Consejos prácticos para escribir simplicidades sobre Afganistán, recibir grandes aplausos de las audiencias, reales y televisivas, y ayudar a quienes toman decisiones a equivocarse:
When writing about Afghanistan – whether an op-ed, a simple newspaper article, a long form magazine article or an analytical report- there are some simple things to keep in mind in order to keep standards as low as they currently are. The same applies for lectures, presentations, seminars and radio or TV reporting. Here goes:
- Offer simple explanations for everything, no matter how complex. Nobody wants to hear that there is no sound answer or that “it’s extremely complicated.”
- Make a gross generalizations about Afghans based on a single Afghan you met (a far too small sample size will also suffice).
- Ignore dissenting opinion on the ground if it contradicts your set of biases.
- Mistake your English-speaking Kabuli contacts as representative of all Afghans.
- Mistake the Kandahari guys you speak to through an interpreter as representative of all Afghans.
- Repeat some false historical cliché about Afghanistan. Only the historians will be able to call your BS in a convincing manner.
- Hold out the offer of a solution to all the problems with yourself and your ideas at the center (i.e., the Snake Oil approach).
- Use exoticisms that make you sound really informed. Something like “Pashtunwali,” “Deobandi,” “badal,” “arbakai,” “jirga,” “shura,” etc… You don’t understand these terms in their social context. But no worries, neither does your reader.
- Place yourself as a central character in your article. You are Lawrence of Arabia, or perhaps Tintin. You are the intrepid hero of your hopefully non-fictional adventure. Just go with it. People love a good story.
- Create a “Pet Afghan.” Basically you need to cheer for some Afghan power figure like he’s your favorite sports team.
Mas en 29 Tips for Bad Writing on Afghanistan en el blog Ghosts of Alexander