Alien Newsletter #9: The Goats of Afghanistan
In which our alien contemplates the decisive and brutal end to an ancient and curious sort of game
Network Note: The shockwaves felt throughout the geopolitical sphere upon the sudden end of the Afghanistan war and the overwhelming collapse of the American-backed Afghani government to the Taliban apparently have also registered within the cosmos as well.
Intercepting the various radio waves emitting around the region, we have noted our alien chronicler reporting back to his home planet about a struggle that it, like most of those who have only recently found their eyes drawn towards this beleaguered land, can only understand through its own perspective. However, as usual, that perspective seems directed elsewhere other than where most humans are casting their attention.
As of late I have been somewhat intrigued by goats.
There are men who stare at goats, or at least, that is a message I have found on the screenscreamer (Network Note: we assume the alien is referring to the internet) has told me. When certain of the Greatest Apes (GAs) are said to be the greatest of all the apes at what they do, they are referred to as the GOAT. And then there are these hairy and somewhat taciturn beasts that have a habit of running into you whenever you turn your back on them. These are called goats as well. I have no idea how any of these things are connected.
However, I am thinking right now of a very dead goat that some of the Greatest Apes have grown so obsessed with, they have developed an extraordinary ritual around it. The ritual involves getting on horses and yanking the goat with sticks, dragging it and cheering as its entrails spew about.
Other men on other horses attempt to seize the goat and the entrails from the other person by any means necessary. This game is called Buzkashi and it’s the one time that all the meanings surrounding this term come together for me: men staring at a goat and trying to get the goat in order to become a GOAT. They will create all sorts of chaos in order to prevail in all of this goatful goodness.
The spirit of these goat-possessed antics has once again descended upon the Greatest Apes, now that one of their longest conflicts, waged for two decades in the Greater Civilizational Fault Region #2, has come to a close. Extraordinary wealth, resources and lives have been expended to drag this massive goat of a country, named Afghanistan, around until it was seized once again by its previous owners, a particularly testy and goat-resembling warrior caste called the Taliban. And already, even more people are attempting to seize the goat away internally, while other people are struggling to quit the field of play altogether. It is, as the Greatest Apes say, a Godawful mess.
However, it has apparently always been a godawful mess for quite some time. So much so that people have become used to the mess it had become, and it almost appears as if some of the Apes miss it, as little as it apparently intruded in the lives of even the very people who were dragging the goat around in the first place. To wit, I am conducing an experiment on one of the greatest apes, where I will tie a dead cat to the human’s ankle for 20 years and then on the 20th year, remove it. I am convinced the Greatest Ape will become infuriated at the disappearance of the dead cat, and find reasons to miss the disappearance of this corpse upon its ankle. (Please be assured I have applied for and received the appropriate ethics department approval for this experiment).
In the meantime, it would appear that there is more carrion on the ground than our unfortunate goat. Much has been made of a screenscreamer video which shows one of the supersimians falling from a plane he just so happened to be clinging to.
I have no doubt if we were to land one of our older spacecraft upon this planet, the GAs would attempt to do likewise, so your discretion with regards to this is indeed still warranted. And much has been made of the uncertain fate of women in this conflict. As we have discussed before, gender difference accounts for much confusion and dissent, with those deemed women at once reviled and deified, protected and assaulted by those designated men — sometimes even with the help of other women. The same dynamics are at play now, within the Greater Uncivilizational Fault Region #2.
As one of the Wiser of the GAs said of the dragged goat game 20 years earlier, when this latest skirmish was said to unfold, “Don’t venture a Buzkashi in Afghanistan unless you know — flat-out know — that you can control it.”
For now, the game is presided over by its former owners, and the rout is total. And all one can see are the entrails of empire, and the primordial chaos left in its wake, strewn across the field of play.
The GAs combine their twin obsessions with space and amber-colored liquids for significant recompense.
More and more of the GAs, it would appear, want to believe, according to one of their foremost opinion aggregators.
Apparently the GAs’ much-beloved job market is doing much better than anticipated.
Too long apparently I lived in the mountains, too much I listened to brooks and trees: now I speak to them as to goatherds. — Nietzsche