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The graffiti on the walls of the army cantonment is one such indication.

Even the USAID posters quickly became the butt of everyday sarcasm.“They help us rebuild the region, just so they can bomb it all down again,” I was told by a Peshawar resident.

Below are the many different ways to address the person you love – in Pashto.

Needless to say, I’m missing many words, so please free to suggest more.

In an increasing number of Pashtun-centered social media sites, the blogosphere, television programmes, radio shows and social and political circles, the exploitation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan, and Afghanistan and their peoples by a perceived “Punjabized” military and state apparatus is consistently and powerfully expressed.

In a series of group interviews that I conducted in Peshawar, common phrases that were repeated in different settings included: “Wherever you look it is Pashtuns being killed”; and “The Punjab does not feel the deaths we Pashtuns do”.

On the streets of Peshawar, the propaganda war is in full swing.My translator’s father commanded a battalion of fighters here; they ambushed the communist invaders from a web of caves and tunnels that now lie empty.After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, a civil war broke out between the largely Hazara and Tajik people of the north, and the Sunni-Pashtun Taliban of the south.Metaphorically, the part of me that makes me feel and look beautiful, appealing, complete.Also potentially: my eyes, the most essential part of my eyes without which my self is incomplete) – da zrra qarara (the “qarar” of my heart – literally meaning “solace.” Something like: “With you, or in your presence, my heart is at ease.” Or “You’re the reason my heart is at ease.”) – zarrgiya (my (precious little) heart) – da zarrgi sara (the core/center of my heart) – da zrra takora (beat of my heart) – da zrra sara (core of my heart) – qurbaana (the person I’d sacrifice myself/my life for) – shirina (something sweet, sweetheart, etc.) – shaista/khaista (beautiful) – khwaga (to females); khoga (to males) – gulaaba (literally, flower/rose.The Pashtuns walk around with rifles like they were umbrellas and age is not seen as any limit as fire arms go.


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