Invisible History:
Afghanistan's Untold Story

Tells the story of how Afghanistan brought the United States to this place in time after nearly 60 years of American policy in Eurasia - of its complex multiethnic culture, its deep rooting in mystical Zoroastrian and Sufi traditions and how it has played a pivotal role in the rise and fall of empires.
Invisible History, Afghanistan’s Untold Story provides the sobering facts and details that every American should have known about America’s secret war, but were never told.
The Real Story Behind the Propaganda (read more)

Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire

Focuses on the AfPak strategy and the importance of the Durand Line, the border separating Pakistan from Afghanistan but referred to by the military and intelligence community as Zero line. The U.S. fought on the side of extremist-political Islam from Pakistan during the 1980s and against it from Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. It is therefore appropriate to think of the Durand/Zero line as the place where America’s intentions face themselves; the alpha and omega of nearly 60 years of American policy in Eurasia. The Durand line is visible on a map. Zero line is not.(Coming February, 2011) (read more)

Invisible History Blog

We'll explore anomalies we discovered while researching the causes of the Soviet and American invasions of Afghanistan. We look forward to your comments. Paul & Liz.

From the Jerusalem Crusade to the Holy Grail to the death of JFK

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould    February 18, 2023

President John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Friday, November 22, 1963  

On Friday October 13, 1307 the French King Philip IV, ordered the powerful Catholic military order known as the Knights Templar arrested and charged with heretical practices and a month later, on November 22, under pressure from Philip, Pope Clement V issued the papal bull Pastoralis Praeeminentiae instructing all the monarchs of Europe to seize the Templar’s extensive assets. Deeply in debt to the Templars for their military service in his war against England it has long been suspected that the charges against them derived more from the king’s depleted treasury than actual acts of heresy. But following an extensive inquisition and trial including torture, the Templars and their Grand Master Jacques De Molay were found guilty and on March 18, 1314 were burned at the stake outside the Cathedral at Notre Dame de Paris.

Whether or not the Knights Templar maintained heretical beliefs, the immolation of Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay at the hands of the Pope’s Inquisitors would serve as an inspiration for generations to seek revenge on the Roman Church. And so begins the legend that winds its way from Jerusalem to Paris to the Holy Grail, to Rosslyn Chapel and Scottish Rite Freemasonry and from there to the death of JFK.

Pope Innocent III’s brutal Albigensian Crusade of 1209-29 against the powerful dualist Cathar movement pitted Northern France’s Catholic nobility against the lesser nobility of the south who were tolerant and supportive of it.

As a pre-Christian faith deeply rooted in the pagan world and spread by Rome’s legions through Mithraism to the four corners of the Roman Empire, Catharism represented an old and powerful expression of Gnostic belief which refused to be suppressed by the sterile and often contradictory doctrines of Rome’s Christianized Empire.

As described by Reverend V.A. Demant, Canon of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral in a preface to a 1947 book on the subject titled The Arrow and the Sword:

“To mention only its roots in Mithraism, its links with the Gnostics, its theological dualism, its asceticism, the ritual of life and death as cosmic mysteries, the appeal of the troubadours, Arthurian legends and the cult of the Holy Grail, the passions aroused for and against witchcraft, the intimate connection between sex and religion — all these things are sufficient testimony to the deep rooted vitality of a stream of religious consciousness which cannot be superciliously dismissed by rationalists and moralists.”

Writing on the heels of World War II, and with Europe still in ruins from the rise of an irrational and immoral pagan faith called Nazism, Demant feared that such a vital apocalyptic belief system with its “robust religiousness” and commitment to a struggle against an evil material world was bound to rise again, as it had so many times in the past.

Yet, he might not have been surprised to know that his own “Protestant” faith, of which he was a senior officer as the Canon of St. Paul’s, had its own roots in the same heresy.

Much has been speculated about the revival of Catharism and the survival of the Templars following their dissolution in 1312. Today’s popular fiction about their role as guardians of the Holy Grail rests not on any particular historical accounting but mainly on 18th century Masonic myth-making and Sir Walter Scott’s early 19th century stories that romanticized the Templar Knighthood. A deeply researched 2017 book by British Ambassador Craig Murray about the first Anglo/Afghan war (Sikunder Burnes: Master of the Great Game) not only connects Afghanistan to the Grail legend but maintains that the legendary Alexander Burnes and his brother James are the source of the Templar connection to Scottish Freemasonry and that – not surprisingly – they invented it.

