Nov 22, 2011
All names in this real story are unreal.
Basir, who lived with his extended family in a little village 20 KM outside Jalalabad city, raped his sister-in-law. The victim, Shinkai, finally told her husband and the rest of her in-laws at home after spending two long days going over it in her head. She shared it with them so that they would punish Basir for his unforgivable crime. Nobody in the family believed her and everybody thought that she was making up the whole story.
Everybody in the family looked at her as a troublemaker and they all started treating her badly. She didn’t want to go to the police because that would’ve publicized it, everybody would’ve found out about it and that would’ve degraded the family’s honor.
Feeling very distressed and extremely embarrassed by seeing Basir at home every day and the rest of the family treating her inhumanely, Shinkazi thought it was time she shared the story with her own parents and her crazy brothers back home in the nearby village. She told her parents and brothers that something had been bothering her very much lately and she asked them not to use emotions and instead help her out. Shinkai’s brothers blew their top and went directly to her husband, Jawed, and warned him to do something about it or he might be sorry. He didn’t do anything immediately about this since he wanted to involve the rest of the family. It’s not clear why the family didn’t investigate more.
Shinkazi’s brothers warned Jawed a number of times and asked him to do something about their sister’s rape (I am not sure what they meant by “do something” but I am assuming they wanted him to kill his brother). Her brothers waited for about one month to see Basir punished for his crime. Basir’s family looked at this story as a conspiracy and gave Shinkai and her brothers the cold shoulder, one of Shinkai’s brothers, Crazy Rahim, thought that it was time for him do something about it. It was noon and the men of the village were at work, including Basir himself. All women were at home. Rahim, filled with anger and disappointment, went to Basir’s house with a vicious intent of raping his sister. By raping Basir’s sister, he thought they would be even. He locked all the women in one room and took Basir’s sister, Gulshan, into another room in the back with him and locked the room from behind.
Gulshan was a single innocent young girl. When a woman loses her virginity in Afghanistan and people find out then no men will marry her. Her image has been tainted. In a rape case, the rapist and the victim are killed because they bring shame to their families. That’s part of the reason why many women would keep it to themselves and never tell anybody – the unbearably harsh truth.
Time for Basir to Move and Retaliate
When Gulshan’s brothers came from work in the evening and found out about her, they were very agitated and started brainstorming a plan for an immediate retaliation. They were quiet the following day and moved to a secret place when it was night. They moved under the cover of darkness to a secret place so that nobody could see them. All of the family members also left the village and went into hiding, Gulshan’s two brothers came back to their village the following day with a Russian AK47 and a rusty Pakistani pistol. Both brothers knew were Rahim worked and went directly there. They found Rahim, pulled him out of his taxi and threw him on the ground. Basir shot him with his pistol one time but it jammed. Then Jawed, Shinkai’s husband, shot him 30 times with his AK47. They hi-fived in the little bazaar outside Jalalabad and then escaped back to their secret sanctuary.
Where Is this Secret Place?
When Basir and Jawed killed Rahim they already had a permanent sanctuary in mind. Basir went to the Taliban and told them their heroic story and how they defended their honor. Impressed by their story, the Taliban accepted the free lunch offered by Basir and Jawed with a very warm welcome. They gave them extra weapons and promised them a “lifetime” of protection. Basir’s family had to leave everything behind including their land, hometown, relatives and friends. The story gets even worse. God only knows what will happen to the two brothers and their family when they are in the real Taliban “hi-five” games.
Law and Order Vs Pashtoonwali and Honor
Why didn’t any of them refer to the law or government? That’s a good question and the explanation is a little complicated.
In our society, if our honor has been violated it is not common to press charges because this is considered cowardly and weak. That’s where Pashtoonwali comes in. Pashtoonwali is the state of being Pashtoon and a Pashtoon is considered strong and powerful. If someone tries to seek justice through the government, this is considered degrading to their Pashtoonwali, honor and image among other Pashtoons. Using your own power and taking revenge is preferred by most people here. Using a third party (in this case the government) to defend your honor and to protect yourself is a sign of weakness. This is true for almost 100% of the cases in rural areas.
