Showing posts with label Hazara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hazara. Show all posts

May 24, 2022

The biggest concern for Hazaras

Personally, I am less worried about the recent Taliban's restrictions on women appearing on TV or in public in that matter. What makes me more worried is the rampant violence across Afghanistan, specifically the genocide of the Hazara people which has been going on for years now and recently intensified. Attacks on Hazaras have become a daily occurrence now. No one takes responsibility anymore, even daily attacks don't make headlines, only attacks on a large scale become newsworthy. 

Since the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, a wave of violence swept the entire country, but violence against Hazaras is different, they are being systematically targeted at schools, mosques, hospitals, public squares, on the streets, and even in their homes. Simultaneously, something worse is happening these days. Pashtun Kuchis (nomads) have invaded Hazarajat, a region where the Hazaras live. They move with their livestock from village to village, grazing Hazara pastures, wheat farms, vegetable gardens, cutting and destroying trees and saplings. They trample their farmland, the very things that Hazara's livelihood is depend upon.

When local Hazaras protest, they are being attacked and killed by Pashtun Kuchis who are supported by the Taliban. This year, when autumn arrives, the Hazara people have nothing to reap from their farm fields. They are facing a serious famine. A bestial cruelty at its best. This is a matter of concern, not the hijab or covered faces of women on television and on the streets. The truth is that if we consider the tribal form of Islam, it is what the Taliban, and other Islamist groups trying to implement to some degree.

Apr 27, 2022

Seminar: Unpacking the Genocide of Hazaras in Afghanistan

I posted this on a Facebook group that helps Afghanistani refugees. I'm reposting it here:

A lot of us are dealing *Afghanistani refugees nowadays, they are all traumatized one way or another. if we know how events in Afghanistan affect them, we know better how to help them. Afghanistan is rife with violence, but what is particular in the case of the Hazara people is that they are systematically targeted at schools, mosques, hospitals (at births), wedding halls, sport clubs, squares, streets, and highways by Sunni Muslim extremist groups, the Taliban, ISIS, and other affiliates. Please join this important virtual seminar on how the Hazara genocide unfolding. 

Join us this Friday at 10am ET for a virtual seminar: Unpacking the Genocide of Hazaras in Afghanistan. Event co-hosted by CGM and Porsesh Research and Studies Organization. Register here: 

*Afghanistani is an inclusive term for all inhabitants of Afghanistan versus "Afghan" which exclusively used for Pashtun in  "Afghanistan." Please be sensitive to the use of those words. 

Apr 24, 2021

The Armenian genocide and the Hazara Genocide of 1888-1893

Fearing of alienating Turkey, for decades US presidents have tried to avoid recognizing the events of 1915-1923 that led to 1.5 million death of Armenians at the hands Turks as "genocide." Finally, today, Biden is going to acknowledge the Ottoman Turks atrocities as genocide. It is considered to be the most monstrous crime against humanity to have occurred in the outset of the twentieth century. But it is not the only one, in fact, almost 25 years before another genocide occurred against indigenous population of the Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Abdul Rahman khan, a Pashtun leader organized a mass genocidal campaign between 1888 and 1893 in order to subjugate the Hazaras in Hazarajat, a geographical area in central Afghanistan. The Pashtun Sunni mullahs declared fatwas that the Hazaras are infidel and they must be killed. Suddenly, every Pashtun rose up to become ghazi, someone who kills non-Muslim for pleasing the Muslim God and wishes to enter to heaven. 

In addition to government forces, ordinary Pashtuns joined the onslaught. Between 1888-1893, more than 60% of the Hazara population was vanished, some were displaced but the majority of them were massacred while thousands of others sold in slave markets such as khiva, Bukhara, Bombay, Kabul, and Kandahar. 

Here is a piece of news dated October 19, 1893, published in The Argus, a local newspaper based in Brighton, UK. It says: "Advices from Cabul [Kabul] state that the Ameer [Amir abdul Rahman khan] has sold 10,000 of the captive Hazaras as slaves in order to defray the expenses incurred in suppressing the rising."

This crime is one of examples that was reported and documented but not all events were reported, especially the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Hazaras, displacement of hundreds of thousands of others who permanently left their native land. Human rights groups have moral responsibilities to dig into history and investigate the crimes, so that one day, the mass atrocities against the Hazaras by Pashtuns also be recognized as a genocide. 

