October 03, 2003


"NO. This is not the way," wrote Peter FitzSimons before the war against the Taliban. He urged us to avoid conflict, so that we might “hand onto our children a world where peace is possible.”

What about a world where music is possible?

Check out Kabul’s ARMAN FM, now playing (without fear of death) all the hits from “Afghanistan, India, the Middle East, Iran, Central Asia and the West”. Half the presenters are women; you can listen to them laughing during their shows here. The all-Afghan station -- “ARMAN FM reflects our confidence in the direction and energy of Afghanistan’s redevelopment, and is an Afghan registered entity controlled by Afghan citizens” -- even has its own road cruiser, and aggressively promotes local businesses: “Do you have a favorite store in Kabul? Maybe the best prices, range or service. Let us know & we will let others know as well!”

ARMAN FM rocks.

(Via DJ Zsa Zsa.)

Posted by Tim Blair at October 3, 2003 01:51 AM

Can't wait for their drive-time segment, "Fisk Watch". Similar to that 'Fugitive' radio gimmick they launched here, but you beat the cunt with rocks when you spot him.

Posted by: donnyc at October 3, 2003 at 02:14 AM

i wonder if ARMAN reaches any other part of the country besides kabul. if not, it has at least one thing in common with afghanistan's government.

Posted by: adam at October 3, 2003 at 03:08 AM

That's great news. Unless ARMAN-FM plays Styx or Journey. Then it's a disaster.

Posted by: Matt from Vegas at October 3, 2003 at 03:23 AM

Disappointed Adam?

Posted by: gaz at October 3, 2003 at 03:28 AM

Or REO Speedwagon, Supertramp, Nightranger, Loverboy, oh the pain, the lovely, lovely pain...

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 3, 2003 at 03:28 AM

Somebody's quagmire got taken away? Is somebody cranky? Does someone need a nap? Here's your bottle, little boy...

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 3, 2003 at 03:30 AM

Poor quagmirists. Just a few months ago, the American Imperialist Agressors (TM) were going to be dying by the thousands at the hands of the Taliban resistance and the Brutal Afghani Winter (TM).

Now, they're reduced to protesting inadequate FM transmission power and unjust antennae patterns.

Posted by: E.A. at October 3, 2003 at 03:58 AM

Adam, even if your accusation is true, do you seriously imply that anarchy is worse than the Taliban? Jeez, and they call conservatives fascist...

Posted by: John Thacker at October 3, 2003 at 04:13 AM

Hey, Adam, how many Afghan refugees have gone back home now? Around two million?

Must hurt to realize the masses you're trying to defend are running towards American troops.

Posted by: John Nowak at October 3, 2003 at 05:33 AM

Since when is the opinion of Fitzsimons worth any kind of response whatsoever?

Posted by: spacer8 at October 3, 2003 at 09:07 AM


FitzSimons immediately understood the appropriate response to fundamentalist mass-murderers - say you are "desperately sorry" that you made them do it and try to stop anybody fixing the problem at its source by circulating over-wrought e-mails. Hey, it works better than holding your breath.

However, his tame Afghani got it wrong. The US imperialist aggressor did *not* want to "bomb Afghanistan back to the stone age". Oh, no - it was much, much worse than that. They decided that Afghanis must be "punished" by being given morning chat radio and Middle East E-Z Listen'n! Does the black and diabolical nature of the Great Satan know no bounds of human decency?


Posted by: Bob Bunnett at October 3, 2003 at 09:47 AM

When are the appeasement folks like FitzSimons going to get it?

Doesn't he understand that these wonderful Islamic Extremists want us all dead? I know, apparently not.

Hey Tim, just an obervation, but have the majority of the American refugeess from the 60's settled in Australia? Or are they the Australian version?

As we say in Chicago, Whaddaya think?

How about some Jeff Beck, ARMAN?

Posted by: Joe at October 3, 2003 at 10:30 AM

Is their station car called the "BLACK VEIL THUNDER" ??

Posted by: Adam at October 3, 2003 at 10:50 AM

An ex-rugby player trying for some respect as a social commentator. Is anyone else laughing as much as me? This guy has been at it for years and still peddles the same save-the-world lefty/liberal pipe-dreams. So far other than some low rating books he hasn't really set the world on fire.

Posted by: Jake D at October 3, 2003 at 10:58 AM

I personally would take anarchy over the Taliban, but I'd probably prefer the Taliban over Kenny G or Michael Bolton...

Posted by: Jerry at October 3, 2003 at 11:13 AM

in response to gaz, yes i am disappointed, because it would be cool if this kind of initiative wasn't restricted to kabul. just like it's a great pity that karzai's government is similarly limited.

Posted by: adam at October 3, 2003 at 12:09 PM

Who is in-charged of Kosovo, Adam?

Kosovo: UN Peacekeeper Seriously Injured After Attack

Posted by: Gary at October 3, 2003 at 12:33 PM


How about broadcasting Kenny G and/or Michael Bolton songs at the Taliban?

Or would that be a war crime?

Posted by: Patrick Chester at October 3, 2003 at 01:01 PM


I classify Kenny G and Michael Bolton CDs as weapons of mass destruction. I believe their use in warfare was banned by international law several years ago, though I suspect many UN bureaucrats secretly listen to them in their offices. It would explain a lot.

Posted by: Jerry at October 3, 2003 at 02:23 PM

Afghanistan was not the most modern country in the world pre-Taliban. Post-Taliban, well....

