Dec 25, 2008

The Fight of Nasim Fekrat in Afghanistan

This post is written Philippe R. in Courrier International, you can read this in original version in French language. My friend Jean-Baptiste Perrin translated into English.
With his personal blog Afghan Lord, Nasim Fekrat, 25, is a real fighter. His country Afghanistan has been on the front page of Western and foreign media for so many years, at the heart of what is called "the fight against international terrorism." In Kabul, Nasim fights too. With his own weapons and for a cause much braver and more difficult: freedom of expression.

Nasim Fekrat is an Afghan journalist, internationally recognized for his blog Afghan Lord that exists in English and Farsi. In 2005 already, Reporters Without Borders has awarded him its first prize to reward his work, his courage, his commitment. Afghan Lord is currently competing for the best South Asia blog 2008 awarded by the Brass Crescent Awards, oriented towards the Muslim world's blogosphere. Most recently, Nasim Fekrat won the 2008 Information Safety Freedom (ISF), received in Siena in Italy.

Nasim Fekrat has more than deserved his "trophies" of defender of the freedom of expression. This very freedom, he conquered it thanks to the Internet. He is an Afghan proselyte for blogging: he created the Afghan Press online journal and founded the Association of Afghan bloggers. Both in two versions, English and Farsi.

In its latest post dated December 14, Nasim Fekrat explains better than anyone why he won the 2008 ISF prize, as a militant for an Afghanistan open to the outside world.

"Digital Afghanistan was in my plan to foster an interest in digital media among young people in the Universities, schools, institutes and journalists. Digital Afghanistan was very important for me because I believe this is the only way we can tell our story to the world. Presenting Afghanistan through digital world is a job for new generation, not for those were involved in war, for those who were involved in massacres, those who plant opium but this the new generation that can tell to the world the reality what they believe and streaming in their live daily. They are the sources of truth and honest, they are tired of war, they are not the generation of suicide anymore."

Nasim Fekrat was awarded the ISF prize jointly with Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, an Afghan boy whose death sentence was commuted to 20 years in prison. His crime? Having read an article on the Internet.

Dec 21, 2008

Afghan LORD received Honorable Metion

I appreciate you a lot for supporting me to receive Honorable Mention in the Fifth Annual of the Brass Crescent Awards in 2008. I received this prize in the category of Best South Asian Blog as Honorable Mention and it means a lot for me.

I would like to thank Jeffrey Stern and Javaid Zirak who supported me and thank from all of you.
This really give me hope and encourage to be updated.

I salute Brass Crescent people and their spirit and innovation.

Just to add this that i think you all have seen that I tend to gravitate toward enlightening and more a voice from inside a wounded land, a forgotten land and horror land (for many), of course there is always not only horror but also love, trust, honesty and culture which i like to write you. I don’t like to be too negative but also remember that i don't born optimistic too. My childhood story is scaring, i born in the time of war and you can understand what means that.

Oh, and by the way, i owe you much!

Dec 20, 2008

Dance with Burqa

The video is taken by Pino Scaccia from the Award Ceremony in Siena. At the end of the video you can see me at the corner.
The women in the Burqa are a group who perform widely in Italy.

Dec 14, 2008

Why I am the Freedom of Expression Award Winner?

I had to write and publish this piece sooner but I couldn't because of hectic schedule. Now, I have to tell you to everyone why I became an award winner for the freedom of expression by ISF (Information Safety and Freedom) in Siana, Italy.

On Friday morning, November 28 in Siena, in Tuscany region, the award for the freedom of expression given to two Afghan journalists. I also got Kambakhsh's award. It was painful for me to receive my award while the other winner Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh is still in prison only for reading an article in the internet.

Many of you may ask me that why you became the award winner while there were many journalists who were fighting for the freedom of speech, even some of them lost their lives, some of them exiled and some of them beaten and harassed by local warlords and drug lords. I am awarded because my satire/cartoon magazine was shot down in 2004, I am awarded because I got several death threats and exiled for seven months. I am award for my hard work on developing and teaching Blogging and online journalism in my country.
I have been running many workshops for teaching blogging in different cities.

Beside this I made an electronic online newspaper “Afghan Press” in two languages, Dari (farsi) and English, we are trying to get funds and hire a few journalist to write for us. The main idea is to provide a “narration from inside” about culture, media, politics, political parties, economics, and higher educations for whom are wise and interested in Afghanistan’s affairs, and especially local compatriots.

Simultaneously i built up the Association of Afghan Blog Writers in two languages which now it changed to a powerful online community of Afghan young bloggers, they share ideas and discus situation inside the county. These were the works and beside this I had to work to feed myself and my family.As a freelancer I sold photos to AP, wrote for BBC,, NATO, UNAMA and local papers in Kabul. My efforts were a give a better image from my country out to the world. Blogging was my plan to teach to young people in the Universities, schools, institutes and journalists. Blogging is important for me because I believe this is the only way we can tell our story to the world. Presenting Afghanistan through blog world is a job for new generation, not for those were involved in war, for those who were involved in massacres, those who plant opium but the new generation that can tell to the world the reality of what happening in their country.

I dedicate this award to my fellow journalists in Afghanistan; I dedicate this award to those journalists who lost their lives fighting for freedom of speech, to Shaima Rezayee, Abdul Samad Rohani, Shekiba Sanga Amaaj, Zakia Zaki and Ajmal Naqshbandi.This award not only belongs to me but to my people, to Pashtun, Tajek, Hazara and Uzbek. This award belongs to my country, to my entire countryman especially for those journalists whom were jailed, harassed, and exiled. This award is belongs to Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh who is in prison now, he was convicted to death but later reduced to 20 years in prison. Right now, he is in one cell with four criminals and murders, Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh is teaching them literacy how to read and write.

Interview with Pino Scaccia from TG1
This award belongs to journalists and writers of my country who can’t bring out their voice in public, for those who are isolated. This award belongs to those families who lost a member, to the children who lost their fathers. This award belongs to those journalists who don’t have enough to eat but can’t stop writing the truth.