As we are going to hear today Biden's acknowledgment of Arminian genocide, I hope the young generation of Turks today take a moment and think what had their ancestors done against the Armenians. Instead of being ashamed, they should feel sympathetic and acknowledge those events as genocide. Equally, I hope young Pashtuns today feel the same whose ancestors committed atrocities against the innocent Hazaras. They should come out and acknowledge our historical pain and suffering so that we can hope and realize a better future alongside each other.

Related topic:
Massacres of Hazaras in Afghanistan by the Taliban between January 2001 and May 2000

Mar 7, 2021

20th anniversary of the destruction of Buddha statues of Bamiyan

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the two monumental Buddha statues of Bamiyan which were built in the 6th century AD. Twenty years ago, on March 02, 2001, the Taliban on the orders of their leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, began destroying the statues. The destruction process took several weeks. They first began with heavy artilleries but soon realized they couldn't destroyed. So, they forced the local men to descend the cliff and drill holes into the statues. Then they placed dynamites and blew them up. This was a tragic event but it is not the whole story.

When the Taliban took control of the city of Bamiyan, they first massacred the Hazaras who were residents of the city. The victims were mostly old men and women and children, too weak to fight, and too old to run. They were left behind and everyone else who could run, fled to the mountains and hid in the caves.

The people later died of starvation. A few months after the fall of the Taliban, the locals started searching for their loved ones in the mountains. They found their remains in the caves, torn by predators, and some that were leftovers of vultures still showed undigested grass in their stomachs. Trapped in the mountains, they consumed grass to survive but eventually succumbed to death.

When we talk about destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, it is important to first foreground the human cost of this tragedy. We need to highlight the Taliban's crime and atrocities against the Hazaras, the local population in the city of Bamiyan. For centuries, these people were neighbors with Buddha statues. We should ask ourselves, what it meant for these people to have lived there? What price did they pay because of being Hazaras and Shias? And what was their relationship with the statues of Buddhas historically and culturally?

The Western perspective and their understanding of the destruction of the statues are aesthetic, meaning they look at Buddhas and their demolition as objects that belonged to history but disregard the subjects of history. This is a colonial perspective, an epistemic violence that is integral to their practice of domination and subjugation. They have rendered this horrific human tragedy as a singular and abstract event.

This is cruel and violent because such narrative removes the Buddhas from its context, and that context is the Hazara people whose culture and history are intertwined with the statues.  I am not saying that we should not highlight the importance of historical tragedy of the destruction of Buddhas, my point here is that the objectification of the Buddhas solely as a tragic event not only trivializes and downplays the human costs but also leads to omission. 

We need to change the narrative in order to avoid any violence against the Hazara people. Every year, in this time, we should all come together and commemorate the death of people of Bamiyan alongside the destruction of their Buddhas. Finally, we need to talk and pay attention to the Taliban's atrocities that happened on a large scale and simultaneously think it as a warning sign as their return is looming.

Feb 4, 2021

A lesson to be learned from the miners in Pakistan

This AFP news published on Dawn says that after the 10 Hazara miners were killed a few weeks ago, "Pakistan coal miners reluctant to work after Hazara killings." Around 15,000 Hazara miners stopped going to work and as a result, around 200 mines are about to close or slash their production.

The reason for Hazara's reluctance to return to work is obvious. They are not secure and their return to work means their might be potentially more attacks because there is no guarantee for their safety. The Hazaras in Pakistan have been systematically persecuted by various extremist Islamist groups and the Pakistani government has done very little to stop it.

Now that the businesses are getting closed and people are out of work, the government eventually understands what such precarity means and what it would do in the long run in the province of Balochistan. The Hazaras in Pakistan should turn their reluctance into a movement and use it to pressure the federal government to beef up security in their areas.

But guess what happens if Hazaras in Afghanistan takes this lesson and use it for their own struggle against the Afghan government's aggression. If Hazara leaders and elders call on the Hazara men and women, who are now in the battlefield fighting against the Taliban, to come home, the government would stop its onslaught on the Hazaras in Behsud and else where.

This is a trump card that can be used against this government for any type of negotiations. Hazaras would lose nothing and won't go hungry if their sons and daughters leave the army, in fact, they save their lives, not getting killed in vain by the Taliban.

