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Archive for March, 2007

Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.
If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.
If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not. –
Rumi

Cooked today! I’m starting to like it because I’m getting better at it. I cooked goolpi (cauliflower).

I also saw the first proper proposal procedure today, for my sister. The family is a very well respected and educated family- so is the guy asking for my sisters hand. It’s not tradition for the girls family to give an answer straight away, usually takes days (sometimes weeks, months or years). My sister and her potential suitor sat across each other, I sat next to my sister. My sister was too shy to even twitch so I decided to do all the talking asking typical questions which I already knew the answer to (mum and dad had told us before hand). ‘what do you study?’ ‘which year of uni are you currently in?’ ‘Is it hard?’ blah blah blah. He replied in very formal Dari, beyond my comprehension. I tuned out. He would occasionally say a few phrases in English for my understanding (Okay, my Dari may not be the best but I’m not that bad!). Very decent dude. Sisters verdict: pending (yes, I am dying of curiosity).

Also went to Ustaad Sayaafs house (dads paternal cousin, also an MP). Sat, tea served, smiled and nodded. Left. What was the point of going? Just to keep mum company.

On the way back, I realised that women should come out more. This place is suffering from male overflow. If women come out more, then maybe it won’t be so much of a ‘‘man’s world’’.

The past few days I’m feeling better about this place but I ‘lost’ a friend, a soul mate and my confidant. I’m going to miss u a lot. Hopefully, time will reveal all. Farkhunda, if you’re reading this. I miss you!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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”Same sh*t, different day!” – Will Smith (Bad Boys 2)

Just when I decided to stop freaking out, another bomb goes off. A human bomb killing four and injuring his target. I heard about it on the news just before leaving the house this morning. The roads were choc a bloc, many of the roads were blocked and we were detoured.

It was exceptionally crowded, armed French and American soldiers were scattered everywhere. We were running late as it was. Dad said we should have left the house early. Outside, people were talking and shaking their heads in disappointment. You could feel the apprehension- a result of the cruel repercussion.

Soon enough, I became a witness to the aftermath terror of a human bomb. Although they had cleaned up the mess the roads were still wet, security was tight and cars were damaged by shrapnel. Some people were even crying. Our car made it’s way slowly through the scene, the police controlling traffic- risking their lives. I couldn’t think, my mouth became dry in disbelief. Shock horror. I couldn’t see the exact place where the bomb went off, journalists had crowded to take pictures. Four dead and counting. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji oon.

Suicide bomber strikes in Kabul BBC online

The bomb went off not far from the city’s main bazaarA suicide bomber has struck in the Afghan capital, Kabul, in an attack apparently aimed at one of the country’s
top intelligence officials.
At least four people, plus the bomber, died in the explosion near Kabul’s main market, which happened during the morning rush hour, police say. The official, an intelligence service investigations chief, survived.

It is the second bomb attack to hit the capital in just over a week, after months of relative peace. The bomb went off in the centre of Kabul, not far from the city’s main bazaar. The bomber struck at one of the busiest times of the day, in the morning rush hour when government workers are on the move.

The BBC’s Mark Dummett in Kabul says the blast could be heard right across the city. The target appears to have been Kamaluddin Khan Achikzay, a senior investigator with the intelligence service, but he survived.

At least 12 people were injured in the attack, in addition to the civilian
bystanders who were killed. On 19 March a young Afghan man was killed when a
suicide car bomber attacked a convoy of US embassy officials in the city.
The US officials were unharmed.

Violence in south
It was the first attack of its kind inside Kabul this year, although several deadly blasts last year were blamed on the Taleban. Most attacks take place in the restive
south of the country, where the Taleban have more support and where their
conflict with Nato troops and the Kabul government is predominantly being
fought.

I was glad we hadn’t left the house early.

I sat quietly, tried thinking but I couldn’t. it wasn’t fair, why do the innocent have to die? This country still has unhealed wounds, it doesn’t need situations like this to rub salt on them. I wasn’t scared, just angry.