The men of the Enlightenment found great interest in mystical illumination through Masonic rituals. To these men, the newly industrializing West needed a new prophetic tradition to anchor it in history. Rediscovery of the ancient world, as a result of imperial interventions into Asia and Egypt, spawned a renewed interest in Renaissance Neo-Platonism and Hermetic Cabbalism and their roots in a life-denying Gnostic creed. In fact, the very act of returning in victory to the origin of these Gnostic beliefs was in itself proof that they had been chosen to fulfill a cosmic cycle, as prophesied by the ancients.

Bestowing the Templars with occult mystical powers fit neatly into the early Romantic Movement and helped to promote Enlightenment thinking as part of God’s plan for mankind.

As a military order of religious warriors responsible only to the Pope, the Templars and their Cathar backers in France and England represented a powerful autonomous deep-state within medieval society. In many ways orthodox Christianity was no match for the life-denying, dualist doctrine of the Cathars. Catharism’s simple focus on the cosmic battle between a spiritual good and a material evil, and its promise of a time-ending apocalypse in which the material world would be consumed in fire, was an extreme seduction.

Driven to ground by a corrupted Roman Catholic Church and greedy French King, “the heresy” appeared to have been trampled out by the middle of the 14th century. But with the onset of the Reformation two centuries later, Rome’s authority faced a new challenge. And as it spread to Ireland, the old Catholic Anglo/Norman warlords like the Fitzgeralds, would be drawn into a struggle for their existence.

To Rome, the Protestant Reformation represented a heresy that was at once secular and religious. Martin Luther and John Calvin confronted a Papacy that claimed an earthly kingdom, as well as a spiritual one.  In 1534, the English Parliament’s Act of Supremacy answered that claim by declaring Henry VIII “Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England”, and in 1559, his daughter Queen Elizabeth I became the Church’s “Supreme Governor.”

Cathar territory remained fertile ground for insurrection against the church. The French Calvinist Huguenot movement of the late 16th century grew from exactly the same ground in France, where 300 years earlier, the Cathars had been brutally suppressed by the Papal Crusade.

In England, Queen Elizabeth I’s deep-state, comprised of the Earl of Leicester, Sir Francis Walsingham and Sir Philip Sydney, found common cause with the Huguenots and supported them with soldiers, guns and money. Their armies waged holy war against the Papacy across Europe and in Catholic Ireland where they targeted the last visible threats to Elizabeth’s authority, with the Fitzgeralds a prime target.

The Irish Fitzgeralds had drawn their original power from France and Italy in the 11th century as Castellans and enforcers for the Cathar-friendly French royals under William the Conqueror and Henry II. They had performed their duties well enough to be rewarded with lands and titles, but when they came to Ireland in 1169, their paths diverged. Gerald of Wales, a prelate and member of the Fitzgerald clan makes clear in his 12th century account of the Irish invasion, the Expugnatio Hibernica that by 1170, his family was fed up with royal excess and willing to strike out under their own banner.

And after three centuries of immersion in Irish culture they had become transformed. Forsaking the English language, English customs and English law, the Catholic Anglo/Normans had become Irish, but the coming of the Protestant Reformation put them indirect opposition to the British crown. Known as the “Old English” and more recently as “The Twilight Lords” their ongoing intermarriage with Irish clans placed them between two worlds.

Known for their willingness to renounce their loyalty to England, the Fitzgeralds were feared and hated by London as representatives of a Roman Catholic deep-state bent on reversing the Reformation. On the other hand, the Sidney Circle represented a very old deep-state of its own; that “stream of Gnostic religious consciousness,” that had been suppressed for centuries, had risen in rebellion and was committed to ridding the world of evil.

The Sidney Circle and its primary operatives, Francis Walsingham, Edmund Spencer, Sir Walter Raleigh and John Dee, represented the militarized edge of Renaissance Neoplatonism, bent on establishing England not just as a global empire to rival Catholic Spain, but as a spiritual empire headed by Queen Elizabeth I that would cleanse the material world and restore a lost spiritual destiny.