I dedicate this award to my fellow bloggers, journalists and writers in Iran who are in prison now and some of them are sentenced to death only because of telling the truth to others.

This is an alert to Karzai's government which appointed Abdul Karim Khoram an ex-member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar party in the Ministry of Information and Culture who said to media "freedom of speech is a western product and it is meaningless in Afghan society." This award is a warning to irresponsibility of foreign countries that apparently support but don’t look after where the money goes.

This award by ISF is an alert to those organizations and institutes who are working for the freedom of speech but they are not aware that journalists are receiving threats from different channels, like religious parties, fanatic fundamentalist figures, political parties, warlords, drug lords and Karzai government authorities. This is an alert to them to accelerate their efforts for supporting freedom of expression in Afghanistan which is in danger now.

And finally this award by ISF is encouragement for me and for my fellow journalist in my country to fight for freedom of expression. This award means I have to continue my works in the future.

I salute to freedom of expression, I salute those to thinks and says freely and support freedom.

Related materials:
Afghan Journalists Awarded for their hard work towards free speech
Free Kambakhsh!
Eventi a cui ha partecipato Nasim Fekrat - Audio
Nasim in Val di Susa
Una mattina a Siena per la libertà in Afghanistan- Video+picture
Tactic: Afghan blogger wins free speech award

Dec 10, 2008

Bush, Chirac and Karzai in Hell

George Bush, Jacques René Chirac, and Hamed Karzia the president of Afghanistan die and they all go to hell. The devil sees their faces and asks: 'why are you so depressed?'
Bush says 'I left USA so fast, I did not have time to kiss my family and say good bye, I wish I could call home in Texas.
The devil gives him a phone, Bush calls home, talks with his family.
Bus gives a couple of instructions to Condoleza Rice...
When he's finished, the devil asks for 2 million USD, Bush says: 'What? 2 million bucks? I only spoke for 10 minutes that's insane'.

The devil answers 'but you are in hell man, that's some distance call!'
Chirac then tells the devil: if Bush could call the USA, I want to call
France! And so he did.
When he is finished, devil asks for 3 million
Euros. Chirac is shocked: 'what? 3 million Euros for 15 minutes talk?',
'well you call from hell...' answers the devil.

Finally Karzai asks for the telephone to call Afghanistan, he starts to
speak and speak and speak for 5 hours. When he is finished, he asks: 'how
much do I pay?'
Devil says '5 Afghanis'.
'Only five Afghanis for 5 hours?' protest Bush and Chirac.
'Well'... says the Devil, 'that's local call...

Dec 7, 2008

Strong Action Is a Joke

Today, on the way coming to Berlin, I was reading USA-Today in plane from 5 December about Condolleza Rice’s meeting in Islamabad about Mumbai case.
This report was saying, Rice satisfied with Pakistan’s readiness to peruse lead in the attacks in India that have sharply raised tensions between the two nuclear power.

It is really funny to hear that after her talks with Islamabad, Pakistani leaders is committed to the war on terror and does not want to be associated with terrorism.
The funniest part is that when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari told to Rice that the attack were a chance to strengthen efforts against terrorism in his country and promised to take “strong action”.

Once again, look at this sentence: “Asif Ali Zardari told to Rice that the attack were a chance to strengthen efforts against terrorism in his country and promised to take “strong action”.

As Afghan who is living in Pakistan neighborhood which is directly affected by its extremism and radicals Muslim groups, for me it is a joke. Pakistan supported Taliban and Islamic militants in the past and present and I am sure this will be turn to an internal enemy inside the country which may lead Pakistan to a civil war. Taliban was born in the time of Benazir Bhutto and ISI generals committed to support them; they look for their regional political benefits after Taliban still and after.

When Zardari says to Rice “this is a chance to wake up and to strengthen efforts against terrorist”, this means the attacks and several violent for the last two years which increasing caused lot of casualties inside Pakistan is nothing and this is the one he was struck that the Pakistan government should take “strong action”.

For the last years, Pakistan was lying that terrorism does not exists there but now the United States realized where the terrorism and Taliban are getting supports and equipped. If Pakistan government doesn’t support Afghan government and US, the only way to get ride of these Islamic extremism in Pakistan is i think American missile could wipe them off.

I hope Obama administration comes up with a better strategy towards liberating Afghanistan from the current situation.

Dec 5, 2008

Traveling to Germany

I just came back from L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo region. Today, there was a photo exhibition and one of my Photos was also exhibited among 50 photos from different photographers there. The association which called themselves “the Cultural Association “L’Idea di Clèves” was born and developed in the provincial reality of L’Aquila” organizes this competition every year.

This year they had two categories, prize for online competition and the one which jury had to choose among 200 pictures. The photo which was selected by the jury was a red lip and with white face and side red colored. I didn’t understand why the jury selected this picture as the winner as I found lot of great shots there. I have doubt nepotism is so strong and influenced here in Italy.

I am tired, my domain is expired and my is still not working, it was hacked before and a few days before the data moved to a new server but the DNS is not fixed I don’t know why. I wrote several times to the host and technician who is helping me but there is no positive answer. It is not complicated but now it turned to an exigent problem.

Tomorrow, I am traveling to Berlin for a workshop which is organized by GTZ, I will write more about this later.

Dec 2, 2008

My Farsi Blog Hacked Again

My Farsi blog was hacked once by someone who called himself Aljera7, Saudi hacker but this time it is worse. I don't know what is going wrong with the host and my blog. The only thing i have access is the domain which is registered with but my blog which was hosted with, since five days i don't have access to it nor i have the info login.

Just a few days before this happen, i was receiving the below message periodically but i ignored because i was thinking that they want to steal my password. But when i saw my account was suspended and the host gave me this reason which they received similar e-mail that i did.
I don't know who should feel responsible, the host instead to solve the problem and feel responsible to provide security, they blocked my account. Please let me know if you can help me with this i am getting mad. Read the below message which caused to block my account.

I work for and represent Westpac Banking Corporation.

