Pride and Prejudice - The STORY GRID edition - Annotated by SHAWN COYNE

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ARCHIVES OF June, 2009

Afghanistan

AfghanistanEditorialOn Tribalism

Sisyphus, Sean Naylor and C-SPAN

By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 30, 2009

First, many thanks to all correspondents and contributors for the tremendous and very thoughtful response  to the previous post, “A Tale of Two Captains.” More to come in a couple of days about Capt. Harrison’s work, including an update dispatch from him in Konar.

But first, here’s a strikingly apt flashback to 2006—when Army Times journalist (and author of the excellent Not A Good Day To Die)  Sean Naylor and I did an interview together for C-SPAN’s “BookTV.” The topic was “The War in Afghanistan.” (more…)

Posted in Afghanistan, Editorial, On Tribalism
4 Comments

Afghanistan

AfghanistanAgoraEditorialOn Tribalism

Part Two: The Tribesman in All of Us

By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 23, 2009

One of the acts that tribes frequently practice is ritual scarification. Tattoos, circumcision, mutilation of the flesh. The purpose is to draw a line between who’s a member of the tribe and who isn’t. This is Us … this is Not Us.

Non-hereditary tribes–criminal organizations, elite military units, certain religious or social orders–often have initiations. The candidate undergoes an ordeal. Sometimes he’s obligated to break the law or commit some act that severs him permanently from the larger society. The initiation says, “The line has been crossed, there’s no going back.” Again the purpose is to define who is One Of Us and who is Not One Of Us. With ritual scarification, the evidence is visible and permanent. The effect of initiations is permanent but invisible. (more…)

Posted in Afghanistan, Agora, Editorial, On Tribalism
4 Comments

Afghanistan

AfghanistanAgoraEditorialOn Tribalism

The Tribesman In All Of Us

By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 20, 2009

I was in Frankfurt a couple of summers ago and there was a young man at the hotel named Kaitet Olla Kishau. He was a Masai from Kenya. Kaitet is a big, tall, good-looking guy; he speaks English and German; he’s married to a European lady; he’s a writer and filmmaker. He also goes home to Masai Land two or three times a year, or whenever his father gets word to him that he’s needed. Kaitet dons the robes, tends the cattle, lives the full-on Masai life. He says he feels sorry for his European friends, who don’t have the chance to replenish their souls by periodic immersion into the primal ways.

I have another friend, David McQuade, whose ex-brother-in-law, Bahi (“Warrior”), takes part each summer in the Sundance on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Remember Richard Harris in A Man Called Horse?  It’s that sundance, with the piercing of the flesh of the chest, the rawhide thongs, the three or four days of non-stop dancing. Anyway, David and Bahi were out there a few summers ago. David wasn’t allowed to participate because he was white, but he was permitted to attend.  So there they are–Bahi, pierced and dancing in 100-degree heat, surrounded by his tribal brothers–and David beside him. What is Bahi saying to David? Something about the ancient ways? The Great Spirit? (more…)

Posted in Afghanistan, Agora, Editorial, On Tribalism
4 Comments
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