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Since Sojourners is a bimonthly magazine, you depend on us to cover the breaking news, with up-to-the-minute commentary on hot stories like Afghanistan which, by the time you read this, should be well on its way to becoming an independent democracy.

Or not.

As Afghanistan's newly appointed leaders gather to rebuild their nation, we are confident that a lasting peace will endure for, oh, at least a week or two. Forgive my lack of confidence, but let's face it, when most of the guys in charge have the word "warlord" on their business cards, it gives us pause. Afghans themselves are taking a wait-and-see—formerly, wince-and-cower—attitude since their new leaders look suspiciously like some of the folks that, on a daily basis, used to poke them with sticks and ask with a beard-enhanced brusqueness, "Why aren't you in church?"

"Tribal leader" is another phrase you hear a little too often over there, and it's not very reassuring when it shows up on a politician's résumé. It means that, at a meeting to decide what the nation should export besides shrapnel wounds, one of the new guys could whip out a Kalashnikov and demand a bigger cubicle. (For those of you who, like me, once thought Kalashnikov was the respected Russian playwright who penned "The Cherry Something," that's why you got a "C" on your college literature test. The correct answer, of course, is Chekov, which everybody else got right. Unless you were sitting next to future president George W. Bush, who at that moment was distracted by the fact that if he didn't return the empty kegs by 3 p.m. his fraternity would lose its deposit money. When he did finally answer the question, he wrote "Mr. Spock" who everyone knows is WAY smarter than that Chekov dude.)

But what was I saying?

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2002
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