Arnon Grunberg


The nerve

  1. David Goodman in today’s Times on the Twitter wars in Kabul: ‘As the firefight in Kabul, Afghanistan, simmered down early on Wednesday, the battle on Twitter began heating up, with representatives of the NATO-led coalition and the Taliban trading barbs in a burst of virtual conversation.
    Written in the slashing jargon of the short messaging service, the Twitter exchange underscored a continuing effort by the United States and NATO to portray as unsuccessful the brazen attack on the American Embassy and the headquarters of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.
    “Re: Taliban spox on #Kabul attack: the outcome is inevitable,” read a message on a Twitter account managed by the NATO forces, and using an abbreviation for spokesman. “Question is how much longer will terrorist put innocent Afghans in harm’s way?” To this, a Taliban representative, who identified himself as Abdulqahar Balkhi and wrote under the handle @abalkhi, replied in garbled shorthand: “i dnt knw.u hve bn pttng thm n ‘harm’s way’ fr da pst 10 yrs.Razd whole vllgs n mrkts.n stil hv da nrve to tlk bout ‘harm’s way’.” (The message, in plain English, would be: I don’t know. You have been putting them in ‘harm’s way’ for the past 10 years. Razed whole villages and markets. And still have the nerve to talk about ‘harm’s way?’)
    “Really, @abalkhi?” NATO responded, citing a United Nations finding that insurgents were responsible for 80 percent of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first six months of 2011.
    “UNAMA is an entity of whom? mine or yours?” came the Taliban response, using the acronym for the United Nations mission in Afghanistan.’

My modest suggestion would be that the war in Afghanistan from now on should be fought exclusively on Twitter. I believe that this is a beneficial idea for most if not all people involved.

The motto could be: We don’t do nation building, we do Twitter.