Dec 31, 2011

No Shelter, No Protection: Afghanistani Asylum Seekers Struggle to Survive in Greece

by Basir Ahang
Within the sprawling city of Athens, Greece, Victoria Park resembles a war front camp. Close to a thousand Afghanistani asylum seekers, many are children, now call this park home. Hoping to put the struggles of a war torn homeland behind them, they left Afghanistan to find security. Sadly, the hunger, homelessness, cruelty and desperation has followed them on their path.
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Zulmay, an Afghanistani refugee has been attacked several times by men he suspects are from a Greek nationalist group. 
‘This park is the only sanctuary for us. If we go outside of this park, we are assaulted.” His eye is swollen, oozing and bruised. An injury confirming his claim of mistreatment by Greek assailants. 

“If we go outside of the park, the Greek police will not protect us. The Greek police are reluctant to interfere when we are attacked. I went to the police when my head was bleeding after an assault. The police told me I should defend myself if I am attacked. Clearly, the Greek police will not register our complaints of harassment or assault.”

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Zulmay says it is not good to fight back. It will only worsen the situation for a refugee and it could land them in jail or prison. He is not going to take the chance of being separated from his wife and children just to fight back.
“My family needs me. I must find us shelter and food. I want to find a job to take care of my family.”
Along the roads of Athens, young Afghanistani refugee children work selling handmade items. For six months now, brothers Fareed, 8, and Hamyoon, 11, walk the streets selling to survive. Everyone in the family must do their part to earn money. Their parents ask them to earn at least 15 Euros before returning home to the park. It is a rough life compared to the children eating cereal and milk for breakfast in front of a television. A school bus will not arrive to taxi these refugee children to school for education. For now, the streets of Athens are their classroom. The lesson for “survival of the fittest” is now in session. 
These Afghanistani refugees are waiting to be processed by the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), a UN agency mandated to protect and support refugees. The commission assists in the voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement. It is an immense and complicated process.
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Consumed with their own economic troubles, it appears there are Greeks without care for the plight of refugees. You would think that a people so steeped with a history of war would understand such things. The days of Spartacus are long gone. Why must a refugee fight for his life and the life of his children within this arena? Would it have been better they starve or die on the battlefields of Afghanistan? 
The cruelty and confinement in Athens has many refugees feeling an urgency to smuggle their families out of Greece and into neighboring European countries.
“We are not a danger to Greece. We only want to find safe shelter and a little food to feed our children. We desire a secure place to live and find work. Our people are capable and willing to work. We want our children to have a chance for education. Shouldn‘t everyone be allowed a safe place to raise a family? In my homeland, every day I felt fearful a bomb or bullets would destroy my family. Many of us have already suffered loss from the death of a loved one. A war that I did not start took away jobs and food for my family. No one should have to endure such things.” These words from an Afghanistani refugee mother sound like those of any parent concerned for their child.

Dec 26, 2011

Band-e-Amir (Afghanistan's Wonder)

