The pretty Boys of Afghanistan

Afghani Wedding Singers are the sweetest Plum, a Story from the VICE Magazine

Afghani Wedding Singer

Kandahar just may be the world capital of buggery. There’s a popular joke here that goes, “Why do birds fly in circles over Kandahar? Because they’re covering their ass with one wing.” The rest of Afghanistan is always riffing about Kandahar. “Down there, girls are for procreation, boys are for recreation.” Stuff like that. Pre-Taliban, mujahideen strongmen in Kandahar — including the police chief — were not averse to taking boys as brides. In fact, according to a 1996 New York Times article, a homosexually driven feud led to the rise of Bin Laden’s future hosts, the Taliban.  Two mujahideen battled for possession of a prized boy. They rolled out the tanks and shot up the bazaar, killing scores of innocents. By 1994, many of the “holy warriors” who had beat back the Soviets were terrorizing their own people —providing Mullah Omar and a small band of Islamic scholar-avengers with popular support when they defeated the sodomites.

Omar put nooses around the necks of the two mujahideen, and the Taliban snowballed.  After taking control of most of the country, the new hardliners jailed some homosexuals, but Kandahar love continued to flourish, reaching far beyond its mecca. I reckon an Afghani, an anthropologist, or an Afghani anthropologist could contest my surmising, but the surface evidence is strong. Much in Afghanistan is homosexual, repressed and otherwise. All over cautiously and relatively progressive Kabul, women covered in burkas walk beneath billboards featuring muscle-ripped, Speedo-clad European bohunks, advertisements for bodybuilding gyms. Check out all the dandies holding hands, flirting, shod like pointy-toed elves. They kiss their pals on the cheek, a traditional greeting they make louder and wetter than need be. At gender-segregated wedding parties, they dance together frenziedly, thrusting pelvises at their buddies.

And then there was the guard at a Kabul guesthouse who buggered a middle-aged American guy I know in the generator shed for $50. It was during a party, and the American, an uninvited guest, solicited several locals employed by the guesthouse before finding his man. Not to say homosexuality is socially acceptable here. The Koran is clear in its condemnation, and most Afghanis profess to hate it. So such behavior is surprising in a society so rife with taboos—or maybe to be expected, like shepherds with their sheep. Kandahar love gets just as predatory too, famously so for some of the warlords. While Afghanistan has gained little toward rule of law, a multitude of old-school mujahideen are refashioning themselves as the most profitable sort for Karzai’s Afghanistan—pro-democracy politicians. Their crimes and improprieties, if not fewer, have become less blatant. But some old warriors can’t help themselves. A 2004 report on human trafficking by the International Organization for Migration notes a trend of gunmen sexually abusing boys. Although Afghani law prohibits homosexuality and pedophilia, neither crime qualifies for the far more unacceptable charges of adultery or pre-marital sex. For the incorrigible pederasts, there are wedding singers—fairylike boys, some pre-pubescent, who cover nationalist anthems and local pop songs over tablas and synthesizers. Demand for them at weddings is huge. But wedding singers are scorned on the street and minded closely by their families or managers. Numbering in the hundreds in Kabul alone, they are considered the catamite class.

I entered the life of a popular wedding singer for a couple of days recently, visiting him at home and accompanying him to a gig. Read the full story at the VICE Magazine


29 thoughts on “The pretty Boys of Afghanistan”

  1. Yes, the terrible secret is out!
    There are still some horrible societies that see in boys beauty and attraction. They must be Talibans.
    Well, in fact, according to a new ‘discovery’ by a recent (what else) British documentary the real evil of the Taliban is not what we think: it’s not that they kill or maim, it’s that …they like young boys. There are even feasts in which boys …dance, in front of males, with guns, and other hard things.

    It has of course, existed forever, but suddenly, since the westerners are now in the place they ‘discover’ this deeply evil tradition, and..put it down to the Talibans. I mean, what else, you have to be a Taliban to like boys.

    It’s all just sooo new.
    Like Laurence of Arabia’s first chapters in his world famous book ‘Seven Pilar of Wisdom’ didn’t detail clearly the arabic love of young boys to the western world 60 years ago!

    There it’s ‘women for procreation, boys for recreation’.
    Not so different than here where it’s ‘women for procreation, and boys for incarceration’

    1. its not new, but its not just a taliban thing. This was going on before the russian invasion and before tribal factions and eventually the taliban took over.