I felt like kicking myself for forgetting to bring my camera. A little while later, a convoy of Afghan men were being transported. Where? To Nimrooz- a province in Afghanistan to battle against the Taliban. There were at least 2000 of them, once again traffic was stopped while the convoy of soldiers made their way. Young men fighting America’s dirty war. So young, yet so brave. Still in shock, I stared into their eyes (stupidly) trying to sense their feelings. They were determined and focussed, some were even laughing and joking. I felt an extreme sense of pride for them. They were living proof of Afghan heroism- the same flame of courage which burned in Afghan fighters against Communism decades ago. Wilfred Owens pessimistic war poems began reciting itself in my mind. But my favourite war poem is of an English soldier, Rupert Brooke who fought in WW1.

Patriotic and proud, it goes something like this;

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed-
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware…
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,

A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her lights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

The show must go on.

Afghans don’t believe in traffic fines. Yep, even if they were issued- people just won’t pay them. Afghan obstinacy. People chose to park wherever they want. What’s an alternative for the police? Slash their tyres! Pretty extreme, huh?

Went to AFC (afghan substitute for KFC), I was over the moon. Finally found a fastfood store. Towards the end, when paying for the bill one of the workers had a little chat with dad. I went to listen (Afghanistan is full of surprises). Dad told me that the young guy was the owner, a young afghan who had returned to Afghanistan (from Manchester) after 16 years and opened a fastfood chain. Inspiring!

As usual, I took a few bread rolls for the little street children outside. I gently put a hand on his shoulder, just as he turned around he sighted the bread and instantly asked for it. I gave him all three as he shared it amongst the other boys. When will the day come for me to defeat my number one enemy- poverty!

Another emotional encounter happened today while we were waiting for someone in the car. A young boy, around 10 years of age stopped by our car selling tools. Dad, a supporter of education, asked the young boy if he goes to school. The boy nodded. We bought a few screwdrivers. Dad advised him to stay in school and to become someone important. The boy nodded again, barely saying a word. ‘Why the long face?’ dad asked. He replied, ‘I have a headache.’ His ripped schoolbag was on his back as he held his tools for sale. Dad gave him a huge tip ‘for staying in school’. A headache, just finished from school and working on the streets- he had it tough but he smiled in gratitude as he made his way ahead. Children of a disadvantaged war. I genuinely wished the best for him, the least I could do- for the moment!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar…

Fereshta: I got your comment and your email. Thanks hun! I miss you heaps. Check your email and keep yourself posted on this 😉 Love you lots and i miss you like crazy crazy crazy! *sings* Az tu dooram, deewana o madhooshi tu am…

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Culture shock and emotional constipation. Daym, the past few posts have been nothing more than mere pansy entries. Today, I managed to destroy the culture shock that I had endured (culture shock? culture shock che hast?? boro baba, da ghameh culture shock maandi).

I defered Murdoch uni – didn’t have a choice really, still continuing with my other uni. I need to gather myself emotionally and get a grip of myself. No more nagging.

Yes, I managed to wield my way out of going to hamaam (public bath). As a result, spent most of the day at home alone. Did the cleaning and cooking (yep, I actually cooked). We had visitors come over in the afternoon, a proposal for my sister… wohoo!

I really want to help Afghanistan by investing in it’s future. i.e the children. Since i have profound experience with the Dept of Justice in Australia and found that the system we have there for juvenile delinquents is almost perfect- at the same time it integrates well with Islamic teachings and Shariah.

In Afghanistan anyone seven years and up can be charged for a criminal offence. Currently there are some 45 juveniles aged from seven to eighteen who have been arrested and detained with adults. Seventy per cent await trial and the rest have been convicted. The national strategy, led by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) aims to strengthen juvenile justice administration including establishing a focal point in the MOJ; set up new premises for the Kabul Youth Court and train experts on juvenile justice. The strategy includes reform of corrections’ administrations for offenders as well as the establishment of a residential institution for offenders aged 15-18 in Kabul. The aim is to extend these initiatives to the provinces later.

Okay, freak-0ut moment! Just found this article (see below). Looks like I’ll be dead!

