This is a rug sourced from Peshawar in 2004. How this may be interpreted involves accepting a high degree of ambiguity – is it threatening? is it celebratory? is the representation of the Pentagon as synonymous with the computer screen significant? Is the Pentagon to be equated with the internet, or with Big Brother? Some of our readers have commented on the lack of an overt political position in the war rug tradition… are there examples we’re missing?
Robert Fyke draws attention to a variant on this rug (ground colours reversed) illustrated in an online essay about the symbolism inherent in the continuity of carpet-weaving (with comments about the identity of the Baluch): the author is Hwaa Irfan, “Weaving between Wars and Returning to the Soul” on IslamOnline.net. He writes:
What happens when violence becomes a way of life, particularly as when imposed by occupying forces? What happens in places such as Afghanistan, which was a war game for the British in the 19th century, the Russians in the 20th century, and the US in this, the 21st century?
Individual’s coping mechanisms are determined by cultural resilience and how thorough the occupation force is at denying the indigenous people the right to be who they are. Different people express these problems in different ways, often making pathological imbalances appear socially acceptable, such as in the process of weaving where the abstract produces a kind of beauty.