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Afghanistan’s College Students Are Just Like Ours: Dumb and Angry

Afghan Students

In his irreverent style, Hamilton Nolan does his part in combating Islamophobia with keen observations, compassion, and wit. We’ve cross posted his articles in the past here, here, and here.

Today his article in the Gawker inspired comments that ranged from thoughtful to outright hateful, with some clearly suggesting that Islam discourages education for women–a misconception that has been widely reinforced by the media blitz surrounding the shooting of  Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan.  It was a horrible, inexcusable atrocity. But let’s be clear: Islam promotes education for both men and women.

Islam clearly promotes education, period.

What Muslims do or say–whether it is promoting violence toward women or denying them an education– is not necessarily what Islam teaches. Those who have bought into the notion Islam promotes violence and discourages women’s education are conflating culture and religion. Those who can’t figure out why Afghans aren’t grateful to America are clueless.

Afghanistan’s College Students Are Just Like Ours: Dumb and Angry

by Hamilton Nolan, Gawker

When the violence, strife, and cold-blooded realpolitik world of international relations starts to get you down, take heart in this truth: no matter where you go— from Kansas City to Kabul— college kids will be angry, shouty, and dumb.

It’s universal! Like love for a beautiful baby, or loathing of roaches. We say this in the context of today’s Wall Street Journal story about Nangarhar University in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, a school built and funded with U.S. money. We would like to make two points about this story.

1. The story’s furrowed-brow subtext of “It is disturbing that US taxpayers are funding this college in Afghanistan, and yet the students there do not seem to love America” is hilarious.

This rise of extremism among Afghan students—some of the biggest direct beneficiaries of U.S. assistance—underscores the lack of goodwill that more than a decade of American taxpayer money has bought here… gratitude is in short supply at Nangarhar University, even among ordinary students who aren’t involved in student politics. “The Americans have done reconstruction, but they’ve insulted Afghan culture,” said one of them, Sajjed Bahar, a literature student from Khost province. “They support our university, but in the meantime, they kill students.”
Why are these young people who have grown up in a country that we invaded and bombed and controlled and thoroughly rampaged through so ungrateful for the portion of American tax money that flows into their country that is not spent on rocket launchers? It’s a puzzler.

2. This is not to imply that Afghan college students are shining beacons of wisdom and maturity.

The student militancy sweeping Afghan campuses ahead of the U.S.-led coalition’s withdrawal next year isn’t limited to Nangarhar. In late May, hundreds of students rallied outside the Afghan capital’s prestigious Kabul University to protest against legislation that criminalizes violence against women.

These kids would get along famously with college Republicans! We recommend some sort of exchange program, immediately. All in all, it is heartening to know that college kids everywhere tend to be strident, ill-informed political militants, who will look back on this all in mild dismay when they become dentists a decade or two down the road.

“Ugh, the whole violence-against-women-as-an-essential-part-of-Islam thing, so embarrassing. And remember when I grew dreads? What was I thinking?”


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  • 1DrM

    I’m afraid you’re wasting your time on Billy Bob. He’s a shallow buffoon spoon fed crap, and incapable of processing simple facts.

  • 1DrM

    You’re a scared little irrational idiot incapable of understanding simple facts. Afghanistan has TRILLIONS of dollars of mineral wealth, even your favorite FOX news reported that FACT. The one fairy tale here is your childish belief that you are in Afghanistan for the last dozen years building schools for girls. I bet you can’t even find Afghanistan on the map.
    Stick to talk radio and leave the discussion to the adults, fool.

  • 1DrM

    Obviously reading comprehension isn’t in your skill set. I accept your retreat and surrender.

  • Bill Rawlins

    You are a defender of the Taliban? The creators of this website are trying to convince the world that Muslims are not like you. You are a sad case. No sense continuing with you. Goodbye.

  • Bill Rawlins

    You are an irrational nut-case conspiracy theorist. The only “natural resource” in Afghanistan is opium. “Rapeocracy” under the Anglos in Afghanistan? You are a liar. No sense talking to you anymore. Goodbye.

  • 1DrM

    Also in the news, the majority of Americans are incredibly dumbed down and ignorant. Functional illiterates at best. Sad, but true.

  • 1DrM

    Brilliant post. Notice Billy Rawlins didn’t even bother to address your post instead going with the usual lies, excuses and evasion these demented apologists for empire and terrorism normally engage in.