  2. I’m astonished to see none has condemned this yet!

    That is absurd (and yes, I’m not overlooking that this have been happening for as long as… always, and things like this happens everywhere, but this does not make it any more acceptable). I feel deeply for Jared, and I hope, somehow, his live turns out for the best…

    I wish I could express it better, but I think that every step forward humankind takes, screwd-up people send it hundreds of steps back… =(

    1. i know what you mean. “.. boys are for recreation” has a rapist kind of tone. but it is nonetheless a valid example for a society in which “ephebophilia” is accepted publicly, is even part of the mass-culture. this shows how artificial our heterosexual world-order is.

      sad, that this has to take place in a traditionally repressive culture, also sad that it probably is less more than the transfer of the men’s sex drive off of the women they aren’t allowed to see or meet otherwise. sad, that i’m not sure whether the “pretty boys of afghanistan” are in volintarily.

  3. Among the Pashtuns of Afghanistan, it has long been common to take a woman for a wife and a boy as a lover. The Saudi Arabian navy is famous for its institutionalized sodomy, the Ottoman Sultans had harems of both women and boys. The boys were trained in special rooms where they had to accomodate increasing larger (wooden!) butt plugs mounted in a row on a long board. As they ‘graduated’ to ever-larger plugs, they eventually graduated to the Sultan himself. “It’s good to be king!”

    1. Id like to see some reliable source of this information.
      I mean, it can be true, but Ive never heard of it and these wooden butplugs seem quite extreem.So Id like to see some good references before I come to believe it.

  4. The view that our society is the ‘height’ of human development, is absurd. While many things have developed since 12000 BCE, the one thing that has not is Man’s inhumanity to Man. Butchery, intolerance, slavery… all the things I was taught in school to be things of the past still occur on a regular basis, and do here in my country as any where else.

    Our ability to sit on our high horse and judge others for their evil is legendary. It is all the same propaganda… do as I say, not as I do. Hypocrites all.

    I suspect the reason boys are so ‘damaged’ by encounters in this present era is because they are told to be, through well meaning suggestion or by religious indoctrination and societal hatred of anything outside of the considered norm.

    Forced sex, coercion and manipulation to get sex from a boy or girl is wrong. You cannot convince me that all relationships throughout history, even in the present era, have all been forced and the victimisation of youth. It just is not true.

    However, I want nothing to do with kids. They have been made into something beyond real and now will have to grow up in their isolation from adults other than family. I pity them for that, and wish them the best of luck.

    This blog is certainly enough for me to enjoy the intelligence and beauty of youth.

    Out there, it simply is not worth the risk of having your life ruined permanently.

    1. enjoying the intelligence and beauty of youth should be definitely done IRL, not just here!

      but as far as the aesthetics of youth is just an emo-philosophical notion to me, i don’t feel the need for seeking a milkboyish endeavour “out there”. for me, this is no beauty i can be a part of, because it is self-referential. i am reminded of my own youth.
      after all: if one sees a gorgeous, little bird enjoying the warmth of march, one cannot simply glue on wings and fly with it wherever it goes.

    2. Agreed on most. Where I disagree is there’s no evidence of many boys being damaged by encounters in this present era, aside from perhaps some negative feelings. “Damage” is a hard thing to prove, anyway. Just like marijuana and psychosis, there is a third variable going on which precedes both.

      1. As far as that is concerned, ‘damage’ is completely subjective then. Of course, realistically, society sets the tone and level of acceptance and since ours is predicated on a fairly strict religious basis, sex, nudity and all of those human needs, are considered bad in general, and tolerated only because we cannot just turn them off.
        I was active young, and have no qualms about it. Those I knew were good, gentle, decent people. I learned that there are those who aren’t and avoided them and where they were.
        Hiding the experience and keeping our kids shielded from even potentially harmful experiences, does not help them grow to be solid, balanced individuals. Lacking then a strong, gentle and knowledgeable parent to guide them, they have no idea of limitations, boundaries and dangers. Man did not adapt by hiding. Man adapted by experience and trial. When pressed he adapts faster. I feel the same is true of most individuals if we give them a little slack. But the way our society is handling things from drugs to sex, is not good for either the people or the society. Granted… one man’s opinion.
        Good reply… thanks.

  5. Sorry folks – you seem not understand enogh of the islamic culture.
    Boys holding their hands has usually nothing at all to do with homosexuality.
    Sexual contacts with men are mostly to be seen as a gesture of superiority. Fucking somebody that is “of lower status” can be seen as some sort of punishment – or something you might do if your wife is far away or you´re not married.

    So fucking boys (of other tribes – of lower status) is actually forbidden – but whou would judge somebody of higher status?
    A boy going to the police saying that he was raped… would just end up raped little more.

