LONE SURVIVOR, directed by Peter Berg, is the true story about four Navy SEALs who are played by Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, and Emile Hirsch. The team are on a mission to capture notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in Afghanistan in 2005. The mission is unexpectedly compromised, and Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg) is left to fend for himself. With the aid of some brave villagers Marcus is able to survive due to their ‘Pashtun’ way of life and their cultureof the ‘Pashtunwali Code’, meaning that hospitality, asylum, mercy and shelter must be provided for all who require it, despite their background and intentions.
To support the release of LONE SURVIVOR on Blu-ray and DVD from 9th June courtesy of Universal Pictures (UK) we have looked into other similar tribal war codes and the meanings and cultures behind the different ways of life.
A set of Pashtun tribal honour codes:
- Melmastia – hospitality: This hospitality requires that any person be afforded the host’s protection. While in the care and company of the host, a guest should neither be harmed nor surrendered to an enemy. Hospitality and protection must be offered to all visitors without expectation of favour.
- Nanawatay – asylum, mercy: This is used to describe protection extended to a person who requests protection against his/her enemies even if the request for asylum and protection is sought among the enemy. The person seeking peace is expected to ritually humiliate himself in some way. The act of self-humiliation is supposed to elicit a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness and leniency from the foe-turned-protector. Once Nanawatay is requested and granted, the resquestor is protected at all costs.