Inspired by the Hermetic-Cabbalist Neoplatonism of John Dee, the Sydney Circle would take on the Fitzgerald Earl of Desmond in a genocidal war of extermination. Unknown to most people today, the feud between the European deep-state factions of the Counter-Reformation was a life and death struggle that embodied no less than the core principles of a cosmic war between light and dark.

In 1580, the prospect of this apocalypse coming to Ireland was so serious it prompted the Holy See in Rome to send an army of Italians and Spaniards to help the Fitzgeralds under the authority drafted by the “Just War Doctrine.”

As described by Richard Berleth, author of  The Twilight Lords: Elizabeth I and the First Irish Holocaust the Fitzgeralds’ struggle against Renaissance Neoplatonism offers a window into a thousand year old factional struggle of a European “deep-state” rooted in a Gnostic belief system with the Fitzgerald family providing the required Manichean evil of the day and Elizabeth I and her Red Cross Templar knights the Christian purity in the tradition of King Arthur and the Round Table.

It is of no small importance that the assassination of Gerald Fitzgerald, the last Earl of Desmond in 1583, marked the beginning of the British Empire. The eternal struggle of good against evil, the ancient Iranian war of light against dark by design required a victory over the darkness, and the Earl of Desmond filled that sacred role. As was the custom at the time, his decapitated head was sent to London where legend has it Queen Elizabeth sat with it for the morning before having it impaled on London Bridge.

With the incorporation of the Public/Private partnership known as the British East India Company in 1600, Elizabeth’s victory would be spread around the world. Elizabeth’s favorite courtier Walter Raleigh would sail to America and establish the colony that came to be named Virginia for the “Virgin Queen.”

The East India Company would establish trading posts from India to America and create such economic oppression it would trigger the American Revolution. Despite its loss of American colonies, the company would make its founding families rich beyond dreams of avarice and make the English language universal and English culture the standard by which all other cultures would be judged. But the competition with Rome and the suspicion over its motives would never stop.

In the 400 plus years since Elizabeth I’s time, much of what was once deemed heretical by Church authorities has become commonplace. The feudal society that the Irish Twilight Lords died to preserve was already obsolete by Elizabethan times and would have vanished with or without them. The empire created by Elizabeth’s courtiers ruled much of the earth for four centuries and was passed on to the United States for a brief reprise before losing its purpose. But the eternal struggle of good against evil, the war of light against dark continues and whether real or imagined, the revenge for the Templars sacrifice lingers on, periodically revealing itself through correspondences and coincidences that can’t be denied.

On November 22, 1963, Americans were shocked by the public execution of their President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. In the years since every manner of conspiracy theory has been advanced to explain what happened. But killing the first Roman Catholic President of the United States on the site of the first Masonic Temple in Dallas on the anniversary of the Papal destruction of the Knights Templar on November 22, 1307, bespeaks a ritual of revenge and retribution fulfilled. And if it was a ritual of revenge and retribution based on a story fabricated by Alexander Burnes and his brother James seeking fame and fortune, then what it means to us today poses a deeply philosophical question that must be answered.

The legacy of fighting a Manichean enemy is writ large across history. If we dare to read the signs, the ancient cycle of revenge and retribution has brought us to the end of the line. For, when you’ve defined everyone as an enemy and there’s no one left to blame, when you look into the mirror there will only be one choice. And that is self-annihilation.

Copyright © 2023 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved




Trine Day’s Roundtable 17: For Our Children’s Sake, We Can Build the Economics of Peace. Let’s Get Started NOW!

February 15, 2023

Join us to finalize our letter to King Charles (for his May 6th Coronation) and organize the PR package of teaching materials for media distribution.                                                   

A FREE Zoom Event Wed. March 1, 2023    3:00 – 4:30 pm/EST      RSVP REQUIRED HERE

(If you lose the Zoom access link re-RSVP to get a new email sent)

More and more people are convinced that the only way to a just, prosperous and ecologically sustainable future is to share the value of Earth’s resources more fairly.

It’s called “Earth rights democracy,” and it’s based on the idea that everyone has a right to the planet as a birthright.

Fundamental yet practical reforms in public finance policy based on “land rent for the people” will let us create a world of peace and plenty for all. There are many successful examples of the Earth rights approach to public finance throughout the world.

