Hope and splendour in Afghanistan

I’ve been following with great interest Terry Glavin‘s recent dispatches from Kabul. The journalist’s descriptions of city life and character portraits of its residents are fascinating and informative. Yet at the same time I find them utterly unsurprising. Now that may seem odd coming from someone whose glass is ever half-empty, but I like to think that I can see potential in people and situations, no matter how grim the latter may appear on the surface.

What Terry describes in the “justifiably jittery foreign diplomats, aid-agency bureaucrats and journalists” insulated from Afghan life in their guarded fortresses and armour-plated SUVs is a lack of faith in humanity. Or, more precisely, a lack of faith in themselves combined with an inability to see beyond their own psycho-social pathologies and acknowledge that not everyone in the world is as neurotic as them. This is a very bourgeois disease, and one that afflicts many among the western liberal-left intelligentsia.