Saturday, May 3, 2008
When there is question of whether he is still interested to stand for next presidential elections or not, Karzai cheerfully replies; “I won’t let the ground for the others, as long as the people will vote for me, because there are still things which I had in my plan and did not complete them yet”.
Perhaps the strength of security and intelligence forces of Karzai’s government was measured in the attack on the sixteenth anniversary and parade of Saur 8th the beginning of civil war and blood shed in the country.
This attack in which the military forces were escaping faster than the others, once again showed that not enough efforts are made by the international community for the training, equipping and strengthening of the Afghan security forces in this country within past six years.
Although this attacked seemed to be a warning for Karzai and the international supporters, but showed two things clearly;
First it showed how the admin and financial corruptions plus ethnic based relationships can clear a path for the influence of the Taliban and Hezb e Islami Members inside the security forces and intelligence services of the country, and second how weak still the Afghan Army and Police are after their rehabilitation by the international community.
Lately Karzai had an interview with New York Times in which he criticized the way of conduct of war by the American and British Forces in Anti Terrorism Campaign in Afghanistan, instead he asked for a softer behavior with the Taliban who are Afghans and want to join the peace process, but perhaps it may be late to criticize these forces now when the situation of the country is getting more complicated day after day and finally on the 8th of Saur these Afghan Taliban who are loved by Karzai thanked him with a deadly attack.
Some people think, as Karzai is loosing his popularity within the country day by day and his reputation is questioned by the international community for his weakness in is administration; he criticized the American and British forces behavior in the war in Afghanistan just to draw a totally independent figure out of him for the Afghan Intellectuals, on the other hand he defended the Taliban to attract them as well to have their support for the next presidential election.
It was not the first time that Karzai expresses his sympathy with the Taliban as the Pashtoons that may be a potential supporting force for him one day, but before also in his interview with BBC Persian has said that the Pashtoons themselves are the victim of the terrorism and the enemies of Afghanistan but he never named clearly who these enemies of Afghanistan are.
Currently in Afghanistan the government is still fragile and instable; there is not enough security and any little attack like 8th of Saur can weaken the moral of the people. The country is completely dependent on the imports of food from primary neighboring countries, and any change in these countries’ policies regarding import of food to Afghanistan can have direct and indirect effects on stability of economy and life the people in Afghanistan.
While most of people still live in poverty, the lately raise of costs of primary food is one of the biggest challenges in front of the government and can lead the government towards another crises; human catastrophe of hanger.
Nowadays most people think that Karzai has been fail during his six years time; interim, transitional and elected governments, and therefore there is no more hope for him to do better things hereafter either.
When the people ask that why not enough work is done for the welfare of people after almost seven years of the new era, why there is no accountability for the billions of money that has entered into Afghanistan as assistance and aids by the international community, why there is still financial corruption in the government machinery,
why the capacity of the Afghan defense and security is not built yet, why there is still violence in the country, why still the human rights is violated in the country, why there is not equality in between men and women in the country, how long will it go on this way and many more unanswered whys and questions, the only repeated answer for all these critical questions is just “the war of thirty can not be compensated in short term” which is not a reasonable answer by now.
The new era which was in the beginning titled the new era of democracy and freedom for Afghanistan is slowly on going to change its name to the black era for Afghanistan as its blackness spreads in different arenas of the country.
Peace, security, freedom and democracy
In spite of all difficulties, there were two main priorities for the people of Afghanistan for which they welcomed the interference of the international community in their country, and they are still as necessary as air to breathe for them; the first one is peace and security and the second one is freedom and democracy. The peace and security which they make and stabilize their lives in and the freedom and democracy in which without any threat, impose and intimidation or wrong religious interference in their affairs they would practice, their thoughts, ideas, beliefs and activities.
So far Karzai administration has not been able to fulfill the first one of these two priorities which was peace and security and the next one is also going under pressure day by day.
Applying Freedom and Democracy in the country is fully in the hand of the government and does not need any foreign aids or assistance for it, and is not dependant on anything external and or out of their reach thus any kind of excuse or pressure is nothing except intentional sabotage of the peace process in the country.
Some people think that Karzai after many failures in his administration, is confused what to do with the weaknesses he has therefore he is like a drowning person who claws in whatsoever comes in his hand.
Dreaming of maintaining his presidential seat at least for another period is one of his passions and does not let him ignore trying for it, by any possible means.
One of these possible means would be shooting an arrow for two or three preys at once;
Lately giving a hand to and using the Shora e Ulama (The Religious Scholars Council) and Hezb e Islami members (The fundamentalist Islamic Party lead by Hekmatyar) by the help of his Ministry of Information and Culture for enforcing more pressures on the media can have three possible consequences in his predicted formula;
The definite consequence is to suffocate and censor the free media (especially the non Pashtoon media that are the main critics of his team and his administration) before the election; therefore the private televisions are warned and censored and the free websites are filtered by his hard working team.
