November 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Terrorism: Muslim Issues: Lincoln Journal Sta: Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Afghanistan: Special Report: Afghanistan Expert RPCV Thomas Gouttierre: November 6, 2004: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Terrorism: Muslim Issues: Lincoln Journal Sta: Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

By Admin1 (admin) (151.196.36.89) on Friday, November 12, 2004 - 8:58 pm: Edit Post

Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world.

Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

Expert offers other view of Afghanistan
BY MARGARET REIST / Lincoln Journal Star

"The children of Adam are limbs of one another, Created from one essence, each from the other. When life's calamities to one cause pain, The other limbs cannot in rest remain." "The Children of Adam," from the Gulistan of Shankh Muslihudeen Sadi

Thomas Gouttierre knew Afghanistan before it made headlines in America's newspapers.

Before terrorists crashed into Americans' consciousness on Sept. 11, 2001, and then hid in the ancient country's rugged mountains.

Before people talked of the Taliban and al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden over their breakfast cereal.

He knew its history and its culture, the richness of the Persian language and how people created a wealth of beautiful poetry out of it.

Poems like "The Children of Adam," which he read Saturday to participants in the fourth annual Nebraska International Multicultural Exchange Conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

He did it to illustrate the rich culture of a country where he lived for 10 years, working as a Peace Corps volunteer.

He read it because of its message.

"What an excellent way to explain how important we all are to each other," said the dean of UNO's International Studies and Programs.

And what an excellent way to show this group, sitting in the expansive auditorium in UNL's student union, that the essence of Afghanistan goes way beyond the headlines.

"This country that we see in the headlines today, there's much, much more to it," he said.

Gouttierre, the opening speaker at the conference, was thrust into the national spotlight after Sept. 11, as director of the nation's only institute specifically focused on Afghanistan. He also oversaw the printing of millions of textbooks to jump-start Afghanistan's beleaguered education system after the fall of the Taliban.

Paul Johnson, a member of Lincoln Friends of Foreign Students, which helped sponsor the event, was impressed with Gouttierre's knowledge of the region and its people.

"I thought it would be fascinating to take a class from him," he said.

Gouttierre also offered a different view of the way most Americans see the country.

"Going off the news and newspapers you kind of get this impression that all it is, is radicals running around a mountainside," he said.

Learning about other cultures was an important part of the conference, he said.

"People around here really don't know what things are like in those other countries," he said.

Gouttierre talked of Afghanistan's politics, its history and its future. The country, he said, has been in turmoil for 30 years.

But Afghans believe a democratic government is their legacy, which is why, he said, the latest elections went so smoothly.

Gouttierre, a good friend of Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, believes the president has the ability to move the country forward.

Karzai understands the value of human rights, the importance of the participation of both genders in society, and what it means to truly be politically correct, to bring together different factions in the country, he said.

"He's the type of person who has the vision to understand he has to be a leader of the entire nation, not just a part of the nation."

Americans need to understand the different cultures and religions that make up the Middle East, he said. While such multiculturalism offers a richness it also can lead to violence when those different cultures clash.

Since Sept. 11, he said, the al-Qaida leadership has metastasized, like a cancer, moving to other countries.

President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said.

"They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

But those are headlines, and in Afghanistan there is history that reaches back to Alexander the Great and before, to the introduction of the Persian language, to a time when the country looked different than it does now.

"We know the area as being Muslim, but did we know it was once the incubator of Buddhism itself?" he said.

And so he ended with poems from the country he knows well. And a message:

"Look a little deeper into Afghans and Afghanistan next time you see it on the news."

Reach Margaret Reist at 473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.





When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Lincoln Journal Sta

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Afghanistan; Terrorism; Muslim Issues

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By Lee Plate (c-67-167-212-55.client.comcast.net - 67.167.212.55) on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 10:03 am: Edit Post

Hi,
Gouttierre makes an interesting comment, but I don't see the factual support behind it. It seems a little sensational to throw out the headline without corroborating fact. Opinions are one thing - facts often time another.

I'm not suggesting a position on the statement either way, only that real journalism would not make such declarations without evidence.
Thanks,
Lee.

By Colleen Clark (user-uinj4qp.dialup.mindspring.com - 165.121.147.89) on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 1:44 pm: Edit Post

It's true that the news story provided no information about whether Gouttierre had hard numbers to back up his statement.
But then the Bush administration has not provided any figures either. Condoleeza Rice was apparently challenged by Wolf Blitzer pm CNN, but she couldn't come up with any figures either.
Colleen Clark
Turkey IV

By --jim (cache-mtc-aa04.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.116.8) on Saturday, December 18, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit Post

For those who profit from, and whose objective is expanded ongoing religious war; this is good news.


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