I’ve been attending a roundtable on the role of women in Afghanistan post 2014. A very articulate delegation of Afghan parliamentarians and women activists are the focus of the discussions which are fascinating. Several local expatriate Afghans are also in attendance.
Here a few things I learned on Day one.
· *Many Afghan expatriates who have been out of the country for many years are dead scared to return. They fear for their life and property. Yet they long to return to the land of their fathers and mothers. So frustration is high.
· *Everyone is putting on a brave face about what life will be like after the Americans/NATO pull out in 2014. But they are scared. They could not bear to imagine having to go back to a Taliban-controlled life and society.
· *But they feel the 12 years of the occupation has been especially important for them and ‘we are not the same Afghans as in 2001. Women know how to resist now. We know how to organise now. We know we will never go back to those days.”
· *The women of Afghanistan are brave. They are targeted for assassination continuously as soon as they reach a position of public influence, be it leader of a womens’ NGO or a political party. As one said, “The US has made women in public life the most obvious success factor of the occupation. The Taliban know this and so they target individual women as a reminder to others of the price they will have to pay to succeed.”
· *The Americans and NATO forces are only concerned about handing over power to Afghans. Don’t care if they are the right Afghans or not, just hand over and walk away. As a result lots of unvetted, unqualified, untrained men are getting guns from the Americans to act as local police. Instead they are acting as local petty warlairds and acting with violence and impunity. Especially against women.
I’ve included a recent album by a young Hazara Afghan expatriate who lives and works out of Montreal, Fardin Faryad. A bit of nice romantic Afghan pop music. Fardin has a nice voice and his arrangements are generally quite good too. This is what the youth of Afghanistan hope they can still listen to after 2014.
01 Ne Namesha
02 Naro Naro
03 Dile Dile
08 Tuh Rafti
11 Ne Namesha (Reprise)