Skip to comments.CAPTIVE IN AFGHANISTAN: BOWE BERGDAHL, YVONNE RIDLEY, AND ME
Posted on 06/02/2014 6:58:38 PM PDT by robowombat
CAPTIVE IN AFGHANISTAN: BOWE BERGDAHL, YVONNE RIDLEY, AND ME
by DR. PHYLLIS CHESLER 2 Jun 2014, 11:44 AM PDT
Unless one has been through it, one cannot imagine what five years of captivity in Afghanistan might be like. I only endured five months of captivity in Kabul and, to this day, no one has ever understood what that was like.
Breitbart reporters Jordan Schachtel, Raheem Kassam, and Dr. Sebastian Gorka have charged that Bowe Bergdahl may be a secret spy as well as a true believer convert to Islam. They may be right. He might just turn out to be a real-life Nicholas Brody, the former star of Homeland. Bowe allegedly just walked off his base. Was he deserting his post? Was he somehow crazed by war?
Now, Bergdahls father Robert sports a long, unkempt, flowing beard which suggests that he may also be a convert to Islam. Apparently, Bowe is having difficulty speaking English and so, rather curiously, at a press conference with President Obama, his father addressed his newly liberated son in Arabic, as well as in Pushto or Dari, the languages native to Afghanistan. In a previous video Bergdahl Senior made, he respectfully addressed those who have cared for our son, as a prisoner and as a guest.
Perhaps conversion and pro-Islamist public statements were part of the negotiation, part of the propaganda payoff that the Taliban demanded. When an infidel is in captivity in a Muslim country, they convert in order to save their life, in order to please their captors, or because they are lost or unstable to begin with and find that Islam offers the kind of rigid discipline and communal support that often leads to greater (more regimented) stability and social approval.
In 2001 after 9/11, British journalist Yvonne Ridley was captured by the Taliban on September 28th and held for ten days. She had entered Afghanistan illegally clad in a burqa but was discovered and viewed as a spy. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan negotiated for her release with the Taliban Ambassador, Mullah Abdul Saleem Zaeef, in Islamabad. She promised her Taliban captors that after her release she would read the Koran. And when she didshe found it to be a document of "liberation for women" and she converted. Instantly famous, Ridley continued to receive attention for her conversion and for her strong anti-Zionism and defense of Muslim causes around the world, especially in Palestine.
However, Ridley is not an accurate recorder of facts. When I debated her on Al-Hurrah, she tried to intimidate me with a formulaic rant about how the blood of our Muslim brothers flowing in the streets of Palestine, etc. She was all decked out a la Lawrence of Arabia, with vaguely male, not female, Muslim attire. (Well, she is British). Said I: The gravest problem is that of Muslim-on-Muslim violence, but she ranted on.
As the author of An American Bride in Kabul, which recounts my five months in captivity in a harema captivity which began as a romance with a very westernized Afghan man whom I marriedI have been accused of a) only being held captive for five weeks; b) being an utter, non-feminist fool for ever having anything to do with the man who once held me hostage, even if it was for love. I have rejected such criticism. I am an American and a Jew, and when my former Afghan husband arrived here after having fled the Soviet invasion, I opened my door to him and his family for ethical and humane reasonswell, out of curiosity too. I was no longer in any danger, he had no objective power over me.
And yet: In my years of subsequent work with Muslims, both dissidents and feminists, perhaps, just perhaps, I am still captive to my kinship with the wild, wild East; still under its uncanny and forceful spell; still carrying out my Afghan husbands mission to modernize and elevate his people. A case in point in terms of lost souls being attracted to Islam: There is Margaret Marcus, aka Maryam Jameelah, a mentally unstable Jewish-American who converted to extreme Islam. Jameelah left America in the 1960s to became a chief propagandist (in English) for radical Islam in Pakistan. Mawdudi was her mentor and protector. Jameelah wore a face mask. As Margaret, she had done serious time in a psychiatric asylum, and as Jameelah it also became clear that she was a difficult, crazy, and impossible woman. Like Ridley, she was also an anti-Zionist. Deborah Baker has written a very fascinating biography of this unusual woman.
In any event, the book to read about The Taliban is Mark Silinskys The Taliban: Afghanistans Most Lethal Insurgents. Just published in 2014, it is the best, clearest, most factual, and least biased of the books I have read so far. It is also the most frightening, detailing their reign of totalitarian terror, included massacres, mini-genocides, a maliciousness beyond measure, very creatively sadistic tortures, and private houses of horror. Silinsky writes:
Beyond their malice, the Taliban were totalitarian. Bin Laden and the Arabs and other international fighters fused the Islamism of Qutb and Azzam with the Deobandi philosophy of the Afghan elites. All human activity was to be channeled towards replicating the time of their Prophet. In this spirit, music, dancing, kite flying, and chess playing were all banned. According to Silinsky, a military man and an academic, one exceptionally brutal war lord torturer escaped the Talibans advance towards Kabul in 1998 and fled to London where he worked delivering pizza. Beware all Londoners who deliver pizza.
