The politics of lunch

A chap got fired from IRD for complaining about the separation of Afghans’ and expats’ eating arrangements. Culinary apartheid.

In many INGOs I know the expats eat separately from the national staff in Kabul. In my last outfit, we ate together, apart from some expats who preferred to go to a café for lunch or bring in their own from home.

My current gig operates a two-tier system. The expats tend to eat separately, outside the office at home, and pay more for the privilege of marginally better fare.

The food in the office is certainly a sore point, not for who eats it but the quality. Far as I’m concerned it’s not bad – have certainly eaten far worse – but it’s still not good enough for some and is probably the most hotly debated topic at work. The cook nearly caused a mutiny at one stage.

As I’m one of the few who has my team with me in Kabul, I tend to eat with them in the office. But once a week I enjoy leaving them to it and hanging out with my foreign colleagues.

Afghan staff are not invited. Which obviously isn’t fair or nice. But it is nice to have the opportunity to discuss some issues we wouldn’t otherwise, over a cup of expensive coffee.

It would be a different story if we ate separately within the same office, but going home makes the division feel somehow less acute. I’m conscious of the inequity and not always easy with it, but I wouldn’t change it.

What I cannot accept is not being allowed to attend the 14th July celebrations at the embassy with my foreign colleagues simply because of my nationality. Bloody French connards.

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5 Responses to “The politics of lunch”

  1. Ravi Goojha Says:

    What the fuck are you doing in Afghanistan?

    I saw in one of your posts that you were in Bamyan…remenber Bamyan of the big Buddha statues that your friends the Taliban blew up?

    When will Bush, now Barack understand that Afghanistan …..and Pakisshit for that matter… are doomed.

    Until the MF..ers realize that they are barking up the wrong tree..the West will only get its nose bloodied …

    Osama and Co are holed up in Pakisshit….let them stay in their hole until the locals kick their ass…

    Just watch that Al Qaida operatives with cardboard box cutters do not blow the WTC, while the the US is caught napping! Or Somalis from Minnesota!

    When will Bush & CO (Obama?) realize that Afghans, Pakishits will have to work out their shit on their own. Pakishit has realized that…and are trying to clean up the mess they created.

    .the Afghans are a little dense…they will have to purge it out of their system themselves on their own…and if they know any better. they will get back to being Buddhist and build more statues in Bamyan

    …AMERICA HAS JUST TO WATCH FOR AL QAIDA OPERATIVES WITH CARD BOX CUTTERS!

    HARRY RUD….FOR ALL ITS WORTH… I WAS THE LAST PERSON DRIVING A UN VEHICLE AT 6.30 PM IN BAGHDAD ON THE EVE OF THE US INVASION.OF IRAQ…PRAYING THAT MY NISSAN PATROL DON’T DIE ON ME…IF NOT I WOULD BE DEAD MEAT…HAHAHAHA…

    SO DO NOT GET ON YOUR HIGH HORSE ABOUT WASTING YOUR TIME IN AFGHANISTAN…AND MY TAX PAYERS MONEY!!!!

  2. harryrud Says:

    Oh Ravi, pet, that’s just wonderful. I should probably delete it for being perhaps just a spot offensive, but I can’t quite bring myself to censor such obvious intelligence and wit.

  3. Ravi Goojha Says:

    Babe, do I detect a tad of sarcasm as regards my intelligence and wit? I know you don’t mean it, do you?

    My take, for whatever is worth is that Afghan and Pakisshits should be left to stew in their own shit!

    No amount of clumsy Western intervention will do anything to change things. Talibans should be left to come back and take the place back to the Middle ages. When the Afghans will ahve had enough of Taliban shit, they themselves will

  4. transitionland Says:

    oh my.

  5. Marianne Says:

    Oh my, indeed. You should have known better than to start talking about lunch politics!

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