“It reminded him of a meeting he had been involved in with the tribal elders in Marjeh, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan back in 2010. They were seated around the perimeter of the room on cushions on the floor, cross-legged and facing inward from the walls. The elders looked as though they had come straight from the desert set of Ali Baba. Haggard, dressed in flowing tunics and turbans, and shod with sandals or no shoes at all, the tribesmen seemed sullen and lethargic, almost despondent most of the time. Dawson had been thinking that he would probably look the same way if he spent his entire life in 120 degree plus temperatures and had the access to medical care and nutrition these people possessed.”
Here is a photograph of some of the tribal elders from the shura (meeting) that brought this series of events to my mind as I was writing. I captured this image in August of 2010.