I will write more about Silinskys fine work in another article.
My question tonight is: why did this father throw his son under the bus? By looking like a freak on tv, going on in various Jihadi languages, tweeting obnoxious anti-American statements, encouraging his son to desert, he condemned his son to a life of suspicion and unease and perhaps imprisonment. It’s almost Munchausen by Proxy: making his son an outcast for the attention it brings him. This father has some real issues.
Then why not AK-47s, RPGs, Nukes, IEDs, etc?
They are both True Belivers in Islamism. Nothing else mattes to them.
I’m thinking the old man poisoned this soldier with jihad long before he enlisted. The rest just falls into place.
Even reading Miss Chesler’s piece gave me a creepy feeling - she admits to still being under “the spell” of the East. Is she charmed by the photographs of the ugly, thuggish mugs of the 5 devils who were released? How can anyone be under the spell of this dark and awful world? What is wrong with these people? Why must good Americans suffer because other Americans are alienated from their own country?
Why didn’t he leave his son alone and take up arms himself? I just think there is a major sicko father/son relationship here.
“Dreams From My Father”. Redux.
The desert at dawn: the color of an enormous flock of flamingos.
The desert's intensity and implacable disinterest at midday from the relative safety of a shady oasis.
The desert at sunset turning slowly through every shade of red; an entire autumn at the end of each day.
The stars above the desert on a moonless night.
Then some bastard had to have crazy visions and ruin it for everybody.
I have no doubt the Middle East has beautiful scenery. But that doesn’t explain an interest in its thuggish culture and its monstrous male population!
There are lots of people in America that are "captivated" by what they see in Amish country, but they wouldn't want to live the Amish life. There are aspects of pretty much every culture (but certainly not EVERY culture) that are beautiful, interesting, and worthy of praise.
I have a bit of a different slant on this issue, and I’ll bet I’m not too far off the mark. I think the son, Bowe, who may have initially switched to Islam to save his neck, so to speak, jumped in with both feet and became a true believer. I bet he was in on teaching his new fellow Muzzies how to make bombs and was slamming the U.S. twice as much as his newfound buddies, while growing his beard out. I think he saw himself as one of them, now trusted by them and a fellow Jihad travellor.
However, what Bowe didn’t bargain for was that his fellow Islamists were getting ready to throw him under the bus in order to liberate 5 real Afghan Taliban, being held at Gitmo as prisoners. That Bowe didn’t didn’t bargain on, that the Taliban would want 5 real Jihadists back in their fold, especially ones that were probably the brains behind many an attack on Westerners, preferably on U.S. ones. And the Taliban was more than happy to trade in one faux Jihadist for 5 real ones. That hadn’t entered into Bowe’s equation.
Now Bowe has been traded in for the 5 Gitmo Jihadists, and I’m sure he is exceedingly bewildered and feeling very betrayed. He thought he was one of them, a fellow Jihadist. Now he has been jilted and sent back to what he now considers the enemy, that’s us. And could end up in the klink back in the good old USA for desertion to boot. What a culture shock.
Hence he doesn’t want to speak the enemy’s language, that’s English. So Pops, I can’t say a chip off the old block as Pops IS the old block, who seems to have mimicked his son’s Islamist propensities, speaks to his son who won’t speak English, in Arabic. How jolly, how easily Pops and son will be able to communicate with one another when Bowe gets home. Poor young Bowe, he’s got to be one big psychological mess right now; he’s neither fish nor fowl, just a lonely Jihadist without a country. The fun begins.
“That Bowe didnt didnt bargain on,”
Subtract one “didn’t” above. Have to clean my specs; I keep seeing double.
Even reading Miss Cheslers piece gave me a creepy feeling - she admits to still being under the spell of the East.
You could be very right. I agree about refusing to speak English vs. the story being told that he is having trouble speaking and understanding English. If he had been 3 and held for 5 years I could see that, but he wasn’t.
Every news article I have read about his being picked up once released said he passed a note to the crew asking SF? for Special Forces. If he somehow suddenly has difficulty speaking or understanding English how did he manage to write it?
All I know for sure is he should never, ever be allowed onto a weapons range, public or private.
He would not hesitate for a second to kill a few non-believers.
Maybe he will go for a nice quiet evening walk in Ft. Marcy Park.
“Every news article I have read about his being picked up once released said he passed a note to the crew asking SF? for Special Forces. If he somehow suddenly has difficulty speaking or understanding English how did he manage to write it?”