  • 1DrM

    Wrong on all counts. What nauseating lies, you sound like an ignoramus high on talk radio. Next you’ll be claiming that Serbia was bombed for the sake of Bosnian Muslims. Zakaria already refuted most of the nonsense you posted. Anglo-American terrorists and their cronies are NOT in Afghanistan for women’s rights or building schools(with daisy cutters no less). Afghanistan is strategically located in the resource-rich region of Central Asia worth trillians. Amid the rise of many emerging nations in search of new oil supplies, Central Asia has become ground zero in what is a new scramble for natural resources, and thats what you’re there for. Just like Iraq was invaded for non-existent WMDs and non-existent ties to Al-CIAda. The same goes for your smarmy claims to be concerned about the women of Afghanistan. They’re simply the most manipulative and desperate justifications for an Anglo-American presence in that country. The North Alliance commanders that America got into bed with during the invasion presided over a rapeocracy in Afghanistan. You and yours only became concerned about Afghan women when it became politically expedient… and once Afghanistan drops off the political radar, Taliban or no Taliban, you’ll forget about them again.
    You lot have only ONE policy: world domination via US-based ‘multi-national’ corporations and military ‘interventions’. Period. End of discussion.

  • Bill Rawlins

    We are talking about Afghanistan, not Iraq, but if you want to talk about Iraq, do you blame the destruction of the Iraqi mosques on the liberators? The last time I checked, it was the Sunnis who blew up the Shiite mosques. It is al-Qaeda who murders women and children.

    Do you think anyone in America is happy about collateral damage? Please tell me any war in history where innocent people have not been killed by accident. We had 100 times more American soldiers die liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban than Afghans who died as a result of collateral damage.

    Robert Bales should have gotten the Death Penalty. I am sorry he did not. At least he will spend the rest of his life thinking about the innocent people he killed.

    Is Afghanistan a better country now or not? If you think it was better when the Taliban were in control, then please go live there with them.

  • Bill Rawlins

    1DrM – You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. How many schools for girls were in Afghanistan while the Taliban was in control? Thanks to the “Anglo-American terrorists” as you call them, these girls can now learn to read and write.
    The “foreign occupiers” can’t wait to get out, in fact most are out now.

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    Except they aren’t. The Taleban still hold power in a significant chunk of the country. I’m not saying they are nice, or that they haven’t attacked women, but even fundamentalists realize that the Taleban are rather un-Islamic. In fact, traditional education in the Muslim world has included reading and writing for everyone because it encourages them to read the Qu’ran. Unlike in Europe or Buddhist countries in Asia, women were explicitly encouraged to learn about religion.

    Taleban aside, many Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Yemenis, Somalis and others are understandably upset about seeing their countrymen slaughtered in drone strikes. Innocent women and children are murdered, and the US simply writes them off as “collateral damage.” They are upset because of an American occupation which cares nothing for their heritage. They are upset that artefacts from the Iraqi museum wind up on eBay. They are upset that mosques are destroyed, that people are held prisoner with no information on what they did, that foreign companies get juicy contracts, that mercenaries like Black Water get away with murder….

    They are upset when a child killer like Robert Bales simply gets life after calmly massacring entire families…

  • Bill Rawlins

    Also in the news: Adolf Hitler says all the reports about him being a bad guy are absolutely false.

  • Bill Rawlins

    Are you serious? Maybe they should be grateful because they are now free. Men aren’t beaten for shaving their beards and women are allowed to read. I assume you think rule by the Taliban was a good thing? If not, I assume you understand they would not relinquish power by being asked nicely to leave?

  • Craig Boyer

    How educated are the Taliban?

  • Mohammed Noaman Umair

    The Taliban does not oppose women’s education. Just yesterday the Taliban refuted the UN’s new report that says the Taliban are responsible for civilian deaths and the head of its education commission condemned violence against girls seeking education.

  • fratdawgg23

    The US has a habit of imposing “liberty and democracy” with bombs and bullets. Afghanis are fortunate their universities are still operational.

    Iraq had one of the best university systems in the Middle East region through 2003. The US-led war blasted much of the campus into rubble while shattering Iraqi society.

  • golden izanagi

    the show worlds dumbest is proof pretty much proof of that

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  • Tanveer Khan

    I have to agree with you mindy! xD

  • mindy1

    Fools are fools no matter where you are from 😛

  • mindy1

    To quote Einstein, 2 things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I am not sure about the former 😛

  • Tanveer Khan

    Dumbness and anger are two very powerful things. xD

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