Kabul artist Aman Mojadidi dressed up in a policeman’s uniform, set-up his own check-point, and began offering bribes to passing motorists. The stunt was a protest against the high-levels of corruption in the city:
“On behalf of the city of Kabul and the Kabul police, if you have paid a bribe or ‘tip’ to someone in the past, I apologize,” the officer says in Dari to the disbelieving driver. “Please take 100 Afghanis,” or about $2.
Mojadidi wanted to draw attention to the pervasive misuse of power in Afghanistan and to see how Afghan drivers would react when he apologized on behalf of the widely scorned police force.
H/T @RohanJay (whom fans of media freedoms should follow). The stunt reminded me of the story earlier this year about the Zero Rupee note, an innovation by 5th Pillar designed to combat bribe culture in India. From the CommGap report:
Fed up with requests for bribes and equipped with a zero rupee note, the old lady handed the note to the official. He was stunned. Remarkably, the official stood up from his seat, offered her a chair, offered her tea and gave her the title she had been seeking for the last year and a half to obtain without success.
The problem of bribe-culture of course begins when public officials are paid too little in the first place. One hopes that these high-profile, amusing-yet-persuasive interventions inspire the politicians of those countries to address the underlying issues, if they can. Charter Cities are one way of guaranteeing standards of pay and public standards, though I recoil at the colonialist mindset such projects seem to promote. Are there more internationalist, left-wing versions of the underlying idea, I wonder?