A Common-Man Security Yardstick

Okay, so I got an offer of full tuition, room, board and laptop scholarship from Berea College. I accepted it, enrolled and got approved of a student visa after passing an interview at the American Embassy in Islamabad. But some of you might know that last year I traveled to Bamian for research for an upcoming book I am co-authoring. Also, that on my way to Bamian, I nearly got killed.

Well, it had been in the pipeline for months that I go there once again for more research. But due to the security situation, I find myself unable to make the trip. That’s because in the past two weeks, there have been two separate incidents involving civilian passengers who were slaughtered by Taliban. In one of the incidents, seven Hazara passengers in a public van were hand picked, abducted and slaughtered in cold blood. In another one, four Hazara travelers were killed the same way after their car was stopped by the Taliban. Both incidents occurred on the highway between the restive southern province of Bamian and the capital Kabul.

The Hazaras are one of the four main ethnic groups of Afghanistan. They have a long history of oppression, ethnocides, genocides and subjugation, mainly fueled by ethnic and religious prejudice in the hands of different governments. And I, being an ethnic Hazara, find it extremely risky to make a trip to my home country for the purpose of writing a book that portrays the culture, history and current situation of my people.

Considering that after the fall of the Taliban till the recent past, security on the highways was generally good. But events have taken a turn to the worse in the past few months. Now, not only the cities and streets are unsafe, but so are the roads and highways too. I don’t care what the news reports say or don’t; I don’t pay much heed to how government or international memos describe the situation in my country–because they are biased more often than not. But if I, as a common man, am unable to travel for fear of my life, it is a cause for alarm–and a real indicator of the degree of trust that I and people like me have on our government, its  security institutions and the international forces.

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21 Responses to “A Common-Man Security Yardstick”

  1. 1 ninglun June 15, 2007 at 1:58 am

    Great news about college, and good to see you are alive and well.

  2. 3 abbas ali June 16, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Wow! it is Fantastic to here that news Congratulations!. i was waiting since long time for a new update on ur blog, and the update is blasting news of glee. I keep my fingers across for u, having your dreams come true. Well done !

  3. 4 MyScribbles: Write-ups of an Afghan June 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Abbas, thank you. I hope you will get better opportunities in the near future. I’m confident you can do it. 🙂

  4. 5 Sajjad July 4, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Afghanistan seems to be an awesome country, rich in culture and lots more. I really wish I could visit it, but these days, it is more secure for me to go to Karachi of all places, than Kabul, which is much closer. Nice blog and I hope to read more of it.

  5. 6 QuantumFog July 10, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Congratulations on your scholarship. Note that communities and colleges all across America have computers with an internet connection. You’ll have to update this blog more often.

    When do you expect to arrive in the US?

  6. 7 Razaq July 15, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Great news Shuja.
    i hope as soon you have your visa and STUDY in Coll.
    Best wishes Rafiq!

  7. 8 MyScribbles: Write-ups of an Afghan July 19, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks, everyboday.

    QuantumFog: I’ll fly sometime this month. I expect to land on US soil before August. Then I hope I’ll be able to update this blog more regularly. 🙂

  8. 9 Raziq July 22, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    good shuja. as soon send me your mobile number in US i will be in contect with you.
    my one is 0033637173340

  9. 10 hadi1121 August 11, 2007 at 5:13 am

    Well, well, well!

    Heard it from Saleem n Hadi, are you there yet!?

    Congratulations!!! Good news is hard to come by these days.

  10. 11 afghanistanica September 4, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I am looking forward to reading your blog entries. Welcome to America!

  11. 12 Afghanistanica September 4, 2007 at 8:00 am

    One more thing, enjoy Kentucky and its beautiful scenery! (While you study hard)

  12. 13 safrang September 10, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    Congrats. Did I tell you I spent one happy, strange, and eventful year on a horse-farm in eastern Kentucky – actually not too far from Beria? Be prepared – not the America of your novels or hollywood!

  13. 14 Stephanie Schiff, Virginia Beach, VA October 9, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    It’s wonderful to hear of your scholarship – if you ever want to see a little more of the US I would be happy to play tour guide for the Norfolk & Virginia Beach areas and Washington DC.

    I’m so sorry that things have gotten worse [again] in Afghanistan. I imagine it has quite a bit to do with Bush (soon I think we will have to spell that with @#$! like curse words) redeploying troops to Iraq – which I believe has to do with the media coverage Iraq receives that Afghanistan hasn’t had since the beginning of the war. He seems to care less about the people he is hurting than the media attention and his popularity ratings. I wish more people would realize that this “surge” in Iraq is doing to the people we promised to protect in Afghanistan.

    I love hearing about the culture over there. My brother was deployed to Afghanistan twice and made quite a few friends of the locals. The first tour was right at the beginning of the US occupation and he really didn’t take the time to understand and appreciate all there was to learn about. The second tour allowed him to live alongside the local population for months at a time (he was there about 16 months) and it was amazing to hear his perspective change.

    He began making an effort to get to know people and with the help of his translator he got to be friends with a few families. He and others from his unit are trying to help get a Visa for the translator. They were in a pretty remote area so they got to be much more immersed in the small town they were in. Anyway… I loved hearing about the different cultures in the various places he spent time in and I would love to hear more.

    Welcome to the US – if you need anything let me know. Just email me!

  14. 15 homeinkabul February 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    You haven’t updated in a while, but I just wanted to add my congrats to the mix! Tabreek!

  15. 16 Prafulla Kumar Hazoari June 19, 2008 at 10:47 am

    The matter is not of Afghanistan. It is the matter of Islamic expansion. This is to be contained. The policy of appeasing the muslims and islamic activists will not help the americans and europeans. It is a matter of world. The preaching of Islam always is itself an expansionist. They are not tolerant of opinions of other religions.

  16. 17 Teresa June 24, 2008 at 4:21 am

    thanks for dropping by!
    pretty interesting blog yourself… I’ll be reading. 🙂

  17. 18 D Azad UK June 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    good luck with your study in USA and keep up the hard work…

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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.
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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