The two other possibilities are first whether to attract the Taliban by such policy to join him and make a strong front against the non- Pashtoon oppositions at least before the elections, and if this would not be likely to happen, then he thinks now he should put pressures on the media against the wish of people and then by removing these pressures from the media as an arbitrator in between the people and the Shora e Ulama, he thinks he would get back his popularity among the people and then will receive enough votes from them, which is not a fair formula because when a leader or a president sacrifices freedom and democracy for his personal plans does not worth a vote while still the assent of the international community is also critical for his alternative.
President Karzai’s apathetic reaction regarding murder of Ajmal Naqshbandi the young journalist who was killed by the Taliban last year in April, his meaningful silence regarding the death sentence of Parwiz Kambakhsh the young journalist and lately his deliberately support of decision of Ministry of Information and Culture for banning Indian soap- operas on five private television channels of Afghanistan are his continuous mistakes and obvious attacks against culture, media and freedom of speech in the country and apparent violation of human rights; the rights of access to information, press and media by the first person of the country.
We concern about the latest news which says; there are attempts to attack on TOLO TV by the Shora e Ulama to close it down, while on the other hand it is heard that there are efforts made to destroy www.KabulPress.org too, which are the two freest media in the country, but the people must be very clever about these cruel attempts and keep on their struggle for freedom and democracy through legal and peaceful demonstrations and objections against these policies of Karzai’s Administration.
That is why, for most people the current Afghanistan is like an empty frame without an image or at least with a blur image that does not have a clear identity; neither there is democracy in it nor it is a fully fundamentalist country but paddling in between which is a dilemma for the world.
From left; Lorenzo Bianchi, Antonio Martino, Greta Barbieri and Amin Wahidi photo by: Mattia Baglieri
I had a short trip to Bologna where I spent about two days.
Actually I was invited there by YAP Bologna Branch (Youth Action for Peace) which is an international movement for peace and conducts social- cultural – artistic and awareness programs in different countries including Italy.
I was invited there for a conference about Afghanistan.
Conference about Afghanistan; current situation, cultural activities, and freedom of speech
The conference took place in Political Science Department on Strada Maggiore. In this conference there were two other speakers too;
Lorenzo Bianchi a famous Italian Journalist working for QUOTIDIANO NAZIONALE
Antonio Martino an Italian documentary filmmaker in Bologna
The main issues discussed in this conference were; challenges of freedom of speech in Afghanistan, the re-empowerment of the fundamentalists in the branches of the government and the administrative corruptions in government of Afghanistan
The program went on very well and present people in this conference had some questions and were answered by the speakers at the conference. As my Italian is not very good I spoke in English and there was a professional translator “Greta Barbieri” who did a really good job.
Meeting new people:
In addition to meet some interesting people there; Lorenzo Bianchi, Isabella Nicoli, Francesco, Aura, Mattew, Angelo, Antonio Martino, Sara, Greta and Mattia I have had a chance to see some interesting places of Bologna by the help of two friends from YAP Angelo and Mattew.
Short film screening:
Again in the evening there was a chance to screen two shorts which we screened before in Milan.
Two petty things:
On the second day, before coming back to Milan as I had a chance to see some of the places like libraries, universities, city towers, churches, I saw a man in the main square of the city (Piazza Maggiore) like giving speech. He had a bicycle, a small stool to sit on and some newspapers and was talking to people and discussing the issues of newspapers with them, and there were people who took part and they also discussed their opinions about the current situation of the country, about politics and the politicians etc.
It was very interesting for me when I knew that this man does not have any work but every day brings newspapers and begin discussing about the current affairs with different people and his audiences are young and old. Every one is given a chance to talk and just share and exchange their ideas which is actually like a public awareness program.
I wish this could happen in Afghanistan that one day any one can discuss issues of political, religious and current affairs in public with the person without fear, censorship and intimidation that is the real democracy and freedom of speech.
The second thing that I wasn’t expecting at least in Italy was a little censorship in my interview in two papers of Bologna and Milan.
QN IL Resto del Carlino (Bologna) 23 Aprile 2008 Anno 123-Numero 97
QN IL Giorno (Milano Metropoli) 23 Aprile 2008 Anno 53- numero 97
The interview was done in English via email by Mr. Lorenzo Bianchi who is a nice man with a working experience of my age, and then when I read the Italian version published in Italian papers I did not find a part which then I realized was censored and that was about my current situation;
lorenzo Bianchi: Did you get the political asylum from Italy?
Amin Wahidi: Not a fully political asylum yet which I have asked for it and it is in process but all things work here very slowly.
For the moment I have received a short term permission of stay, which I think will be renewed after it expires and then the decision is in the hand of the government of Italy.
I hope the government of Italy would consider a difference in between the political asylum seekers whose lives are in danger because of their thoughts and their activities and the labor and economical immigrants.
To see the program in YAP website
To see the interview in Italian