Tribal style in Afghanistan, America and Italy

Tribe: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

I’ve been using the word tribe since I arrived in Europe to help describe a nomadic life. People in each city were so different, so varied, so separate from my own. It just seemed to help make sense of their distinct qualities.

When watching Afghanistan play out I think it’s safe to say no one wants to be told what to do by a foreigner. Perhaps America should stop trying – they don’t do it very well, at all. Smudley D. Butler, a US General wrote how ‘war was a racket’. I’ve read posts from vets deployed in Afghanistan and how they realize there is no point, the higher ups just don’t care.

This got me thinking about those tribes as well as America’s deep polarization, and how it’s become tribal warfare. Gore Vidal suggests it started in the 60’s, a generational divide opened up. He argued his point well in the famous Vidal -Buckley debates in the 60’s. How could you deny it; young Americans were fighting on campus and in the streets outside the convention center where the debates took place.

It could be argued America was always violent and yet thanks to social media we see it on our twitter streams and internet searches every day. I’m not sure where it’s going and or if will ever get resolved. No one does but it did inspire Biden to focus, thankfully, on America’s internal drama because it’s gotten out of hand. Covid continually exposes much that is wrong in our world. Some were slightly more aware than others but we’re all faced with it daily. America is experiencing an internal war and the tribes are becoming more violent. Is is a reset?

Here in Italy I’m surrounded by dozens of small towns and as many tribes. And yet they live peacefully amongst one another. Each town has a mayor who roams around the town, they are engaged, but the Italians go about their business in their various dialects, in their various tribes, in their own way.

They are productive and industrious and they are telling me their stories in my next book called, “Once upon a time in Loazzolo; Tales of Piemonte”. They are providing me with their stories through a series of interviews and they freely illustrate the tribal elements, in fact they have a word for it; Campanilismo. It’s their sense of pride. It has its charm and its challenges, even as the various tribes remain peaceful, producitve and industrious.

Tribes are varied and we’re watching their issues play out on a daily basis. Travel may be tricky these days, but we don’t have to move to see what a trip it is…

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