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Archive for April, 2007

Tu ra nadeeda raftom,
dil az mann gelah daara (Shabnumi Soraya- Tajiki singer)

200 Taliban have been surrounded in Uruzgan (that’s where our Aussie troops are posted.. GO AUSSIE GO!) The Taliban have sought refuge in civilian houses shielding themselves. So what happens now? they’re under scrutiny. All will be known soon. In the meantime, Mr Boss from the Taliban has blatantly proclaimed that there will be ‘major offensive’ attacks in retaliation. Suprisingly, very little has been said in the media.

I guess this means I will be missing out on the jashen (festival) which I have been looking forward to very very very much. Parents think it’s too dangerous- yes, out of the thousands of people attending, it will be my family and I that will be hit directly (IF these attacks do happen)! There was another festival a week ago, wasn’t allowed to go to that for security purposes and also because it’s not a place where women should go- it’s for MEN, BOYS, GUYS (Even though it’s advertised for EVERYONE). As I said, it’s a mans’ world!

Jeez, what else is there to do in this place? Oh no, here I go with the whole whingeing thing again.. but can you honestly blame me?

Haven’t heard from my potential job- not going to bother with them. If they want me, they come after me!

Yesterday we were invited to dads (paternal) relatives place. The girls are really nice but… not my kind of crowd (to say the least and to avoid being impolite). But they’re honestly very very nice and very good girls. Let’s just say they get along better with my mum.

Today we had unexpected guests come over for lunch. Around fifteen people, no less! Oddly enough, they don’t call ahead of time to say they’re coming.

At the moment, it’s 5.56pm- neighbours are all outside having a chat. Kids are playing. Weather is great! People returning home from work. Busy busy- it’s the best time to be out!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar!

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He’s tackling corruption very well. A stern face hidden underneath a grey bushy beard and white hair. Blunt, straight to the point yet he’s one of the few who is really doing well for the country. Attorney General, Abdel Jabar Sabet has been under attack by the media non stop in the last 24 hours. He’s under heavy criticism for calling Tolo Tv’s journalist to his offices. Critics say he’s jeapordising Afghanistans’ right to freedom of speech. Have a read of this article posted on BBC today (see below). See also the press release which has been heavily exaggerated (according to my personal thoughts).

While it may be unacceptable for an Attorney General to approach TV stations and alter in their productions, one still needs to keep in mind the developing nature of afghanistan. Pragmatically, Afghanistan hasn’t developed it’s freedom of speech. Many Afghans are too afraid to speak out.

In terms of journalism, i have witnessed the powerful impact of media propaganda and it’s effect on nations (including Australia). The media is able to manipulate and shape ideas of the masses by using it’s right to free speech. But to what extent is it free speech? Unfortunately, even Australian media laws are still unable to draw a fine law between defamation and free speech. The Australian media, to some extent, has portrayed a negative image of Muslims in Australia creating phobia nationwide.

In essence, although i don’t agree Attorney General Sabet is the man for the job, however we do need someone who gives our journalists a twist in the ear every now and then for manipulation. As for Shukria Barukzai, to say the least- she’s my most disliked MP. She doesn’t maintain her ground and changes her stance on issues too often.

Anyways, back to Attorney General- there’s been a hyper reaction here in Kabul. It’s all over the news- character assassination! Seriously, GET OVER IT and leave the poor man alone! He’s top notch! This is the first step he’s taken which is wrong, but there’s plenty more that he’s done which deserves praise.

As for other happenings, things are pretty calm here. Just been really busy in the past few days with guests.

Row over Afghan TV station raid

Protesters denounced the raid as an attack against press freedom Staff at an Afghan television station in the capital, Kabul, have protested against a raid by armed police who allegedly assaulted workers there.
Dozens of journalists and members of parliament demonstrated outside parliament against the raid. They accused President Hamid Karzai of smothering freedom of speech during Tuesday’s raid at Tolo TV.
MP and former journalist Shukria Barakzai accused the authorities of having no respect for the law.

‘Over-reaction’
“It’s a small example for journalists in Afghanistan. We face lots of violence,” she told the rally outside parliament.

Staff at Tolo are renowned for their campaigns for social change. Staff at Tolo say that about 50 armed police entered its offices, assaulted staff and arrested three people who were taken to the attorney general’s office. He had complained earlier about an item broadcast in one of the station’s news programmes which he said misrepresented a speech he made in parliament.

