On a slightly lighter note than my previous post, if I hadn’t been reading Arabic news websites I’d probably never have come across the game of Buzkashi. Strange, perhaps – though an ancient game that, though a number of cultural borrowings and influences, arguably emerged in the form of rugby as a more ‘civilised’ variant?

Definitely not a game I’d want to play, and certainly one I have some moral concerns about in relation to animal welfare – though being targeted by the Taliban for being a spectator is clearly far more cruel and heartless.

But since I do now know about it, and I write horror and SF, I think it might offer some material for a story… a case of cultural relativity and truth being stranger than fiction, I think.

  1. February 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I had to look that one up on Wikipedia. It still can’t beat a bullfight. I once saw a news clip where they poured gas on a bull’s horns and lit them on fire. The experiment failed, as the bull did not fight, but freaked-out trying to solve his immediate problem. That’s one clip I wish I could UN-SEE.

    A IMHO–writing stories where animals get hurt–um, I don’t know about that. Bad idea, I think. You can kill the protagonist, the antagonist and all their sidekicks, but not the pet dog.

    • March 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      The bullfight thing sounds weird. Believable, but weird. I’m prepared to take my chances with the story!

  2. March 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    PJ O’Rourke gives a good description of a Buzkashi ‘match’ he saw in Afghanistan (In Parliament of Whores, I think). He said all the journalists were on ‘metaphor alert’ as the game was so mindless, violent, impossible fotr outsiders to understand and devoid of set rules that it seemed a perfect description of Afghanistan itself. Should make a cracking horror/SF story!

    • March 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      Interesting – thanks for the reference! I have Parliament of Whores somewhere on my shelves but had forgotten that particular bit of it.

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