Reconciliation Jirga: Another Option
Another option for resolving conflict disputes in the community is through a Jirga. Community leaders and elders get together as mediators and they come up with what they think is a workable agreement for both sides. [m. Both sides directly affected, choose their mediators called Jirgamars and give them full authority to make the decision. Neither side can talk to each other face to face because they get emotional and cannot agree easily.] The Jirgamars usually ask for something called Machalgha which is a huge amount of money that both sides temporarily leave with the mediators who have full authority and will represent them. [m. This money will remain with the mediators until the end of the Jirga and the result which will solidify their authority. If a side does not agree with the decision then they lose their money and it goes to the mediators. It’s such a huge amount for the villagers that people have to borrow from one another which makes the situation even worse. Regardless of the final decision at the Jirga both sides will have to agree so that they can get their money back.]
Sometimes these so called reconciliation Jirgas make irrational decisions, like ordering each family to give girls (for marriage) or call on both sides to swap daughters. The Jirga thinks that these compensatory marriages will create stronger ties between the families but a lot of the times these innocent women are treated like after their marriage. A Jirga does not usually solve problems because some people will still take revenge even after a Jirga.
My Experience with a Jirga
I was about 17 years old when I got stabbed four times in the back near our neighborhood. I am not going to go into detail of how and why but in the future at some point I might. To make a long story short, I was hospitalized for ten days and I got nine stitches and some ugly scars on my back but luckily no internal damage. Everybody came to our home to ask about my health. To add insult to injury, most of my visitors would “advise” me and my family to take revenge and kill Gaddaffi, the guy who had stabbed me. “We are with you”, they would say. My visitors would usually bring fruit. One distant relative came and brought me a bag of fruit in one hand and an AK47 in the other. “I want you to shoot him with this gun”, he said.
My family decided to go to the police. After the police investigation they sentenced him with 3 years of prison for intended murder. Since Gaddaffi was in high school and he was almost my age at the time, my dad didn’t want him to be in jail and not go to school for three years. My father went to the local court with a bunch of elders from our town and forgave him. The judge asked us to do a Jirga and come to an agreement signed by both families. We did do a small Jirga and agreed that we would never try to harm their family. Later, many relatives and friends were upset with us for not having listened to them. Had we gone with the traditional form of revenge, only God knows where I would be, who would be exploiting my family now or if we would still be alive at all.
By Hameed Tasal
@ABalkhi is Taliban's Twitter handle and @ISAFMedia is ISAF's. I am following both. They sometimes have Twitter fights. They are exchanging some serious words right now as I am typing and here is how the @ABalkhi started and then the @ISAFMedia's response follows and I quote everything:
@ABalkhi: Article CSM:1000s Afghan mercenaries hired by CIA in Afghanstan.Commit outright human rights abuses(rape,robery,extra judicial killing etc)
Story confirmed by US diplomats, western officials, afghan authorities. Hired to fight Taliban and others
Recruits 'cherry picked' from regular ANA and trained by US Special forces at Camp Gecko
US tactic as withdraws is going "beyond traditional intelligence, military, and law enforcement functions.”
These kinds of units who are trained by US military, funded by CIA fits the bill perfectly
These units which are shadowy and unaccountable to anyone, only answer to CIA
Repeatedly commit extra judicial killing, rape, torture, larceny is being directly bankrolled by CIA and US military via US taxpayers
Matt (Green Beret captian) says: must work with these units to beat Taliban even though behavior insults 'western sensibilities'
Matt (Green Beret captian):No standard to begin with. No rule of law. taliban not that bad and Afghan farmer not innocent civilian
So ISAF admits hiring mercenaries to commit mass murder, rape, torture and does not consider farmers as innocent civilians. Great JOB!!!
i wonder why not many journalists and even the UN talk much about such issues and the dire situation it has created for the Afghans
ISAF Twitter handle(@ISAFMedia) then responds with: @abalkhi We don't hire mercs to commit murder/rape/torture. OTOH ... that seems to be a core competency among Taliban
@ABalkhi replies: @ISAFmedia your officials admitted to it dumb dumb. and how can you talk about taliban when u cut fingers etc and use them as throphies
@ISAFMedia: @abalkhi Dumb dumb? How the dialogue elevates. Look: Nobody takes you seriously. Everything you type is wrong. Just. Stop.
