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Protest Du Jour

September 10th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

link Thousands protest Koran burning plan in Afghan north | Reuters.

Thousands huh.  In looking into the demographics of Afghanistan, some interesting statistics come to light.  To begin with, Afghanistan is not exactly the next Club Med candidate.  For this impoverished nation, non dirt floors makes you middle class.  It’s unlikely that the new Iphone creates much of a stir among the youth and it’s a certainty that the circus of Lindsay, Paris and Justin have no following there. 

According to the CIA world factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html, the total population is estimated to be just under 30 million people, though I’m not sure how you would go about trying to collect any census statistics.  I would think ‘of no fixed address’ could apply to a lot of people there.

In any event, the factbook says that just under half the population, 43% is between the ages of 0 to 14.  In addition, the median age is about 18.  Life expectancy is just over 44 years.  What this tells us is that this is a fairly hostile environment for humans. Survival is probably foremost in the minds of most citizens on any given day.  This includes the search for food, water, shelter, medicine and as well, the avoidance of bombs and gunfire.  If you are an 18 year old and your life is almost  half over, it’s unlikely that you would spontaneously give a rat’s ass about a small church in the US threatening to burn some holy books.  In a country where risk of AIDs is high and literacy is low, it’s a stretch that some pastor in some hick town on the other side of the planet is going to get you all lathered up.

While we can’t dismiss their political awareness, it’s unlikely that someone googled “Church in Gainesville”  and then everyone was all in a tizzy over the proposed burning.  If so, I can imagine the wives of these poor guys telling them to knock it off and get some food for the kids.  More likely, some guy came along and asked if anyone wanted to make a few quick drachmas or whatever the currency is for a few minutes of fist shaking and US flag burning.  Well, ‘why not’? they ask and voila, instant protest scene. 

18 year olds over in this part of the world couldn’t care less about things outside of their buddy group much less about who burns what books in Hicksville.  Something tells me the Afghan guys feel just the same.

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