Suicide bomber kills four Afghan police
Tuesday Mar 27 18:52
AEST
Disguised as an Afghan soldier, a suicide bomber blew himself up in
front of a police headquarters and killed at least four policemen in southern
Afghanistan on Tuesday, witnesses said.Several other people were wounded in the attack in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, the main drug-producing region of Afghanistan, the world’s leading heroin producer.
NATO forces have launched a major offensive in Helmand as spring
heralds the return of the fighting season.NATO and Afghan forces have killed dozens of Taliban fighters in battles in recent days.
Last year was the bloodiest since the Taliban’s ouster in 2001, with 4,000 people dying.The rebels have promised to step up suicide attacks as part of a return to
conventional guerrilla attacks this year.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar

PS Just read an article revealing that Anthony Callea’s gay- i’m shattered! Why? why? why?

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I am who I am- the best of two cultures held high by the universal religion, Islam!

I finally managed to get that assignment done… yay! Submitted it online last night.Nothing major today, spent the day indoors again. Didn’t study at all, my brains suffering from information overload at the moment thanks to my essay. Have to hit the books again tomorrow.

It’s 12.30am and TV is on (Tolo channel, of course). All else is asleep like the rest of Afghanistan. Ahmad Zahir just came on ‘bakhuda tang ast dilam, tang ast dilam, tang ast dilam’ (one of my favourite songs).

Sayaf’s house was raided today by Coalition forces in search of weapons and ammunition. It’s funny considering he’s an MP and a representative of the Karzai gov’t. (I won’t delve into politics! Too sleepy…)

Got nothing else to say.

I had a dream last night, all my friends were graduating university… but me! *sigh*

Oh yeah, A.A asked me today ‘what about Australia?’ Mate, I still call Australia home. If it weren’t for Australia, I wouldn’t be here today. I appreciate everything Australia has given me and it will always be my home for as long as it welcomes me. The bond that my parents have with Afghanistan, I guess I have the same bond with Australia. I grew up there, I have lived all my life there. Australia has given me the education and the expertise to help Afghanistan. It would be selfish of me if I didn’t acknowledge that. Right now, I get a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about Australia because I miss it. But Afghanistan is in desparate need of me. Australia will always be my ‘sunburnt country’!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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Ahmad Zahir. Omid. University essay. Poetry. Books.

I’ve come to accept the sad fact that I have to defer university for another semester or maybe even a year *sniff sniff*. It’s really not fair. Oh well, no point nagging and whingeing. Whats done is done. I’m still doing two units at another uni though, I deferred three units.

What a waste of time, I wanted to finish this semester which is why I did seven units last semester and six the semester before. I feel like such a loser. Basically I spent the whole day chucking a sad about my studies and freaking out. Maybe I shouldn’t have come at all but that wasn’t an option.

Siblings all enrolled at school today. I stayed home.

Not much to do here, this place is tiny (I thought our city was small) but I still don’t know my way around. That’s not good because if I don’t have anything to do-
I get bored!
And when I get bored,
I start missing home and friends!

I was listening to Gokhan Ozen today and it reminded me of my car and driving on the highway. It’s tough out here. I feel like someone’s amputated my arms and legs and I can’t do anything, I don’t know why. It could be because I’m bludging around and not making use of myself- something I’m not used to. I need to find a life since I cant return to my old one.

Excuse the pessimism, I’m presently in a critical disposition so I’ll end it here.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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He said, ‘you have pleaded your case but you have no witness.’
I said, ‘my tears are my witness, the pallor of my face is my proof.’
He said, ‘your witness has no credibility, your eyes are too wet to see.’ – Rumi

Went to Lesee Maryam, shopping arena. Crowded and dusty. Weather was bright and sunny. For the first time in Kabul I felt uncomfortable. Dressed in jeans and a knee length top, I received unwanted attention. I bought a black juba and wore it over my clothes. Felt so much better. Finally found Ahmad Zahir MP3s. His entire CD collection is on 2 cds. I was a happy girl.

The clothes stores were years behind in fashion. I’m paranoid now! There was NOTHING which suited my liking. I need to find a European designer store, IF they have any here. Menswear is fine, they have the latest gear for them but ladies wear is appalling. That’s not fair! I need serious help.

