29 May 2010

Globalizatin, Central Asian Version

This is also a story written by Richard Frye, the scholar of Iranian studies I admire as mentioned in the last post.

At the end of summer 1976, on the way home, we went the same way we had traveled earlier in June, by boat across the Caspian to Baku, and both same Afghans were on the boat. They had been sullen and unwilling to talk but this time in surprise they laughed and talked to us, believing we were in the same business of trading as they. And what were they bringing to Moscow? They had started from northern Afghanistan with karakul furs which they brought to Tehran to sell. Then they bought panty-hose and luxuries for the Russian market, which they sold in Moscow, and bought industrial diamonds to bring to Germany.

Their next goal was Stuttgart where they sold the diamonds and bought Mercedes Benz cars which they drove to Tehran and sold them there, because of the great demand in Iran for that make of car. After their log trip back to Afghanistan they obtained more karakul skins and set out for the same journey. In the morning at the customs in Baku it was clear that the Afghans had an arrangement with the Azeri officials to expedite their passage. They were only following an age old tradition in that part of the world, to trade where the highest rewards were to be found, even if it meant long distances and much trouble...

So something like the Silk Road still exists! The Mercedes Road? Blood Diamonds in Farsi?

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