the incredible vileness of the Afghan monarchy, I give you a link to the afterword to the new edition of the book, written by Mohammed Anwar's son Keith Anwar. Besides a short summary of Dr. Anwar's life, it says much of what is worth saying about Afghanistan since then.

    http://www.memoriesofafghanistan.net/about1.html

    Also Dr. Anwar's exceedingly well informed reflections on the Saur Revolution and the PDPA regime (and those of his wife Phyllis Anwar) are certainly worth reading, for those who wish to understand Afghanistan.

    http://www.memoriesofafghanistan.net/gpage2.html

    Used copies of the book are available from Amazon for, at the moment, $3.82.

    -AMH-

  2. #92
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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    What we have on this thread is a superficial Western-tourist view of Afghanistan, from the mouth of an Afghan sycophant to the West in [I]Foreign Affairs,[I] the discussion journal of the US State Department.

    From another thread on this site, I'm copying a posting I made giving a realistic view of monarchical
    Afghanistan from a genuine radical Afghan perspective:

    Yes, by the 1960s and '70s there were some droplets of enlightenment to be found in Kabul, to a considerable degree more from Soviet influence than that of "the West," as Foreign Affairs no doubt tries to portray matters. That was the social base of the Saur Revolution after all, in which a key role was played by Soviet-trained Afghan military officers. Afghanistan like many other Third World countries balanced between the USSR and America during the Cold War, and a modernizing Soviet influence in Afghanistan did not begin in the year 1979.

    The original book by Dr. Anwar ends during World War II, at a moment when Afghanistan was one of the most socially backward countries in the world, exceeded in Asia only by the theocratic slave state of Tibet. So instead of quoting from the his words, much of which are devoted to the incredible vileness of the Afghan monarchy, I give you a link to the afterword to the new edition of the book, written by Mohammed Anwar's son Keith Anwar. Besides a short summary of Dr. Anwar's life, it says much of what is worth saying about Afghanistan since then.

    http://www.memoriesofafghanistan.net/about1.html

    Also Dr. Anwar's exceedingly well informed reflections on the Saur Revolution and the PDPA regime (and those of his wife Phyllis Anwar) are certainly worth reading, for those who wish to understand Afghanistan.

    http://www.memoriesofafghanistan.net/gpage2.html

    Used copies of the book are available from Amazon for, at the moment, $3.82.

    -AMH-
    Have you actually read this thread ? It would not appear so.

    The link you post is to an article about a man who left Afghanistan in the 1940s and there is no mention of the Afghan of the 50s, 60 and 70s.

    There is discussion of the Saur Revolution on this thread, of course.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  3. #93
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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Have you actually read this thread ? It would not appear so.

    The link you post is to an article about a man who left Afghanistan in the 1940s and there is no mention of the Afghan of the 50s, 60 and 70s.

    There is discussion of the Saur Revolution on this thread, of course.
    CF: Now I have read the whole thread, which I had not before. Thoroughly confirms my initial impressions.

    Can't comment directly on the Foreign Affairs article, as it is no longer available on the FA website, the link doesn't work. However, the posters to the thread who've actually been to Afghanistan (whose views I do not endorse, and I suspect they would not care for mine) saw it as a superficial photo-op travelogue. I'll certainly take their views over those of the State Department house organ.

    And even more so, of course, the views of Dr. Anwar, rector of the Teachers Training College during WWII, then the only serious educational institution in the country. His students, and those of his dubious and indeed rather infamous successor Hafizullah Amin, were the true internal modernizers of Afghanistan in the '50s and '60s and '70s, the Afghan left mostly organized into the PDPA.