Feb 2, 2021

Afghan security forces open fire on civilians

In my previous post, I mentioned that the Afghan security forces have been deployed to Behsud, a Hazara district in Wardak province, to disarm locals who stood up against the Taliban atrocity. These Hazara civilians were peacefully gathered in front of the district's office to inquire why these forces were there because there was no reason for them to be there, unless they are there to weaken the local's resistance, which would provide some leeway to the Taliban's assaults. 

Here is a video as evidence showing Afghan security forces positioned in armored military Humvees opening fire on civilians and then run over them that is partially captured. So far, more than 10 people have been killed and nearly 30 people are injured. 

Aug 16, 2018

Systematic Attacks Against Hazaras in Afghanistan

Yesterday, a suicide bomber entered into a classroom of tow-hundred students in an education center and blew himself up. The attack happened in Dashte Barchi, a predominantly Hazara area in western of Kabul. As a result, 48 people were killed and more than 70 were injured. They were all students aging from ten to eighteen, and they were all from ethnic Hazara.

This kind of attacks have been increasing against the Hazaras. The central government which is run by Ashraf Ghani, an ethnocentric leader, has done nothing to stop violence against the Hazaras, instead, he and his government have shown acceptance and enthusiasm for the Taliban  and ISIS insurgents who commit the atrocities.

Hazaras are left alone, and targets against them are even justified by the Afghan government. This BBC journalist tweet indicates that. An official of the Afghanistan's National Security Council has told him that Hazaras are Iranian spies. This is a dangerous machination to dehumanize the Hazaras and it makes them more vulnerable to systematic targets. Calling Hazaras spies of Iran is a sinister technique of othering and sub-humanization, which has been happening for the past decades. This is a clear green light to the Taliban and ISIS to target the Hazaras more than before. Such statement comes from an Afghan official who is sitting at the national security council, which is being chaired by Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani.

Foreign media organizations have failed to report on the nuances of widespread attacks on innocent Hazaras. They have been simply framing them as attacks against the Afghan civilians, and sometimes highlighted their religious belief. They have not paying attention to ethnic lines as much as it requires. The Taliban and the ISIS targets are the Hazaras, because they are different, they speak Farsi, practice Shi'ism, and they look Asian. These are inherent guilts of a minority called Hazaras whose ancestors have been Buddhists and Shamanists.

Oct 2, 2017

From the University of Arkansas

In regards to my previous blog post on Bahar Jalali's racist tweet, today, I received the following e-mail from the University of Arkansas saying that Bahar Jalali does not work in their institution. 

The University of Arkansas was contacted by a reader of your blog, regarding Bahar Jalali. There is no employee on our campus named Bahar Jalali, so to refer your readers to Dean Michael Miller isn't useful to your cause. If you could please correct this on your blog, I would be most appreciative.

Thank you,
Laura Jacobs
associate vice chancellor
The information is corrected in my previous blog post. I would like to ask the readers of this blog that please do not contact the university anymore. I am sorry that I misinformed you. Bahar Jalali has probably worked their before but not anymore. She may have forgotten to update her Linkedin profile, which says that she currently works there. 

Jan 24, 2016

Hazara Female Models on the Catwalk in Kabul

A decade-and-a-half after the end of Taliban rule, women in Afghanistan still face pressure to dress conservatively in their Muslim-dominated society. That makes holding a fashion show with female models a risky endeavor. But some young women are making a fashion statement, defying threats and social taboos to take to the runway. (RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan). Source RFE/RL

Here is another example of bravery that is presented by Hazara women defying the threats against themselves. However, there is just one caveat to remember. We must be careful and distinguish when we are talking about women in Afghanistan. Ethnic plays an important role in women's freedom. You won't see women from other ethnic groups among them. These young females are ethnically Hazara, the most persecuted and downtrodden people on earth. If chance given to them, and they receive support, these women can be an embodiment of courage and freedom that can exemplify it for others.

Aug 26, 2015

The Hazaras who Create Afghanistan's Arts

While other ethnic groups in Afghanistan are trying to stay busy fighting and killing each other, the Hazaras of Afghanistan are doing something different, the art. Here is an example, Anahita Ulftat is a Hazara girl who last year participated in Afghan Star - Afghan idol - has just released a new video clip, which is astonishingly beautiful and artistic in post-modern context.