Please be advised that we have received reports of Phishing website(s) at
the following URL(s) being used to illegally obtain the login details of
Westpac Internet Banking customers:

As at 06:50 29/11/2008 (AEST) these URLs resolved to the IP address(es) of
for which you are listed as an abuse/support contact. We would greatly
appreciate your prompt assistance in:

1. Zipping any relevant files from the folders below and forwarding these
to for investigation
2. Immediately shutting these sites down or removing the phishing related
3. Checking for other compromised web accounts on your servers which may
also contain the same files
4. Checking for and fixing any security vulnerabilities which may have
contributed to the creation of these phishing pages

We believe the purpose of this webpage is solely to commit fraud against
Internet Banking customers and in the absence of any response we reserve
the right to take this matter further. In case of the need for further
investigation the Australian Federal Police and AusCERT have also been

Please contact me as soon as possible via the email address to let me know when this site has been removed.

If you are not the correct person(s) to deal with this incident, please
forward this request to the appropriate person(s).

For tracking purposes please include "[CDAR #9580]" in the subject line of
any correspondence.

Dec 1, 2008

Afghan LORD In Competition

Afghan LORD has been nominated under the “BEST SOUTH ASIAN BLOG” category for the Fifth Annual Brass Crescent Awards in 2008. It would be great if you vote for your humble Afghan blogger.

How to vote?
Please browse the Brass Crescent page and go to the bottom of the page, look at the second category from down, there you can find Afghan Lord, you have to click where to select the blog then go to the lowest page, enter your e-mail address, before you have to tick mark this option: "
I certify that I am only voting once for the Brass Crescent Awards". Finally click to submit your vote.
Check your inbox, an approval will be send to your e-mail address with a link, in order to complete and your vote submitted please click on the link.

Voting Directions: Use the form below to select one nominee from each category. We will ask you for your email address to confirm your vote, but don't worry - we will discard your email address after votes have been tallied.

What is the Brass Crescent Awards?
The Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of altmuslim and City of Brass, is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners.

Nov 30, 2008

My Farsi blog is back oline

I was really worry for the last 48 hours because the hosting blocked my account and the host service was Iranian. I am always afraid of reality and this time i had doubt would have my data back. Thanks for your supporting and thanks for my friend Roohollah who was enthusiastically striving to revive back my Farsi blog.

Thanks for Esra and all friends of who had concern on this issue.

Nov 27, 2008

I will be the prize winner today

I am quiet excited now, the prize for freedom of expression will be given to me today in Siena, it is early morning and i am in Athena Hotel in Siena.

The ceremony will be started at 11, so I should get ready sooner. Last night i slept at 2:00AM, it is 6:30am now but I have to shave and have my breakfast very soon. Last night we were invited by ISF (Information and Safety for Freedom). I was excited to hug my great friend Pino Scaccia last night. There are 6 Afghan students, five female and one male who are also invited to this ceremony. Emal Naqshband the brother of Ajmal Naqshbandi who was beheaded by Taliban in 2006 is also in the group.

Will write you more about this in next posts

Nov 25, 2008

Drug Addiction in Afghanistan


A young man who was repatriated from Turkey while he was intend to cross the border to reach Europe. After spending several months in prison in Turkey he repatriated to Iran border and Iranian police border caught him and put him jail. After 6 months he repatriated to Afghanistan. He became addicted in Iran and now he is in Russian Cultural Palace among hundreds of other addicts who wriggling with their wounded bodies in the darkness of corridors. These addicts who are staying inside the Russian Cultural Palace told that they became addict while they were in Iran and working.

According to the most recent UN figures in 2005, there are about one million addicts in a country of about 30 million people, one in 30 Afghans are addicts.

Nov 23, 2008

Meeting Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh in Prison

It is not easy to meet Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh in prison. He is condemned because of blasphemy and any one who dares to meet him, has the perspective of being questioned or followed by police man, inside the prison. "Visitors who are visiting Kambakhsh will be followed by police because they are controlling Kambakhsh's relations outside of the prison". I was already told that by a friend of mine, who is a police officer.

It was almost 11:00AM, at least one hour left to meet the prisoners; I had to meet Parwiz Kambakhsh to let him know that he is the winner of the Freedom of Expression award in Italy. Standing in line for minutes where hundreds of people waited just the same to meet their relatives, imprisoned. At the gate of the prison a police man with a board marker signed visitor's hands, next door the visitors have to deliver their mobiles phones and knives. Before approaching the meeting room for the prisoners, there are two check points, one where stamps were put on the visitors hands and the last one is the control to make sure the visitor doesn't carry something that can be dangerous or suspicious. My right hand was signed by a big marker and stamped at the last check point before entering into the prison.

The salon is terribly noisy, you can't hear even your own voice. Visitors are shouting to the prisoners and prisoners shout to visitors. The guy who called the prisoners is called "Jarchi" (Farsi). It was the second time I asked him to call Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, and then immediately he appeared. I waved to him and went a step closer behind the bars but the reticulated wall of metals didn't allow me to touch his fingers.

He seemed disappointed and desperately waved at me. Only for a few seconds I got closer to him, closer to hear him, which was difficult because of the noise. Suddenly my left shoulder was pulled back roughly and I saw two policemen who asked me what I was telling to Kambakhsh.

The police men didn't allow me to get closer to him anymore. But I had a chance to tell Mr.Kambakhsh about the prize, that he become a winner by the Information Safety and Freedom award (ISF) in Italy. He expressed his feeling to be happy to hear that, but the final words I heard from him were: "I need help to get out of the prison."

The police men didn't give me another chance to talk with him anymore, so I waved to him and promised to spread his message outside.

The Italian version already published here.

Nov 16, 2008

From Turin, northern Italy

As some of you may know that I came in Italy. Right now I am in Turin and last night was one of the first programs which were scheduled, the rests are in coming week.
Last night’s program was organized by the mayor of Almese “Bruno” and Valeria, Ignazio, Silvia and Meri who doesn’t like her name appear here. I appreciate them deeply for the efforts they did.

Lots of questions rose, among the questions a teenage girl asked me: “Why Taliban don’t allow children to go to school”.
This is question that even Afghans couldn’t find the answer; it’s like unanswerable question for us because we can’t find the reason why Taliban burn the schools, killing the teachers, burning the books, very recently men squirted the acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school in Kandahar.