    As the Wikipedia entry linked to the thread on Daoud Khan, the ruler during the '50s and '70s, confirms, yes indeed he took some steps to modernize Afghanistan, which had everything to do with his moving from the traditional monarchic alignment with the Nazis and other such forces to a pragmatic alliance with the Soviet Union, while still maintaining a regime as foully repressive as any in the world, especially against the myriad Afghan minority nationalities. It was when this alliance broke down that the pro-Soviet forces in Afghanistan based in Kabul, greatly strengthened by this alliance and the thin film of modernization confined to Kabul he'd fostered, were able to overthrow him. For more on Daoud and the rest of the Khans, more than you really want to know can be found in Dr. Anwars' book.

    Nearly all social progress in Afghanistan in the latter part of the 20th century came right across the border from the Soviet Union. Though the personal factor of Dr. Anwar, rector of the key Teachers Training Institute, and Phyllis Anwar, the first woman to dare the streets of Kabul without a chador, also played a role. Without the heritage of her successful World War II example, I rather doubt that college students in Kabul would have dared to go about in pencil skirts in the 1970s.

    Lastly, that the revolt in Afghanistan against the PDPA was not a terribly serious affair until the CIA intervened, argued by you, is confirmed by Keith Anwar's better informed evaluation. Whether this was mostly the opium warlords, later the backbone of the "Northern Alliance" and the US puppet regime, or mostly the mullahs, later the backbone of the Taliban, initially is hard to say. Likely it was both, as it was later.

    -AMH-

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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    CF: Now I have read the whole thread, which I had not before. Thoroughly confirms my initial impressions.

    Can't comment directly on the Foreign Affairs article, as it is no longer available on the FA website, the link doesn't work. However, the posters to the thread who've actually been to Afghanistan (whose views I do not endorse, and I suspect they would not care for mine) saw it as a superficial photo-op travelogue. I'll certainly take their views over those of the State Department house organ.

    And even more so, of course, the views of Dr. Anwar, rector of the Teachers Training College during WWII, then the only serious educational institution in the country. His students, and those of his dubious and indeed rather infamous successor Hafizullah Amin, were the true internal modernizers of Afghanistan in the '50s and '60s and '70s, the Afghan left mostly organized into the PDPA.

    As the Wikipedia entry linked to the thread on Daoud Khan, the ruler during the '50s and '70s, confirms, yes indeed he took some steps to modernize Afghanistan, which had everything to do with his moving from the traditional monarchic alignment with the Nazis and other such forces to a pragmatic alliance with the Soviet Union, while still maintaining a regime as foully repressive as any in the world, especially against the myriad Afghan minority nationalities. It was when this alliance broke down that the pro-Soviet forces in Afghanistan based in Kabul, greatly strengthened by this alliance and the thin film of modernization confined to Kabul he'd fostered, were able to overthrow him. For more on Daoud and the rest of the Khans, more than you really want to know can be found in Dr. Anwars' book.

    Nearly all social progress in Afghanistan in the latter part of the 20th century came right across the border from the Soviet Union. Though the personal factor of Dr. Anwar, rector of the key Teachers Training Institute, and Phyllis Anwar, the first woman to dare the streets of Kabul without a chador, also played a role. Without the heritage of her successful World War II example, I rather doubt that college students in Kabul would have dared to go about in pencil skirts in the 1970s.

    Lastly, that the revolt in Afghanistan against the PDPA was not a terribly serious affair until the CIA intervened, argued by you, is confirmed by Keith Anwar's better informed evaluation. Whether this was mostly the opium warlords, later the backbone of the "Northern Alliance" and the US puppet regime, or mostly the mullahs, later the backbone of the Taliban, initially is hard to say. Likely it was both, as it was later.

    -AMH-
    That one line gives away the entire post as bull. She most certainly was not.

    Kabul -



    Afghanistan women often wore just a loose headscarf, even in traditional dress, with a dress or jacket, or a kaftan type dress. As you said, Afghanistan is culturally mixed. The streets of Afghanistan saw women in modern western clothing and in a wide variety of traditional dress. (The black chador was introduced in the Iranian revolution long after Phyllis made her mark). Before that, it was just a coloured, patterned scarf or overcoat. Ireland was the land of the shawlie women until not too long ago. You do not impress me with your daring chadorless US visitors to Afghanistan. Photographers of course tend to home in on the traditional and quaint, but women dressed in all kinds of different fashions and ethnic traditional garb.