@ABalkhi: @ISAFmedia Thats why they picked you for this job. If I wasnt here, you wouldnt have a job
@ISAFMedia: @abalkhi You're just a fun sideshow. How many tanks did you blow up today. (I have the actual number if you lose count.)
By Hameed Tasal
By Hameed Tasal
She targeted me by her gun and drew back the trigger. It horrifically made a sound and then smoothly I felt its coldness on my shoulder. I saw her face on the water next to her tent. Her blonde hair was upward. The buttons of her collar were open to her belly and a black talisman was shining. I brought down the camera slowly.
Looking down I found a bunch of flowers circled around her legs. I heard the sound of feet coming. It was the children’s who were laughing and clapping. Picking up the head of gun, she asked me:” what did you do Khala? What are you afraid of?” she brought down the gun and I felt it.
She accepted me by a smile as if she had wanted to compensate her joke. Playing with head of her gun, she veiled a piece of tent when she encountered me. Once again she targeted me by her gun and faked the sound of fire by her mouth. And her friends faked their hands as if they were shooting me. She found the camera when she blew off my head after a shot. She came up very seriously and touched it. They ringed around me and we became friends after a while.
She called her friends and sat on a stone. She was trolling her toy gun and cleaning it carefully with a corner of her skirt. “a memory picture?!” I picked up the camera. His dry lips were opened by another smile. She shook her body and raised her gun a bit in order to have a better memory picture.
I showed the picture after I took it. She shouted excitedly and starred at it several times. She approached the picture to me and starred at me wonderfully. Everyone congratulated her in order for she was now established her fame. She shook her gun and asked me to take some photos for her. This time he felt better before the camera. She is still laughing and embraced her sister.
She doesn’t name her sister and thinks she would be 20 years old. But she looks like 9 years old or so. He points out her mother who is brining the water out of the tent. She has recently gone to the school, but she has no idea about school. She doesn’t like it. From dawn to dark night, she is taking care of the sheep. She has many wishes and one of them is to have a big real gun.
By Zohra Najwa
Superstition is appeared in di
fferent ways such as cult generated by cults, talisman, some religions, beliefs, traditions and so on. One of them is sayings originated from superstition and these sayings are sometimes constituted into number like 666 in Holy Book and Satanism, 13 among Samarians and the new one – 39 in Afghanistan.
Sometimes Afghans call this number 40-1.39 has no logical background among Afghans, but there are many stories about it that I cannot write and collect them all. One the most heard one is that:
“Once upon a time, there was a rich man like Khan in a village. He was powerful and very superstitious as well. After collapse of Taliban he built several places and buildings, bought a cell phone, and renewed most of his property. His phone number had three 39, the size of his shoes was 39, he had 39 mistresses and he had 39 buildings.”
“When he dies, due to being so cruel, no villagers went to grave him. Day by day, people forgot his name, but the buildings he made, the mistresses and all his property were remained. People used his buildings and made the number 39 popular among their village. Then the story went to other villages and cities so fast.”
This was one of the stories of why number 39 became popular among Afghans and they detest it.
Yesterday, a large number of Afghan bloggers, facebookers and twitters post articles, pictures and music and video in order to condemn 39.
Some days ago during the four days of Luya Jirga, I saw all of TV networks filmed all the chairs whose numbers were 39. There was no guest sitting on those chairs. That is why Afghan bloggers, facebookers and twitters post their articles, picture, music clips and video clips.
Yesterday, President Hamid Karzai was asked as to why this is like this. And Karzai said:” this is what people believe. I did nothing and this is not my responsibility to answer it. When people accept, I do too.”
One of the facebookers who changed the picture of his facebook account to 39 says:” I did so for two reasons. The first one; because I want to show the ridiculous culture widespread in my country. And second one; because I would like to indicate my hatred about the participants of Luya Jirga.”
But in reverse, other person says:” I live in Kabul, if I changed my facebook account picture to 39, I will be mocked. What looks like great in West is not acceptable in Afghanistan.” He added:” I hope one day we would change Afghanistan in a favorite way.
It occurred four days ago, right in the first day of Luye Jirga – the day in which President Hamid Karzai had gathered 2030 national and international VIPs to discuss with them about permanent military bases of the USA.