Learn how the Earth rights ethic can be realized and how we are using the interregnum from the Sept 4th death of Queen Elizabeth to the May 6th coronation of “King Charles” – and the June 10th 60th Anniversary of JFK’s Peace Speech – to promote the economics of peace, culminating with a musical celebration in Ireland.

Watch Alanna Hartzok’s excellent presentation SACRED RULE ECONOMICS in Roundtable 16 HERE.

Read our World Peace and Economic Justice Proposal HERE.


Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, a husband and wife co-authors of INVISIBLE HISTORY: Afghanistan’s Untold Story; CROSSING ZERO: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire; THE VALEDICTION: Three Nights of Desmond, and THE VALEDICTION: Resurrection.

RA “Kris” Millegan,  publisher at TrineDay, author and editor of FLESHING OUT SKULL AND BONES: Investigations into America’s Most Powerful Secret Society.

Bruce de Torres, the Moderator  and author of God, School, 9/11 and JFK


Roundtable 16 SACRED RULE ECONOMICS  –  There Is Another Way To Run This Railroad … Geonomics*, Let’s Learn It Together

*Geonomics: a doctrine holding that humans own what is created by them, but that those things found in nature, such as land, belong to no one person but instead belong equally to all humankind. –

Guest presenter Alanna Hartzok will give a power point presentation on Sacred Rule Economics showing the perennial wisdom teachings about land, money and public finance. Economic justice will lead the way to world peace when land and natural resource values - Commons Rent - become the primary source for raising public revenue.  Read more in our World Peace Proposal at, starting on page 37. We’ll leverage the interregnum from the Sept 4th death of Queen Elizabeth to the May 6th coronation of  King Charles and the June 10th 60th Anniversary of JFK’s Peace Speech to promote world peace based on economic justice culminating with a musical celebration in Ireland. Watch the presentation here.

Featuring Paul Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Gould, and Alanna Hartzok

Host: Kris Millegan, TrineDay Publishing   Moderator: Bruce de Torres, Marketing Director,

A FREE Zoom Event   Wed. Jan. 25, 2023             3:00 – 4:30 pm/EST            RSVP Required at

–Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, husband and wife co-authors of INVISIBLE HISTORY: Afghanistan’s Untold Story; CROSSING ZERO: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire; THE VALEDICTION: Three Nights of Desmond, and THE VALEDICTION: Resurrection.

–Alanna Hartzok is an educator, activist and lecturer in the areas of economic justice, land rights, and commons rent public finance, and she is the Administrator for the Baltimore Thrive commons rent policy implementation project. Her book THE EARTH BELONGS TO EVERYONE received the Radical Middle Book Award. She is a recipient of the International Earth Day Award and was a candidate for Congress, for the Green Party in 2001 and the Democratic Party in 2014. Alanna initiated a tax reform bill for the state of Pennsylvania that passed nearly unanimously. Learn more at The International Union for Land Value Taxation, theiu(dot)org.


VT RADIO Host Johnny Punish welcomes Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould to discuss their latest book The Valediction: Resurrection

VT RADIO Host Johnny Punish welcomes Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould to discuss their latest book The Valediction: Resurrection. In the book, they go far back to Norman Invasions of England to the Elizabethan Era to connect the dots between what’s happening now with Endless Wars and the mission creep pursuit of a One World Government.  Listen to the interview here.

TrineDay’s Roundtable 15 The Marriage of World Peace and Economic Justice will create Heaven on Earth

A FREE Zoom Event   Wed. Dec. 21, 2022   3:00 – 4:30 pm/EST

RSVP Required at

“Peace must replace war as the foundation of life. Economic justice will lead the way when land values become the primary source for raising public revenue. Restructuring taxes so that land, a communal asset, is taxed instead of buildings on the land, has achieved sustainable prosperity for people all over the world.”

Read more in our World Peace Proposal at Valediction(dot)net/world-peace, starting on page 37. Once it is understood how this plan can work, everyone will want to make Heaven on Earth come true! Please join with us for this exciting discussion.”

–Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, husband and wife co-authors of INVISIBLE HISTORY: Afghanistan’s Untold Story; CROSSING ZERO: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire; THE VALEDICTION: Three Nights of Desmond, and THE VALEDICTION: Resurrection.

