Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Loya Jirga -- Who knew?

University of Chicago-educated New York Times columnist David Brooks has once again sent us diving for our dictionaries.
From his column in today's Times:
"The word [Hillary Clinton] kept coming back to was 'partnerships.' She described an array of different social entities — individuals, the federal government, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals — coming together and exercising shared responsibility for creating a better system.
"It began to sound like a health care loya jirga — indicative of the political vision that has marked so much of her thinking over the years."

Loya jirga, occasionally loya jirgah, is a large meeting held in Afrghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and even in Mongolia. In Afghanistan originally attended by Pashtun groups but later including other ethnic groups without really considering them.
The words loya (great/grand) and jirga ("council", "assembly", "dispute" or "meeting") are of Turco-Mongolian origin and originally it means in the Mongolian and Turkic language "great tent" (Ger, meaning tent).

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