Uber Pools Remind Me That Americans are In 5+ Wars

Kumar Thangudu

February 24, 2018

The closest reminder I have to the fact that we are still engaged in 5+ wars is my daily Uber.

If you see an Uber driver with FNU — it means First Name Unknown and they are most likely Afghan or Iraqi.

9 times out of 10 on my evening route, the driver is an FNU.

The letters show up on official documents of thousands of people who worked with the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are now being resettled in places like the SF Bay Area. Some weird registration fluke with red tape.

In Afghanistan, there were decades of protracted wars, as a result, the government registry of birth was weirdly defaulted into January 1st.

Most Afghans have a declared birthday of January 1st.

My Afghan and Iraqi drivers have the best stories as many of them were combat translators.

Afghanistan isn’t alone in this, this happened for Vietnam, Sudan, and Somalia.

Usually, when the other passenger leaves, I’ll ask for Dari lessons. The language is pretty wild, it has consonants I can’t even find in Farsi.

Hard to believe that my only indication that we are at 5+ wars is Uber pool rides, not my newsfeed, nor my twitter feed, or fellow citizenry, but my Uber pool rides…….


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