The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists described the raid as an “over-reaction”, and an indication that Kabul was moving quickly away from its pledge of press freedom.

Press release from Tolo Tv- recieved in my email inbox:

Attorney General orders arrest of Tolo TV staff
Kabul, Afghanistan 17 April 2007 –

Tonight at about 7pm Kabul time, more than 50 armed men from the 10th District Police, under direct orders from the Attorney General, Abdul Jabar Sabet, surrounded the offices of Tolo TV in Wazir Akbar Khan in Kabul Afghanistan. The Police physically entered Tolo TV premises and violently attacked staff of Tolo TV, taking three staff members of Tolo TV with them. The Tolo TV staff members, were taken directly to the Attorney General’s Office and detained.

Earlier at about 6.20pm tonight, the Attorney General, Abdul Jabar Sabet, had complained of a news clip on the 6pm Tolo TV news, which he claimed was inaccurate or misrepresented the Attorney General’s comments at an earlier press conference today. After investigating the complaint, Tolo TV management found the complaint to be invalid. The Tolo TV news clip broadcast was accurate and representative of what the Attorney General had said at the press conference.

At the time that the District 10 Police came to Tolo TV offices, they sought the detention of Hamed Haidary, who was the journalist covering the news clip mentioned above, and the “person responsible” for Tolo TV. The Police did not have any legal documentation. When asked to produce such documentation, the Deputy Commander of District 10 Police, wrote on a piece of paper the following:

To the administration of Tolo TV
In accordance with the order of the Attorney General, the responsible person for Tolo TV, and Hamed Haidary, the reporter, are required to appear at the 10th District Police Office.
Signed on behalf of the Commander of the 10th Police District, Mohammad Qasim Aminzoi
The above document was handed to Tolo TV staff, but was not accepted by legal advisors to Tolo TV as it is not valid in Law. Under the Constitution of Afghanistan, Article 38 states as follows:
Residences shall be immune from trespassing.
No one, including the state, shall have the right to enter a residence or search it without the owners permission or by order of an authoritative court, except in situations and methods delineated by law.

In case of an evident crime, the responsible official shall enter or search a residence without prior court order. The aforementioned official, shall, after entrance or completion of search, obtain a court order within the time limit set by law.
No arrest warrants, Court orders, or other legal or written documents were produced by the 10th District Police (other than as noted above).

They advised that the Attorney General had verbally ordered them to detain Tolo TV staff. When Tolo TV staff, including Tolo TV legal advisor, Mohammad Abdullah, Tolo TV Administration Manager, Siddiq Ahmadzada and Tolo TV Security Manager, Lal Mohammad, tried to reason with the Police they were physically assaulted and then dragged into Police vehicles.

These three Tolo TV staff members were taken to the Attorney General’s office (not the 10th District Police Office), where they were held until public pressure forced the Attorney General to release the Tolo TV staff after about 1 hour. A number of other journalists, including 4 staff members of Associated Press who were covering the incident, were also detained without charge and allegedly assaulted and their footage allegedly confiscated.

It should also be noted that under the Media Laws of Afghanistan, all complaints about the media should, at first instance, be directed towards the Media Investigation Commission which is tasked with investigating such complaints. This Commission is then able to refer the matter to the Attorney General’s office if warranted. This procedure was not followed in this instance.

We hereby state as follows:
the actions of the District 10 Police and the Attorney General’s office, including the Attorney General, Abdul Jabar Sabet, were a complete violation of the Constitution of Afghanistan
the manner in which Tolo TV were physically abused and detained was completely unacceptable and against the law
the physical transgression into Tolo TV offices is against the Constitution and the laws of Afghanistan
sthe taking of Tolo TV staff to the Attorney General’s office was against the law
the direct ordering of District Police by the Attorney General’s office is against the law
these actions of the Attorney General’s office and the District 10 Police are not only against the rights of media enshrined in the Constitution, but also against the principles of democracy and against the national interest of Afghanistan

Further, we demand as follows:
he immediate suspension from duty of all persons involved in this incident including the Attorney General, the Commander of the 10th District of Police and the Deputy Commander of the 10th District Police
the creation of a commission who will be tasked with investigating this incident, to be comprised of members acceptable to the media
the dismissal of all those found to have had any involvement in this incident which is against the laws of Afghanistan
the prosecution to the full extent of the law of all of those found to have committed any crime

Further, Tolo TV Management would like to thank all of those people who have indicated their support for Tolo TV, including all other media organisations of Afghanistan and international organisations who have covered this event, human rights organisations, members of Parliament, unions representing journalists, the staff of Tolo TV, Lemar TV and Arman FM, all other organisations who have expressed their public support, and most of all the public of Afghanistan who have been unswerving in their support.