Band Amir
Band Amir Bamyan

There is something really hard to know when is this war is going to be over, I mean it has been 30 years and only 10 years since Afghanistan is facing Taliban. Since then there have been some changes but from my point of view not that much that I expected. In some places there is no school and there is no hospital at all. In some places there is no water for the crops. And of course that year there will be no product, and this leads that economy will not grow.I don’t know what will happen with Afghanistan’s economy when NATO leave Afghanistan in 2014. It is going to be a hard time. And that is for sure.
From the time that there has been war in Afghanistan , it made Afghanistan a bit more down from culture to tourists. I have seen photos and weekly magazines that before war there was a lot of tourists coming from around the world.
Places  like this is very rare in the modern world.
Band Amir Bamyan
Band Amir Bamyan
A few short words about Band Amir: Band Amir have seven places like this one. Or seven dams like this and each one have different style and water. It was once a very huge touristic place. Afghanistan have a very rich History of places. Each is like a legend and some are unknown. 
Band Amir Banyan
Band Amir Bamyan
Band Amir is located in Bamyan province in Afghanistan.
Band Amir was once elected as Afghanistan’s first national park in 1960′s but unfortunately that did not happened due to Kabul situation of War. In 2004, Band-e Amir was submitted for recognition as a World Heritage site.
Band-e-Amir Bamyan
Band-e-Amir Bamyan
And finally in 2009 it was declared to be Afghanistan’s first national park. Some say that there is 6 dams but I have heard that there is 7 dams more. Anyways/
The six dams are these :
  • Band-e Gholaman (slaves)
  • Band-e Qambar (Caliph Ali’s slave)
  • Band-e Haibat (grandiose)
  • Band-e Panir (cheese)
  • Band-e Pudina (wild mint)
  • Band-e Zulfiqar (the sword of Ali)
Band-e-Amir, Bamyan
Band-e-Amir , Bamyan
I am praying that our touristic places to be back in list of touristic places in the world. It is going to be a great achievement for Afghanistan. Most of the world countries get their economics mostly from tourists from around the world.

I will recommend you to go to this attractive place. Of course when this stupid war is over. Or at least better.I went there for 1 day like some 5 years ago. And it is magical and unbelievable the water is like real blue unlike other rivers. And some believe that, dams water is pure and will give health.

Dec 17, 2011

Why Do I Blog?

Why Do I blog?
As a young blogger, I see blogging as a way to share my positive thoughts and ideas on different subjects, arts (photography, drawings), news about Afghanistan and issues on a much a larger scale that is global issues affecting all of us. I do it mainly because it is a personal hobby for me. Blogging is not too much old as it became very popular in 1998. I started blogging in fall of 2010 and so my blog is not too old. There are many reasons that I like to discuss about why I like to blog.

Blogging is now a very social thing. Everyone can keep a blog for different purposes. One can connect and make friends around the world. It doesn’t require any special knowledge of writing and is very easy to start. Blogging is now also a serious thing. Some blogger have actually been punished by governments for expressing their ideas. Their writings have been seen as an insult to the governments and as a result some writers have had to face jail. On the other hand, bloggers's also get respectful prizes for their blogs specially the ones who write academically and on important global affairs. People use their blogs as a source of genuine information. Personally, I write my blog because I think writing is an important tool in understanding many issues and getting a message across to people.
When I blog, I feel like I am communicating my feelings and thoughts; communicating not only with the world out there but also with myself. As I write I put my feelings and thoughts into words and so I am in touch with the world, I communicate with the world. Sometimes I look at what I write, evaluate it and re-shape it. At times, I leave it as it comes with no more editing. I evaluate and edit my original thoughts and writings because it helps transfer my thoughts in a way that is understandable to the people who read my blog. After all, what I feel and write may not always be perceived as I intend but it helps a lot when thoughts are transferred neatly into words. But sometimes it is best to leave the words untouched and the interpretation to the reader’s own imagination. Sometimes I just write about what I dream. Sometimes I write about things that I would like to do one day. It may look like fiction, but one day I hope I will be able to do some of those. For example I want to go to the Amazons or climb to the top of the Himalayas.

Therefore as I write, I feel I am creating and the joy of creating is known to all.

I blog because there is so much I want to say. As a kid with great ambition and thus my blog title “akidwithgreatambition”, blogging is my first platform where I can raise awareness about issues that are close to my heart, important for me and I think important for everyone else. I write about nature. I write about how beautiful this world is and it can be for all. I write about nature because I want everyone to know about it and appreciate it as I do. I love our planet and am greatly concerned about how it is changing due to reckless behaviour of people. It makes me angry when I hear that thousands of hectares of forest are being cleared every year in Amazon for instance. I write about global warming so I can stay up to date with matters related to it and at the same time inform my readers about this important topic.

