Readers will appreciate that a tremendous amount of historical research, and interviews with participants, went into this project to present the true history of the voyages of Christopher Columbus to Afghanistan, a history that thus far has been replete with misconceptions, unsubstantiated rumour, and popular myths. Clearly, Columbus and his brothers are to be celebrated for reversing the tide of extremism and terrorism, and that is one of the things we remember on October the 12th. Columbus, who discovered the Khyber Pass, also named all of Central Asia AfPak. Memory, aided by solid historiography, can never be erased, not even by a thousand protests in Denver by the American Indian Movement. This historical account was first written, in part, yesterday in Twitter, and has since been through an exhaustive peer review process lasting years.* ** ***
Of course some of the facts are well established. The mother country, which sponsored the expeditions of the Columbus brothers, had been through the turmoil of the reconquista which temporarily suppressed the Republicans whose base was in San Clemente. Emerging triumphant were King Baraque El Segundo Bush and his partner, Queen Michelle de Chicago y Saks, who hailed from a powerful family that included Isabel Toledo and Narciso Rodriguez. Meanwhile, the Moors were appropriately banished to Guantánamo, where even after more than five centuries some remain and have yet to be charged with their crimes or face a trial. Let us not detain ourselves further with these pettier details.
As has been amply documented, on October the 12th, the Nina, Pinta, and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III arrived at Kandahar Air Base.
On Columbus’ first tour of duty, the Nina, Pinta, and Globemaster make their way toward Kandahar, after refueling in Dubai. Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense Flickr photostream.
The natives were apprehensive at the sight of the two ships, given their landlocked country, but were visibly possessed by the Globemaster which they claimed to have known about for thousands of years (native myths claimed that a Globemaster would return at the end of time to liberate them from domestic tyranny). The lack of qualified translators was a constant problem. Had it not been for the notes of the famous chronicler, Michael Moore (originally Miguel El Moro, who disguised his North African provenance by altering his name), and others, we might truly be adrift in a sea of speculation. However, disagreements persist. In his 35-volume History of the Failed States, the missionary Thomas Friedman claims that the natives were not surprised to see the Globemaster because they had much larger vessels of their own, which they used for intercontinental travel, and that they held the world to be flat.
This lone surviving fragment of the Marja Codex, which predates the arrival of Europeans by at least 7,000 years, is the basis for speculation that Afghan natives possessed mythical beliefs about a Globemaster god that would return to liberate them. Clearly shown to the bottom and left of the vessel is a depiction of planet earth. Down the right hand side are what are generally believed to be mini diagrams of various engine parts as well as numerical symbols indicating the order in which they were to be assembled. Others have speculated that they are navigational charts plotting a route to what was later known as the World Trade Center in New York.
Christopher Columbus was able to win the admiration of the locals by providing them with shiny gifts, small items which we little value but that were great novelties to them, such as: Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), bandages, Tootsie Rolls, concussion grenades, M18A1 Claymore directional anti-personnel mines, and for the lucky ones, roller blades. This explains why today the streets of Kandahar are full of roller bladers, and mines. Having won the temporary allegiance of some, they took Columbus on their shoulders, and marched to Khost. Columbus marveled at this new place, and decided to name it AfPak, which he promptly claimed for King Baraque and Queen Michelle. The ruins of the palace built on the site by Columbus remain to this day:
Ruins of the palace built by Christopher Columbus in the city of Khost. Immediately behind the palace one can see the famous Nazca Lines, a series of ancient geoglyphs created by the ancestors of the Taleban.
Christopher Columbus is widely known for his skills in GPS navigation, and at least two of his ships were equipped with OnStar. His success led him to discover the Khyber Pass. To this day he is widely regarded as the Discoverer of the Khyber Pass, and we celebrate this feat on every October the 12th. In almost every village in Afghanistan, there is a statue of General Christopher Columbus. When children pass, they raise their right arms, palms facing forward, in salute.
Columbus meeting with natives in Kandahar. He is not understanding a word they are saying, but is nonetheless able to write detailed accounts of what the natives tell him about their country. Photo courtesy of Margaret Bourke-White.
