Peshawar – Village Experience

June 6, 2006

Rumah orang Pashtun bertembok tinggi dan kokoh. Orang luar tak tahu siapa dan kehidupan macam apa yang tersembunyi di balik tembok itu (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO)

Walled houses of the Pashtuns. Behind the concrete walls, nobody knows what is hidden there.

Ziarat Gul (not real name) is a young boy of 19 years old taking computer education in Peshawar whom I met two months ago incidentally in an Internet Cafe in University Town area. I was in Internet Cafe, and he sat next to me. He kept staring at me and asking me questions this and that, that I couldnt even concentrate of using the connection.

Then my Malaysian female friend came to the Cafe. The boy’s attention turned to the girl, and he kept asking me questions about my Malaysian friend. I didnt answer so much as I was annoyed. Later I found that he was desperate about girls with Chinese appearance. But at least he didnt show any intention of interested at me sexually, so I accepted his invitation to visit his village and gave him my mobile number.

The chance to go to his village just came yesterday, two months after the invitation. I met him again in the same place, and he agreed to take me home. As computer student, and as I am an engineer of computer science, he wanted to discuss something with me. His teacher said that nobody (in the world) would be able to make programs with C++ properly. I was surprised, how can someone who still couldnt program with C++ and claimed that it was impossible to do so, could be a computer teacher in a faculty in Peshawar. Slowly, I got a clue, when he asked me further question.
“What is the definition of C?” he asked
“I dont know,” I answered
“If you dont know how can you make program with C++?”
“Why not? We dont need to know the meaning of C to make program with C,” I said
“How can someone drive a car without knowing the meaning of car?” he argued
Education in Pakistan seemed put too much attention on theory. For us, theory is of course important, but it is the understanding of theory and not the memorizing of it, is important. Gul said that their exam is usually: “what is the meaning of …” questions.

Pria penduduk dusun Safed Sang (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO)

Men of Safed Sang

Gul was still desperate about the Malaysian girl. He kept asking me the questions about her, about our relations, about how to contact her, bla bla bla. I was turned down. I didnt give him any clue except the fact that the girl was not in Pakistan anymore. He was disappointed.

He also likes to talk about politics and history, but I suspected his standard. He expressed his hatred against the Hazaras as Hazara killed many Pashtuns (he was Pashtun himself). In fact the conflict of Hazara and Pashtun in Afghanistan is not as simple as he said, “The Hazaras killed the Pashtuns just because they speak different language.”

Safed Sang, or White Stones in Farsi, is the name of Gul’s village. It is named so because its major commodity is the precious marble stones. There are many marble factories in the village. The village is also extremely green, compared to the dusty yellow Peshawar. The green colour, I am not exagerating, is comparable to that of the fields in Java. Agriculture is also main resource of income of the locals. Yesterday the sky was very blue, with some clouds, and when sunset came, the colours reminded me to the colourful sunset in Indonesia. It has been long time for me not to enjoy colours of dusk like this.

The journey to Safed Sang can be reached by public transport in 40 minutes. But we departed at dusk, at about the time the villagers had to go back to their villages after working hours in Peshawar city. So all of the public buses were hopelessly crowded, and we took alternative transports instead. Total we took 5 different transports to reach the village: bus, trucks, taxi, car, Suzuki. When we arrived there, it was almost dark, that I didnt get chance to even taking photos.

Bocah-bocah Safed Sang di atas keledai (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO)

Children of Safed Sang

The night falls in this very dark village. It’s a small village with a main road, some stalls selling juice, and khassadar walking around with their AK snippers. Many villagers come to ask me questions this and that, as they never saw foreigners before.

I was very tired. We immediately went to a house. Later I knew that it was not Gul’s house, but his friends’. The women of this house were completely invisible. Food came like miracle from somewhere behind. There were four brothers, the oldest 38 and the youngest 25, to whom we involved in discussions. There were two boys of 10 and 12 years serving us with syrup and food. Gul is type of Muslims who presumed that music was not Islamic and women working was the symbol of poverty.
“Pakhtuns, behtarin Musliman…!” (Pashtuns are the best Muslims), claimed one of the boys, saying that women should be protected like a flower inside the houses and burqas.
The same guys also liked to make erotic jokes, and interestingly most of the jokes were so gayish.