    And of course, in the West, oriental fashions were adopted by many women: this sparked off by the hippy movement.








    Looking for local colour.

    http://www.vintag.es/2013/08/picture...s-and-60s.html


    Nawa Arsala, 22, is an Afghan-American law student living in Washington.
    The “Western” ways and laws in Afghanistan are not completely foreign to Afghans. Many forget that during the 1970s, Afghanistan was a flourishing and prosperous nation, with women who were teachers, nurses and entrepreneurs. The burqa was a rare sight, if seen at all. I believe that these laws are simply being reintroduced to a war-torn country that once had a taste of prosperity and democracy.



    Jawed Nader, 30, lives in London and leads the umbrella organization British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group.
    It’s a common misperception, reinforced by the international media, that democracy and human rights were imposed on Afghanistan after American forces ousted the Taliban in 2001. The 1964 Constitution included a bill of rights for Afghans, specifically including women. The 1977 Civil Code stipulated that girls under 16 should not be allowed to marry. The New York Times called this Afghanistan’s “Golden Age,” noting that “Afghan women not only attended Kabul University, they did so in miniskirts.”
    Continue reading the main story




    We Afghans have always been concerned with laws promising rights and democracy. It is just a coincidence that our fellow human beings in the West think the same way.




    Last edited by C. Flower; 01-11-2016 at 06:54 PM.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  5. #95
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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    That one line gives away the entire post as bull. She most certainly was not.

    Kabul -



    Afghanistan women often wore just a loose headscarf, even in traditional dress, with a dress or jacket, or a kaftan type dress. As you said, Afghanistan is culturally mixed. The streets of Afghanistan saw women in modern western clothing and in a wide variety of traditional dress. (The black chador was introduced in the Iranian revolution long after Phyllis made her mark). Before that, it was just a coloured, patterned scarf or overcoat. Ireland was the land of the shawlie women until not too long ago. You do not impress me with your daring chadorless US visitors to Afghanistan. Photographers of course tend to home in on the traditional and quaint, but women dressed in all kinds of different fashions and ethnic traditional garb...
    The level of ignorance of this post is remarkable. CF, do you really think that the Chador was an invention of the Ayatollah Khomeini? That, I am sorry to say, is a truly laughable blunder.

    Of course, Afghanistan has many different cultures. But the dominant ethnic group in Kabul during WWII spoke a language closely related to Persian, not Pushtu, which the Khans tried to impose as the Afghan national language. And traditional cultural norms there were Persian/Iranian, whatever was going on out in the sticks, which most certainly included the chador as compulsory clothing for women during WWII, as it had been for centuries. Perhaps black was not required.

    Your photo ops from later are quite irrelevant. As I clearly explained and you totally ignored, yes you had a superficial modernization resulting from Daoud Khan's policy of alliance with the Soviet Union, very like the superficial modernization of Iran under the Shah, representing American influence. So yes, college students and women of the elite could wear pencil skirts without being stoned, and their granddaughters remember monarchist Afghanistan a bit differently than do the vsst majority of Afghans not in the ruling classes.

    What is the worst perhaps is your ignorant and slanderous insult against Phyllis Anwar. She was no tourist, she was an Afghan citizen, planning to stay there the rest of her life.

    She had dual American citizenship, but the authorities did not recognize this. So when her husband was allowed to leave without her, which the regime thought would compel him to return and be imprisioned, she was not allowed to leave until her husband divorced her in the traditional Islamic fashion, namely saying "I divorce you" three times.

    At which point she lost her Afghan citizenship, so her American citizenship, not recognized under Afghan law at the time, became valid again after much negotiation and the involvement of the US embassy. So she could leave.