Host: Kris Millegan, TrineDay Publishing

Moderator: Bruce de Torres, author of GOD, SCHOOL, 9/11 AND JFK: The Lies That Are Killing Us and The Truth That Sets Us Free

THE ROUNDTABLES – “Exposing the Failure of Empire and Reclaiming the Narrative Creation Process” – are inspired by THE VALEDICTION, Paul and Liz’s two-book memoir about their journalism in Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. American media’s reluctance to broadcast the truths that they had found launched Paul and Liz on a journey into history and mysticism, which, they discovered, is the real power behind empires.


VT RADIO: American Empire On The Loose with Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

VT RADIO Host Johnny Punish welcomes Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould to discuss ‘Who Controls The World?” and ‘Will the American Empire remain on the loose?’    The 11/20/22 VT  interview     YouTubeVIDEO    BuzzsprountAUDIO


Roundtable 14: A Peaceful Future is Ours … If We Want It

War is an action. Peace is an action. What are you acting on, war or peace?  

A FREE Zoom Event  Wed. Nov. 16, 2022, 3:00 to 4:30 pm/EST  RSVP HERE
We will continue to discuss activation of the World Peace Proposal to build peace as the foundation of life on this planet. Here are some of the ideas ready for further development.”

Create a contest for young people to write songs of peace as the kickoff campaign for the jfkworldpeaceproject. The winners’ songs will be performed at the Newgrange concert.”

Individual equality in a democracy cannot exist without equal rights to the abundance of the earth. We’ll further explain how ending war and replacing it with peace will promote economic justice by creating an economy that serves all the people for the first time in history.”

Promote how to personally embody the energy of peace as a conscious part of the call to action that creates a fellow midwife in the process of birthing the new paradigm of peace.”

Building a guide for gaining inner peacefulness from an indigenous understanding of peace.”

You can read the World Peace Proposal here. Please RSVP and join us. Thank you, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Host: RA “Kris” Millegan, TrineDay Publishing

Moderator: Bruce de Torres, author of God, School, 9/11 and JFK: The Lies That Are Killing Us and The Truth That Sets Us Free

THE VALEDICTION ROUNDTABLES SERIES:  “Exposing the Failure of Empire and Reclaiming the Narrative Creation Process” – is inspired by THE VALEDICTION, Paul and Liz’s two-book memoir about their journalism in Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. When they returned, corporate media didn’t want to broadcast the truths that they had found. Paul and Liz began a journey into history and mysticism, which, they discovered, is the real power behind empires.

Resistance to British Colonial Brutality: Bhadshah Khan’s Afghan Peace Movement – Global Research

by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Is not the Pashtun amenable to love and reason? He will go with you to hell if you can win his heart, but you cannot force him even to go to heaven – Badshah Khan,  Pashtun tribal leader – a peer of Gandhi – started Afghanistan’s indigenous non-violent movement known as the Khudai-Khidmatgar

Gandhi at Peshawar meeting with Badshah Khan in 1938 Image by Scanned by Yann   Details   DMCA

If anyone today could name a historical figure connected to the origin of non-violent resistance against political oppression, it would most likely be India’s Mohandas Gandhi.

Gandhi virtually defined the idea of non-violent resistance in his struggle to free India from British colonial rule. But in 1929, a Pashtun tribal leader in nearby Afghanistan named Bhadshah Khan – a peer of Gandhi – became an important ally by inaugurating Afghanistan’s indigenous non-violent movement known as the Khudai-Khidmatgar – the servants of God.

Since Khan realized that God needed no service he decided that by serving God they would in fact be serving humanity and set out to remove violence from their ancient Pashtun tribal code. Known as Pashtunwali, Afghans had lived by the code’s elaborate rules for millennia and continue to order their lives by it to this day.

In addition to establishing a leadership council accepted by the community, Pashtunwali laid out in detail the proper behavior for hospitality as well as what was necessary to create security for all including how and when the act of revenge was acceptable.

Following Britain’s colonization of Afghan tribal lands east of the Hindu Kush Mountains in 1848, these principles of Pashtun law were gradually replaced by a new British colonial order.  Pashtun society was already known to be in need of social reform for its long-standing acceptance of revenge killing. But the British creation of a small, elite landlord-class to control and administer the province turned revenge killing into a permanent blood bath.