Electricity and power have been pretty full on- there haven’t been any blackouts or water shortage. Karzai finally decided to take some action I guess- it’s the least he could do. I found his new year speech appalling! He made no promises to the afghan people (maybe because he is incapable of fulfilling it). Karzai simply prayed for the new year to be filled with ‘rain, snow, peace and friendship with Pakistan’. Okay, lets break this down;

Rain and snow- fair enough, rain and snow bring blessing! Its all good for the Afghans who have solid built houses (including karzai himself). But what shelter will the Karzai and his ‘influential’ MP’s grant for the sixty thousand children who don’t have a roof over their heads? The widows whose husbands died in defence of their country and religion? Where’s their source of warmth?

Peace and friendship with Pakistan- okay okay, hold on a second. No one’s taken out AK 47’s and Kalashnikovs to butcher the Pakis. Are we supposed to fall to their feet? Is that ‘friendship’? also, the only friendship that needs to take place is political diplomacy between the two countries. So that includes Karzai and Musharraf (whose currently on the verge of political demise).

Hmmm…..

What about defeating corruption in the police force? The thousands of young men and women who are serving and risking their lives but are one of the lowest paid workers in the country. Maybe if he stopped overflowing the pockets of his MP’s with American dollars and provided a slight pay rise, corruption will cease.

How about employment of the illiterate (which make up an extreme amount of the afghan population), beggars, old, disabled people by building factories and bakeries? Even the illiterate are able to be of assistance and feel that they are an integral part of Afghan society.

Karzai needs to be educated. Karzai needs to take a walk down any street in Kabul and just spend thirty seconds of his precious time with a begging child. He will find that amid the thousands, hidden amongst rags and torn clothes, concealed behind a coat of dust built on their rough skin there is our future doctor, engineer, lawyer, teacher or perhaps, president. A child who holds immense potential and a thirst for education but have been deprived and silenced, these children are capable of being the pre-eminent in society, yet their status is diminutive and miniscule- compliments to their restrained financial status and Karzai’s disability to create (even a dim) glimmer of hope.

Do something, Karzai. Do something!

Anyways, I have an assignment due before Monday. I haven’t started at all. Looks like I’m going to have an all-nighter. My only source of information is internet and internet is so slow. Shoot me dead!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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My life has only brought me sorrow,
Loves good and bad only taught me sorrow.
My constant companion is only pain
My entity has only bought me sorrow.

Friday’s entry:

Nothing much has been happening. Yesterday, Dad and bro went out. I stayed home with the rest of family. Today (day 3 of Nawrooz) we were invited to Mama Haji’s place for lunch. I didn’t want to go because I felt bad. His wife’s health isn’t very good and she’s reaching old age. I felt it was better for them to come to our place but I just tag along with my family.

My day couldn’t start off any worst – I burnt my designer black pants that I bought from Australia and I loved to death. I was almost in tears. It was all the stupid irons fault.. It’s not electrical, the iron heats up by placing it on a gas stove and then ironing your clothes. So there’s no temperature, it just heats and heats. I made an oath never to iron my clothes until we get a proper iron.

Weather outside was great! Bright and sunny! Baaz amadi, ay jaaneh mann.. (I love warm weather).

BUT… stayed in doors again. Great!

Spent the whole day sitting (obviously on the floor-mattress, knees were killing me). Few Afghan women came and visited. It was getting repetitive. They all asked the same questions. The interrogation process goes something like this:

How long are you planning to stay?
Whose the eldest?
Is she married?
Are they ready for marriage?
Why did you come to Afghanistan?
How’s Khaarij (referring to Australia)?
How many children do you have?

AAAARGH! Please, enough!

Thankfully, mum did all the talking. I just sat and smiled. At one stage I was about to burst out laughing at one of the lady’s reaction when mum told her that she has six daughters and only one son. She slapped her face and squealed ‘WEEEEEEEEE KHUDAYAAAAAAA…’ I turned around and started laughing really hard. Couldn’t help it.

When it was their turn they told stories of their deceased husbands. Sad and depressing. Depressing because there wasn’t much I could do- at least not for now. The most I can do at the moment is sympathise.

Returned home at 10ish. Went to bed.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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