By Afghan standard, this kind of art is astoundingly rare and new. This is an example of how freedom, education, and liberalism benefit the very people who Ms. Ulfat belongs to, have been excluded from all basic rights. It has been only a decade since the Hazaras have been through a period of relatively peacefulness, which bestowed freedom under the protection of the U.S. and the international community. Hazaras are proud of their identity and country. In sport, Hazaras have often took their country's flag to the international stage and garnered gold medals for their country.

Last year, in February, I published a blog post about Anahita Ulfat and her talents. Here's that blog post:
Anahita Ulfat, Sings Songs of the Oppressed

Mar 1, 2015

How Do Other Afghan Ethnic Groups View Iran-Hazara Relations?

In my previous post, I explained that how certain historical events have shaped the future of Hazaras and also how those events have affected Hazaras relations with Iran. The 9/11 attacks and its aftermath, which ushered in a new phase of Hazara’s liberation with the opportunity to finally enjoy some freedom. I indicated that such achievement has not been possible without the support of the United States and the international community.

In this post, as promised earlier, I will address some opposing arguments, which have often made by some other Afghan ethnic groups against the Hazaras. From Pashtun and perhaps some Tajiks viewpoints, the Hazaras are still agents of Iran and spying for Iran, and they are not loyal to their country. Why? Here is one of the popular accusations that has always been made. I will discuss the scale of such accusations in historical context and will argue how such accusations have helped perpetuate persecution and discrimination against the Hazaras.

This is what they argue:
Iran and Hazaras have a strong bond and it comes from their common religion and language because they are both Shiite and speak the same language. Most of Afghan refugees living in Iran are Hazaras. Iran feels comfortable to work with them and use them not only against the United States, but also against Sunni Muslim in Afghanistan. Therefore, because of all these commonalities, the Hazaras are susceptible to Iran’s influence and it is not wrong to treat them as suspicious.

This kind of argument is nowhere near commons sense, nor based on evidence but built on allegations and prejudice. But, perhaps, one of the compelling evidences that would back up this argument is Iran’s involvement in the jihad war against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. This was the beginning of Iran’s active engagement in Afghanistan’s affairs and as well as the beginning of Iran’s interaction with the Hazara people. Iran, like Pakistan played an active role by creating eight Shiite political parties, during the 1980s, to fight the Soviet troops.

Iran’s influence on Hazaras during the Soviet occupation is unquestionable. However, after the withdrawal of Soviet forces in 1989, the game has changed because the regional and transregional players achieved their goals: rolling back the Soviet to its borders. But what followed the post-Soviet occupation, was a series of disastrous events in which some players still found themselves unable to stop hepling once they started.  What happened subsequently was quite predictable. Iran lost its interest in Hazaras and instead began working with Tajiks, and their famous commander, Ahmad Shah Massoud. Iran realized that the Hazaras did not have the ability nor the capacity to run a government. During this time, Iran prefered and wished to have Tajiks ruling the country, however, it never had a serious and consistent foreign policy on bringing the Farsi speakers to power in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, Iran, continued to support the ruling political parties of Tajiks, Shura-e Nazar (supervisory council), and Jamiat-e Islami (Islamic society), until the fall of the Taliban regime.

On the contrary, the Hazara political parties which played an important role during the civil war between 1992-1995 and after losing the battle in Kabul, gradually marginalized and eventually became under the dominance of the Tajik parties, Shura-e Nazar, and Jamiat-e Islami, which later all of them made an alliance under compulsion to fight the Taliban regime. It is undeniably true that the Hazara parties kept close contact with Iran throughout the 1990s and up until the fall of the Taliban regime, because Iran did not want to have a brutal regime ruling Afghanistan, especially after 1998 murder of its diplomats and journalist at Iranian consulate, but the assistance was not direct and substantial because the Hazara parties relied on Northern Alliance logistic support. There were, however, other factions with direct support of Iran which they still receive Iran's support, namely, Harakat-e Islami Afghanistan (Islamic Movement of Afghanistan) that is led by its founder, Muhammad Asif Muhsini, who is ethnically a Pashtun from Kandahar, but religiously a Shia. He does not represent the Hazara people and the Hazaras hate him because of his racism attitudes against their late leader, Abdul Ali Mazari, also because of his notorious and misogynistic law allowing Afghan men to rape female.