According to Dr. Sruti Bala of the University of Amsterdam: “With traditional tribal authority diminished, this ruling elite gradually emerged as a group of powerful landlords who fought among each other and increased rivalry among the clans. By introducing their own manner of punishment and control, including fines, levies, and even imprisonment, they created a new culture of conflict with its own rules of the settlement.”

According to Bala “this was a major change in comparison with the tribal councils’ traditional focus on limiting conflicts and blame, and resolving feuds without punishment.” The 1872 Frontier Crimes Regulation Act further worsened the situation by sanctioning punishments and mass arrests without trial and legal support and placed heavy restrictions on the free assembly of ethnic Pashtuns. The Frontier Crimes Regulations were far stricter in the Pashtun territories than in any other part of British India and directly limited civil liberties.

According to Bala, “The infringements on civil as well as basic human rights were legitimized by the apparent need to control the Western frontier as a defensive line against Russian aggression and military advances in the region.” And this was of course long before the threat of Soviet communism ever existed.

British competition with Russia for control of Central Asia was a central feature of 19th-century imperialism known as the Great Game. Over time a delicate balance was reached and Afghanistan was used as a buffer state between empires but not without a brutal suppression of the Pashtun tribes by the British.

Khan’s appeal to non-violence was accepted by many Pashtuns as a way to resolve deep-rooted social problems while undermining British authority at the same time.

Although organized like an army, his recruits swore an oath to renounce violence and to never so much as touch a weapon. Over time, the Khudai-Khidmatgar movement developed an educational network to address the social and cultural reforms needed to leave revenge and retribution behind and move towards non-violent development.

This network served the community by focusing on education for all, encouraging poetry, music, and literature as avenues of expression that would help eradicate the roots of violence that had become normalized among Pashtuns during British rule.

The non-violence base of the Khudai-Khidmatgar not only addressed the imbalance created by tribal feuds, it also brought Afghans under the single platform of non-violence which ultimately helped the Pashtuns present a powerful united front against British imperial designs.

Khan was an active member of the Indian National Congress, Chief of the Frontier Province Chapter of the Congress, and a close ally of Gandhi and when they first met he questioned Gandhi about something that troubled him. “You have been preaching non-violence in India for a long time,” he said. “But I started teaching the Pashtuns non-violence only a short time ago, yet the Pashtuns seemed to have grasped the idea of non-violence much quicker and better than the Indians. How do you explain that?” To which Gandhi replied, “Non-violence is not for cowards. It is for the brave and for the courageous and the Pashtuns are brave and courageous. That is why the Pashtuns were able to remain non-violent.”

Gandhi’s response to Badsher Khan’s question defined the Khudai-Khidmatgar accurately, but a true understanding of the Pashtun non-violence movement only begins there.

The strength of Badsher Kahn’s Khudai-Khidmatgar and its philosophy challenged more than just the Afghan tribal code of Pashtunwali and the dominance of the British Empire in India. Badsher Khan also challenged the idea expressed by many Western orientalists that his movement was just an aberration.

As we discovered in writing our book Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, getting an authentic picture of Afghan culture through the minefield of orientalist scholarship is no simple task. Sruti Bala’s 2013 article in the Journal Peace and Change points out that commentaries and studies of anything regarding the Afghan non-violence movement are “ridden with interconnected problems” that make it impossible to come anywhere close to an honest understanding of Badsher Khan’s movement.

Cultural stereotyping of Pashtuns, labeling acts of non-violent resistance as simply an aberrant phase of an inherently violent culture and denying the indigenous Afghan roots of the movement are just the start. Added to that is an intellectual prejudice that privileges elitist viewpoints of Gandhi’s Hindu non-violence movement over the actual concrete acts and practices of the Muslim Khudai-Khidmatgar.

The maltreatment of the Afghan nonviolent movement reveals more about the biases of Western academics than of the movement itself and according to Sruti Bala has completely obscured its place in history. She writes:

“The social and political movement that this organization spearheaded is arguably one of the least known and most misunderstood examples of non-violent action in the twentieth century. The lack of extensive research is partly connected to the systematic destruction of crucial archival material during the colonial era, as well as by Pakistani authorities following independence.”