Columbus also established three settlements in the area, named Camp Keating, FOB Chapman, and one at Wanat whose name remains unknown. Unfortunately, Columbus had appointed unscrupulous administrators who were known for their cruelty to the natives. Typical of maladministration that collided with efforts to pacify the countryside, Christopher Columbus’ brother Diego, appointed governor of Nuristan by Christopher, was accused of being on the CIA payroll, of involvement in smuggling opium, and suspected of illicitly giving trucking contracts to the Taleban. When Columbus returned to Khost three years later, he was shocked and horrified to discover that the camps had been overrun by their dreaded enemies, and that Diego lived barricaded in an underground bunker, reduced to a diet of Ritz crackers and Cheez Whiz.
Christopher Columbus (right) passes a title of deed of ownership to his brother Diego (left), entitling him to possession of all of Nuristan. Nuristan would later fall into ruin under the corrupt administration of Diego. Photo courtesy of the ISAF Flickr photostream.
This takes us to a discussion that focuses more clearly on the natives, for they were a patchwork of clans, tribes, and private militias centered on the trucking business. On the one hand, there were the Taíno, led by Chief Hamideybana Karzaigua (certain prominent Anglophone historians, most notably Admiral Morrison, have arbitrarily shortened his name to “Hamid Karzai,” which is incorrect). Relations with the Taíno, descendants of Guarani and Tajik stock (the ethnohistoric details remain subject to debate), were never wholly pacific. Indeed, Amnesty International denounced the Columbus administration for the secret detention of 383 Taíno alleged warriors, at Bagram Air Base. A former Taíno shaman, Mulana Omarakán, remained at large, and was said to have a large band of warriors from the Carib tribe. The name “Carib” has been roughly mistranslated by chroniclers from different parts of Europe, based often on poorly transcribed local pronunciations. The term Carib is now understand to be a cognate of “caniba,” “cannibal,” and “Cariban,” sometimes written as “Taliban” or “Taleban.”
The Taleban are known cannibals whose social system has been classed by anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan as “criminal” (indeed, Morgan’s accounts are the root of Karl Marx’s theorizing of the Criminal Mode of Production in his magnum opus Die Terroristen). However, there is some dispute as to whether the Taleban captured enemies to eat, or merely inhaled their powdered bones to acquire their enemies’ power. Evidence of their likely cannibalism is to be found in the following:
(a) When they downed a Chinook helicopter over southern Dominica, in an area close to that island’s southern border with Iran, none of the crew members could be found—but their bloodied and tattered clothing remained strewn about the wreckage.
(b) Sometimes as punishment for crimes against the community, they will eat parts of each other (focusing on the eyes and the hands).
(c) The U.S. Army’s Bowe Bergdahl went missing in Afghanistan, and General Christopher Columbus alleged that he was eaten by Taleban cannibals (the same is true of Gilad Shalit, abducted and later eaten by Hamas, which is a lineage segment related to the Taleban, and reportedly based in the Gazari district of Bahamistan).
(d) That the Taleban, like their neighbours, practice cannibalism, is not doubted by the colonial chroniclers and imperial policy planners at the prestigious Salamanca-based Small Wars Journal (Periódico de las Guerrecitas Chiquititas), who published a report describing Afghanistan as a “Chaotic Cannibalistic State:”
“a state of being that consists of groups of people in perpetual conflict, feeding on each other until a foreign body is introduced, at which point they frenzy on the foreign body, sapping strength and resources until the foreign body must limp away.”
Limp away, that is, if they are lucky to have any remaining limbs. For example, Soviet intruders had to evacuate by helicopter because their troops had been reduced to mere torsos with large bite marks, as painstakingly documented by the Royal Historian, Lara Logan of the Colonial Broadcasting System, and by adventure photographer and geologist Louis Dupree.
After meeting with Columbus, this elder vows to wipe out his men. First, he eyes one in particular that he would like to eat. Photo by Louis Dupree, provided by NATO’s Historical Repairs Division.
