I've already mentioned how Ted Rall is an American cartoonist I like, cause he's actually someone who's taken a deep and long abiding interest in Central Asia, from the Russian border in the north right down to the Arabian Sea. Rall has the skill of looking past things like "national interest" and trying to grasp at the real things that effect the lives of ordinary people, whether in South Asia, Central Asia or North America.
Keeping with how he likes to cut through the BS, to try and reach the heart of the matter, Ted Rall recently took a tour of Afghanistan in August 2010. He stuck to North and Western Afghanistan, for the sole reason of that not only are these the places that there isn`t any fighting, and thus are simply under-reported despite an army of press crops being in-country. So Rall headed out to these territories and decided to cartoon and report whatever he saw. Between near run-ins with Taliban supporters (who technically "aren't" supposed to be in the north), to the only reference to Pakistanis as "suspected suicide bombers", to the unexpectedly high amount of development compared to the invasion of 2001, it was a surprise for Ted, for North Americans, and even some South Asians, who are supposed to be keeping an eye on the region.
But why I bring this up is stupidity. Specifically religious stupidity. I have a personal theory that most of the grief that gets caught in newspapers is the result of greed, incompetence, ignorance, a propensity for violence, stupidity and arrogance. Not much of a theory, but there it is. You don't hear much news from Scandinavian countries and Canada, (except maybe Iceland) maybe because their stock of arrogance, stupidity, greed, ignorance incompetence and violent tendencies are very low. The recent exception, Iceland, is the exception that proves the rule, where greed destroyed that countries economy.
Shahid Saeed sahab has vindicated my theory of stupidity being one of the founts of trouble in this world, with his post on religiously "inspired" maps. Aside from saying to Mr Saeed not to pick on girls from Sargodha, that post took me back to Ted Rall's take on the very annoying habit of finding the word "Allah"'s shape on weird things and strange places, and forwarding pictures of these to everybody. As Pakistanis, our misfortune is to have our more pious citizens forward emails of these photoes by the megabyte to our inboxes.This is Ted's take on our version of "Ooh Look! It's Jesus/the Virgin Mary on a piece of toast!". Because of that annoying spam, I'm grateful to Ted for channeling "my" pain ;-) in this cartoon. And if you're interested, you can read his entire 2010 Afghan adventure here. Enjoy.