I shall write to Tolo Tv.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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With a drop of my sweetheart’s blood,
Shed in defense of the Motherland,
Will I put a beauty spot on my forehead,
Such as would put to shame the rose in the garden,”
– Malalai (Afghan heroine)

Lately, I have been caught up with home duties and studies as it’s my final semester! But here are the highlights.

We were invited to mums relatives house where I met X- a relative who was captured by the Taliban (while they were in power) at the age of 15. She was forced to marry him. She escaped with the help of her father to Pakistan! In retaliation, the Taliban held her mother hostage for months. Eventually, she was dragged back into her ‘husbands’ home. At the Taliban’s downfall, X escaped for good and joined the army. Currently, her story is wanted by many internationals who want to publish her story. She has refused, afraid of her identity being revealed as she lives in fear of her ex-husband. Her story has dominated BBC and taken tabloids by storm.
Surprisingly, she wants ME to write her biography so long as i don’t reveal her identity. It is an absolute honour! We exchanged contact numbers. Cool huh?
Sunday shoot outs- BBC News

President Hamid Karzai said 10 people died when coalition forces opened
fire on civilians after a suicide attack in eastern Nangarhar province on
Sunday.

Another issue which really worried me is the state of Kabul University. During the 50’s and 60’s the university was one of the finest in Asia- currently, it’s still prettier than any university i have seen so far. However, one of the students i met complained about the lack of facilities available. Basic necessities such as electricity and water or even chairs. In some cases, students have to take notes throughout the entire lecture, standing up! These students are the future of this country, they should be made a priority.
Kabul University in pictures…

I also visited, Lycee Malalai. A French school my dad’s sisters attended. Afghan and French flags greeted us, waving side by side. Tall and proud. The school hasn’t been destructed at all. Very well architectured. Inside paintings of a young afghan girl hung loose- it was the same girl, just different paintings. I knew Malalai was a name, but who was she? Mum explained who she was.
Malalai was a young girl, yet to be married who went along with the Afghan army to help tend to the wounded and provide water and spare weapons. Eventually there came a point in the battle where the Afghan army, despite their superior numbers, started to lose morale and the tide seemed to be turning in favour of the British. Seeing this, Malalai took off her veil and shouted out:
“Young love! If you do not fall in the battle of Maiwand,By God, someone is saving you as a symbol of shame!”

This gave many of the Afghan fighters and ghazis a new resolve and they redoubled their efforts. At that moment one of the leading flag-bearers fell from a British bullet, and Malalai went forward and held up the flag (some versions say she made a flag out of her veil), singing a landai:
“With a drop of my sweetheart’s blood,
Shed in defense of the Motherland,
Will I put a beauty spot on my forehead,
Such as would put to shame the rose in the garden,”

But then Malalai was herself struck down and killed. However, her words had spurred on her countrymen and soon the British lines gave way, broke and turned, leading to a disastrous retreat back to Kandahar and the biggest defeat for the Anglo-Indian army in the Second Afghan War. http://www.garenewing.co.uk/angloafghanwar/biography/malalai.php
Speaking my mind, exhausting my right to ‘freedom of speech’ has caused people fear for my safety. As a result, I edited previous posts and will try to maintain an objective stance in political issues which is extremely fragile. However, the media has finally shed some light on the French and Afghan workers who have been held hostage by the Taliban in Nimrooz- here’s the article from BBC.

Video footage has surfaced of two French aid workers seized by the Afghan Taleban several weeks ago.

Canada’s CBC network published still images from the video, which it said showed a female hostage pleading for her life in a whispered voice.
The two aid workers and three Afghan colleagues were seized in the Nimroz province nearly two weeks ago. The French government has confirmed these are the missing people, the Canadian broadcaster said. The images, which the channel calls “disturbing”, show the woman saying she is a French aid worker who was kidnapped by the Taleban 10 days ago.

