Sunday, February 3, 2013
Month 6 Day 3
Seventeen Reports to Afghan National Army, Database morning, weather afternoon.
I worked on a database for the Afghans in the morning and in the afternoon I had to explain what various components of the weather mean. You can’t assume anything. They did not understand the concept of windchill, nor windspeed. They also have no idea how to read any type of matrix. They don’t really understand that where the lines cross that is the information that you are looking for. Hell, they don’t even know how to write a time, for 6:05 they will try to write, 605, 6.05 6-05, 6:5. This is not a cultural thing, they Persians write the same way that we do, they simply do not know because in their world they don’t need to worry about the specific time, write the specific time or read a watch face. I don’t think this is just my guys, this whole part of the world has just been left behind. There are no words in Dari for mechanic, or anything to do with electricity, a generator mechanic is a ‘meqanique jenerator.’ This is yet another way that war has broken this society. I am fully seeing the results of the brain-drain in this country. There is no way for them to even carry on the level of discourse that we have in the west. What they consider to be well-educated (12th grade) is really equivalent to about 6th grade or less. A couple of our terps [interpreters] have college degrees, and as I see it they are not much better than high-school grads. Outside of being perfect economic rationalists because they can’t expect iterative games or contract enforcement by the government, the long periods of this country eating itself have malnourished the intellects of the population. We don’t have a generation to fix this. I don’t know if we can.