People might think it is a serious issue that adults should deal with but I believe the responsibility to keep our home clean and sustainable lies on everyone’s shoulders including kids my age. If we develop good habits of recycling, reducing pollution and buying environmentally friendly goods from a young age, we are more likely to keep such habits for the rest of our life and transfer them to our children too. So I write to help myself understand global warming better and raise awareness about it.

I also want to be a voice for the voiceless. I want to write and share about the painful life of kids in Afghanistan with the rest of the world by blogging. A large number of children are homeless in Afghanistan and they live on the streets. Most of them are beggars and labourers. In developed parts of the world, children don’t have to do any work. They enjoy their childhood and are worry free. In Afghanistan and a few other countries, children are deprived of their childhood and have to work or beg to feed their families. Most of them are abused too. These children do not have the same opportunity that I have so I write to share their pain and suffering with the world. I feel connected to them when I do this. One day I will be able to do more for them.

I also write my blog to inform the world about my country Afghanistan. People have seen a lot of negative things about Afghanistan on the media but I want to show them the other side too. I want the world to know that there is another side to all of this, a much bigger one. There is positive side. By writing about the old and modern artists of Afghanistan and their work I want to inform the world about my culture and how it used to be before the wars destroyed my country. I know there is a lot of violence and destruction going on but despite all these, there still is love for arts, music and humanity among my people. I hope that through my blog, people will realize this and become interested in knowing about Afghanistan.

Evolution Of Blogs

Really? I didn't knew that blogs had influence on society and it people, let me rephrase that : I didn't knew that blogs had influence on "World" and it's people. Yes blogs are very influencing thing for society's and you can say the whole world. Millions of people around the world that have access to internet and a passion for blogging is blogging right now. They are sharing their thoughts, their opinions (on almost anything), their ideas, their achievements....etc.

Form some people blogging have changed their life, and everything in their life!

This is because blogging is awesome, fun, cool, educative, informative, and anything you can imagine. Personally my self that I have just started blogging about 5 months ago. I have noticed a lot about my self that I have changed. People have noticed about me. Now that I see I am kind of recognized inside my people, and also a bit recognized inside world wide web. It is just so much interesting to me . That every day I think about it. I have got so much achievements from blogging. And recommend for any body to have a blog and share their opinions about their concerns. Some like to blog about writing reviews about movies and books and some like to just write about their daily-life. But you know it is just blogging that can be used for anything. With a blog you can have as many pages as you want as may categories as you want as many posts as you want except for files that is limited.

Blogging is changing world- Blogging Is having Influence on world!

Blogging is a type of free-style writing , but some take it kind of serious which is also nowadays visible to media world. Even some blogs have that much influence on governments that it leads to protests.

From my point of view blogging is the very easy and best platform for person or a society to raise their voice about something.

Some points about why is blogging the best platform:

  • It is Free!
  • It has a lot of features
  • Their is a lot of blog providers
  • You can share anything!
  • You will find other great people by blogging
  • Even some people earn their day living by blogging
  • Now blogging is a job
  • It is life changing! Trust Me!

This is my first post in Association Of Afghan Bloggers (AABW) . I hope that my posts and my opinions will be helpful and enjoyable to read. And your comments on posts are encouraged and will be appreciated.

Nov 22, 2011

Being Disable Is Not An Unability

Ten years ago, the Afghan government and its international allies pledged to advance women’s rights following the military intervention to oust the Taliban. Millions of Afghan women and girls have seen progress in their lives since 2001: two-and-a-half million girls are enrolled in school, women can work outside their homes and the constitution grants women and men equal legal status.

But many Afghan women now fear their rights will be sacrificed as the Afghan government and its international partners seek a political settlement with the Taliban. The Taliban have an appalling record of human rights abuses both in government and as insurgents. Today, in areas under their control, the Taliban have severely curtailed the rights of women and girls, including the denial of education, employment, freedom of movement and political participation.

