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...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Eid al-Adha

Johnny Kabul doesn't see the hand of AfghaniDan...

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back the holiday of EID for an encore!  That's a rough translation of the banner my imagination, anyway.

Truthfully, it just concluded...but the past three days (four when you tack on the preparation day, which gets declared a national holiday each time anyway) was "Big Eid," which follows Eid al-Fitr on the calendar by about 70 days.  Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) is all about the feast, commemorating the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God...which ended up in smiles and feasting all around.  Some of my guys were out on Dushanbe (Monday) selecting and purchasing the cow for their respective gatherings.  This holiday immediately follows the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage by Muslims to Mecca...which meant that we saw lots of footage of Saudi Arabia on Afghan TV recently.

Since the locals were on holiday most of the week, yesterday turned into "puppy day" for a few of us...and it was as delightful as that sounds.  Really it was a relaxing lunch away from the rat race with our Indian friends at AINA, an inspirational Paris-based company which describes itself as a "third-generation humanitarian association".  They employ hundreds of Afghans and work with countless more in doing the work they do...never taking a dime of even a grant in return.  The stated mission sums it up well: Aina promotes independent media development and cultural expression as a foundation of democracy.  

Kabul street scene, quiet during Eid.

"What is this, a school built for ANTS?"
 (you Zoolander fans should appreciate this)

The Daddy Dog dances.

I don't usually plug; these guys are just that good, both at what they do and in their humanist philosophy.  But this time -- in addition to the great company and delicious Indian lunch -- there was an added bonus: PUPPIES.  They found that five newborn furballs had joined them in the compound, about 25 days ago.  They were the softest, gentlest pups, when they weren't busy nipping at my boots or hands, or mauling each other all over the driveway.  It was hilarious...and utterly adorable.

Somehow, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog came to mind.

Pam attempts to break up a savage attack...

While I check the pulse on this cuddly rag doll.

Puppy take-downs are the best!

Tired scrappers take a breather...

Then get right back at it. That's a classic pin!

I assessed the goon two minutes for boarding. 
The mama dog approved.

He chose his own penalty box.

Happy Eid al-Adha from Kabul!

If you'd like to learn more about AINA, please see their link below.  There are some absolutely brilliant photos in their galleries, some of the best I have ever seen of Afghanistan...

And if you'd like to know why I'll be growing an increasingly disturbing dark fuzz above my upper lip, please, read on!  Though joining the party late, I decided to join my cousin Tim in raising awareness and donations for prostate cancer research by participating in "Movember."  We'll grow our moustaches for 30 days minimum, looking ridiculous so that people ask why...and I for one have long resisted the deployed-'stache habit.  Please check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause...

I look something like this with a 'stache. Finding a photo with the beard hidden is the best I can do - since you don't want RedneckiDan, who awaits on the page. As I said, ridiculous.


Anonymous LilSisArmyWife said...

Oh man, so sorry to hear you won't be home for Christmas, but we understand your motivation to stay until the torch has been properly passed.
By the way, those puppies were ridiculously adorable! That's great that you got a little down time with them.
Hang in there and keep doing what you're doing!

November 21, 2010 at 7:00 AM  
Anonymous PaddyTheInsultComicBrother said...

Great Sunday morning reading! Zoolander, Triumph the ICD, and hockey references all rolled into one ... and even I thought those pups were adorable ;)

November 21, 2010 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger 卷曲 (juǎnqǔ) said...

AfghaniDan - Happy Thanksgiving! I happened upon your blog while "blog" surfing a few months ago. I appreciate reading your unvarnished perspective on current events. I'm thankful for people like yourself, who give their time, energy, and yes, life, to ensure the freedom of millions and encourage the dream of freedom in billions. Thank you for your service.

MB Hanna
from Ohio, living in Hong Kong

November 25, 2010 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger FrenchFried said...

Bonjour Afghanidan,
"Obey my dog!" I think it is an appropriate Zoolanderische quote for this post of yours! The Devil Puppies seemed to have tamed the Devil Dog....I just love these pictures.
You talk about Aina, you must know that it has been founded by Reza Deghati, a seasoned reporter who started working in Afghanistan in the 1980s, he met Commander Massoud and got involved in what he describes the empowerment of Afghan women and children through education, communication and information. I just recently attended a conference about his work in Paris. Very inspiring and so hopeful.
And I would like to finish with another silly quote : "I don't wants to see no cowboy elvises walkin around in them beanies!" (TV series Generation Kill, ep.1) Whatever a SgtMaj may say, Bravo for Movember!!! A bientôt.

November 26, 2010 at 2:38 AM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

MB Hanna, thank you for your kind words...and welcome to the blog! I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and letting me know that my readership now extends to the Pacific! I haven't been to Hong Kong since '94 and would love to see it again.

November 28, 2010 at 1:48 PM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

FF- Great references, as always. "Obey my dog!" would definitely fit right in to that post. You're right, I've heard a great deal about Reza - haven't seen him here yet, but certainly hope to. Another friends of mine was running with Massoud as a journalist then, and those were some fascinating times he tells me about.
Merci boucoup,

November 28, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Major Dan said...

Sibs, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Slappy, them be earthquakin' words coming from you about Soren about to receive a new furry friend??
Much love,

November 28, 2010 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Weezie said...

I enjoyed it to, Paco! :) I had to laugh at the word "RedNeckiDan"! Very cute puppies and what a nice change of pace for you... I think hell might freeze before Soso gets a furry friend, though.

December 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM  
Anonymous SlappyTheNotDogOwner said...

Weez is right - and not just because she is the eldest and wisest of the sibs ;) Just to clarify, part of the reason I think puppies are adorable is because they are OTHER people's puppies! Hahaaa ;)

December 2, 2010 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Hi Dan, I'm a reporter working on a story about dogs in Afghanistan. Please contact me at sarah(dot)rylet(at)thedaily(dot)com and I can explain more. Many thanks, Sarah

January 30, 2011 at 8:06 PM  

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