Afghanistan’s War Rugs

Turkmen weavers in northern Afghanistan have been weaving rugs for thousands of years. This heavy textile, made for a wide variety of utilitarian and symbolic purposes, is traditionally decorated with classical folk motifs, but in recent times many modern designs have found their way into the traditional medium, such as replicas of Picasso paintings or stylized American flags. But the most curious influence on Afghan rug design has been violence.

Afghanistan’s War Rugs

Afghanistan has been under conflict for more than forty years starting with the Russian invasion of what was originally a peaceful country. The bloody coup d’état against then-President Mohammed Daoud Khan would trigger a series of events that would dramatically turn Afghanistan from a poor and secluded, albeit peaceful country to a hotbed of international terrorism. The decades of war and violence that followed, impacted the everyday lives of the Afghans so deeply that carpet weavers began to incorporate icons of war into their carpets. Flowers, birds, horses and decorative knots were replaced by machine guns, grenades, helicopters, tanks and Kalashnikov rifles.

In the early years, brokers and merchants refused to buy war rugs with overt designs for fear they would put off buyers. But with time and with the rugs’ increasing popularity, these rugs have found a niche market among Western collectors.

Afghanistan’s War Rugs

There is little doubt the rugs are geared towards Western tourists, but in the beginning they may have been made for fellow Afghans, believes Hanifa Tokhi, an Afghan immigrant who fled Kabul after the Soviet invasion and now lives in northern California. “Later on, they made it commercialized when they found out that people were interested,” she says. “But at the beginning, it was to show their hatred of the invasion. I know the Afghan people, and this was their way to fight.”

After the terrorist attack on America and the subsequent war on Afghanistan, a whole new genre of war rugs arose. On woolen canvases where Soviet weapons used to appear now stood US armaments—F-16s, Abrams tanks and slogans such as “Heat to War”. Others, clearly made for sale to Americans, proclaimed “Long live U.S. soldiers.”

Afghanistan’s War Rugs

One of the most disturbing pieces commemorate the World Trade Center attack. These rugs were so scandalous that many traders refused to have them in their collection. Yet others find World Trade Center rugs collectable. Some New Yorkers find them fit for display, too. “You might think it’s a ghoulish thing to own, but I look upon it in a different way,” says Barbara Jakobson, a trustee at Manhattan’s Museum of Modern Art and a longtime art collector. “It’s a kind of history painting. Battles have always been depicted in art.”

Some 1.6 million Afghans are in the carpet business, with most of the weavers being women working from home. Under generations of oppression, these women have found in carpets a medium to make their voice heard.

“Women in that part of the world have a limited ability to speak out,” says Barry O’Connell, a Washington D.C.-based oriental rug enthusiast. “These rugs may be their only chance to gain a voice in their adult life.”

Afghanistan’s War Rugs
Afghanistan’s War Rugs
Afghanistan’s War Rugs
Afghanistan’s War Rugs
Afghanistan’s War Rugs

Epic Monkey War Erupts in Thai City

A city in Thailand saw traffic come to a sudden halt when the streets were overrun by an epic battle that unfolded between rival gangs of monkeys. The wild scene, which was caught on film by amazed residents, reportedly erupted in the community of Lopburi last week. Much to the chagrin of commuters, hundreds of monkeys amassed in huge groups and faced off at an intersection in the city. After a few minutes of bluster and screeching, the creatures engaged in combat while drivers took cover inside their vehicles and watched the fight unfold.

It is believed that the proverbial monkey war was sparked by a scarcity of food as Lopburi is a popular tourist destination that has been hard by the pandemic, which has led to fewer visitors feeding the creatures that call the city home. Perhaps owing to this ongoing predicament, one local source indicated that the specific showdown between the simians was something of a turf war between three separate groups of monkeys likely looking to increase their territory in the snack-deprived city.

Nazi UFOs? Very Interesting.

