Just as rainbow stickers started arriving on secondhand Canadian cars imported into Afghanistan, Afghani men began seeking out these rainbows to show their automotive pride! But then a Pajhwak news agency reporter ruined all the fun by asking local garages why they put Western symbols of gay pride on their cars. Then just like that the car owners began to remove the rainbows en masse. Way to ruin the accidental Pride parade, jerk.
Had it not been for the news agency’s interest, the gay pride symbol would have continued to flourish in Afghanistan. Uprooted from its original cultural environment and landing in the country by sheer accident, it would have led an existence devoid of any meaning aside from showing that, like everywhere else in the world, Afghan men loved their cars.
But since Afghanistan is no longer an isolated country, imported symbols are bound to be recognised and decoded not only by globetrotting members of the middle class but also the many expatriate internationals and returnee Afghans. Once informed about the symbol’s meaning, the stickers were removed en mass. One commentator even expressed the hope that the embarrassing incident would serve as cautionary tale, warning Afghans against their tendency to blindly follow fashions imported from elsewhere.
The author adds that in Afghani culture the words for “homosexuality” and “pedophilia” get used interchangeably (just like in Minnesota), making the removal of rainbows occur even faster. The cars now come unadorned in their standard “heterosexual beige”, “rancid oatmeal white”, and “kill-yourself grey.”
Strangely, the rainbow association works both ways. Have any of you ever avoided buying or wearing a rainbow-colored accessory just because you don’t want to feel like “a one-person Pride parade”? Rejecting what you like just to avoid stereotypes ends up confining you just as much as the stereotypes themselves. A rainbow sticker makes your car gay just like eating pussy made me straight.