Basic lesson never learned

Yesterday I started reading this series of stories in the New York Times about David Rohde and his experience in captivity. The series is not finished yet, but what I have read so far just blows my mind and disgusted me at the same time.

The articles have not taught me anything new about the Taliban or about how they are operating. Instead, I have been amazed and disgusted by David Rohde’s understanding of how the world works. I can’t believe that a grown man could travel around the world and still believe the things that he believes.

I know I should find none of what David Rohde express in the articles surprising. But I just can’t help thinking that nobody really believes the PC crap that they spout off all the time. When I am faced with evidence to the contrary, it still manages to shock me. Take this quote from the story for example,

” I wept, hoping it would create sympathy, and begged them to release us. All of my efforts proved pointless.”

What grown man thinks that weeping is going to get him sympathy with other men? As a general rule, a male who weeps in fear in front of men who are intimidating him only succeeds in de-humanizing himself in their eyes.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to make fun of him because he was weeping. Who knows how I would respond to the kind of stress that he was under.

The thing that bothers me is his casual assumption that it is reasonable to think that weeping might get you sympathy from your fellow males. On what planet did he grow up?

Now when I first read that I tried to be charitable. I tried to think that he was just trying to cover for the fact that stress got to him and he started crying. But latter on he goes on to say….

Tahir stared back, unmoved. Pashtunwali — an ancient code of honor practiced by ethnic Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan — prevented each man from showing fear and losing face.

Pashtunwali has nothing to do with the human male’s general attempt not to show fear in face of danger when that danger comes from another man. You could read about young men in America’s inner cities doing the same thing. Heck, most of us have witnessed the same sort of thing played out in real life or been part of the drama ourselves.

Experience teaches most males that showing fear is one of the best ways to encouraging a guy who wants to use violence to manipulate and control you.

Now that is not to say that you should be defiant or play the hero when you are surround by men with guns. The US military teaches its soldiers the to try to become “grey men” when they are captives. In other words, it trains them that they should try to act as if they have no fear, no defiance, no hope, no desire.

It is a difficult thing to describe with out writing a whole post on the subject. Best example I can think of that is familiar to everyone is how Jesus is portrayed as acting when he was a captive.

But the bottom line is that even when it is not smart to try to play the he-man, it still is not smart to play the coward. And I thought that this was a lesson most men learned at a very early age.

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