At one point, she pleads for her life. Another man, who identifies himself as Eric, appears on the video making a similar appeal.
The video also shows the three Afghan men blindfolded and shackled, according to news agency Associated Press.
The tape would be the first evidence that the two aid workers and the Afghan men they were with are still alive.
The two French nationals were working for an educational NGO.
The Taleban has confirmed it is holding the five, but has not said what would happen to them.
French President Jacques Chirac asked the Afghan government on Friday to help secure their release.
Last month, an Italian journalist was kidnapped in the southern province of Helmand but released after two weeks.

Hmmmm… I wonder if Karzai will abide by his ‘no more negotiations with the Taliban’ policy or will this be another ‘extraordinary case’.
A lady was shocked today to find out we had come from khaarij. She stressed that situation is critical and now is definitely not the time to have come to Afghanistan. Westerners are constant targets. I started freaking out considering I’m working for an international organisation.
Thankfully, we’re getting armed bodyguards soon. At least, I’ll feel a little safer! But then again, it’s a crazy world, it’s hard to trust people.
There’s a virus out in Afghanistan (apparently created by the Pakis) which involves death by a simple telephone call. According to my sources, one person has been killed in Jalalabad as a result of excessive bleeding through the eyes, nose and ears. SO WHAT DO YOU DO? Avoid answering calls from unidentified numbers!
It’s 1252am, extremely tired!
PS Just outside my office, there’s a door keeper whom I had a chat with while waiting for my lift. He said something which has been repeating in my head all day. He said even if a Western Afghan returns to Afghanistan and does something as simple as build a house- that within itself will help nearly ten families, let alone working for the cause of the country.
Until then……
ba omideh deedaar…….

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More photoes…

Remember the execution of a woman found ‘guilty’ of adultery by the Taliban- dressed in chadari and shot in the head in Kabul stadium??? This is the entry to the place where it happened!

Dayra- female entertainment!

Sunset in Maydan Shar- returning to Kabul. Have a closer look- Karzai’s face is at the apex.

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As promised…

In silence I grieve
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
—With silence and tears.
Dedicated to Farkhunda

I’m on the brink of collapsing- excessive fatigue! It’s 134am and I’m exhausted! Been cooking and cleaning all day (my sisters in laws and her fiancé was over for lunch). So glad it’s over!

Daym, first suicide bombing ever- for Algeria. 30 killed. Won’t get into that, too tired!

Here’s my speech I promised to paste (it was directed to Australians):

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today as an Australian afghan. I
am
first generation Australian- born and raised in Western Australia and grew up
in a traditional Afghan family. Torn between two cultures- east and west, I
found it very difficult finding my identity while growing up. Trying to ‘fit
in’
with my traditional afghan family but I was consistently told I’m
too
‘australianised’ that left me in a state of confusion. Gradually, I learnt to
accept
my individuality as being neither a complete afghan nor a true blue
aussie but a
combination of both.

This is my final semester of
university
studies which I am completing externally, undertaking a double
degree. I am in
the process of completing Bachelor of Arts majoring in
Justice Studies and
Bachelor of commerce majoring in business law.I came to
Afghanistan only five
weeks ago with only one goal, ‘give more, take
little’. Since childhood, I
remember my parents longing to return to
Afghanistan. They’d cry when they see
images of Afghanistan on TV. I didn’t
understand what the big deal was. I mean
Australia by far had better living
standards and was blatantly more developed so
that meant that my parents
should be better off in Australia, right? WRONG! I’ll
explain
why.

My father left Afghanistan for America to pursue his
studies at the age of 17, only a year before the Soviet invasion. Mum had
left
Afghanistan 27 years ago. So it seemed like a lifetime for
them.although
Australia is a ‘lucky country’ and is the land of ‘bread and
butter’- it wasn’t
home for my parents. this bond they had for Afghanistan
didn’t make sense to me
until we arrived to Afghanistan in March 07. Dad
knelt and kissed the ground
while mum got teary, i was eager to face many
challenges to come my way- whether
I was prepared was a different matter
altogether.