Dupree later died in the arms of Don Lope de Aguirre on a voyage through a tributary of the Amazon River that runs through Kyrgyzstan. Don Lope had been assigned with Special Operations Command, and tasked by Christopher Columbus with finding El Dorado. A rare document of their journey, recorded by Werner Herzog, subsequently a NATO Secretary General, was recently leaked to Wikileaks and released as “Collateral Columbus,” where we hear what some anti-war critics misinterpreted as megalomaniacal statements made by Don Lope:
Vast mineral deposits were eventually discovered in Afghanistan, and Christopher Columbus claimed them, now citing firm evidence for the existence of El Dorado. Queen Michelle was very pleased.
When Christopher Columbus first encountered Taleban natives in eastern Cubanistan, he wrote a detailed account of their physical appearance, in a journal that was copied and uploaded to Cryptome, and illustrated by Peter Martyr d’Anghiera of Rolling Stone Magazine. These are some extracts from Columbus’ journal, containing some of his typical gaps and contradictions:
“The people of this land and of all the other nearby lands which I have found and of which I have (or do not have) information, all go completely covered, men and women, and especially the women who are covered in the burqa of their nature, leaving not even a slit by which to peer into their eyes and glimpse their souls. The absence of any vision of women in the state that their mother bore them is most striking when we remember the midriffs, short-shorts, and string bikinis of our maidens in San Diego, for which my men long excessively to the point of engaging in many quiet distractions of a nature that cannot be described in these pages. In trying to secure access to their women, one of my men lost his hand as he tried to reach for one standing in a group guarded by their jealous and proud turbaned males. Another made the unfortunate error, as we learned, of trying to purchase a bride with rum, only to find the cask of liquor turned on his head and set alight. These people can sometimes be ridiculously attached to norms of what they deem respectful and proper behaviour, that are strange to us. They seem compelled to maintain boundaries between their nation and ourselves….
“In all of these lands, I saw no great diversity in the appearance of the people or in their manners or language; on the contrary, they all understand one another, which is a very curious thing, on account of which I hope King Baraque will determine upon their conversion to ways of civilization and democracy, towards which they are much inclined….
“Thus I have found no monsters, nor report of any, except for an area under control of those who are Taleb, which is inhabited by a people who are regarded in all these lands as very ferocious, [and] who eat human flesh. They have many pickup trucks and motorcycles with which they range through all the lands of AfPak, rob and take whatever they can. They are no more malformed than the others, except for the notable absence of certain limbs among their men, and that they have the custom of wearing their beards long, some extending more than a meter. They are ferocious among these other people who are cowardly to an excessive degree.”
Reports of Taleban atrocities were later repeated by Christoper Columbus to the media. On Meet the Press, Columbus claimed that the Taleban cut the nose off a certain Aisha and then emphatically reminded viewers their warriors are cannibals. In terms of Columbus and NATO’s “cowardly” allies, Wikileaks revealed that a Taíno chief gave Christopher Columbus false information on a neighbouring tribe, which prompted an airstrike on a village of suspected Carib allies of the Taleban.
Very little has been documented of Taleban lifestyle and customs, apart from the surviving records of a single U.S. Army Human Terrain Team (HTT), led by former Marine Lt. Col. Bronislaw “Bronto” Malinowski (left), which went missing for two decades in the wild and lawless areas of Waziristan. (The region was in the past notorious for raiding merchant vessels of the Soviet Socialist East India Company.) On that HTT was someone who later became famous in anthropology (read more about this esoteric discipline), one Margaret Mead, nicknamed “the mission monkey” by teammates owing to her peculiar appearance. Malinowski wrote down detailed accounts of their rituals, their marriage ceremonies, their agriculture, and their preparation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), a phrase that he coined. He discovered a hitherto unknown gift economy among the Helmand Islanders that involved circulating suicide bombers counterclockwise through villages of Waziristan, while IEDs moved in a clockwise pattern. This was later called the Culling Ring, and new students in anthropology learn this in their first classes (for more, read Malinowski’s classic text, The Violent Life of Terrorists in North-Eastern Afghanistan). Mead, for her part, discovered that unlike what she found among adolescents in the United States, Taleban teenagers zealously guard virginity and will not let a female walk the streets unless in the company of two men, preferably older brothers. Mead was also the first to film Taleban villagers, by installing a surveillance camera in the centre of the village and letting it run for 24 hours at a time–thereby serving as inspiration for the work later to be done by Predator Drones. Mead was the only surviving member of the HTT after a botched rescue attempt by U.S. Special Forces mistakenly killed everyone, including her teammates. Clutching his enema bottle, LTC Malinowski was mistaken for a grenade-wielding militant. After the traumatic events had long passed, Mead became famous for her book, Coming of Age in Sheberghan.