Why was the non-violence movement of Mohandas Gandhi awarded recognition and international celebrity status by the West; while the Pashtun Khudai-Khidmatgar movement and its leader Badsher Kahn were suppressed, imprisoned and eventually outlawed? Should the Afghan non-violent movement be dismissed as just an aberration as critics say, or is it more likely that Badsher Khan’s commitment by Pashtuns to internal tribal reform and genuine non-violent resistance was something the British Empire feared might actually change the game and so, did everything in their power to erase it from the public’s memory and pretend it never existed?

Dr. Sruti Bala provides some clues about Badsher Khan and the suppression of the Khudai-Khidmatgar. “Khan belonged to a comparatively well-off land-owning family. Unlike Gandhi or Nehru, he was neither a man of Western learning nor a prolific writer.” She writes. “In fact, he was described as, a man of very large silences,’ a nationalist leader whose life of ninety-eight years, one third of which was spent in jail, is steeped in myth and legend.”

“Khan spent nearly thirty-five years of his life in prison for his political activities and involvement in civil disobedience actions. The British and later the Government of Pakistan systematically destroyed most documents and material records of the movement by raiding homes and confiscating anything related to the Khudai-Khidmatgar from handkerchiefs to uniforms and flags to copies of the movement’s journal.”

The treatment of Badsher Khan was an extreme example of British colonial brutality that left a mark on an Afghan society that remains to this day. But as Sruti Bala points out, without taking these aspects of Pashtun history into consideration it is easy to fall into the orientalist discourse of viewing Pashtun culture stereotypically as one that intrinsically values brutality and revenge.

According to Bala, Indian nationalism also played an important role in perpetuating the image of the brute Pashtun, while never acknowledging or mentioning its own role in sustaining a racist Pashtun narrative. As an example, the Indian bourgeoisie were quite prepared to participate in the structural and institutional violence of the Frontier Province and eager to gain favors from the British.

And then there is the Pashtuns’ own complicity with the narrative through their service to the Empire. “The British ruled the Pashtun provinces through rich and influential landlords.” Bala writes. “One of the most prestigious regiments in the British Indian Army founded in 1847 was the Corps of Guides with a significant Pashtun presence. Many of the activities of the Khudai-Khidmatgar were thus addressed as much against Pashtun collaboration with the British, as directly against British colonial laws.

Yet without exception, the old stereotype continues to rule. Every historical account of the Khudai-Khidmatgar always begins by highlighting Pashtun culture as violent and vengeful, instead of portraying it as a culture living on the borders between civilizations under constant threat to its survival and forced to defend itself… Why is this so?

Again according to Bala, “Gandhi’s speeches to the Pashtuns on his visits to Khudai-Khidmatgar camps reveal a clear mistrust of Pashtun nonviolence which can be traced back to both a suspicion of the lower class Khidmatgar’s soldiers’ inability to embrace the ‘HIGH’ ideals of nonviolence as well as a subtle anti-Muslim slant in his perception of the Pashtuns.”

So despite overt proof of the Khudai-Khidmatgar’s commitment to nonviolence, Ghaffar Khan’s movement continued to be subjected to Gandhi’s personal mistrust of Muslim values and specifically his class biases.

“For the Khudai-Khidmatgar” Bala writes, “nonviolence was not a matter of individual soul-searching and achievement, but a principle for the entire community, requiring a collective effort. This is why I believe the Pashtun interpretation of nonviolence is very different from the individualistic approach that Gandhi adopted.”

And so in this is to be found a profound difference between the Afghan and Indian concepts of nonviolence and perhaps the key to their success or failure as peace movements. According to Bala, Khan is generally placed in the shadow of Gandhi, often referred to as his pupil or even more patronizingly as the Frontier Gandhi. They were good friends, shared similar views on civil disobedience, spent significant time working together, and held each other in high regard. But, in terms of serving as a movement whose ideals for peace could be made universal, it would seem that it was Gandhi’s appeal to the West’s upper-class elites that won him success even though Badsher Khan would have served as a more realistic, grassroots hero for a world in dire need of workable community-based formulas for peace.