We sat on charpoys, outside the house. The night air was so fresh. And I also decided to sleep outside. I slept immediately even that I didnt notice who slept together with me. When I woke up at 1, it was totally dark, the only lighting came from the stars millions kilometers away above us. I saw there were two boys sleeping on the charpoy next to mine. I didnt see clearly who they were, but both of them were wearing complete clothes. The other charpoy was empty. So one of the boys moved from his charpoy to sleep with others.

They were not merely sleeping. In fact they were having fun. The legs corssed each other, the hands also, and involved some kissing scene. I was overwhelmed by the noise of the flies so I couldnt hear what they were talking about. Even if I heard, it was in Pashto, which is incomprehensible for me. I kept watching what they do, pretending I was sleeping as I was also sure that they could not see whether my eyes were opened or shutted.

They actually didnt look at me at all, or they ignored my existance there. The fun was going more than an hour. The hugging turned to be kind of wrestling, as one of the guy attempted to touch some vital areas of the other.

Suddenly I found there was a chair put between my charpoy and their charpoy that prevent me of seeing their heads. But I still can see that their legs were crossed. It seemed that someone were cautious about my attention to their activities.

Senja di Safed Sang (AGUSTINUS WIBOWO)

Dusk in Safed Sang

Dusk came. One of the boys moved back to his charpoy as nothing was happened. Later on that morning, I found that the boy was the 25 year old friend of Gul, with quite big body type, and the other one, who slept still in his own charpoy was Gul himself.

I do really questioned what was the relation between the desperate of girls (Gul used to chat with me and many of the questions were about girls and sex) with this experience and experiment of sex with fellow guys? Even with my most liberal Pakistani concept of friendship, I still feel that what they had done was not merely normal friendship, even they didnt put off the clothes. Kissing, hugging, rubbing on the same charpoy is in no way a normal friendship between two guys.

In the morning, Gul suddenly cancelled his promise to take me to his school where he teaches. I suspected this also related to what I have seen at night. But he said it was due to my security. Suddenly again, he changed his excuse to be story-telling excuses like ‘my sister is suddenly sick, I have to go to hospital, my father called me just now’ bla bla bla. So I returned back to Peshawar early in the morning.

3 Comments on Peshawar – Village Experience

  1. Adam Alexander Smith // June 10, 2006 at 20:01 // Reply

    Well, male and male intimacy is not so unusual. Look at the Greeks and Romans of the past. It wasn’t frowned upon. Sexual relations with women were viewed primarily for procreative purposes. Sexual relations with other guys were seen as “recreation and fun”. In Afghanistan, they had (and still have in areas) the concept of Halekina (relations with younger guys) before marriage. It is only increasing Catholic expansion into other cultures over history,that spread this idea that it is wrong and completely un-natural.

    • I have heard from a journalist friend of mine about this Halekina culture among the Pathans in NWFP and Kandahar, but still havent confirmed yet. It is said that the boy should be between 12 and 18 years old. Outside that age range it would be considered as paedophilia and homosexuality. Again somewhere else, I read the rumours that Pathans were the lost nation of Israel, the descendants of Benjamin in Old Testaments, that they had such strong religous bound like the Jews. Another rumours said that they were descendants of Alexander the Great and still inherited the culture of the Greeks at that time, and that includes ‘Halekina’ you mentioned.

  2. Adam Alexander Smith // June 15, 2006 at 16:00 // Reply

    Yes, many Pathan (certianly in the border regionsn of Pakistan and Afghanistan) believe their roots are in the tribes of Israel. Even by appearance, many of the Pathan have that appearance. I think the Alexander the Great descendant thing has been disproved. But as far the Jewish link, the two Religions that are virtually identical in some many ways, are Judaism and Islam. Both are so incredibly similar to each other in customs,philosophy,and morals, that it’s surprising they hate each other so much.

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