“Taking names and kicking ass,” a phrase invented by Bronto Malinowski to describe one of his favourite daily rituals. Here he takes the names of new Human Terrain Team members that he is marking to be fired and shipped back home, for having engaged in fraud, waste, abuse, drunkenness, and philandering, problems that plagued HTTs and caused endless headaches for the Columbus administration.
Christopher Columbus eventually fell into disrepute thanks to the liberal media. The breaking point was a remark he made to Rolling Stone, referring to King Baraque as “aquél moreno” (“the dark one,” owing to the King’s oddly swarthy complexion that raised doubts in some minds about his noble purity). He was promptly shipped back to the United States. His brothers, also disgraced, were sent home and later joined the Center for a New American Security and the Hoover Institution. Christopher himself only managed to muster enough respect to get him a weekly column in the Washington Post. Columbus recently used his column to suggest that a Predator drone go out and do a “meet and greet” with the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. In Twitter, where Columbus and Assange frequently trade insults, Assange responded by calling Columbus a “Nazi punk.” In an interview with Der Spiegel, Assange did in fact admit that a primary motivation behind his work is that, “I enjoy crushing Columbus.”
[Christopher Columbus’ main Twitter account is here, and he has two subsidiary accounts here and here. He also has an active Facebook page.]
With Christopher Columbus disgraced, General David Petraeus took the helm and rededicated himself to NATO’s civilization mission. Even though Petraeus had the support of armies from 4,373 nations, which together spoke a total of 18,956 languages—still, only the second largest international coalition, it must be noted—he failed to win territory from the Taleban-Caribs and was eventually forced to withdraw when resupply ships from the mother country stopped arriving after twenty years, despite numerous protestations from the cardinals and archbishops in the Pentagon.
Interviewed at his home in Virginia by his biographer, Bob Woodward, Christopher Columbus reflected quietly on his dismissal. “I’m the toad in the road,” he said quietly. “In personal terms, I’m absolutely pissed off.”
* Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2007 conference of the Australian Society for the Pastoral Care of Aborigines (A-SPCA) held at Clifford Park Holiday Motor Inn in Toowoomba, Queensland; the 2008 meetings of the American Society for Urgent Paraethnography, held at the Holiday Inn-Airport in Fresno, California; and the 2008 convention of the International Association for Occult Historiologies, held at the Super 8 in Kapuskasing, Ontario. Another version was published in the Journal of Christianity as National Security.
** I am thankful for comments by three anonymous reviewers as well as detailed comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript provided by Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, and Dinesh D’Souza. Research for this article was generously supported by grants from the Jesse Helms Foundation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Minerva Research Initiative.
*** This essay forms part of a larger introductory text that has been slated for teaching to high school students by NATO’s Global Board of Reeducation, with the approval of the Texas Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education (SBOE).
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You have outdone yourself – I never knew all this interesting history.
Here I am doing research on Alexander the ‘Great’ and Petraeus one of his Companions and the Devourer Dogs of Bactria – and you come up with this!
Never again shall I look at AfPak the way I did before. Interestingly I had found in the ancient history/anthropological studies of the 1980s someone of the caliber of “Lawerence of Arabia”, aptly named “Paddy of Pakistan” – sounds too familiar. How the Irish ever got there is a puzzle. Numismatic evidence, based on a rusted beer bottle cap points to them having conquered the regions of Bactria, Scythia, Sogdania etc before Alexander and Petraeus – wonder what happened to them.
Seriously Max, that is a grand piece.
B Safe, Paddy
Thanks very much Paddy, I really enjoyed preparing this piece, the comment is much appreciated.
An enlightening piece of substantial scholarship.