Is it possible that an evil race of Aliens allied with the Nazis during World War II?  That would have been a formidable alliance to deal with.  Especially if the Aliens provided the Nazis with UFO technology.  I can’t see a P-51 Mustang defeating a souped up UFO.  But then again, maybe the Americans and Russians had their own Alien benefactors.

In science fiction, conspiracy theory, and underground comic books, there are a number of stories or claims regarding Nazi UFOs (in German: Rundflugzeug, Feuerball, Diskus, Haunebu, Hauneburg-Geräte, VRIL, Kugelblitz, Andromeda-Geräte, Flugkreisel, Kugelwaffen, Reichsflugscheiben). They relate supposedly successful attempts to develop advanced aircraft or spacecraft in Nazi Germany prior to and during World War II, and further claim the post-war survival of these craft in secret underground bases in Antarctica, South America or the United States, along with their Nazi creators.

Nazi UFO tales and myths very often conform largely to documented history on the following points:

  • Nazi Germany claimed the territory of New Swabia in Antarctica, sent an expedition there in 1938, and planned others.
  • Nazi Germany conducted research into advanced propulsion technology, including rocketry, Viktor Schauberger’s engine research, flying wing craft and the Arthur Sack A.S.6 experimental circular winged aircraft.
  • Some UFO sightings during World War II, particularly those known as foo fighters, were thought by the allies to be prototype enemy aircraft designed to harass Allied aircraft through electromagnetic disruption; a technology similar to today’s electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons.

Meanwhile, what have the Americans been up to?

 

Below: either a crashed Alien UFO, or the Americans testing a back engineered UFO that they tried to fly.

 

The Destruction of Aleppo

The Battle of Aleppo was a major military confrontation in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria, between the Syrian opposition (including the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other largely-Sunni groups, such as the Levant Front and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front) against the Syrian government, supported by Hezbollah, Shia militias and Russia, and against the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). The battle began on 19 July 2012 and was part of the ongoing Syrian Civil War. A stalemate that had been in place for four years finally ended in July 2016, when Syrian government troops closed the rebels’ last supply line into Aleppo with the support of Russian airstrikes. In response, rebel forces launched unsuccessful counteroffensives in September and October that failed to break the siege; in November, government forces embarked on a decisive campaign that resulted in the recapture of all of Aleppo by December 2016. The Syrian government victory was widely seen as a potential turning point in Syria’s civil war.

The large-scale devastation of the battle and its importance led combatants to name it the “mother of battles” or “Syria’s Stalingrad”. The battle was marked by widespread violence against civilians, alleged repeated targeting of hospitals and schools (mostly by pro-government Air Forces and to a lesser extent by the rebels), and indiscriminate aerial strikes and shelling against civilian areas. It was also marked by the inability of the international community to resolve the conflict peacefully. The UN special envoy to Syria proposed to end the battle by giving East Aleppo autonomy, but the idea was rejected by the Syrian government. Hundreds of thousands of residents were displaced by the fighting and efforts to provide aid to civilians or facilitate evacuation were routinely disrupted by continued combat and mistrust between the opposing sides.

Before and after photos

 

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In late September 2016, Russia and Syria began performing nightly air raids on rebel-held parts of the city. Russian and Syrian forces were also accused of conducting “double tap” airstrikes which purposefully targeted rescue workers and first responders at hospitals and other civilian structures that they had already bombed, however this is disputed by government and Russian sources. To prevent civilian casualties, Syrian and Russian forces opened up humanitarian corridors to allow the civilian population of Aleppo to evacuate, away from the fighting. During evacuation, several East Aleppo residents reported that evacuating civilians were shelled by rebels. During the 2016 Syrian government offensive, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that “crimes of historic proportions” were being committed in Aleppo.

 

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The battle caused catastrophic destruction to the Old City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage site. With over four years of fighting, it represents one of the longest sieges in modern warfare and one of the bloodiest battles of the Syrian Civil War, which left an estimated 31,000 people dead, almost a tenth of the overall war casualties.

 

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