Afghanistani mountain village ponders Microsoft business tactics

From Rory Stewart’s book the places in between about his absurd/wonderful walk accross Afghanistan in 2002:

That night we stopped in Dahan-e-Rezak, Dr. Habidullah’ mothers village. This was my first night in a tribal hill village. … Everyone in Rezak was descended from a single grandfather. There were six houses and seventy people in the village … the village diet was limited to plain nan bread for breakfast and lunch and occassional beans for dinner. … As we went to sleep [in the common room in the headman’s house VY] someone turned on a radio tuned to the BBC Dari service. A Bill Gates speech on American policy towards monopolies was being translated into Dari. The men listened intently. I wondered what these illiterate men without electricity thought of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.

My grandmother grew up in an isolated village where the next meal was a subject of much concern and where news of the big outside world came from incomprehensible tales and old newspapers brought by peddlers on foot. I can imagine the villagers gravely contemplating news of the doings of French railroad barons in exactly the same way.


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