As you may
already be aware, Kabul is a very small
city- smaller than my hometown, perth!
But the poptulations is more than
double! The cruel war has disadvantaged many
Afghan families, leaving them
in a state of despair and poverty. The Taliban
using Islam, the religion of
peace as a mechanism for war. they killed innocent
civilians. They might not
have killed women and children, but they brutally
tortured them emotionally.
they killed men, who in this patriarchal society play
an integral role in
the family. not only did they kill men they deprived a
family of a father, a
brother, an uncle, a friend, a son, a husband- the list
goes on. As I
prepared my speech this morning, news broke that Ajmal Naqshbandi
who was
held captive by the Taliban has been beheaded. My deepest thoughts and
condolences goes to their families. Sadly, the cruelty of this regime is
evident
in todays society.in fact, it’s right before your eyes in this very
room. These
children are victims of a disadvantaged war.

I was
privileged
enough to visit Hope House only a few weeks ago, it was the day i
became a
witness to the cruel imposition of the Taliban . Children of a
disadvantaged
‘war’. An unforgettable experience, almost demoralising.
Meeting sixty deprived
children and a number of widows. Deprived of
emotional, educational and basic
care which every human being
deserves.
From a distance the three storey
sanctuary grew larger and
larger as we drove closer, the middle aged gatekeeper
came out via the side
door to check who we were before allowing entry. His stern
face broke into a
friendly one as a smile spread across his face. Realising who
we were, the
gates opened as our 4WD made it’s way inside. Little children stood
and
looked on.I tried smiling, but i couldn’t. I was frozen. I kept an eye open
for Kaka Sidiq ( Khola Mahbobas brother) but the children were much too
distracting. The car stopped in the middle of the oval as directed by the
orphanage helpers. Curious to explore, i thoughtlessly stepped out of the
vehicle into a puddle of mud. For the first time, i didn’t care. Curiously,
i
followed my family upstairs. Mum began conversing, starting by asking them
what
position they hold in the orphanage. Gradually, it came to light who
they were.
Widows of the disadvantaged Taliban ‘war’. One of the widows gave
explicit
details about the brutal death of her husband. The Taliban had
demanded him to
release information about the whereabouts of chief Northern
Alliance leaders
(Ahmad Shah Masood’s party). It was obvious to the Taliban
that the man hadn’t
information about the party as he wasn’t involved. Just
an excuse to beat the
poor man. That’s when the torture began. He was hung
by his ankles from the
ceiling and beaten for two hours consecutively.
Finally, he was acquitted. A few
days later he died. Unsure, his wife
presumed it was internal bleeding. Leaving
behind his wife and four
children.I couldn’t take it any more! My eyes became
too wet to see, I
dropped my head and waited for them to finish. Every pair of
eyes in the
room told a dreadful story, a horrific past. yet they continue to
smile,
this was only a fraction of kabuls poor and needy. Some of the children
told
their stories with no emotion. As if losing a parent was alright. Suddenly,
I realised why I was in Kabul. It was for children like them. how could I be
so
selfish and turn away from these faces. my moral conscience would’nt
allow it.
Even if I did go back to Australia, I’d be sure to leave something
behind and
contribute somehitng. A pledge to the poor and needy. I know I’ll
face many
impediments along the way… what doesn’t kill me can only make me
stronger.

There are thousands more in need out there, waiting
to be
given a fair chance. They continue to smile yet in every voice of
every man, in
every infants cry of fear, in every cry of every child. In
ever voice I hear the
culety of war, the unhealed wounds, the pain and
sufferings- hoping and praying
for a day to come.

As for me, my
journey continues… I am a
pessimist when I say one person can do only so
much, but I hope, like Mahboba
and Sidiq rawi to become an inspiration
for others to help developing
nations including Afghanistan. Leave
government policy aside, which in my
opinion isn’t doing much but if every
person can do what Mahboba has done,
accommodate for 60 orphans, the world
would be a better place.

If
it weren’t for Australia, I
wouldn’t be here today. I appreciate everything
Australia has given me- the
education and the expertise to help Afghanistan. It
would be selfish of me
if I didn’t acknowledge that. But Afghanistan is in
desparate need of me, I
don’t want to return without leaving something
behind.
I have one request for you to help the afghan people the Ausralian way and ‘give them a fair go, mate’.

Thank you.

I will write more tomorrow! By the way, I recieved my grade for an assignment- Distinction! Not bad for someone who has no access to uni facilities ay? 😉

Ba omideh khaw, khuda negahdaar…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

PS Saw another Tolo Tv presenter today – Masood Ahmadi i think his name is.

