No. 39 Is Afghans' Loneliest Number

No. 39 Is Afghans' Loneliest Number


The curse of 39, which swirled through Kabul over the past year, is the latest myth in a largely illiterate country steeped in rumor, superstition and urban legend.

And it isn't limited to cars.

Afghans with 39 as part of their cellphone numbers have to endure so much derision that some have blocked people from seeing their number when they call. Others have switched their phone numbers altogether.

To avoid being needlessly ridiculed, Afghans who are 39 years old will sometimes tell people they are "one less than 40."

"I have one more year to go," said Baryalai, a 38-year-old Kabul shopkeeper who is bracing for a year of mocking, insults and off-color banter.

Some Afghans see nefarious origins in the curse of 39 and believe that it started in neighboring Iran. Not that many Afghans would know it, but 39 also happens to be the international country code for Italy, whose prime minister is facing trial on charges that he paid an underage girl for sex and then tried to cover it up. He denies the accusations.

Famous Kabul numerologist Sediq Afghan, head of the International Center for Mathematical Philosophy, based in a crumbling building across the road from a U.S. base, says he used a complex series of calculations to divine the meaning of 39.

He came up with three answers: present, illiterate and pimp.

"This number is a sickness for Afghans," said Mr. Afghan, who pointed out that there are verses in the Quran with the number 39. His countrymen, he complained, "only see the negative side."

Mr. Afghan added that the legend had ancient roots. As a child, he said, he heard stories of a man who was killed for teasing his host about 39.

Comment: That's Jimmy Carter (39th President of the United States ) in the lower left! Maybe there's something to this!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic