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Lecture

Ant204


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT204H1
Professor
Leslie Jermyn

Page:
of 6
Tuesday May 26 th
, 2009
Fossil Fuels, Fundamentalism & Feminism
Outline
1. Intro
2. History of a pipeline
3. Fundamentalisms (plural)
4. Colonial Feminism
5. Culture and Relativism/Conclusion
Quiz – Definitions, compare across case studies, define and tell relevance, Know history of current events (Darfur, Sudan,
Afghanistan, Rwanda),
Last class – what did the narrator say about Taliban?
- It didn’t go into the long term causes, it was very short-term
- National Geographic always favours USA in a good light
- National Geographic was geared towards general audience, so the goal is not to investigate too deeply the politics, it
is simply to present what’s going on
- Did not address 9/11 at all, if you only saw that film, you would think its only a Soviet/Taliban problem and had
nothing to do with the USA
- Made it sound like there was no war (even though it was made inn 2006)
- Any shots of war were from the civil war with Soviet, which was in the past, there was nothing to do with the current
war
- Focused on the presence of the KGB during the excavation of the gold, and never talked about CIA funding the
Mujahideen
From Last lecture…
Thinking about connection between Cold War and terrorism
- Cold War was over, but a number of conditions established under the Cold War, geopolitical conditions, continued to
impact current geopolitics, some of those include: establishment of military industrial complexes in the major powers
(biggest is USA). They still exist and are still producing military stuff
- Second – a rejection of “third way alternatives”
oAlthough today there is not one, two , and three – there is only one. The USA style.
- Third - Under cold war regime, there were numerous instances where the USA tried to manipulate which government
won elections, created coups to overthrow governments they didn’t like, and this still happens today
oOne contemporary example is attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in 2003
oIt became clear that USA was behind the groups in Venezuela who tried to overthrow Chavez
- Fourth – Concern for geostrategic advantage has not stopped. USA still tries to pursue this today
oEstablishing military bases, just like they did in the Cold War
oMissile sites, trying to get military stuff in other parts of the world, want military bases in other places
oNow there is a new element in geostrategic ball game OIL! Fossil fuels/hydrocarbons. Not just oil, its also
natural gas
Any fossil fuel has become the focus of a great deal of geostrategic manipulation
History of a Pipeline
- The Afghan people have suffered at the hands of Western imperial stuff
- Due to their geostrategic position as a buffer between what used to be Tsarist Russia (pre-Revolutionary) and British
Empire controlling what was then India
- The Durang line was established as the end point of India, Afghanistan was a buffer state meant to keep the Russians
on one side and British on the other. This idea continues even after the Soviet revolution, because the British are still
concerned to keep the Soviets far away
- Today, some million Afghans are suffering mental disorders because of the constant pressure on their way of life
- US Bombing on Afghanistan in 2001 – involved=s CIA, Soviet, fossil fuels, etc
- 1979 – USA started funding Islamic groups in Afghanistan, to create resisters to HINDER and harass the Soviet, whio
invaded Afghanistan (at the behest of the unpopular communist government). It was a government tht was communist
and wanted the Soviets to invade to provide military power.
- The USA by that point, 1980, is determined to see the end of the Soviet Union, who Reagan called the “evil empire”.
He authorizes that the CIA should do anything in its power to break the Russians.
- So the CIA establishes training camp and establishes the mujahideen. The USA began to supply them with stinger
missiles, used to shoot down Soviet planes.
- But the training camps did more than just arm and teach stinger guns, they also became camps that attracted the
interest of the Afghan Arabs – i.e. Muslim men from around the Islamic world (not jus from Saudi) who find it
appealing to participate in a Jihad (a war against Soviet). People from all over the world came to participate
- Osama Bin Laden was one such Arab.
- USA pulls out once Soviet Union collapses, what follows is frankly chaos. Communists try to come back in,
mujahideen warlords fighting to keep their territories, people wanted to take control of the whole country, etc.
Basically now there is continued civil war.
- By 1994 – one group emerges as apparently looking strong – TALIBAN
- By 1996, Taliban had control of Kabul, and the USA then returns its attention to Afghanistan and deals with the
Taliban, acknowledging their government, and begins to court this government
oPrimary reason for this – natural gas regions in TURMANISTAN, They are natural deposits, but the problem
is that this is not a developed industrial area, so they have to sell it to someone else.
oBut how do you get it to the countries who want to buy the gas? So you need to pipe it out. There’s only two
possible ways to get it out of the region
Through Iran, Black Sea, Mediterranean
South – Afghanistan to Pakistan and to the ocean
- USA does not want it to go through Iran, because it is very anti-Iran because of the revolution in 1979 in Iran, they
want it to exit through their allies in Pakistan
-The USA company most concerned with this is an oil company called UNOCAL. UNOCAL with the help of USA
diplomacy establishes a USA consortium, to plan and arrange. This consortium is called CENTGAS. UNOCAL is the
main interest of CENTGAS
- 1998 – the deal has not been signed, but plans are proceeding, looks like they will build their pipeline, but in 1998 Al-
Qaeda bombs USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
oPolitical pressure at home surfaces to force UNOCAL to pull out of the deal, and the perception is Al Qaeda
is based in Afghan, led by Bin Laden, and they have bombed the embassies. There is public pressure to have
