Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Knife

What you are looking at is a picture of the most distinctive gift I have ever been given by a student...the bayonet of an AK-47, probably Soviet stock dating back to the 1960s or 1970s.

This particular graduate student, Dan Green, has served tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Dan is in Afghanistan right now, having left for a deployment of eight months something like 48 hours after defending his dissertation. Talk about pivoting from one world (the academy) right into another (where skeptical professors are the least of one's worries)!

Dan recently published a memoir of his previous time in Afghanistan. Click here to check out The Valley's Edge: A Year with the Pashtuns in the Heartland of the Taliban.

As for the bayonet, Dan picked it up at a bazaar in Kabul. Sitting there in my office, Dan showed me how it can be used as a wire cutter. Click here to take a look at a video that walks through the wire-cutting process.

Thanks, Dan, for what is a real piece of the (troubled and violent) history of that part of our world!



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