The only thing I remember to answer to this teenage girl “Francesca” was they don’t like the children go to school to study science but religious school to train the new generation of Taliban.

It was a wonderful night with lovely people. During few days of my stay, I realized there are many things in common between Italian and Afghan. The people here are so friendly and welcome the guests and visitors; the people here showed me great hospitality.

Nov 5, 2008

The Dream of Martin Luther King Become True

Today, early morning when I opened the news pages on Internet, I read "Obama became the next president of USA" I became excited and suddenly stood and shouted. I couldn't control myself and I said "Greeting Obama! Oh great man in which the dream of Martin Luther King became true now. The people who were close to me they laughed at me but I couldn't control myself, while I was shedding tears I came out from the net café. When I arrived home I wept fully, but tears from happiness. However I don't believe to pray but I was praying for him to win, this was my hope and today I am the witness that my hope turned real.

Obama is the one who wants to change. He turned the dreams of millions of people to reality, millions of people who were hoping fall off the walls. Now, he is the winner and turned into the hero of his nation and the people in his country. He is the one who said, once there was a great man in US history who told his people:

"I have a dream, I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

But today another great man has appeared one who can follow this way and turns his dream to reality. Today, another great man has appeared in the 21 century, from the same people who loudly tells his people: "Things are fine just the way they are. Take a look around, our world needs a change, you can be that change."

His appearance was with encouraging people and giving hopes to those people who were hopelessly living not for a single moment, but for hundreds of years. He appeared to assure his people that "Things are fine", what a beautiful motto.

I write these words, while the tears fall down from my eyes. I shed tears for the happiness of those people who are happy today in the US, for the people who were dreaming to become the winner, for the people who were fighting against injustice, discrimination and civil rights. Tonight, what a fabulous night would be for them. I wish I was there, I wish I was one those people who shed tears of happiness and victory today.

You know, from what pain I suffer in this corner of the world? Only God knows from my heart. Everyday when I wake up, my moments starts with tension, an explosion in the city or suicide attack, all things go along, removing security from me. Everyday I have to go out but when I go out, you know I am completely unsure, that I will come back safely.

You know, I haven't seen my mother for months and she is waiting for months to see me and my hope is to meet my mother and leave myself among her arms and shed tears fully. But you know why I can't reach her? Because in 150 kilo meters, the distance between me and my mother, everyday we hear that Taliban beheaded people, took them with themselves or killed them on the road. But I want to see my mother.

Nov 3, 2008

Afghan National Army


This is the picture of our young people, our noble children. I am proud of them, two days working with them i believe they are so strong to stand up against enemy, against Taliban and strangers who are against our nation. I am so glad and proud today to see the National Army of Afghanistan getting so strong. Before Mujaheddin and starting civil war, Afghanistan had the most powerful Army. This is was a threat to neighboring countries. As i see and the interests among people who are joining to army day by day i am sure that they will be strong again.

Nov 1, 2008

Blogging for Afghanistan

From The Guardianweekly

Despite decades of civil war, marauding Taliban and deadly military air strikes, Afghans have experienced some changes for the better over recent years. Health facilities, schools and roads have improved, and a fledgling media industry is finding its feet. Bloggers are off to a fast start, with Nasim Fekrat, also known as Afghan Lord, leading the way. This 25-year-old ethnic Hazara knows all too well the dangers of self-expression, but believes freedom of speech is vital if Afghanistan is to leave its bloody past behind.

Friday October 17th 2008

Lead article photo

Signs of change are visible across Afghanistan. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

When I was 11 years old my father pushed me to pray and I would not pray. One night my father raised his hands to the sky and said: "Please god, take Nasim. Kill him, take him back – I don't want him." He did this in front of me and my siblings and nobody said anything. That evening I couldn't sleep. I was thinking death would come right at that moment. I was so scared, thinking god would come to take me soon, that I kept moving my hands and legs to make sure I wasn't dead.

My mother was kind to me. After my father kicked me out of our house she gave me blankets and told me: "I can't help you, your father is very stubborn, but go to the roof and sleep there." Eventually I left and went to Kabul where a local family took me in. All I did after that was read books.

When I created my first blog I used a pseudonym – I wanted to escape my identity and to be neutral. I told people I was born in Afghanistan but that was it. I didn't want to be seen as one type of person or another. Now in my writing it's no secret: people know I'm Hazara.

In Afghanistan, when you write your opinion in the public sphere, you are labelled a racist. I've been receiving a lot of threats. Someone by the name of Coffin posted on my blog, saying "Soon I will find you", and I also received an email that said "Your days are numbered". People approach me from aid organisations that don't exist. But I've been dealing with this since 2004 when the police shut down the satirical magazine I had started, so these sorts of things are very normal for me now.

Our life, or our society, is completely different from in the west. I told my friends that as long as you have bread to eat here in Afghanistan, don't go to Europe; in Europe we are not treated as human beings. Our looks are different, our ways different. It takes a long time to match with them, to understand. When I went to Hamburg I asked two German people for directions and they completely ignored me; they turned and walked away. So I tell my friends, if you want to go to Europe, fine, just visit for a little while and come back.

Newspaper media is very new in our society. There were just one or two newspapers up until the Soviet era, which were only propaganda for political parties. At that time freedom of speech had little meaning. Now, with people coming back from Iran and other countries, Afghans are more educated, they are more interested in news and in reading. We now have more than 20 daily papers and 100 weeklies.

I don't read Afghan newspapers; most of them are not independent. They are biased towards a specific political party or organisation, or whichever donor is giving them money. We don't have a situation here in which very few people earn enough money to publish a newspaper.

All that I write is with a view to making an Afghan thinktank. I want to bring independent thinkers together who can talk about Afghanistan in a different way. I don't want a repeat of our history of massacres and tragedy. This has become my mission.