To recapitulate, the Hazaras have changed as result of going through certain and decisive events, which took place during the 1990s and post-Taliban era. The detachment from the dominance and influence of Iran and its religious revolutionary ideology to becoming independent, and domesticating liberal and modern values, which heralded awakening of Hazaras, has not been a smooth transition. The Hazaras have paid a heavy price for their relations with Iran, but finally determined to liberate themselves from within and from without. They endured years of intense internal factional conflicts, and then suffered through dreadful years of mass atrocity against themselves by the Taliban. Therefore, it is not fair to build an accusation based on some matters which do not exist any longer. Speculation and accusation based on old and obsolete factors are not only helpful, but perpetuate prejudice and discrimination. Finally, those who still make these kind of allegations against Hazaras either being ignorant of Afghanistan’s history and the changes took place in recent decades, or for any reason, afraid to understand and acknowledge them.

In the upcoming posts, I will further discuss and analyze the opposing arguers’ points in different ways.

Feb 21, 2014

Anahita Ulfat, Sings Songs of the Oppressed

Anahita Ulfat in traditional Hazaragi dress performing live on stage 
Solemnly, but smiley, Anahita in her unique traditional Hazara dresss, gently walks up onto stage. When she turns her charming smiley face towards the audience, her beauty pervades gloom all over the place, and as soon as she starts singing, the audience goes wild. Anahita sings with a vital rebellious voice against discriminatory attitudes towards her ethnic group. With her voice, she expands the horizon of hope for the Hazara women, for those who have long dreamt to bid defiance to limitations, and ignoring.

Anahita Ulftat is back on the stage of Afghan Star, the Afghanistan’s pop idol that broadcasts on a local TV channel, “Tolo TV.” She is a Hazara girl from Ghazni who rings the bravery bill of all Hazara women. With her unique serene gesture, but exciting voice, she melodizes unwritten songs; songs of silence, songs of an oppressed minority that for centuries has been deprived from their basic rights. Anahita sings the crying songs of thousands of innocent people who have suffered from ethnic cleansing, historical discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion.

Calm and vigilant, Anahita sings love songs, the ones that could recall the tale of a Hazara boy who is enslaved by a Pashtun, and he grieves for his lover who is taken away into a slavery market in Central Asia by bandits of Uzbeks and Turkmen who also plundered their villages. Anahita has a pain in her heart, the pain that is shared by all Hazaras throughout the history. Anahita suffers from the same pain that every Hazara has suffered and suffers today; the pain of being ignored, being discriminated, and being excluded. She sings the song that is buried in fears; laughed at, and being condescended.  She cries out the pain of a minority that has suffered from overpowering deprivation.

Finally, Anahita Ulfat’s voice has a lasting impact, and deeper like sun. Her voice illuminates the hearts, and tranquilizes the minds. The star of the 9th season of Tolo TV, must be Anahita Ulfat, and everyone should vote for this courageous, rebellious young girl, who dares to ring out the sinner voice of the Hazara women. Anahita represents a minority group, and the bravery and liberality of women, and the young generation who wants to fly high.

Here are two video links to Anahita's outstanding performance:
Anahita Ulfat sings Qatma Qandahari from Farhad Darya
Anahita Ulfat sings Norband

Feb 9, 2014

Daykundi: A Long Forgotten Province of Hazarajat

This photo belongs to my trip in Daykudni, in winter 2008. I don't remember where exactly this place is but it was a deep valley adjacent to Ashtarlai district.
A long-forgotten memory stirred in me this morning; one of those that creates tumult in you and sinks you into an anguished mood. One of those memories that wraps you in a velvet of agony. Then, you are torn inwardly, and left with shredded memories that you are trying recollect when you of course cannot. Just like tattered cloths that cannot be patched, some memories cannot be healed, they rather torment you from inside. Precisely, this is what I felt this morning and here is the story:

In the winter of 2008, I with a friend - who was a documentary filmmaker - made a trip to central part of Afghanistan "Hazarajat" (where the Hazaras are living). Two days before, a storm of heavy snow hit the area and there was over a foot and half of snow blanked in all places. My friend and I were sluggishly ascending the steep and slippery path to top of the pass, near Ashtarlai district. In a short distance, a group of men appeared who were zigzagging their way up to the mountain.