Yesterday I met a woman having an iron stick under her hand and walking so slowly. It was at 6.30 pm. She was one the first Afghan women that I saw using a stick to walk. I didn’t know how start communicating with her, since culturally it is hard to communicate with Afghan women when you are a man. Fortunately, my sister was with me. She could do me a favor.

First my sister went up to her began talking. She accepted my sister easily. After a while my sister nodded toward me to join them. I asked her what happened that she lost her leg and she said the following:

“we had a good life and all of my family members were happy enjoying the life, although it was war era. Devastated situation was created when Mojahidin come to exist. It was the beginning of the time that misery and evil stepped in our country. Hundreds of thousand people were migrated, some were killed and others stayed in their homes.”

She added:” Thanks to God that the life is ever-changing and nothing is forever but Allah. During the war among different parties and sides, another violent and severe group came to exist – Taliban. In 1996, I was studying in grade 10 in Rokhshan High School. During such horrific days, one rocket was smashed to the block of our school and three people were killed and nine other were wounded. I was one the victims. After a while, an ambulance appeared and took us to the Red Cross Hospital in Kate 3.”

She is sighing:” When the rocket smashed to the block, everything became black and I fell down. And when I opened my eyes I felt irritating pain. It was so late when I felt recovered because I wasn’t like past time. I no longer was a girl like others. One of my leg went nowhere. At first it was so annoying for me and people teased me as a “Disable”, but day by day I thought to myself that it was from God and I always thank him because he knows better.”

“ then I was taken to surgery room for artificial leg implanting. After a while I felt another leg in my body that would help me a lot. Now I am working in a private hospital as the physiotherapist and I love my job.”

By Basir Bita

Stay At Your Home, Boy!

By the freak of destiny I called Hassan, one of my close friends who lives in Kabul and he told the following story.

My name is Hassan. I live in an area of the city namely known as Afshar where about 3000 people have been massacred during the internal war in 1993. Those who committed this inhumane killing or the perpetrators of this war crime were fighters of the Shoraye Nazar; the most power Mujahideen group.

Today, as part of my usual routine, I got out of home at 08:30 to go for work. Just about 50 meters away from my house I saw two well-armed policemen on an army vehicle talking nervously to a woman. It took my attention; so I decided to approach them to find out what was going on there. Before I got any closer to them one of the policemen shouted at:” go back home”.

I asked “why? I have to be at work at 09:00.” He reluctantly shouted:‘’ Go back home’’. He said loudly:‘’ You cannot get out of your home for four days’’. He explained due to forthcoming ‘’Grand Assembly’’ (a Pashtun tradition of meeting to discuss matters related to high importance) at Poly technique Institute.

They felt offended for I did not know about the Grand Assembly. I tried to explain that I was bound to be at my office at the regular official hours. I told them that organizing an even should not stop people from going about their lives, but they refused to allow me pass through.

Polytechnic University is situated at about a 3-4 kilometers from Afshar and lies between the main city and Afshar. What do the residents of Afshar do while Loya Jirga is going on? Officials have no answer for.

I got back to home and stayed there for the whole day, but later in the evening, I got out to buy some bread to eat. The bakery shop is in vicinity to our home, but still I had to enter into argument with the reluctant policemen in order to buy bread from the shop.

It’s evening of the second day and I’m not allowed to get out of home because somebody that I don’t know about is making decision about something that I don’t know. But I know it’s related to our prosperous future. Some people call Afghan Government as a democratic government, but I don’t agree to it, because both the president and elected members of the people are bypassed while making big decision related to national interest. It seems to me that Grand Assembly is preferred over Afghan democracy.

By Mahdi Mehraeen

Two Young Afghans Join the Taliban

All names in this real story are unreal.

Sexual Harassment

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

Twitter and International Forces

@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

link to full story

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

A Wish As Big As A Gun

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

No Number Is Damned

The history of humanity is filled with ups and downs in different places. Human beings cannot afford living without thinking and imagination – as Decarte says:” I think, so I am.” One the thing pertained to the imagination is Superstition.

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.

Beg or Die

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.