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A very promising thing is taking place in Afghanistan. I recently read that Brig. Gen. Mohammad Amin Nasib who heads up religious and ideological affairs in the Afghan Defense Ministry has written an 18-page booklet entitled, “Cultural Understanding: A Guide to Understanding Coalition Cultures.” This booklet is being distributed to Afghan military leaders around the country and will be taught in three, one-hour sessions to all their soldiers, as well as new recruits. The book speaks of ways coalition members behave that unknowingly offend and thus are at the root of some of the violence. It defines the true meanings of various “habits” that are insulting to Afghans, but in truth are complimentary. One example given was a “pat on the back,” which is offensive to Afghans, but is meant as a compliment for a job well done. My goodness — what a marvelous effort to promote peace through understanding.
The articles states that the booklet paints a “glowing” picture of the coalition forces, e.g., this statement: “The United States is a little like a lovely carpet. Different colored strands combine to make a beautiful whole.”
As a nation that professes that we are “one under God,” we need to focus on that statement. We need to make every effort to understand every religion and culture represented in our great country — accept our differences, do not try to pass laws that take away freedoms from one to favor another — simple freedom with respect and understanding. That is what the Afghan military is attempting to do, and I certainly applaud them. We need to work on that here at home.