    This wedding-singers are people of “no-status” – and they did realice that you even can make money this way.
    And nobody cares what is done with or on these people.

  6. if you would rape a boy of higher status… be sure that your body will be found hanging at the next street-lamp…
    If there is a whole clan going to restall the honor of the family.

  7. I know it’s not pc to say this, but pederasty in the middle east is and probably almost always was culturally inferior to the one during some eras of European history.

  8. Fulcher:

    …pederasty in the middle east is and probably almost always was culturally inferior to the one during some eras of European history.

    Of course, European men bugger child prostitutes very differently to the way Middle Eastern men bugger child prostitutes. We white pervs are just morally and culturally superior to muslim pervs. That’s why no European men fly to Thailand to buy sex.

    1. I was referring to the base of our western culture with important eras like the Renaissance, where there was indeed a positive cultural effect, influenced by pederastic relationships. Besides Hafez, already mentioned by Wordworth, and maybe a few others, I don’t think the Muslim world is able to keep with this.

  9. Sorry boys, but i think CA, chrs & Peter are the only ones who see the whole score here… Those boys are treated as sex objects, male courtisans readily available in a society which proscribes the slightests male-female contact outside a formal marriage.

    It’s obvious that the journalist who wrote the Vice feature put an anti-afghan bias in it. But let’s be sincere and admit that, even whitout that bias, the situation described in the text is extremely nasty. It includes prostitution, non-con sex, child labor and a lot more of things a sane person wouldn’t want to have the slightest relation with. And, IMHO, all that things are the absolute opposite to any kind of love or pleasure.

    In the other hand, reading about how some of that boys are turning into gender bending pop idols in their country is really interesting, to say the least. It gives me hopes of future news about an anti-islamist, anti-taliban, iranian-like reaction in Afghanistan… Led by young fans of crosdressing adolescent singers. How funny will it be.

  10. Fulcher:

    I was referring to the base of our western culture with important eras like the Renaissance, where there was indeed a positive cultural effect, influenced by pederastic relationships. Besides Hafez, already mentioned by Wordworth, and maybe a few others, I don’t think the Muslim world is able to keep with this.

    I am so sick of ignorant Europeans making sweeping statements about “the Muslim world”. What do you know about the Muslim world? You read a few anti-islamic newspaper articles and think you can feel the pulse of the man on the Arab street. You buy a döner and think you’re multi-culturally aware. You’re buying into this Clash of Civilisations, this us and them crap.

    East Jerusalem: a middle aged Palestinian man took in a 12 year old orphan in 2006. They’re still together, devoted to each other, everyone assumes they’re lovers, but nobody cares.

    Christians on the other hand are so much more tolerant of pederastic relationships: England’s newspapers celebrate them daily.

    1. I really don’t think you need to take Fulcher’s opinions of being representative of even a substantial minority of Europeans. The issue with what he said is not that it’s politically incorrect, but rather that it’s unfounded drivel, as far as I can see.

      On the other hand, I have to admit that a substantial proportion of my so-called cultural awareness stems from a great interest in and liking for foreign cuisine, so you’re right there :-)

    2. Funny that you mentioned England as nowhere else you could find so many idiotic asskissers of that silly religion.

  11. This is not really true, since Kandahar People are the most respectable people in Afghanistan and then in the world.The world has been witnessed that these are the only people sacrificed for various games. The history has proved that they are never as the above story mentioned. Kandahar is one of the precious state in Afghanistan with its unique history in terms of bravery, intellectuality,knowledge and so on. The political, social, economic and other important aspects are always protected by them, where as there are bundles of people who are against these people. This state always provided great people to the world and to the history of Afghanistan. Actually all the great people in the history of Afghanistan are from Kandahar, any one can refer to the factual history. This is the third person, who never let Afghanistan stay in Peace, this is some one else who wants to attract the attention, else the drama of beautiful boys are coming from Iran, which was named Shahid Bazi and then to the north side of Afghanistan called Bacha Bazi. Kandahar’s people are Pashtun and if it was in there history than this word would have been in Pashto not in Persian or Farsi. Any knowledgeable person would think for a moment and then research the source of it, in order to judge if it is true. The above mentioned story is fake and only to defame Kandahar’s Name. I am not from Kandahar but I really know those people, it is male dominant State where boys in the social context are friends just as in the rest part of the world with pure intentions. The miss interpretation of the phenomena is coming from the illiterate head. For God Sake never play with the image of great people.

Leave a Reply