One thing I still don't know is how to deal with the past. Afghan history is full of genocide and bloodletting – and we still have warlords wielding power. So writing about the past, dealing with it, is kind of taboo in this society. It doesn't matter who you are – if you are Pashtun, Uzbek, Hazara, Tajik – whatever you write, somebody will attack you. People think we should just forget the past.

Nowadays when I see my father I kiss his hands, but he is not happy with me. He regrets what he asked god for, to take me. I can read that in his eyes. But I forgive him. Because at that moment I decided I wanted to be a man for myself, not for my father. It made me very strong and able to take care of myself. In my life, whatever I wished for, I reached out and grabbed it.

• Nasim Fekrat was speaking to David Lepeska.

Oct 24, 2008

Unjust sentence for Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh

It was expected that the result of the last appeal court would be acquittal for Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh, but against all expectations the judge of the court sentenced him for 20-years in prison. This sentence was issued but the court didn’t mention directly the accusation of distributing an article on women's rights on the Internet which was said to be blasphemous. Seyed Parwiz Kambakhsh, arrested a year ago, was first sentenced to death by a court in Balkh.

The interesting point for the last trial was the statement of the Balkh University teachers, as witnesses telling to the court that “Parwiz Kambakhsh was trying to disturb the lessons in the class, by questioning about Islam”.
His friends have been denying about the supposedly blasphemous article and its distribution by Kambakhsh, but one of his classmates told the court that he had seen the blasphemous article with Kambaksh.

Regarding the witnesses at the last trial and the long term delay by the courtjudge, the judge now issued the sentence of 20-years in prison for Kambaksh against every expectation.
Many criticizers believe that disturbing and heckling basically exist in the classrooms, and that this is not a crime, but on the contrary should be discussed and solved in schools and at Universities.

Many believe the detention of Kambakhsh is more political rather than related to the blasphemous article which he downloaded on the internet. Meanwhile many top religious figures say that distributing blasphemy is not blasphemy, while they point out that the sentence for Mr.Kambaksh is unjust and far from their expectations.
Mohammad Afzal Noristani, the defense attorney for Kambakhsh, had already because the Court of Appeal is too slow to organize its sessions.

The defense lawyer Afzal Noristani has called the result of the Court of Appeal an unjust sentence. He also said he will appeal to the Supreme Court: "During the hearing they did not consider that my client is not the author of the article."

Afzal Noristani is going to deliver the documents for Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh to the High Court for the final sentence. The imprisoning of this young student of journalism at Balkh University has provoked reactions worldwide, but the last sentence by the Court of Appeal is utterly disappointing.

Sep 20, 2008

Taliban Uses US-made Stinger Anti-Aircraft Guided Missile


… The fear starts when you feel you are someone, specifically when every one of us feels that we are important, for ourselves. But today when we flew from Kabul to Bamyian with a USAID Helicopter, we reached Maidan Shahr, the area that is strongly influenced by Taliban. The helicopter slowly started rising, and the passengers, all journalists, seemed worried. I don’t know, or may be it was only me having fear. Fear of becoming a victim of some guided missile which recently the Taliban are equipped with.

It will not be a surprise to hear that the Taliban are equipped with such a missile. Just a few weeks ago, there was a deadly US helicopter crash caused by a stinger guided missile in southern Afghanistan. As you will remember, our USA friends had equipped the Afghan warriors “Mujahideen” with their latest weapons in the times of the holey invasion of the Soviet Union. And today these guided missiles are used against US forces in Afghanistan.
In 2005, in a report at RTA TV was told how these missiles got out of work in the times of civil war, but recently the ISI had repaired them for the Taliban, in order to target the US aircrafts. If this news is right, NATO forces will have big challenges in the struggle against the Taliban.

However, Pakistani authorities announced that this is a baseless claim by the US. A report published by the Pentagon says that more than 250 Soviet aircrafts have been crashed by these missiles in the time of Soviet Union invasion in Afghanistan.

So... until we didn’t cross the Onai pass, every one of us was in fear. Fear of the possibility that a missile could hit us.

And now I am in Bamyian, where the Buddha Statues where blown up by the extremist Islamists of the Taliban. I am here, invited as a speaker in a two days seminar which is funded and organized by UNAMA and the US embassy to celebrate peace day.
I'll have to analyze, and focus on the impacts and roles of digital media and blogs, in -promised visions of- peace, security and democracy in Afghanistan, over the last 7 years.

Sep 8, 2008

History Turned Its Mirror Upside Down

Today is the seventh year that we celebrate Ahmad Shah Massoud's ceremony. He was a powerful commander for the Jamiat Islami party and the Northern alliance.
Massoud was one of the most famous commanders who fought against the Soviet Union. Later, when the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, Massoud turned his guns' target to his fellow citizen in order to get power in the country.

Today is a holiday and a respective day for his ceremony. In this ceremony, all the Northern alliance commanders are gathering in the Ghazi stadium to celebrate him and talk about his bravery and resistance against the Soviet Union and the Taliban.

But here in the western part of Kabul where I live, people are busy with their daily works, the shops are open and we can hear the music from each corner as usual as always. There is a reason why people are not interested and rather and thoughtless about this day, because in the time of the civil war they have suffered from this commander who controlled the two strategic mountains: the TV Mountain and Asmayee, in the heart of Kabul. Today, I recall those past days in the years of 1992, 1993, 1994. All things clearly pop up in front of my eyes: Qala shada, Pul Jamhuri, Karte 3, and the river bed where we three had to hide from 12 at noon until the dark night, to escape from shootings, and to escape from the bullets that were raining down on us.

I can't forget that day, when bullets were raining from the TV Mountain and the Asmayee Mountain. That day no one dared to get out of their houses. People who could be seen in the streets, the alleys, and every thinkable place that was visible from the mountains, they were immediately targeted by the soldiers of Ahmad Shah Massoud.

Today, I remembered that same summer day. While I was eating my lunch I heard that my brother was wounded on his way back home. I rushed out onto the street, and ran towards the hospital in Karte 3, but suddenly I got lost in the smoke, caused by the shootings from the mountains. I had to hide myself, in one of the ruined house which was bombed by Ahmad Shah Massoud. What a bizarre day, most peculiar moments I'd ever seen in my life. Today, while I am reminding those days and moments, my hair stands on end.

