The Warlords Tune Reporter: Jamie Doran and Clover Films

And this is what our men and women are dying for in Afghanistan

The Warlord's Tune

Reporter: Jamie Doran and Clover Films

Broadcast: 22/02/2010

Over six months an Afghani journalist, Najibullah Quraishi, has risked his life to document the practice of Bacha Bazi (boy play), where young men are forced into prostitution serving the needs of rich and powerful men.

The filmmaker follows those who make a living procuring young boys, and those who abuse them. The result is a deeply disturbing portrait of a society that publicly promotes a strict moral code while effectively condoning systematic child abuse.

Imagine being nine or ten years old. You are orphaned and living on the streets of a city in Afghanistan. You are approached by a man you do not know. He will clothe, feed and "protect" you. All you must do is learn to dance.

At first you will practice your routine with another young man. After weeks of training you will make your debut dancing before a crowd of men. Many are former warlords who helped the Karzai Government make its way to power. Others might be powerful businessmen.

Before you dance you will be given clothes and make up to make you look feminine. After the dancing, the men are excited and they bid for your company. If you please a warlord or businessman they will pay highly for your favours. Ultimately you will be traded, violated and abused by a large number of men.

This is the world of the Bacha Bereesh, which means "beardless boys". These children are groomed to become sex slaves. It is not a new practice. In Afghanistan the Warlords often kept young boys as their sexual partners. But in modern Afghanistan the practice has evolved into a lucrative and expanding business. In a country ravaged by war orphaned boys are being openly targeted by paedophiles. Some families are so poor that they are willing to sell their sons into slavery. Official reports now suggest thousands of children are at risk.

For the first time on television this practice is finally exposed. A locally born reporter has taken a camera and gone inside the world of the dancing boys. He goes with the "protector" as this man buys children. The reporter is told how the boys are trained and he is told how the "protector" will rent them out and take his "cut".

The documentary finds evidence that this practice is not confined to any one area of Afghanistan. Although it is popular in the north it is now spreading across the country.

The investigation also shows what happens when the boys mature or fall out of favour with the men who desire them. Some are abandoned, others are killed. Asked what impact this life has on the boys, one local says: "They are just boys, they will forget about it."

It is an investigation that has a special resonance for anyone watching in Australia. The people committing the abuse on these children are powerful figures in Afghan society. They are given license to commit these criminal acts by the very governments that are supposed to be our allies in the war on terror and the lethal contest against the Taliban.

"The Warlord's Tune" is produced and scripted by award winning documentary maker Jamie Doran.

It goes to air on Four Corners on Monday 22nd February at 8.30pm on ABC1. It is repeated on Tuesday 23rd at 11.35pm. Also available online.
I have said for years that if Male Rape was 'Common' we would still have a Death Penalty for Rape.
From nine years of working in Mid east I would say, and am open to criticism from knowledgeable folk, that Botty Bashing is acceptable in Islamic society until about the age of 30 when Men are suppose to be married and settle down to doing things the non Navy way.
Although ugly, brutal and entirely unacceptable, this practice is well known, but because powerful men (warlords, mafia bosses, narcotics traffickers and similar gentlefolk) are involved, the issue will not be tackled soon. Many of the men who indulge in such acts are the very people who are running the country and terrorising individual provinces; the probability of them doing something against their own interests is unlikely.

Homosexuality and male rape are commonplace in Afghanistan. Back in the day it was not unusual for prisoners to be raped to death and Pashtun (Pathan) society still regards this as suitable treatment for their enemies.

Because many men in such societies are so repressed, they have no concept of how to relate in any normal way to a woman and the idea of a powerful and willingly shared physical relationship with a member of the opposite sex is abhorrent to them. Therefore the obvious way to relieve their sexual appetites is to turn to other males.

From the moment they are born, Afg males are treated as superior to females and girl babies are almost always considered inferior to boys. Boys and girls do not play together, they do not go to school together and they do not relate in any equal way whatsoever. The boys are indulged in every possible way while the girls are seen as slaves and housekeepers from the day they arrive on earth. By the time they reach maturity, they are unable to interact in any way that might be considered equal or even normal. The women then become the vassals in a relationship based on subjugation, violence, brutality and unfairness. Under current conditions in that country, the men simply cannot understand any other way.

To Afghan parents, the loss of a girl's virginity is the loss of her future as a possible wife and the loss of her intrinsic value to her family. This is one of the primary reasons why girls are married off or promised to older men while they are still children, so that their families no longer have the worry of protecting the daughter's virginity.

Most westerners cannot imagine the inhumane inequity, pain and cruelty involved in simply being a female in Afghanistan. Many people think they can see easy answers and simple solutions. Many others don't care, but those of us who believe that we are on this earth to support each other, should be trying to do something about this situation.
Shall I get on the phone to GOC Helmand then, and tell him that as a matter of urgency he is to cease operations against the Taliban and concentrate all his efforts on stamping out celebrity boy-love in Kabul ?

Get a grip FFS!
Ha ha! Jaeger, you are certainly focussed and quick to reply, though yr answer is lightweight and only mildly humorous.

My reply was absolutely nothing to do with the war in Helmand province and I did not relate my comments to that situation. The points I made were to do with the wider development of a country in desperate need of some help in moving out of their medieval mire.

If you decide to get on the phone to GOC Helmand, I hope you'll give him my regards. Cheers.
Now't personal but Onest, Injectors got it right IMPO.
To sort out a Sick society you have to start at the Bottom and stop Arrseing about.
jonwilly said:
Now't personal but Onest, Injectors got it right IMPO.
To sort out a Sick society you have to start at the Bottom and stop Arrseing about.
Indeed, clearly what's needed out there are a few hard men willing to put in 110%!

:p :p :p

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