I was walking on the Ministry of Educational Street, a sunny and rather foggy day. I was thinking to myself concerning Luye Jirga and its positive and negative consequences on my personal life. All of a sudden, my left leg smashed with a hard, stone-like thing that stopped me from walking. Starring down, I found a boy crying next to me while a pot of eggs was spattered on the pavement. ” ahhh …. There is no egg in my pot. My mom would kill me.” the boy was screaming. Hugging himself, he was weeping and tears were coming down to his face from his nice eyes.
It was so question-making, very novel. First I wondered what an ugly accident. I bend down and put a 100-Afghani to his hand. Afterward, I felt relaxed because I helped a human being like myself – particularly a kid – whose mother is that cruel that doesn’t figure out it was not her kid’s fault. It always happens for kids. They are learning new things, experiencing new phenomena and their parents are in charge of steering them.
Beside feeling relaxed it was a very interesting case to have a more profound understanding of kid psychology. Therefore, I stayed in a corner watching the weeping boy. After a while or so, I saw two people – who probably were compassionate like me - came to him giving him 50 Afghani and 100 Afghani. Then another person and another person came to him and bestowed him the same or less amount of money. I thought:” it is his right to do it because he needs money, because his mother would kill him right he gets home. Or ...”
But a new theory! What if his family sends him out to beg? begging?!
A big question comes to mind:” what is the rationality behind collapsing a pot of eggs on the street in order to make money?” I cannot find a proper answer for this question because somebody should do a research.
You are right. At first I didn’t contemplate that it might be a sort of begging. It might be misunderstanding of mine in definition of poverty and poorness. Scientifically, definition is an economic problem takes root from inflation, migration, bankruptcy, social and political revolution, displacement and many other things.
I went to boy and asked him if he could answer a couple of questions that scratched my mind. I paid him 100 Afghani to talk to me only for one minute. The first question I posed was that why he begs and he said my parent became disable duration Taliban era, before he was born. Then I asked how much he earns per day ( a dangerous and sensitive question). Wonderfully, he answered to me:” I make around 1000 Afghani per day since I started this new trick.” It is a big amount of money while a simple laborer makes 350 to 400 Afghani per day.
I have seen many little kids working in offices, on the streets and other places in order to make money for their families. Some of them wash the cars in a corner of the street, some others call people to take a taxi for 5 Afghani, some brushes the shoes, some beg and so on. Poverty is one of social and economic problem in the world that results to prostitution, child abuse, human trafficking and even death. According to Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, over 45% of Afghans make only one US dollar per day.
Afghanistan, the world's leading producer of opium and heroin, is also facing a major and growing problem with drug abuse, the UNODC survey Drug Use in Afghanistan reveals. The survey shows that around 1 million Afghans between the ages of 15 to 64 are addicted to drugs.
The rate of drug addiction in Afghanistan is twice the global average, according to a new United Nations report that also shows Afghans have become the leading consumers of their own opium.
Here is the story of my brother who is a drug addict since four years ago:
“I was in my tailing shop that he came up. He is still one of my best friend to whom I talk and spend my time. He was drunk and had a bottle of wine in his bag back. He asked me to have a sip of it. I did so and found it very interesting and delicious at first.”
“He forced me to go with him somewhere for some refreshment. He was claiming that the air in my shop is drippy. I agreed to go with him. We took a taxi and headed toward Pul e Sukhta – where now is best known as the center of drug addicts in Kabul. When we got there, the killing and choking smell of smoke stifled me.” Now he is crying loudly.
He added:” and then I didn’t know what happened. I smoke for the first time. It made me vomiting. Day by day I used to use drugs to lessen the pain of my body while in first days I felt comfortable and worry-free person. Now I know that all I did was wrong.”
“by the way, I would like not to use drug anymore because I have a family and a kid. I love my wife and my little boy. They are the only people about whom I am concerned. If they were not I would be worried. Now I want to heal and I want to leave smoking. I don’t want my kid to become like me – somebody who is nothing but a burden for the society. The big problem in this regard is that there is no place for me to be hospitalized in. I know there are some places but they say we would accept you after six months – if I have connection there.”
I went most of the centers in which they train drug addicts how to leave the drug, but they need connection. As far as I know there are six centers in Kabul that teach addicts how to leave drugs. They have a one month or two month program. And there is only two centers over two months: one is located in Karte 3 and the other one – that I only heard about – belongs to American troops. In other words; the latter one has a two-year program and they keep the drug addict there in a camp and don’t let them go outside like a prisoner.