It was about time that someone got the record straight on this one.
And I, for one, truly appreciate the finely textured historical account, informed by sharp-witted ethnographic insight:
“In almost every village in Afghanistan, there is a statue of General Christopher Columbus. When children pass, they raise their right arms, palms facing forward, in salute.”
Thanks Jérémy. If you have time, follow that link to Small Wars Journal, and get ready for a shock. That was BS that I didn’t need to fabricate or fictionalize. That anyone signed their name to a paper that as an undergraduate essay would earn them a failing grade, and possibly a grilling for the implicit racism, is really amazing. War, and funding for war, seems to have made an awful lot of people lose any sense of shame, if they ever had one.
Yes, I did check that on first lecture. Shameful and ridiculous indeed. I love how they manage to get a first non sequitur in the very first sentence of their text. The whole abstract is very close to a first degree version of your sentence :
“The Taleban are known cannibals whose social system has been classed by anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan as “criminal””.
Sorry : on first *reading*, not on first “lecture”.
Fantastic satire on the ignoramuses who published that article about the chaotic cannibals in Afghanistan. Max, you should apply for a job with HTS and submit this piece as a writing sample.
Thanks Arthur :D — the problem might be that they take it too literally, because “sophisticated readings” from them are something I am generally not seeing. Incidentally, they might want to tell Nancy Kobrin to stop saying how she worked with the Human Terrain System, at the end of each and every Islamophobic hit piece she writes on “Family Security Matters,” since it causes her articles to pop up in every feed related to HTS. On the other hand, it possibly suits their purposes just fine.
Almost forgot this: at the same time that SWJ is producing papers such as the one about the “Chaotic Cannibalistic State,” on another part of the same site they have this discussion taking place: “Human Terrain: Are We too Stupid for Big Words like Anthropology?”
LOL. No, not too stupid…for big words.
Just a minor clarification: SWJ did not “produce” that paper, they published it. SWJ’s publishing policy includes concepts of “timeliness”. Regardless of what the editorial team may think about the specific merits of a particular piece, if it has “buzz” or will stir up a discussion that is timely, they will publish it. As the Editorial Policy notes,
Nice wire brushing BTW .
You’re right, I should have said either presenting or publishing, which I sometimes accidentally use interchangeably with producing, which is a mistake in this case. Many thanks.
Oh shit. Now I think I just made a fool of myself on my History of Anthropology midterm essay. I was up late last night smoking a little bud and cramming for today’s midterm when my roommate showed me your essay. Dude it so rocked my world, like it was bitch’en telling it just like I figured it must have been if I ever really stopped to think about it, you know what I mean. So my rommie and I got righteously baked and kept going over the cool shit here, like about the Nazka lines and the Marja Codex and like how all that good Columbus shit fit so well with the new age of imperialism. It, so rocked my world dude. We were up until 3:30 talkin and picking up on what you was putting down. Today’s midterm essay questions couldn’t have any more directed to the themes of this article if you had written it yourself, so I put all my energy into that question, bringing in all the twists and turns of your history and argument and getting as far up into the face of my conservative professor as I could, I really laid out all this history. But shit, about a half hour ago we were chugging our friday first beers and I was telling people the cool shit I put into my essay, but none of these dawgs had ever heard this crap before so one of them gets out her iPhone and we look at this web site, but she-it, unlike my crappy internets service in my dorm room, her phone gets the site complete with the photo-shopped pictures you have. Like WTF dude? When we were baked and read this without no photos it all sounded so damn real, shit man, I had such bad teachers in high school that they didn’t teach me nothing anyway, so I was I supposed to know. Uh oh, I think I’m going to be flunking my midterm. I wonder if I can still take an incomplete?
LOL!!! Put your professor in touch with me if you get a failing grade, and I will explain (minus references to bud) why if he/she reads it properly, you should be getting an A+. That, plus a tray of “special” brownies might help.
Well, that was prescient of me, my bit about donating roller blades to Afghans…now see “the real news”:
ISAF Troop donates skateboards to Skateistan; then does an ‘Ollie’
Apparently reality is even more ridiculous and bizarre.
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