I do remember that day: I was in Pahlawan Juma's house. Suddenly I heard the horrendous sound of an explosion nearby. With Kabir, the son of Juma who was five years older than me, I ran out of the house. And then I saw Shahnaz, a young daughter, who lived in our neighborhood.

She never liked to talk with illiterate people, had no relation, struggle with twitches in blood.

Shahnaz had graduated from the Medical faculty of Kabul University.
But now, I saw that part of her head has fallen just one meter away from her body.
I remember she was always busy with her big medical books and in that days she was trying to get out, away from Kabul. She never liked to talk with individuals, but with groups, whilst advising what was good for the health and what was harmful.

Her hopes did not last long, and today, I saw her covered with blood. While I was shouting to the elders to help her, and save her, Kabir was vicious as always, and came to me while he was carrying the part of Shahnaz's brain that had fallen on the ground: "Nasim, look at this brain, the human brains are white and soft, it is amazing!"

The missiles were launched from Paghman by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, the leader of Islamic Union for the Liberation of Afghanistan. Sayyaf is blacklisted in HWR as a criminal, but today this criminal is a Member of Parliament.

West of Kabul, mostly Dasht Barchi was among the daily targets of missiles by Abdul Rasul Sayyaf's group.
My paternal uncle and his small daughter were killed by one those missiles in the middle of the night. He left his heart wounded family, his wife and six children. A long time has passed since that incident, but they are in the same conditions as they were in that time of war.

The massacre of the Hazara in Afshar is one of their masterpieces that shows their skills to kill, which will never be forgotten. They turned the west of Kabul into a ruined area. Thousands of innocent people have been killed.

With great sadness today we are witnessing that history turned its mirror upside down: one of them became a national hero and the other one became a legislator in such an arena where they are just getting fatter day by day, in the name of 'democracy and human rights'.

Today, in remembrance of those days with so many wounds and blood, and for my classmate who was killed on the way to school, I sat in my room and wept. And I found it a miracle that I am alive today.
In HRW: The Battle for Kabul: April 1992 - March 1993
Read Afghan amnesty covers Omar, Hekmatyar here….
Read War crimes immunity bill passes second hurdle here…
Read Afghan warlords in amnesty rally here…
Read war criminals win amnesty vote here…
Read Thousands rally in support of Mujahideen leaders here….
Read story from Kazakh an old Soviet Union officer who joined in holy invasion in Afghanistan here…
Read also in Russian language here…
Neweurasia’s Vitaly Mantrov interviewed (RUS) the veteran of the war in Afghanistan here…
Just after September 11 “The Afghan Trap” read here…

Aug 31, 2008

Anger and sadness


Aug 19, 2008

My interview with Liberazione


Here is an interview with me in Liberazione newspaper for the communist party in Italy. The interview is translated from English to Italian Language, you can find in this link.

Also you can read it in Mauro Biani's blog, he is an Italian famous cartoonist.

You can also find information about this newspaper here which is translated by google

I appreciate Mauro who worked on this interview to be published in Liberazione.

Aug 14, 2008

Towards a Critical Situation

The security situation is deteriorated rapidly in the recent days. The rocket attack on Afghan capital airport indicates that the Taliban insurgents broken the entrance stability security gates towards Kabul. This means, Taliban are really close to capital nowadays. Horror is spreading fast among the people; the residents of Kabul are really worry what will happen in the next coming weeks.

Yesterday around 10:30AM there was a heavy conflict between Taliban insurgents and Afghan security forces in Surobi Tangi area (Kabul Province, Surobi District, Kabul-Jalalabad main road) Additional security forces have been dispatched to the area. As I informed, the clash is still going on since yesterday.

Also, yesterday three female aid workers for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and their Afghan driver were shot dead by gunmen who opened fire on their vehicle near the capital Kabul.

Jul 31, 2008

Back to Kabul

I am in Kabul now. Over the last few weeks I was in Hamburg, Germany, for a Summer school on freedom and responsibilities in media. What a wonderful occasion and what wonderful people from 18 countries who I’ve met there. I miss all of them now and the only thing that remains with me are memories and pictures.

If this course was held in Kabul, it might not have been so successful and interesting. In Germany I had to learn every step, I had to learn about the people, cities and culture. I came back with lots of information and memories that I am now sharing with my friends who are coming to meet me.

One of the topics we had to work on was ‘dealing with the past’. Working with 8 people from different countries in one group on how we can deal with the past is not such an easy job. In most of the cases it is taboo to write about the past or it might not be so secure, or even dangerous. In a situation like Afghanistan it is very difficult to write about criminals and the warlords who are in power right now. But alas, in our class we never thought about the hows, and which methods we could use to write about our past. But now, I don't know what to do with these criminals who are in power and still threatening.
We only overviewed the history of Germany and the time when the Nazis committed genocide.

For several days, my heart was wounded. I couldn't imagine what happened to Jewish people there. But some times it was also very irritating when some of my colleagues were making funny pictures with the commemoration statue of a Jew who died from the severe conditions of living in one of the concentration camps. Maybe they had only eyes to look at the statue and the pictures around them. Maybe they only have eyes to look but have no heart to feel. May be most of us are like this, without doubt. Who feels our pains here? No one.

The Neuengamme concentration camp, close to Hamburg in northern Germany brings tears into your heart. You cannot believe how brutal and savagely those innocent people were killed. May be, this is an example of savageness of a period in history that reminds us to look back, to what has happened in the past. “We can not forget, but we can forgive always”, is a fine quote from Nelson Mandela.

Anyway, the workshop gave me the idea to build a group of researchers, to research about the massacre and genocide of the Hazara people of Afghanistan. In the 1880s in Afghanistan, King Amir Abul Rahman Khan committed a first Hazara genocide. Later in 2000, when the Taliban captured Mazar-e Sharif they massacred a number of 10,000 of the Hazara people, and when they captured Bamyian again they killed more than 10,000 of people. Today talking about the massacres and the civil war that took place in the 1990s has become a big taboo. If you talk about what happened during these times, you are labelled as an enemy of unity.