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Che begaam az dasteh tu, ay roozegaar
Be tu che mereseh az shekasti mann?

– (Dilkhushi) Omid

Yesterday was an excellent day! It was the opening ceremony for ‘Hope House’ (orphanage). I was asked to present a speech and co-host the event. I was more than happy. I arrived there hours before the commencement of the ceremony and wrote up my speech, jotting down notes and scribbling. A lot of effort had been put in.

When it was my turn to speak, i surprised myself! I cried! :S Halfway through my speech i couldn’t help it! Cameras, guests from Australia- everyone was looking and here i was in tears.
But over all, the event was a great success.

As I was trying to get through the crowd of men to go inside, Raymond Nelson (Deputy for Mahbobas Promise) offered me a seat next to him. I didn’t want to refuse because that would be too rude! We exchanged views on Afghanistan, Australia and other ideas. A few moments later, a young guy sitting on the other side of Raymond conversed with me in Dari. Basically, I explained why i was here, my hopes and what i want to do. I realised that the whole table and the one next to us stopped to listen to our conversation. All of them AFGHAN MEN.

All credit goes to the helpers at Mahbobas Promise, the children and most importantly- the man behind the scenes Kaka Sidiq.

I will post my speech- (which everyone thought was excellent!) i reckon it’s crap!

Oh another thing i did was absolutely pathetic with my broken Dari was TRANSLATE Raymonds speech. Oh my god, how embarrasing! Everyone else thought it was ‘cute’ *raises an eyebrow*

Also Naqshbandi has been killed. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Ummm… other issues… Johnny Boy (PM John Howard) has sent more Aussie troops to Afghanistan. 450 of ’em. What is the point? Seriously! I visited Maidan (mum’s hometown) and a city where it’s filled with Taliban supporters. You’d expect to see the place filled with ISAF troops. but nope, the only troops there were at the entrance to the city and that’s it! Once we went in, no police, no security- nothing! Anything was possible! This is where the Taliban regroup! I guess I have exceeded CIA’s intelligence. WOHOOO..hahaha

Taleban kill Afghanistan reporter –BBC News

The Taleban in Afghanistan have killed an Afghan reporter abducted last month with an Italian journalist. The group said it had killed Ajmal Naqshbandi because the government had refused to meet its demands to release senior figures from prison.
Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo was released after five Taleban members were freed in exchange. The driver, Sayed Agha, was beheaded last month.
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has condemned Mr Naqshbandi’s killing.
The two reporters and their driver were captured on 6 March in Helmand province.
Shohaabuddin Atal, a spokesman for Taleban commander Mullah Dadullah, said: “We killed Ajmal today because the government did not respond to our demands.”
Italian deal The Afghan government’s intelligence services spokesman, Saeed Ansari, confirmed Mr Naqshbandi had been killed.

Mr Mastrogiacomo was freed in an exchange with Taleban prisoners Tom Koenigs, UN special envoy to Afghanistan, said: “I condemn this senseless murder unreservedly and call on the authorities to bring those responsible to justice.”
In Italy, Mr Prodi said he “learned with anguish” of Mr Naqshbandi’s death. “We strongly condemn this absurd crime,” he said.

Ajmal Naqshbandi worked as a guide and translator for visiting foreign
reporters. He was abducted with Mr Mastrogiacomo and their driver at a
Taleban checkpoint and originally accused of spying for the British army.
The reporters’ driver was beheaded to put pressure on negotiations for their
release.
The BBC’s Mark Dummett in Kabul says after intense lobbying from
the Italians, a deal was done. Five Taleban were allowed to go and Mr
Mastrogiacomo was set free. Our correspondent says there was outrage in
Afghanistan that the government would firstly bow to its enemy’s demands and
secondly that it would save a foreigner but not an Afghan.

The Taleban are still holding five government medics and two French aid workers along with three Afghan colleagues. Their fate will be decided next, they say.
President Hamid Karzai has ruled out any more hostage deals with the Taleban.
“[Mr Mastrogiacomo] was an extraordinary situation and won’t be repeated again,” Mr Karzai said on Friday. “No more deals with no-one and with no other country.”

Are you kiding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????

Another odd case- Female Iraqi suicide bomber! Daym…

This world is becoming a crazy place……. as if you didn’t know that already!

