"When you hold a weapon, you don't cry, you just shoot."
October 15, 2014 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Commander Pigeon is a collector of lost and exiled men. The quietest soldier once belonged to the Taliban. He had been captured by local police, escaped, and having heard about Commander Pigeon, walked miles to reach her home. He fell to his knees and begged for protection. She made him swear loyalty. I asked how she knew he wouldn't rebel. "I'm watching him closely," she said. "I'm converting Taliban to normal people."

Jen Percy for TNR: My Night With Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord, Commander Pigeon.

Accompanying photos by Lorenzo Tugnoli.
posted by divined by radio (6 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
this reads like HST, in some bizarre fashion.
posted by k5.user at 11:12 AM on October 15, 2014

I just don't know.
posted by Seamus at 11:29 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was reading this article yesterday and haven't finished it yet, but Jen Percy, the author, is so insanely crazily brave, just in the first few pages!
posted by Jahaza at 12:03 PM on October 15, 2014

Jen Percy needs to read Chris Hedges' first book.

“If the Taliban come, I just pull a grenade and throw it. I just keep throwing. It’s a great location for grenades.”

What a complete bad ass. Go girl!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:35 PM on October 15, 2014

I just don't know.

Exactly, and I appreciate that Percy didn't try to distort the picture of Commander Pigeon.
Like she's some kind of maternal figure who cradles, kisses and nurtures lost men back to health or some Malala-type hero who refuses to heed to the patriarchal attitudes of the area.

she's a war-torn human who's managed to survive decades of war, and she's respected for some reason, unrevealed to the reader.

she hates the Taliban because she's not Taliban and because they killed her sons. she's not some fantastic "magical woman" made to make us Westerners feel good about our war and I appreciate that Percy is not trying to make her that.

Maybe on the opposite side of the country her Taliban-supporting doppelganger exists. Does it mean one is good and one is evil like Michael and Garthe Knight or Superman and Evil Superman?

When your life is war, there's no more good and evil. Morality doesn't exist. it's just kill or be killed. Crips vs. Bloods, Red vs. Blue. Montagues vs. Capulets. that's it. no higher than level 1 on Maslow's pyramid. Level 2 on a good day.

She's the living dead, just like so many people having to suffer the follies of stupidity and hate.

And to try to paint her otherwise (as so many journalists would try to do), to make for interesting reading while we contemplate whether we'll have our hot shower before or after drinks and dinner, is beyond offensive.

In conclusion, good article.
posted by bitteroldman at 12:38 PM on October 15, 2014 [13 favorites]

What a complete bad ass. Go girl!
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:35 PM on October 15

"Go girl"?? Yuck, indeed.
posted by basicchannel at 5:29 PM on October 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

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