I hope to make a research-centre to research our past. This can also help Internationals because they can learn how many problems we had in our past. Unfortunately today, foreign politicians and those people who intend to favour Afghanistan and who are theorizing the construction of an Afghani nation-state don’t see that this will be a completely impossible mission. They have the wrong approach.

Jul 23, 2008

When bloggers talk to bloggers

I wrote this here already

It seems that bloggers always looking for bloggers. It happened for me when I heard about Stefen Niggermeier, a famous media journalist and blogger. I was very interested to meet a successful German blogger. His blog is called BILDblog, it observes and takes the role of a watchdog in regard to the largest newspaper in Germany, the tabloid “BILD”, as it regularly points to errors in the paper. His blog received several prizes.

Having dinner and chatting with him and asking him about why he became a blogger was an interesting moment. Stefan believes the best way to practice free speech and to write is blog. “In your blog you don’t have to be worried about the text length, you don’t have to consider the editorial advice and those principals which are asked normally from the editor of the newspaper”, he said.

Mr. Niggermeier also shared his experience in blogging: “Blogging is easy, just start, if you have word, just put it together and work in a specific way, you will be a famous blogger”.
In this way he became a blogger, as he said, playing with buttons for bloggers, but finally he had a blog and today he is one of the most famous bloggers in Germany.

Jul 4, 2008

Meet Afghanistan's Most Fearless Blogger

Minutes into Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech before the Afghanistan Donor Conference in Paris, he congratulated his country on its "independent media," which, having "grown exponentially" since the ouster of the Taliban, is a harbinger of Afghanistan's imminent rise to respectable statehood. With a fresh infusion of development dollars, no doubt, Karzai could build on the thriving infrastructure, cultivate a legitimate civil society, educate girls, smoke out the extremists, and generally rid the world of its turbaned bogeymen.

Not everyone buys that. Though the telecom infrastructure in Afghanistan is growing at a pace that exposes confounding contrasts—kids download videos on mobile phones while their houses lack electricity for much of the day—the mainstream press hasn't grown up as fast. Given expanding access to eyes and minds, the national press isn't as sophisticated as it could be.

"Fekrat's facial features are distinctly Mongoloid, in accordance with his Hazara heritage. His skin is rough and his look rugged, powerful in a primitive way; a rack of oversize teeth is arranged in what might best be described as a rebellious manner. He's fiercely independent, even irreverent, but then he's never had a reason to believe in the benevolence of a higher authority. Fekrat's father wanted him dead by the time he was 12 because Nasim didn't care for Allah and couldn't remember to pray, so he spent his adolescence fending for himself. He taught himself English, photography, journalism, the anatomy of the Internet, and he put it all together by posting his thoughts and photographs online. Then he started encouraging others to do the same and raising money on his Web sites so he could go into the provinces and spread the gospel".

Click the complete article here

or open this link

Jul 1, 2008

The Second Round Blogging of Workshop in Bamyian

Already published here

Under the auspices of Association of Afghan Blog Writers, the second round on blogging workshop was held for tens of Afghan journalists and writers in ancient city of Bamian. This workshop was underway from June, 12 to June, 15. First workshop of this series was previously held by the Association of Afghan Blog Writers in Kabul for journalists, university faculties, students and teachers.

Two western and three Afghan teachers participated in the latest round of blogging workshops. Mr. Martin (German journalist) who was supposed to teach in the first day of workshop, unfortunately failed to do so due to an illness. In the second day, first hours were dedicated to theoretical issues, in which Mr. Jeffrey Estern (young American journalist) approached weblog phenomenon from a western and modern-world perspective. Mr. Jeffrey compared visual and print media with blogging and evaluated the influence of blogging on public opinions, politics and other media, and said: “In our country, i.e. United States, along with three constitutional powers, Media is the fourth power which monitors activities of government. However, there was no body to supervise the media. After years and with the introduction of technology and internet, Weblog came into existence. Today, weblogs supervise the media, so that there have been several cases in which bloggers revealed misinformation of some prominent journalists who were consequently fired from their positions.”

After some theoretical discussions, the rest of the second day was dedicated to practical issues. According to directors, main goal of such workshops is to turn this new phenomenon into a public one so as to ensure that everybody practices the right of free speech with no censorship. Since increasing pressures of Information and Culture Ministry has led to more censorship by e-media and private TV channels, weblog may be a better choice to experience free speech as well as institutionalizing this principle in the Afghan society.

This was the second blogging workshop held in Afghanistan, and Association of Afghan Blog Writers is supposed to run similar workshops in other cities such as Herat, Mazar- Sharif, Jalalabad, Kandehar, Bamyian and Daikundi.

Blogging is an absolutely new phenomenon in Afghanistan and most of the people do not take it professionally. Therefore, such workshops directed by Association of Afghan Blog Writers may speed up the process of professionalization and facilitate it for Afghan bloggers. Today most of the youth and students have turned to this phenomenon. Though having access to internet is very problematic, the Afghan youth increasingly turn to weblog and blogging, and the number of Afghan weblogs is increasing. Up to now, more than 20,000 Afghan weblogs have been registered by Afghan people in various countries and through various blog service providers, such as Blogger, wordpress, Blogfa, Persianblog.

Barriers to the Way of Afghan Bloggers

Afghan bloggers have to deal with a wide range of problems. Due to recent controversies over Dari (Farsi) and after two correspondents in Mazar-e Sharif were sacked just for using Dari equivalents of ‘University’ and ‘Student’, Afghan Telecom has blocked two popular Persian blogger sites: Persianblog and Blogfa. Some believe that such acts are the continuation of fight of Abdul Karim Khoram(minister of Information and Culture) against Dari Persian.

On the other hand, there is the problem of power shortage. In spite of Hamid Karzai ruling for several years and presence of International Community in Afghanistan, Kabul inhabitants still do not have access to power. Power is available only 6 hours per day, and suffers fluctuations. This problem may be a big barrier to the way of Afghan bloggers and prevent them from updating their blogs.