At the end, he doesn’t let me to upload his picture in my story.
By Basir Bita
Nov 16, 2011
Student at Asian University for Women
It was 1996 when the wild Taliban regime attacked Afghanistan and wanted to interfere in different parts of people’s life by the name of an Islamic government.
I was only two, a small child who could walk and sit but couldn’t talk properly, there were only a few words which I could pronounce properly, “Momi(Mother)”, “Baba(Father)”,“Nan(Bread)”,“Ab(Water)”.However most people couldn’t even understand the words I pronounced correctly.
The situation of the country got worse and worse day by day. Many limitations were created for both women and men. I don’t remember anything from that time. My mother says the Taliban entered houses whenever they wanted and collected most of the valuable house materials for themselves. The only reason behind this was what they called an Islamic country. But it was either a wrong interpretation of Islam or misuse of people’s religious belief.
My father decided to migrate to any of the neighboring countries. The only thing which I clearly remember is when he drove us on his big orange bus from our home through a special part of way.
I guess my parents especially my father tolerated too many troubles until he found Iran as a shelter for us.
I was five when for the first time my mother sent me for shopping alone. I went to shop and asked the shopkeeper with my pure Afghan language: “Kaka Waytex dari?(Uncle! Do you have washing powder?)”It was the language which my mother taught me and we all talked in that at home. When I told it at first he didn’t understand and asked me to repeat my words but as I did, he grinned at me and told ironically “Go...Go… learn the name and come back Afghan baby...”
I was frustrated.
In Afghanistan it normal to call men shopkeepers “Kaka” but it seems impolite in Iran. This was the thing which I got to know after a long time during my stay in Iran. Maybe it was one of the reasons which drove the shopkeeper so mad.
I was six when my father wanted to register my name for school but almost none of the Farsi schools were ready to accept a native speaker of Dari on their school.
Finally I got admitted to an Afghan-Iranian school. There was a minority of Iranian students but most of the teachers were Iranian. Basically it was a part of the school rules that we had to speak the national language of the country on campus. Soon I got familiar with their language and accent. Since then I had neither faced problem with the shopkeeper nor with the teachers. I could easily ask the shopkeeper for “Safid konanda” instead of “Waytex”, or could ask my teacher “Mashqh man chea?” So simply I called him “Aqha” instead of “Ustad” which stands for the word Teacher in Dari. I distinguished the mispronunciations between two languages and found that I have to pronounce every “A” sound of my language like “O” to make it more Farsi, like “Non” for ”Nan”. On the other hand, I used to talk Farsi so that my other classmates and teachers don’t make fun of me; in school campus every student who couldn’t or didn’t speak Farsi was called rural kid. So we had to speak Farsi even if we weren’t comfortable with it.
At that time the question which always kept my childish mind busy was why do I have to ignore myself and my identity by speaking Farsi. At that time I was so small and naïve to know that it wasn’t ignoring me but the way to communicate with others and respect school’s rules.
I was nine, a fourth grader student of my Afghan- Iranian school- which recently has changed to an absolute Iranian school with specific laws-when the oppressive Taliban government collapsed and the situation in my country got better. Without any hesitation, my father decided to return to Afghanistan as soon as possible.
At first, it sounded nice for me and my siblings but later created many difficulties for each of us.
Since my father insisted on our education he registered our names in a governmental school by the second week of our return to Kabul.
I never forget the day in which my Dari teacher screamed at me in front of the class which had 40-45 students. It was my third day at an Afghan school; in spite of being the youngest student in the class I usually sat in the last row. Before starting the new lesson she asked some of the students to read their writing assignments out loud and asked some questions. It was my turn that time. After she entered the class told me to stand up and read my essay from my note book. So I started reading confidently with my mixed Dari- Farsi language. I used mixed words because I was used to talking Farsi in Iran but was trying to replace it with Dari then and it wasn’t possible at once: “sar am ra ka dowr dadam, maman am onja waystada bod, yak khorda asabani ba cheshm mekhord” instead of saying “sar khoda ka dawr dadom , madaram anja estada bod wa kami qhahr malom meshod”. Unintentionally the sentence betrayed me and told all my classmates and the teacher that I was an Afghan who was had migrated to Iran and came back recently.