Yet largely because of Gandhi, Badsher Khan’s movement remains viewed as just a poor provincial attempt at replicating his ideology and not a genuine indigenous movement of its own with its own characteristics. During his visits to the service and training camps of the Khudai- Khidmatgar, Gandhi insisted on incorporating his personal ideas such as vegetarianism, fasting, and hand spinning (Khadi) into their social reform activities in order to instill what he believed was a “true” sense of nonviolence in the soldiers of the Khudai-Khidmatgar. But for Gandhi to make his specific personal religious preferences a gauge for the purity of Pashtun nonviolence, he risked removing his philosophy from the realm of a cultural movement and placing it firmly into the realm of a personality cult.

According to Bala, references in Khan’s biography indicate that such missionary attempts at making Pashtun practices palatable to liberal upper caste Hindu sensibilities were often met with mild derision. One Khudai-Khidmatgar leader remarked that he had no objections to eating vegetarian food in Gandhi’s ashrams, but wished the Gandhians would not be so fussy when they came to the Frontier Province themselves.

But yet, the sense of Gandhi’s moral superiority was no laughing matter when it came to the plight of the Pashtuns under British rule. In an October 1938 speech to Khudai-Khidmatgar rank and file members, Gandhi announced openly that the Pashtun’s commitment to peace was incomplete. He then proceeded to refer to the idea that Pashtuns – who held life so cheap and would have killed a human being with no more thought than they would kill a sheep or a hen, could at the bidding of one man lay down their arms and accept nonviolence – AS A FAIRY TALE.

Gandhi made his apartness from the common Afghan man and woman, landed or landless a hallmark of his speeches. Reading them today betrays a racist sensibility and a disregard and prejudice for the detail, history, and context of Pashtun life that has been systematically carried forward into numerous current high-minded but failed social experiments.

Gandhi’s disrespect for the elaborate system of Pashtun tribal rules known as Pashtunwali is troublesome. More troublesome still is that multiple generations of historians and journalists have looked to Gandhi’s Pashtun stereotype as the end-all and be-all to the history of the Khudai-Khidmatgar. Badsher Khan understood more than anyone the need to disassemble and delegitimize the acceptance of violence within the context of Afghan society as a prerequisite for creating an authentic peace movement. It is that model inspired by Badsher Kahn that should comprise the next stage of a global movement that removes the impetus from the elite and places it in the hands of the people. And only by doing that can a genuine peace movement move forward.

This Paradigm is Ending: What Comes Next? A FREE Zoom Event   Wed. October 12, 2022   3:00 – 4:30 pm/EST   RSVP Required at Valedictiondotnet/eventlist

Copyright © 2022 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved –  Sourced From: A Declaration of Human Rights for the 21st century World Peace Proposal

TrineDay Roundtable 13 This Paradigm is Ending: What comes Next?

Dear friends,

The impact of endless wars; spiritually, mentally and physically has infected all aspects of life. Everything has been weaponized including our closest relations. We’ve been leading Roundtables to build credibility for the idea that replacing world war with world peaceas a new foundation for life–is the solution. Once established, we’ll be able to focus our full creative powers on fixing all human-made problems that have resulted from war. The World Peace Proposal created out of the Roundtables is available online here. Please RSVP to attend Roundtable 13 and, if possible read the proposal. We want to hear your thoughts about how to create peace as the foundation of life on this planet.

All best, Paul and Liz

A FREE Zoom Event      Wed. October 12, 2022       3:00 – 4:30 pm/EST     

RSVP Required at Valedictiondotnet/eventlist

Featuring: Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould (co-authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story; Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire; The Valediction: Three Nights of Desmond, and The Valediction: Resurrection)                 Host: RA “Kris” Millegan, TrineDay Publishing “The folks in the shadows who lie, cheat and steal to manipulate us must be exposed so we can create a better world for our children.”                                                                                                                                                                              Moderator: Bruce de Torres, author of God, School, 9/11 and JFK: The Lies That Are Killing Us and The Truth That Sets Us Free

THE VALEDICTION ROUNDTABLES SERIES:  “Exposing the Failure of Empire and Reclaiming the Narrative Creation Process” – is inspired by THE VALEDICTION, Paul and Liz’s two-book memoir about their journalism in Afghanistan after the 1979 Soviet invasion. When they returned, corporate media didn’t want to broadcast the truths that they had found. Paul and Liz began a journey into history and mysticism, which, they discovered, is the real power behind empires.

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