Help Promote Free Speech

Directors of the project believe that turning this new phenomenon (i.e. Weblog) into a public issue between Afghan youth and writers can help the free speech and institutionalize democracy in Afghanistan. Today many emerging journals claim ‘independence and being free’, but they are unfortunately so associated with political trends and parties that practically come to experience self-censorship. Very often it happens that they fail to publish critical papers. On the other hand, Afghan journals and media have taken an opposition stance and the only thing they may criticize is the government, while there is a myriad of hot and sensitive issues happening all around Afghanistan neglected by such journals and media. Weblog enables the writer to publish his thoughts and criticisms freely and independently, using either real name or nom de plume.

Jun 27, 2008

Going to Germany


I am writing this post from Dubai International Airport. Within a few hours I should leave to Vienna then for Germany. There is a short-term training course the so-called Summer Academy on freedom and responsibility in the media. I am very excited to attend this course well. This is my first visit to Europe I hope all things go well. I will try hard to benefit a lot from this workshop.

I hope to meet some useful and nice people there from other countries. Their will be 23 participants. I don’t know if I can screen some pictures from Afghanistan for participants and may be ask from Inwent to help me with that.

I like to share many things with other participants. I will try to write my experiences from Germany here after this.

Jun 9, 2008

Upcoming Blogging Workshop in Bamian


I am preparing to go to Bamian to launch the second round of the Blogging Workshop. I had a little money left from the previous and first ever workshop in Kabul, which will serve for materials, renting computer lab, internet, transportation and stationary.
I hope this won’t be the last workshop on Blogging, because of financial problems. I appreciate the friends and people who helped us for the last workshop. I hope our friends and people who are really concerned about Afghanistan and digital media, and especially in the blogging spheres will help us.

We are going to bring together young people, journalists, students and people who are interested to blogging, in order to bring changes, in order to give news out of Afghanistan, in order to fight for freedom of speech.
I kindly ask people abroad to donate to us, and help us to fulfill our goals towards freedom of speech. I am sure, the small donations will be used for us to rent internet and a computer lab for teaching Blogging to journalists, students and for new generations who will bring changes for Afghanistan.

The second round of the Blogging workshop will be Thursday, June 12th and will continue for three days. In the last few months I regularly received phone calls from journalists, students, university teachers and people in Bamian who work for NGOs, they were asking me to go there to teach in the Blogging workshop.

I have already announced on behalf of Association of Afghan BlogWriters that those whom are interested to attend the blogging workshop, should start applying for the course. In one day we received 49 applications which were a lot more for us but we accept only 25 of them. So we had to close registration already.

For our Blogging workshop we rented a computer lab with 15 computer connected to internet, therefore we should ask for students to share their computer, otherwise we are out of capacity.
I hope this workshop will run well so we can come closer to fulfill our goal to promote blogging in Afghanistan in order to help digital media and support freedom of speech.

Just this morning I heard that Abdul Samad Rohani, a young journalist who was working for BBC for the last year, was found dead in Helmand. As an independent journalist and blogger I share my feelings and support his family and friends. This is shocking news for Afghan media and freedom of expression, especially for those journalists who work independently.

May 28, 2008

The Man With His Cage


A man with his bird in the cage walks to the sunset in graveyard, western part of Kabul

May 4, 2008

Karzai Rejected the Juvenile Delinquency law

The current controversy over the Juvenile Delinquency law illustrates the conflicts within the Afghan legal system. The conflicts are rooted in Afghan history itself. "From the 1880's until the 1960's, Afghanistan essentially had a dual judicial system. A system of sharia courts headed by clergy handled areas ... such as criminal law, family and personal law laid down in the sharia. A separate system of government courts handled state law issues, such as those relating to commerce, taxation, and civil servants." In 1964, an Afghan constitution, ratified by the Loya Jirga attempted to bring those threads closer together, but it was ripped apart again in the period of war with the Soviet Union and during the rule of the Taliban.

Following the defeat of the Taliban at the hands of US forces in 2002, an international conference in Bonn stipulated the appointment of a "Judicial Commission" whose role was to "to rebuild the domestic justice system in accordance with Islamic principles, international standards, the rule of law and Afghan legal traditions." That sweeping task proved easier said than done. A Stanford University study described some of the difficulties which arose.

  • Only 10 days after the close of Afghanistan's Constitutional Convention, Afghanistan's Supreme Court violated the word and spirit of Afghanistan's new constitution. Without any case before the court, and based on no existing law, the court declared on January 14, 2004 that a performance by the Afghan pop singer Salma on Kabul television was un-Islamic and therefore illegal. The video featuring the modestly dressed Afghan woman singing about rural life was recorded in the 1970s.
The juvenile delinquency law was already approved by parliament and senate, but didn't get Karzai's approval and was sent back to the parliament for more reforms.

Punishment Ages

The reason for not approving the juvenile delinquency law was because there were differences considering the ages for male and female juvenile delinquents. This law defines the ages for punishment at 18 years for boys and at 17 years for girls. But according to the general Human Rights, those under 18 are called children.

Human Rights organizations praised Karzai's action, but it was opposed by various persons in the opposition, who argue that this law is contrary to the Islamic Sharia Law. Karzai's refraining from approving the juvenile delinquency law was praised by many parliament members who also didn't agree.
Member of Parliament Azita Fafat says that all laws that are approved by the parliament must be in accordance with the constitution of Afghanistan and the international conventions that were already approved by Afghanistan.

Islamic Sharia Law

The members of parliament who approved the juvenile delinquency law, referred to Article 3 in the Constitution which says that a law can not be accepted when opposing the Islamic Sharia law. Irfanullah Irfan, another member of parliament pointed to natural differences between man and woman, and refrained from approving the juvenile delinquency law for a lack of Sharia rules.

The juvenile delinquency law was approved six months before, after which it was sent to the Senate for final approval. The Senate-members approved the law without any changes and sent it to the presidential office. Many lawyers believe the original sources of such disagreements are in the constitutional law because the constitutional text for civil cases is not clear enough.
For this reason anyone can interpret the articles of the constitutional law with special regard to their own interests.