A young man's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk...and apparently, back again.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

The details of my life are quite inconsequential, really. Summers in Rangoon...luge lessons...

Monday, June 07, 2010

The press, the shakeup & a TV moment

Purple shirted boo-boo lip has had enough of your disrespect, Major!

Yesterday I attended a press conference in the morning, and by evening was shown on Afghan television channels alongside three of my colleagues.  In between, the Minister of the Interior (whose department held the unrelated-but-later-much-quoted conference) tendered his resignation -- which was surely the sole reason for airing the video clips of the morning media fest.  The day started out as randomly as any Afghanistan day: After breakfast, an e-mail check and some work, I was off in a pickup truck to the ministry for an up-close viewing of the post-Jirga press conference...

"Camera 1? Check. Camera 2? Check. Cameras 3, 4, many ARE there here, anyway?" 
(Afghan media is alive and well.)

This guy came after the one that leaned into the row, over a dude, to film the side of Joe's face. Honestly.

And I do mean UP CLOSE, at least when it comes to Afghan camera work...whose practitioners either haven't learned about 'zoom' or just refuse on principle to use it.  Either way, it creates odd situations at every event attended by media, as one lens after another is shoved into the faces of audience members, or held down at crotch level so nostrils can be fully explored, or held up directly in front of a keynote speaker so that no one seated can actually see him.  When it comes to the powerful Interior (think: Homeland Security, if it actually functioned as a department coordinating all law enforcement agencies of the land), they dare not block my good man Bashary, the ministry's spokesman.  But the rest of us were fair there we sat last night in the office, keeping an ear to Tolo TV until they discussed the big news of the day, then seeing ourselves for an extended shot, sitting in a row and trying not to make a face at the camera.

 See this guy? He's dead now...and he gets no virgins at all where he's headed.

Warren Zevon would say of Bashary, "His hair...was perfect."

Back to the departure of Minister Atmar, while trying to steer clear of the politics involved: I think it's unfortunate, and not just because he's the only key government figure who I've personally witnessed in action.  He was presiding over enormous improvements in the training of national police, gendarmarie, border patrol, highway patrol and other units, and it seemed he was making progress in curbing the rampant corruption that impedes progress for the people everywhere.  The first morning I saw him, he was presiding over a daily meeting of the key department heads of his ministry (not something many organizations do here).  That day he broke the news that policemen had uncovered a cache of 270 deadly rockets in Kabul, which were almost certainly going to be used to attack the Peace Jirga...yet there was no gloating, or attention seeking.  Only quiet praise for the fine work of the officers, and mourning for another who was killed while disrupting an attempted homicide bombing in Paktia Province.  I found him to be impeccable in appearance and manner, thoughtful and measured in his statements, and respected by those who worked for him.  I wish him well.

Former Minister of the Interior, Hanif Atmar

A story on the resignations of Atmar and Intelligence Chief Amrullah Saleh can be found here, among other places in the world wide web today...  Afghan resignations threaten US-led security drive

And for the latest on the effort to rapidly mentor Afghanistan's security forces and other institutions, be sure to drop by the NATO Training Mission- Afghanistan website:  Afghan Minister of Interior Resigns


Blogger John Cocktoasten said...

Love the Warren Zevon shout-out. You inspired me to fire up Werewolves of London on YouTube.

Question on Afghan media--do they have an equivalent to Geraldo Rivera? If not, do they want the real thing, and what can we get for him?

June 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Puertorican girl in Brussels said...

Make sure you trim your nose hairs and moisturize before your next press conference...

June 9, 2010 at 3:47 AM  
Anonymous Sully said...

Always good to read a few of your newer posts when I'm ready to bitch about how much I hate the upfront here. A little perspective is always good when I'm about to bitch about staying at work until 2 am. Although I really hate being up until 2 unless it's while doing shots of Jameson and drinking beers at Ryan's Daughter.

June 9, 2010 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Joneser said...

Yowzah -- I guess they haven't caught up to the technology our media has. That post reminded me of an event I had to cover years ago when an Olympic cyclist flew into Lehigh Valley Airport. I was being shoved and pushed by all types of cameramen (whose cameras did have zoom, I presume) when all I was doing was looking for a soundbite with my 90s tape recorder. Let's just say Joneser had to regulate.

Anyway, keep up the great work!

June 9, 2010 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Weezie said...

I'm still laughing about "purple shirted boo boo lip"!! You're a freakin riot, Pac... xoxo

June 9, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Slappy said...

You know I love me a good Werewolves reference :) and the "no virgins" caption was pretty fackin classic, too! Nicely done lad.

June 10, 2010 at 9:24 PM  

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