    I repeat, without her personal example during WWII as a not unprominent citizen of Afghanistan successfully defying Islamic law without being stoned to death, like for example Dr. Anwar's Islamic teacher as a high school student, I doubt that Dauoud Khan would have felt compelled to allow college students and elite women the partial freedoms you celebrate with your superficial touristy photo montage.

    -AMH-

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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by A Marxist Historian View Post
    The level of ignorance of this post is remarkable. CF, do you really think that the Chador was an invention of the Ayatollah Khomeini? That, I am sorry to say, is a truly laughable blunder.
    The black chador was introduced in the Iranian revolution long after Phyllis made her mark
    -AMH-
    The chador was a colourful, often patterned garment. The uniform black chador came in with the Iranian revolution. The ignorance is not in my posts.

    Your claim that Phyllis was the first woman out on Kabul streets without a chador is plainly incorrect. And Phyllis did not stay for life.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Kabul in the 1950s "Mad Men furniture, pencil skirts, record stores and factories"

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    The chador was a colourful, often patterned garment. The uniform black chador came in with the Iranian revolution. The ignorance is not in my posts.

    Your claim that Phyllis was the first woman out on Kabul streets without a chador is plainly incorrect. And Phyllis did not stay for life.
    As to Phyllis Anwar, if you wish to claim that other women went about without chadors in the 1940s, evidence from photos from the '50s and later are hardly relevant.

    Given that her husband would have been imprisoned and, like so many other troublemakers, tortured to death if he had stayed, and who knows would have happened to her after that if she did not leave, calling her a Western tourist for not leaving Afghanistan when she could is shameful. If Dr. Anwar had stayed in Afghanistan for the rest of his life, which is what he would have done if he could, presumably she would have also, they remained married for the rest of his life.

    As to the chador, your answer is at best ignorant, at worst disingenuous.

    The full body coverage chador is an incredibly unpleasant, stifling garment to wear, especially on a hot day. The Muslim equivalent of Chinese footbinding, or the requirement of orthodox Jewish women to shave their heads and wear wigs. Extremely oppressive. What color it is hardly matters much. As I pointed out, and as you censored from your reply, whether chadors in Afghanistan were required to be black is an irrelevancy.

    No, Phyllis was not the first woman in Afghanistan to walk the streets without a chador, as it is absolutely proven from surviving statues that they were not worn when it was part of the empire of Alexander the Great.

    At what point did the chador become compulsory? I would guess it was the expected traditional dress for women for hundreds of years, indeed it was likely pre-Islamic.

    But yes, as I noticed from rereading Dr. Anwar's book, you had a reform period in the 1920s, under that rarest of things, a genuinely progressive monarch, King Amanullah. He allied with and was under the influence of the Soviet Union, but not the Soviet Union under Stalin, but under Lenin. You had a genuinely anti-imperialist alliance between the Russian Revolution and King Amanullah against British imperialism. And yes, he did try to introduce Western dress for the first time, in the year 1928.

    Which resulted immediately after a matter of months in the revolt of the political ancestor of the Taliban, the "bandit king," Bacha i Saqao, an ultra-reactionary who imposed the compulsory chador, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were the black version. He is promptly overthrown by general Nadir Khan, whose family instead of restoring Amanullah, popular in Kabul, establishes a new reactionary dynasty, which prefers alliance to Nazi Germany to Amanullah's Soviet alliance policy. And does not, of course, rescind any of the bandit king's ultra-reactionary edicts, least of all the compulsory chador.

    As you can't be bothered to get Dr. Anwar's inexpensive book, which gives eyewitness descriptions of all this from Afghanistan's only Ph.D. in the '40s, slotted to become Minister of Education if he were obedient which he was not, and compelled whether he wanted to or not (and he didn't) to socialize with Nadir's clan of brutal dictators, I give you a less reliable but instantly accessible source on all this.

    http://www.afghanland.com/history/kalakani.html

    -AMH-

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