29 Tips for Bad Writing on Afghanistan

This is amazingly accurate, funny and sad, all at the same time.

Ghosts of Alexander

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:

  1. 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.”
  2. Make a gross generalizations about Afghans based on a single Afghan you met (a far too small sample size will also suffice).
  3. Ignore dissenting opinion on the ground if it contradicts your set of biases.
  4. Mistake your English-speaking Kabuli contacts as representative of all Afghans.
  5. Mistake the Kandahari guys you speak to through an interpreter as representative of all Afghans.
  6. Repeat some false historical cliché about Afghanistan. Only the historians will…

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About hotmilkforbreakfast

I am a researcher, a writer, a former soldier, an academic and a lifelong learner. All text and pictures are copyrighted and are not to be used without express permission of the author.
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