UNOCAL pull out of the deal and have the USA have punishment for the Taliban’s support of Al Qaeda
- Taliban government begins to talk with Pakistan and Turkmenistan to initiate a pipeline WITHOUT UNOCOL
involvement. Want a deal between the three countries. They basically say USA you can go, we’re still going to carry
on because it will benefit us.
- Within 3 months, Clinton froze the assets of the Taliban which were outside the country, demanded the eradication of
poppy fields (one of Afghans only exports), and began to mumble about women plight
- 2001 – 9/11 happened
- Since fall of Taliban, CIA has mandated that poppys should be put back there.
- In 2003 budget Afghanistan was forgotten to budget about, they were busy with Iraq. They put it out of their minds,
but it was still costing millions of dollars everyday. So the CIA decided to tell the Afghans that they should replant the
poppies. This would help them fund their OWN activities. So now poppies are back there
- Pipeline deal signed in 2002 – UNOCAL back, with getting a bunch of interest.
- Afghanistan president Karzai used to be a consultant for UNOCAL, and the first special envoy sent to Afghanistan
was also a consultant for UNOCAL. When USA got rid of Taliban, both of these guys were consultants to UNOCAL.
SO their main interest was not
- Dick Cheney – before he was VP, he was CEO of Haliburton company, which would receive the contract to build the
pipeline.
- A number of cross cutting ties in USA that suggest that the bombing of Afghanistan was really about oil. 9/11 is more
an EXCUSE to get back to Afghanistan, really they just have corporate interest in pipeline. It involved 3 trillion
dollars.
- Canada
oSince Canada has participated in the war, 118 Canadians have died (3rd highest from USA and UK)
oIts VERY hard to find out how many Afghans have died, it is impossible to find out, there are only estimates.
oThe UN estimates that in 2008 alone, 2000 civilians were killed
oOne website claims that since 2001, 20,000 Afghans have died, of which at least 8000 civilians have died
-There was never a mention of a pipeline in the press when they were justifying the war in Afghanistan, we were all
told that it was a war on terror and a mission to help the plight of Afghan women
- Idea of liberating women
- Like with the mass violence in Rwanda and Darfur, we have not been giving the full picture on Afghanistan or
Taliban. We are left to believe that somehow the Taliban are weird, irrational, fanatics, who beat up women, throw
acid at them, and make them wear burqas
- In the mass media, there has been NO serious effort to understand WHAT the Taliban is, and where they came from.
oi.e. WHO they are, and what it means to talk about fundamentalism
Fundamentalisms
- Since 2001 and before that 1979 (why 1979 is important?)
o1979 – Americans kidnapped in Tehran, part of the Iranian revolution, which was a rejection of the USA by
the Shah of Iran.
oComaine was brought in, and the 1979 revolution was seen as the first political success for Islamic
fundamentalism
- We have heard about the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, but have not read about its origins
oMedia tells us to fear it
oWe NEVER look at the consequences of JEWISH or CHRISTIAN fundamentalism, which also exists, as well
as Hindu fundamentalism
-It is often supposed fundamentalism represents that people who are fundamentalists have somehow avoided
modernity by sticking to tradition.
oSuggests that fundamentalism has always been with us, in forms of groups who keep themselves apart from
modernity
- But if you know broad history, it has not been possible to avoid change. It has never been possible for any group of
people to set themselves up as the sole embodiment of tradition.
- Euro colonialism and USA imperialism has not allowed us to escape change.
- WE find that all religious fundamentalism HAS arisen in the past years, Christian, Jewish
oAnd none of them predate the Industrial Revolution
- Fundamentalists religious doctrine tends to arise when people have been confronted with pressures to adapt either or –
onew economic systems when imposed by people (i.e. Colonialism)
Reaction – create fundamentalist doctrine
oPressures to change the way we think about the world – particularly SCIENCE nad UNIVERSALISM
Push on scientific thinking, people who feel pressured who have sometimes reacted by
fundamentalism
-It can be tempting to derive fundamentalists as lunatics who lack rationality, and anthropologists don’t find these
things good. We cannot explain this with psychology and say these people are incapable of thinking rationally, we
need a social explanation. So we should see it as a response that people get to situations of rapid change, when
they don’t understand or benefit from the change.
oThere are other things too, like revolutions, etc, but one thing is religious fundamentalism
Fundamentalism
-What do they have in common? EIGHT THINGS:
oAlways about GLOBAL religions, never localized religions
oSeek to assert control over how people live their lives, by asserting a return to an imagined path (they
IMAGINE that in the past, this is how people lived) through the literal interpretation of a holy book
oElements of anti-capitalism are always built into fundamentalisms
All suggest that there is something immoral in the pursuit of profit and desire for material goods
oStress importance of family as basis of life, and reject efforts to undermine the family (esp states or
governments)
Ex legislation against the corporal punishment of children – they would say that the family is not the
state’s business
Ex equal rights of women – they would say the state has no business to assert itself in this private
sphere
Reject state efforts to limit autonomy of family
oAll emphasize the key role of women as carriers of tradition, morality
How women behave is central to their ability to preserve an alternative morality
All three religions suggest that since the role of women is so central to live morally, women should
therefore be obedient and subservient to men
oAll have designs on gaining access to state power