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Showing posts from April, 2010

Afghanistan and cricket

' I am proud to be Afghan' ..says Rayees Ahmadzai. He has not fought any anglo-afghan wars, nor has killed anyone to prove his nationalism. He is playing cricket for Afghanistan in the World Cup, T20.
I never liked cricket, because whatever I remember of cricket is the isolation of living as a refugee, 'mahajir' or at times 'gelam jam'. Contrary to Rayees Ahmadzai, India's and Pakistan's cricket craze used to remind me of the dripping disdain and misery that was brought to Afghanistan by its geography. And today, Afghanistan is playing against India for the first time.
Ahmadzai says he is proud of the unity in his team and their team are proving that Afghanistan is not about war. He talks about his experience of initial exposure to cricket after 1992 world cup that was won by Pakistan. He learned cricket by playing with kids in the muddy streets of Kachai Garai, a packed refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan. The coach says, they dont even worry about rai…

The rest is history- lets celebrate the victory!!!

This morning I woke up to the national anthem being played on the national televison. As I listened to the national television of Afghanistan, saw special marches of soldiers and army officers and remembered that ' oh, today is 8th of Sawr', the day when Mujahidin, the freedom fighters entered Afghanistan after the last communist president gave up. I noticed that the preparations would have definitely cost us some millions of Afghanis to enable this glorious celebration.
I tried to be objective and asked what did national victory meant for the fighters against the communist government? But wait a minute, against the communist government? Did that government ascended from another planet and not the Afghans themselves? And what do you mean against the goverment? Hundreds of women , men and children lost their lives not only during the marathon for power in early 90s civil war, but even before that. We never asked where did those bombs and rockets go when they were fired into Kab…

Shadows of hypocrisy

These days, the media seems striving to create symmetry in its outlook. While numerous instances of children's sexual abuse by the church bishops anger everyone, a darker side of Muslim societies are questioning the vanity of closed societies.Yesterday, the BBC's report on 'restoration of virginity in Arab communities' outstripped the pathetic plight of young boys exploited as sex-slaves in the 'bacha' industry in Afghanistan reported by PBS and almost every other news agency. Although, we can not base the whole judgement on two ad hoc reports, we can not deny the struggles towards disclosing the hidden realities of closed societies, especially the 'traditional Muslim societies', I cant dare to define these.
I noticed alot of Afghans being angry on the PBS documentary and many justified that such traditions exist in every human society and there is nothing new about it. Similarly, some Arab young men (through facebook) justified the importance of virgi…

UK Leaders Debate on Afghanistan (Published in Guardian)

Ironically, when the UK stood by the United States in the ‘War on Terror’ in 2001, they didn’t try to influence or solicit the public opinion on why they went to Afghanistan, but today when leaders are competing for a general elections, Afghanistan becomes a top foreign affairs priority.Sound political leadership is about shaping public opinion. When a crowd of anti-war protests were asking for the UK troops to get out of Afghanistan, the leaders weren’t convincing enough about their strategies in Afghanistan. While all the three leaders accepted failures in strategies in Afghanistan, none of them illustrated any changes or anything new to recuperate the sinking mission in Afghanistan.As an Afghan I believe the leaders too are already convinced by the popular views that come from the United States, rather than coming up with their own perspectives in relation to Afghanistan war. I also think the three leaders are too obsessed with the southern region of Afghanistan and base their who…

Feature : Different faces of prostitution in Afghanistan

Prostitution is not an easily accepted reality in our society. Most of the time, we are in denial that in Muslim societies women do not sell their bodies for money, even if they do, no one will buy. It is actually the opposite, even if a woman does not want, the societal miseries make her do anything for survival and livelihood of the family. While Prostitution in many other parts of the world could be understand as a woman's sexual desire and of her immoral character; the truth behind it is hardly explored.
In my work on women's issues in Afghanistan, I came across many women who have at least once sold their bodies to earn a living either forced by a family member or in secret. However, I chose to write about these three women I met three years ago in an old city of Kabul. These three different women have at least one thing in common, that even in a closed traditional and religious society, they were made to be prostitutes, either in public or in secret.
A couple of years ag…

Winning Heads and Bodies!!!!

These days I have embraced all gamuts of insomnia. There is so much we hear and read about Afghanistan in the media, above all what we go through in Afghanistan.While we happen to be a piece of news for the rest of the world, for us its the epic tale of our realities, that doesnt seem changing.
Last night as I was reading the last pages of Ghost War, a genealogy of planted terror in the Afghan lands guised in cold war rhetoric, received an email from an angry friend with the link of the CNN video about the massacre of 5 family members in Khataba of Gardez. I might be accused of naiveness for using the word massacre on the killing of 5 people, but I am not a prisoner of political correctness, for me every loss of a human life, and that with such a blind deliberation is a massacre. You can decide for yourself.
The email said "Shame on us witnessing this and still being able to sleep..." That sentence irritated me. I havent slept well for many years now, especially not these days…

Will you go with me.....

Today a very courageous Afghan girl dared to talk about the increased prostitution among the women of Afghanistan...while discussing the article, many boys raised their concerns on the validity of the article and that such claims can not hold grounds and etc. While reading their denial of the issue...I remembered a recent experience I had and shared with them.
I was head of an organization that was working with Family Court, and whenever I went to the Family Court, used to go in the office car which had a special permission and took me to the door steps of the Judge's office. The Family Court is located inside the building of the Provincial Office, a big Police department, the National Identification department, many Courts and a temporary detaining facility for prisoners as well. So its a crowded place with various kinds of people. Someone there to visit a jailed son, someone to get the passport, someone brought his daughters to get identification for school , some women are ther…