Apr 24, 2010

Public sexual harassment in Kabul

A woman who recently went to Kabul for the first time has often posted on her facebook about public sexual harassment on the streets of Kabul. To be honest, sexual harassment is quiet common in Muslim countries where women are restricted not to have public appearance. But, specifically, in the Afghan culture and society which is extremely religious and traditional, public sexual harassment is not only common but people enjoy if they harass women either by their looks or words. Even in less conservative city like Kabul, women are facing intimidation and regular sexual assault on a daily bases . But when it comes to school girls they are often victimized by male carrying knifes and acid.

In 2009, the Ministry of Education has reported that within eight months, 138 students and teachers have died and 172 have been wounded in criminal and terror attacks. About 651 schools have closed and another 122 school buildings have been blown up or burned down. Based on United Nations Population Fund in Afghanistan (UNFPA), about 31% of Afghan women suffer physical violence and another 30% suffer from psychological violence.

Nevertheless, she (who requested that her name to be removed) has written this sentence on her facebook wall that made me to laugh:
“I called a harasser on a motorbike "mordagow" and he almost crashed into a sewer. AWESOME.”

It is uncommon to respond back to a harasser on the streets of Kabul. First, Afghan women don’t have that courage to call on harasser “mordagow” because of predominantly male oppression. Second, because public harassment is so pervasive in Afghan society that women are used to it.

The word “mordagow” is Farsi (Dari/persian) word which is only used among Afghan Farsi speakers. The word that panicked the harasser means “cuckold”; a married man with an adulterous wife.

Apr 17, 2010

Translations into Afghan languages: Dari and Pashto

Since a long time ago, I had this in my mind to speak up publicly that I enjoy translation in Afghan languages. I used to work as translator for various publications and publishers in Afghanistan. As you might be aware, it is important for a translator to be well-versed in origin language, grammatical and verbal aspects. I tried to find some of my friends who have been working different NGOs and who have proficiency in at least two foreign languages.

So, for several weeks I talked to my friends in Kabul and outside, we made a small group of translation that work as freelancer. I am the director and responsible for any kinds of inquiries. Therefore, if you guys need translator please contact me and what we are doing is as following:

Dari/Farsi/Persian translations
Translating from Dari* (Farsi) to English or English to Dari (Farsi) is the core strength of our smart team, who have unfathomed capacity to translate any kinds of text. Most of our translators are working with the United Nations and international organizations.

Our Farsi team can deal with articles, books, letters, brochures, handbooks, manuals, websites, guides, contracts, and any kinds of documents.
Technical translation include user manuals, training manuals, instructions, scientific reports, and machinery, engineering, catalogs, software, multimedia presentations, installation procedures, and proposals..
We are flexible, and this is why we accepts and deliver the documents to the clients in compatible and readily usable formats, such as MS-Office, Unicode and PDF.

Pashto translations.
Also we deal with English to Pashto (Pashu or Pushtu) and Pashto to English translation. All our translators are qualified and working with the United Nations and International organizations. The Pashto translators are all native speakers.
The Pashto translation team can deal with letters, brochures, handbooks, articles, manuals, websites, guides, contracts, novels and much more. Our team also specializes in the translation of legal, engineering, marketing, business, IT and academic documents.

Please contact me at fekrat AT Gmail DOT com
*Dari is the same as Farsi (like British English and American English) spoken in Iran and Tajikistan. In fact, the term Dari is recognized and promoted by the Afghan government for the language. Dari is also the religious language of Zoroastrianism, but Dari of Afghanistan and the Dari of Zoroastrianism are completely different and unrelated.

Apr 9, 2010

Afghanistan grapples with drug problem

Last year, President Obama reconsidered some of the assumptions of the counterinsurgency strategy but he forgot to reconsider fighting against drugs. He conceded the perilousness of Taliban and insurgency but he neglected to consider that Afghanistan has a silent and devastating enemy which is drug.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, until March 2008, about 1 million of Afghanistan's 34 million people were drug users, and the majority of these lived in the country's principal cities, based on UNODC estimation.

Map of Afghanistan showing major poppy fields and intensity of conflict 2007-08Today, with an estimation, two million Afghans struggling with drug addiction. Even different source offers that there are more than two million drug users in the country. Just in two years, the number of dug users doubled.

