Love, war and politics
August 19, 2013 2:26 PM   Subscribe

I am chasing you like a drone
You have become al Qaida;
there’s no trace of you

The poetry of Afghan trucks.
posted by Artw (10 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Forwarding this. My friend saw these in Afghanistan, and called them "jingle trucks," iirc, because the ones she saw were decorated with noisemakers as well as color. She said that they served as one of the few cheerful spots of color against drab background.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

What a neat window into another culture. I'd seen Afghan/Pakistani truck art before, but the info about the poetic/romantic/political exhortations is new.

Is this where we can now share our favorite truck art links? Foreign Policy posted a slideshow last May, Keep on Truckin' - The psychedelic cargo haulers of Pakistan's highways, that's just wonderful, and the Wikipedia page for Jingle Truck links some fantastic shots on Flickr.
posted by mediareport at 4:30 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Trucks painted in vivid colours and lettered with poems like the one above, which has borrowed the terms of war to describe love, are part of the “cultural landscape” along the dusty roads of Afghanistan, especially the south and east. The verses are read by passers-by, discussed in homes and shops, and often resonate within the hearts of the Afghan people.

Then it's settled: Next year we're doing Burning Man in Afghanistan.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:34 PM on August 19, 2013

Haikus in Afghanistan?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:37 PM on August 19, 2013

This was a really cool post.
posted by latkes at 6:47 PM on August 19, 2013

This book is relevant, as well.
posted by dzkalman at 7:37 PM on August 19, 2013

Donald Rumsfield would have totally loved and appreciated these lines.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 8:58 PM on August 19, 2013

I tremble to think about the rhyming couplets the truck drivers of Western Sydney would come up with.
posted by robotot at 3:05 AM on August 20, 2013

The Poetry Foundation sponsored a project about Afghan women's landays, and the June 2013 issue of Poetry published many of the Landays.

The project involved a lot of undercover meetings, as the landay are often uncouth, and women's situation in Afghanistan, including poetry, is very tenuous. (There is a very sad story about a young girl's suicide after being beaten by her brothers after her poetry was discovered, in the NY Times article)

Some gems:

Making love to an old man is like
Making love to a limp cornstalk blackened by fungus.

Today I spilled the spinach on the floor.
Now the old goat stands in the corner swinging a two-by-four.

Widows take sweets to a saint's shrine.
I'll bring God popcorn and beg him to kill mine.

When sisters sit together, they always praise their brothers.
When brothers sit together, they sell their sisters to others.

How much simpler can love be?
Let's get engaged now. Text me.

Come, let's leave these village idiots
and marry Kabul men with Bollywood haircuts.

My body belongs to me;
To others, its mastery.

O darling, you're American in my eyes.
You are guilty; I apologize.
posted by foodmapper at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2013 [5 favorites]

The Poetry Foundation sponsored a project about Afghan women's landays, and the June 2013 issue of Poetry published many of the Landays.

posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on August 28, 2013

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