As I was reading she screamed at me “Sit down Zawarak (the special word which is used for the Afghans who were migrated to Iran in order to show them lower status).” the whole class was laughing at me which made me badly ashamed as well as nervous. I couldn’t believe that I started crying. I was sure that they could understand my words and had no problem with my Farsi-ized language but I didn’t know what the screaming and laughing was for. Most of the teachers and students hated Iran (maybe because of some political issues) and anyone who came from there. After that event none of the students behaved well with me, even when I said “Hi” to them they answered it by shaking their heads. This was intolerable for me and later forced me to change my school.
In reality, my Farsi-ized language isolated me from my classmates, teachers and even from the school.
Five years later my language and accent had completely changed. Living in Afghanistan, as time went on, talking with different people has affected my language and changed it in a few months.
I went to another school, in contrast with my first school, when I told any of my friends that I spent five years in Iran, they didn’t believe me because I could talk pure Dari without mixing any Farsi word. I found ups and downs of sounds, vowels and consonants in my language and changed the sound “O” to “A” again.
Everything changed but the question which still remains in my mind is why, when I was in Iran if I talked in Farsi they called me “Afghani” and when I returned to Afghanistan- at least to be known with Afghan identity- on the first few months every one was calling me “Iranian”, although the languages are so closed to each and even the alphabets are the same, people of both languages can know each other but again why does it matter to people so much? if the languages don’t differ there might be another reason behind which people are thinking about that after we talk and that probably is identity.
My identity is what I am and my language is what I say. The fact is that what always I am affects on what ever I say because what I am makes what I say.
Nov 14, 2011
According to state authorities, 16 to 18 November are the days for Luye Jerge Ananawi – literary means “Traditional Gathering”. Luye Jerga is a gathering ceremony in which representatives of people from different ethnic groups come together making decision about big political phenomena.
The name of Luye Jerga dates back Abdul Rahman Khan era, the first king who changed the name of Afghanistan from Khurasan to its current name. When he wanted to crown, first he invited deans from his ethnic group – Pashtun – and asked them to give approval to his kingdom and accept him as a king. Since then, a few kings established a Luye Jerga Ananawi to impose their personal decisions to the people under their sovereign. Now Hamid Karzai, the first Afghan president after disintegration of Taliban, is going to build it for the fifth time in the history of Afghanistan and apex his name within Afghanistan’s new political chapter.
In these days, Police and security forces are all in Kabul streets particularly in the streets and lanes in vicinity to Luye Jerga Tent. There are security forces and polices patrolling the people. You can see even checkpoints near to Luye Jerga Tent. Moreover, disguised individuals from intelligent services are placed in Kabul.
But such heavy security strategy has intimidated local people settled around Luye Jerga Tent. Some say that such heavy security protection is not only a factor that makes a heavy traffic in recent days, but it frustrates them and mismanage their routine life.
Abuld Ahad, resident of Afshar Hill next to Luye Jerga Tent, says:” the residents of here have been census to, but what they want to do it for? What are they doing with it?”
Intercontinental Hotel, one of the most important, and the oldest internationally appreciated hotels in Afghanistan, and that was targeted by a group of suicide attackers three months ago, is located very close to Luye Jerga Tent. Some local residents claim that security forces get in their houses without pre-alarm asking them their names and their identities.
According to local residents, flying military helicopters over their heads and houses have disordered their minds. Zahra Ahmadi, a student in Talim O Tarbia University – which is located near to Luye Jergar Tent – says:” today, whenI entered the university I encountered with military forces. It made me frustrated thinking what would happen next.”
Mirza Mohammad who came in Afshar to meet his brother’s family says that there was no way for him to drive; he had to arrive in his brother’s through lanes.
Some people say that they cannot arrive in their offices on the time; no matter they are employees of state or non-state organizations. They say that their job position might be jeopardized.
Authorities in Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs which is in charge of official holidays told that they have not still finalized what days would be off because it is President’s task to make final decision.
Where the Luye Jerga is going to be happened a consultation gathering held three months ago and four months ago, Intercontinental Hotel was targeted by RPJ.