Monday, September 28, 2015

Afghanistan is obscure again

Some unarticulated rule of journalism is this: when you are covering a story in a city in another part of the world, the more obscure the city, the longer you should avoid mentioning the name of the city. So when Paris (a non-obscure place) has a day without cars, the word "Paris" can appear in the headline and the first line of the story. Nairobi also is unobscure enough to be headlined.  On the other hand, if the incident occurs in Nukus, capital of the Karakalpak semi-autonomous region within Uzbekistan (hey look, I've been there!), the city will go unnamed until at least the second paragraph.

I noticed that the WaPo just gave Kunduz the Nukus treatment. Kunduz! I know I'm a geography nerd, but Jesus Christ, that place has been in the news fairly regularly for almost a decade and a half. Have we really so completely pushed Afghanistan out of our collective consciousnesses?