Archive for November, 2006

Greetings from Bamian!

pa310028.JPGThis post comes to you from the heart of
Asia, roof of the world, and, sadly, a used-to-be treasure trove of Buddhist relics, Bamian. Yes, I’m writing to you from an internet café located under the majesty of the remains of the giant Buddha statues destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban.

 

I am here to work on a book which is about the culture and history of the Hazara people of Afghanistan. It will contain stories for children about the struggles of daily life in this cold but historic province. The book aims at introducing these people to the children of the
United States whose country is spreading “freedom” and “democracy” in that region. The Hazaras are one of the three largest ethnic groups in Afghanistan and are of Turco-Mongolic ancestry (I am a Hazara myself, if you’re curious).

 

I will be staying here for a few more days. During my stay, I’m going to take lots of pictures and do many interviews of the people to get to know more about their troubles and travails.

 

I will also visit the picturesque Band-e-Amir, a group of lakes situated outside the Bamian city. I will hear from the locals the many folk stories associated with this lake.

 

From my first impressions of Bamian, I am humbled by the magnificence of what remains of the two Buddha statues, and saddened by the barbarity that went into destroying them. I am also enchanted by the beauty of this valley and the warmth of its people.

 

Bamian is the safest of all provinces in Afghanistan. And if all goes well, I will  hopefully be back home in after a week. Then, I will blog and post some of the pictures I take. The internet situation here is shaky due to which I am not be able to post from Bamian.

 

See you all on the other side of the border. Till then, stay safe and good wherever you are.

Partial Justice Is No Justice

halabja.jpg

For crimes he committed against humanity, Saddam has been sentenced to death by hanging.

“The former Iraqi leader was convicted over the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail following an assassination attempt on him in 1982.

“However, some legal experts have argued that Saddam Hussein’s ongoing trial for atrocities committed against the Kurdish population should be allowed to reach a verdict before he is executed.”

But the “legal experts” and the international media are missing the bigger picture: Partial justice is no justice at all. His execution, even if carried after the verdict of his Kurdish case, will deprive the world of a man who could well be tried for crimes he committed in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. During the eight-year war, through international backing, he used chemical agents not only against the Iranian army, but also against Iranian civilians.

The execution of Saddam means the end of a process of justice, which, if pursued ideally, could have even dragged high-profile warmongers such as the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, for his backing of Iraq’s army and chemical program during the war. Unsurprisingly, however, Rumsfeld’s involvement seems only to be the tip of the American iceberg: Donald Reigle, the head of a Senate Committee reports:

UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq‘s chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs.

The report continues:

The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record.”

Unfortunately, this devastating record doesn’t end here. America, through countries like the Saudi Arabia and Italy, conducted most of its aid in a bid to make sure Iraq won; because, Iraq’s defeat in the war, in Rumsfeld’s words, “would be contrary to U.S. interests.” America even voted against a Security Council resolution condemning Iraq’s use of chemical agents during the war.

But it wasn’t only these countries that were involved in making the bloodbath happen. Germany, U.K., France and Spain have all had their fair share of monetary profits in return for the blood of the 20,000 Iranian soldiers and thousands of civilians who lost their lives.

It seems as if today everyone has forgotten about the souls of these individuals and those who lost their lives as a result of the Iranian retaliation. This rotten system, which does almost nothing other than ensure corporate benefits, is endangering the percipience of humankind. We are no longer noticing all the bad that’s being done because bad is no longer “bad.”

Take, for example, the “aid” that is being given to the poor countries of the world. For every dollar given in aid to poor countries, 13 dollars are squeezed out in various forms; and this voracious corporate appetite is being supplied form the stomachs of the 780,000,000 people who starve to death every year due to a shortage of food. These are the people who neither contracted the aid nor received any portion of it.

Peace, amity, humanity—all are becoming mere political gibberish and are losing their true values…to me at least.

Further Reading:

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I no longer update this weblog due to academic and other preoccupations. However, feel free to browse through its older entries. Thanks.
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This is a weblog where a journalism enthusiast Afghan student writes about hot contemporary issues from an Afghan perspective. Enjoy your visit! Contact: mail . myscribbles @ gmail . com

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