One thing at a time. One step at a time. An FM station, with un-veiled women on staff, is actually up and broadcasting. That's great!

Think of what a defeat this *one* station represents to the Taliban. All the items that were forbidden: Music, Women working, Un-veiled women getting publicity pictures taken, ads for stores selling 'forbidden' merchandise, and they even laugh on the air. (I read a report by an Afghan woman that they could be punished for laughing.)

If you always look at what they haven't been able to do yet, you miss what they have done. So what it doesn't reach beyond Kabul YET? It will in time.

One of the faults I find with the reports coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan is the focus on what has NOT been done to the exclusion of what has. Can you imagine what would have happened if this type of reporting had taken hold during WWII?

The first couple of years at least, Japan was taking over island after island, inching closer to Australia. US Navy? What US Navy? (What US army, even?) Europe was overrun with madmen and the UK's island looked *very* tiny. Today's 'ace reporters of doom and defeat' would have loved it!! So much defeat to concentrate on.

Things looked very bad. I can just imagine some of today's 'ace reporters' back then. In the UK, they'd be having the daily 'German Lesson' column and in Australia the daily 'Japanese Lesson' column. They probably would have both in the Americas to cover all bases.

I'm not advocating being some sort of 'good news only' person. But, you have to appreciate how far they have come, not how far they have yet to go.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at October 3, 2003 at 02:54 PM

Puts that `quagmire', Gulf WarII, into perspectve.

Posted by: d at October 3, 2003 at 02:59 PM

Bit of a different rock patrol to the one the Taliban used to run.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at October 3, 2003 at 03:34 PM

Speaking of quagmires, Geoffrey Barker in today's (Fri 3/10) Financial Review says the Americans are losing the equivalent of a company a week in dead and wounded.

Now I might be out of date, but when I was a weekend warrior, a company was around 110 men.

The latest figures I've heard are average one fatality a day - don't know about wounded. Seven deaths a week isn't even a section (Australian) or squad (US), let alone a platoon or company - unless we're talking 80-90+ wounded a week.

Posted by: steve at October 3, 2003 at 04:10 PM

Best of luck to them.....but I had to wonder. Is the Afghan FM cruiser stolen from the U.N. and what's with the blonde babe on their contact page?

Posted by: wallace at October 3, 2003 at 04:18 PM

ARMAN is apparently owned and operated by Time-Life.

Posted by: Catullus at October 3, 2003 at 04:42 PM

Denying people music - Now that IS a quagmire!!!

The most common element of all ethnic groups around the world is music. (An origins legend and a flood legend come in number two and three.)
Our brains seem to be hard wired for music, both to express it and consume it.

I've wondered about the origin (etymology) of the term Taliban
Does anybody know?

Posted by: Jericho at October 3, 2003 at 04:52 PM

lol E.A., I remember the "brutal Afghani winter". That's a trip down memory lane *gets all misty eyed*

Posted by: ChrisV at October 3, 2003 at 04:57 PM

Jericho I think the meaning of Taliban has something to do with Talib, the Book, or the Word of God. Taliban means by or of that book or word. Something like that.

I had forgotten the Brutal Afgani Winter (TM) myself - they don't write them like that anymore. Hang on, they do: The Americans Went In There And Destroyed The Place And Had No Idea What They Were Going To Do Afterwards, And Now They Wonder Why Theyre All Dying.(TM).

This one is best delivered complete with eye roll and "morons" muttered under the breathe at the end.

Posted by: James Hamilton at October 3, 2003 at 09:20 PM


I think it translates to student movement.

Posted by: Andjam at October 3, 2003 at 09:34 PM

Jericho, combining the above, I believe that originally Talibs were students who studied "the Book." They regard the Koran as the only legitimate source of any kind of authority, and they (or Mullah Omar) are the only proper interpreters. Think of Jerry Falwell on steroids and all those dark-suited Hallelujah shouters running a government on the basis of Jerry's intrepretation (and selected passages of a very long, very contradictory book -- much like the Koran) pushed to the limits.

Having grown up in a small, relatively religious Baptist community, seeing the Taliban makes me absolutely sure of the value of separation of church and state. My neighbors were basically pretty kind and decent folk, but I'd prefer not to loose the above scenario.

And, much like the Afghani, they might find that once the religious govt is imposed, it's not what they expected.

Hope this helps.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at October 4, 2003 at 02:32 AM

The Top Level Domain .fm (as in www.arman.fm ) is for the Federated States of Micronesia, one of only four countries to vote in Israel's favour with a recent UN resolution. There some zionist neo-conservative plot at work here?


http://www.arman.fm/competitions_and_giveaways.htm mentions city and country on postal addresses for writing in.

Also, http://www.arman.fm/media_releases.htm mentions Its signal can be received as far out as Logar, parts of Ghazni, Panjsher, Jabel Saraj and Paghman. According to http://medlem.spray.se/afghan/Logar1_eng.htm Ghazni is a state that doesn't touch the state Kabul is in.

Posted by: Andjam at October 4, 2003 at 02:36 AM

What about a world where music is possible?

Forget "No peace without justice", how about "no peace without music"?

Posted by: Andjam at October 4, 2003 at 02:37 AM

Talib is a Pashto word that means "religious student". Taliban is the plural.

Posted by: scott h. at October 4, 2003 at 05:19 AM