According to a wire service piece in my local Sunday paper, the population of Kabul is 2.5 MILLION; Afghanistan is roughly the size of Texas, three quarters of it steep rough mountain, total population about 250 MILLION (still according to today's paper, from a wire service); I found these figures amazing after the posts that have flown around about how Afghanistan has been all but wiped out already. This also puts a different spin on what we know about the Taliban, about girls not being allowed to go to school past the age of 8 and all the other extreme repressions -- this is not just happening for a few hundred or a few thousand or even a few hundred thousand women. I still have trouble believing the numbers and would like to know if anyone can confirm or refute.
In theory I love Amos's idea of getting food to the people with kindly messages, but a vast majority of the population are illiterate, even the men.
In ancient Rome, when the dominant religions included polytheistic paganism (Jupiter, Juno, etc.) and Stoicism, the ethic of life for the educated classes included an obligation of public service -- entering law, politics, or the army, following the Cursus Honoris (Course of Honor). When Christianity took hold, Augustine wrote about the City of God, which meant living with an eye to God, only, which was the opposite of, which he specficically contrasted to, the City of Rome, public service, and the old traditions. Rome fell. Of course this is not the only reason, and of course Rome was no nirvana, but with the shift in emphasis from service due to the city or the empire TO service due only to God, there was no one left paying enough attention, minding the store, or trying to fix what was wrong. Or no one with any education, anyway. The thugs were the only ones left playing.
Rome was: The greatest military power of her day; vast; wealthy; sophisticated; symbolized by an eagle; the one and only true world superpower of the time; widely resented, even hated. Does any of that ring a bell?