It is important for for the US and the world communities to reconsider the assumption of the counter-narcotic as a pivotal Afghan problem . Today, most of young Afghans don't have job and they suffering from different kinds of mental pressures. Needless to say, some of those youngsters join to Taliban.

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime just announced that in 2010 Afghanistan is leading hashish producer. UN suggests that "it estimates that 10,000 to 24,000 hectares (24,700 to 59,300 acres) of cannabis are grown in Afghanistan every year and that this is used to make an estimated 1,500 to 3,500 tons of hashish annually." This is another double problem. Anyway, recently, I made a short interview with a website called "All Treatment." Read the interview on this link...

Apr 7, 2010

Drugs: Afghanistan's Silent Enemy

I just published a picture of an addict on my Photography website who I met in the abandoned Russian Cultural Center in Kabul. In the winter of 2008, I was assigned by UNAMA to picture the life of drug addicts in Kabul. I lived two streets away from the area where the addicts congregated during the cold winter. I passed by the wreckage of the building every day. One day, as I walked through the snow, mud and debris adjacent to the building, I found a dead body lying in the snow. Read more...

Apr 5, 2010

Anti-American outburst continues

Interestingly enough, the U.S is now deeply in trouble with Karzai, I was thinking that Karzai made April fool's joke but it seems Karzai is very serious and he once again slammed the United States. On Monday, April 4, President Karzai, who was talking to Pashton tribal elders in Kandahar, once again attacked US and said that the Taliban insurgency would become a legitimate resistance movement if the meddling doesn't stop.

According to Wall Street Journal, at one point, Karzai suggested that

He himself would be compelled to join the other side —that is, the Taliban—if the parliament didn't back his controversial attempt to take control of the country's electoral watchdog from the United Nations, according to three people who attended the meeting, including an ally of the president.
His remarks are widely reflected in Afghan media but all founded naive and destructive for the country. A few of them called upon Karzai that there are two options for him: "joining with the Taliban or resign if he doesn't find a better option."

Also NATO has admitted that its forces were responsible for the deaths of three women during a botched night-time raid in eastern Afghanistan in February.

Apr 2, 2010

How to justify Karzai's words?


I just published a post on my Farsi blog regarding to Karzai’s caustic comments that recently said: "No doubt, there was huge fraud, there was vast fraud," Karzai said Thursday in a speech before the Independent Election Commission. "The fraud is not by the Afghans. This fraud has been done by the foreigners."

Also the most toxic part is the one that he provocatively addressed the West that they shouldn't do something against his willing otherwise all Afghans will stand against foreign forces.

In the meantime, Abdullah Abdullah, who lost to him in the disputed election, accused Karzai of undermining the morale of the Afghan military by implying that the country was under foreign occupation.

"It was extraordinary … this is treason to the national interest. What is the message to the thousands of soldiers and national police defending the country?" he said."[Karzai] thinks that by taking that message he has delivered a populist stance, an anti-foreigner message … he tried to blur the line between national resistance to terrorism and the insurgency."
The troubling and disturbing speech of Karzai left the authorities in the White House in shock and awe. I personally can’t belief and don’t understand what is going on through his mind. Does he lose his consciousness and wisdom?

If anyone would ask my opinion with regards to this, honestly, I can’t find the right answer and I can’t really justify Karzai’s ignorance and undiplomatic manner. I would timidly say: “ I am sorry for my country and I am sorry that such an ignorant and stupid man is leading the country, I am sorry for billions of dollars pouring in my country that is not appreciated and Karzai is not the right person who can use that money well.”

Apr 1, 2010

"Fearless Blogger"

When he was a child, Nasim Fekrat ’13 stood by a boulder at his parents’ farm in Afghanistan and watched other children heading off to school. His father, taking a break from tending to wheat, cows and sheep, walked over and asked, “Do you want to go to school with those children or do you want to be a shepherd? If you want to be a student, you might have a bright future, but you still have to work hard.” Read more...
There is an article written by Bill Sulon one my college's extra features' writers about humble me. I appreciate Bill who actually done a nice job. Briefly, I have talked to him about blogging and the impacts of blog on my life and its impacts on the society as a new tool for freedom of speech.

As internet is soaring in Afghanistan, the ministry of information and culture has recently announced that they are going to enact restrictions on web usage. This issue turned into a big concern now and it raising fears of censorship. Anyway, I will specifically write on this issue later but now you now can read my interview on my college website.