My friend and I were probably the second group making the narrow trench wider in the snow, and perhaps easier for the next travelers. We gradually approached the travelers who were piercing into the depth of the snow and were step by step nearing. We stepped aside and patiently waited to let them pass. At a converging point, I looked at the men’s face; they looked drained, anguished, worried and irritable. In the middle, a man who was going short in breathing carried a basket in his back; one of those baskets that are usually used for collecting grasses for animals in the summer. Suddenly, I heard groans of a woman from the basket, she sounded like a wounded soldier, even close to sounds of someone who gives out the last breath.

A sudden fear with grief conquered me. I impatiently asked the last person in the row: “Who is in the basket and what is going on?” The pale man who has already seemed grief-stricken was one of the woman's closest family members paused for a few seconds to catch his breath, then, he said: “She is sick, we are taking her to the doctor, in Nili." They were coming from Ashtarlai district. He told me that they were en route for two days and they were in their third day to arrive at the hospital in Nili, the capital of Daykundi province.

Six years passed from that winter and that incident, I am having doubt that there has been much improvement in Daykudi; one of the poorest provinces in the far-flung of central Afghanistan. This memory is one of the many that I recall now from my trip to Daikuni province, in one the coldest winters, in 2008.

Feb 15, 2013

Decline of Iran's Soft Power in Afghanistan

Stanford: CREEES seminar: "Iran and the Hazaras of Afghanistan: The Decline of Tehran's Soft Power"

Short synopsis of my talk’s proposed content:

Iran’s influence in Afghanistan is unique in that it has not historically derived from support for militant groups, but instead from “soft power” especially through Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazaras people.  The Hazaras share language, religion and culture with Iran, and constitute approximately 10-15 percent of the Afghan population. Over the last four years, Iran has accelerated its soft power efforts through Hazaras by investing in construction projects, increasing trade and promoting its ideology. Iran has also engaged in cultural exchange programs and provided humanitarian aid and scholarships.  Books, DVDs and pamphlets promoting anti-Zionist and anti-American sentiments have been distributed to Hazara communities.

Despite investing significant resources in these efforts, Iran has not achieved the influence in Afghanistan it hoped for. The Hazara minority group, which has faced long-term persecution in Afghanistan, has proven more concerned with the fear that the Taliban regime will return than it is with Iranian interests. Hazaras therefore tend to support the U.S. troop presence rather than Iran. Other factors like the rise of Hazara nationalism and bitterness about the treatment of Hazara refugees in Iran have also served to mitigate Iran’s traditional soft power efforts.  

Given the waning influence of Iranian soft power in the Hazara ethnic minority, we are now beginning to see evidence of an Iranian trend towards the “hard power.”  “Hard power” activities range from arming, financing and training the Taliban to allowing the Taliban to open an office in Iran.  Iran has also been instrumental in training individuals for roadside bombing attacks, and giving money to Afghan politicians to exert its anti-U.S. influence in Afghanistan. 

Friday, February 15, 2013. 12:00 PM.
Approximate duration of 1.50 hour(s).
CISAC Conference Room, Encina Hall Central (2nd floor)
CREEES Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies at Stanford

Feb 16, 2010

Can a military draft work in Afghanistan?

During his visit to Germany, Hamid Karzai has stated that his government will consider instituting mandatory national military service. Afghanistan lacks a strong national apparatus for nation building where people from different ethnic background can share and learn from each other. Such an institution has been one of Afghanistan’s most fundamental needs over the last few years. Despite this, compulsory military service would be impossible to implement. Continue reading...

Feb 8, 2010

It is time to listen to the Afghan people

A few hours before the start of the Afghanistan summit in London on January 28th five former senior members of the Taliban who occupied key positions in the Taliban government between 1996 and 2001, were removed from the UN blacklist. This move spurred widespread criticism inside Afghanistan that was barely acknowledged in the western media. Prior to the London conference, several Afghan civil society organizations and intellectuals protested against the action. They warned that by removing the names from the list, they were effectively forgiving them for their crimes. Continue reading...

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