Two on Tuesday – Meaty arguments

Two on Tuesday is a new feature where I find a couple examples of a phenomenon or issue that I find interesting, and try to learn something useful from them.

What I’ve found for you today is two blog postings that were hotly contested by their commenters. In other words, two interesting arguments. The real-time community knowledge aspect of blogs is one of my favorite things about this form, and a blog with passionate commenters is its epitome. There aren’t just two sides two every story, there are more like nine, and commentary from intelligent, passionate people is a great way to sort it out.

I therefore bring you:

1) Joshua Foust and Ann Marlowe continuing their ongoing feud on Registan.

2) Abu Aardvark and a bunch of commenters on the Anbar Awakening in Iraq.

A nice pair of postings that cast some light on the two major wars our country is fighting. (Some commenters are more worth reading than others, I admit.)


Cydney Mizell

Wow. This is really amazing. I don’t think I had ever heard of that before — an Afghan protest — a women’s protest — in support of a kidnapped American. Cyd Mizell worked with the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation, and she clearly meant an awful lot to the community she worked with.

The Asian Rural Life Development Foundation web page is here: — and I really like the fact that they feature Mizell and her driver, Muhammad Hadi, with equal prominence on the front page. ARLDF is based in the Philippines, and it looks like their Afghan programs are pretty new. They do the kind of person-to-person community work that costs a fortune unless you have amazing volunteers, which they apparently do. Their work in
agriculture seems very good. They are incorporated as a 501c3 through the National Heritage Foundation.*

It sounds like Cyd Mizell is a compassionate, idealistic woman with good common sense. She knew the risk she was taking in going to Afghanistan and she did it anyway. She will be in my thoughts. One person’s personal account of Syd is here:

*National Heritage Foundation turns out to be a pretty interesting concept. Basically, they serve as an umbrella 501c3 to help small charities become tax-exempt. Their list of services is here: I can see how a small group would rather just pay a monthly fee for someone else to do their admin compliance and then get on with their good works.

The Serena

This is a firsthand account from someone at the Serena hotel during the bombing. Make sure to read the comments; there are interesting points in there. Let me say here and now though that the expats who implement international aid are fully aware of the ugly contradictions between our lives and the lives of the people we serve.