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

PS I am starting work very soon…

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Belated entries

Sister ‘S’ is getting engaged!
Tuesday 3rd April 2006

I haven’t been able to enter any blog entries (poor internet services) so here I am typing it on Microsoft word hoping for a miracle to take place and ta-da internet is connected. YEAH RIGHT!

Once again, I managed to wield my way out of marriage. Tehehehe. But for how long? Never mind, I’ll tackle the proposals one at a time.
In the meantime however, my gorgeous sister S is getting engaged. Yay! She said ‘yes’ to the proposal so basically the pre-wedding procedure happens in three steps (thanks to Mama Haji- dads uncle, for explaining).
Firstly, you have the lafz stage -parental approval of the wedding. It basically involves the parents of both the potential bride and groom to sort out any discrepancies privately and at the same time agree to the engagement. Brides family hands sweets and chocolate to the grooms family. I wish I was told this three years ago! I thought lafz was publicised for EVERYONE. Where the hell was my lifeline when I needed it? Damn it.

Secondly, this is publicised by the shirnee daadan process where the entire world is given the news (okay fine- I exaggerated, not the entire world! Just the afghans which means that news will travel at the speed of light and eventually the entire planet is bound to find out). In all seriousness, this stage hasn’t arrived yet. So I really don’t have a clue what happens.

Thirdly, is the engagement party. Self explanatory, really.

So yeah, tomorrow is the lafz. End of topic, it’s boring me already.

Yesterday we had coffee at Kabul City Centre. I felt like I was in Australia. the shopping cenre, the social atmosphere (it was around 4pm so all the business executives and ‘normal’ people had gathered) it felt like home. I think I found my haven when/if Kabul gets too much for me.

I also bough a huge afghan flag from the famous tourist place- Chicken Street (aka koochayeh morgha).Why? I don’t know. Patriotism. Hehe.
There was another shop with long elegant coats made of mink or wolf skin, cat skin, rabbit- you name it! Animal rights issues aside, they were beautiful. They only cost $500AU for the best in stock. It also comes with fur hats. Elite, classy, stylish.

The best part of today was Chelsea Supermarket. Everything is imported so they’re good quality stuff. I’m talking Cadbury chocolate, Ferrero Rocher, genuine designer perfumes, shampoos etc. Woolies has come to Kabul, YAY! I was so relieved. It’s pricey but who cares, it’s the closest thing to Woolworths.

Oh yeah, we bought a house. Finally! I’ve been living from a suitcase for the past three months. Argh!As I was saying, it’s a huge house. Twenty three rooms, five bathrooms and it’s four-five storeys high. Mashaallah! It was around US$260 000 (roughly 24 million Afghanis). The first thought that came to my head when I heard of the price was ‘imagine how many people that would feed?’

I have a job interview tomorrow. Found out in a very strange way. we were in the car, heading to Kabul City Centre today when a white 4WD with United Nations plates stopped on the side of the road. One of the men signalled for us to pull over. I thought it was trouble. He came over to my window and started talking to me. I had no idea who he was until my brother mentioned his name. he had recognised me (I had been to his office a while ago). He told me to call him later in the day and he’ll notify me abuo the job interview. How very odd! Called him, am due for an interview tomorrow at 1pm.

Returned home to realised that S needs jewelry and shoes to go with the dress. So we went shopping again. Walking to the shops, I noticed a black 4WD slowing down next to us with tinted windows. The guy inside was full on looking. ‘omg is that bejaan?’ the afghan rapper! My sister had a blank look on her face. The guys standing a few metres away from us caused a quick commotion ‘ohooo bejan jaaneh kunduzi’. That confirmed it! It WAS him. Anyways, we went on doing our shopping- we promised dad we’d be home before dark.

Erm.. I’m really very tired. Will write some more later. Dodgy internet.

OMG earthquaaake…

I just felt the ground shake like crazy. I woke Bro S and T, we started freaking out saying we should run downstairs. But outside everyone was pretty normal as if they didn’t feel it. Like it happens in horror movies- you sense stuff no one else can. But yeah, it was the first time something like that happened. Its over now.

Okay right now it’s 8.15am 4 April, I’m in bed. Still no internet connection, I’m tired as but cant sleep, work must be done. I’ve been up since 6am- todays S’s lafz ceremony. Lafz was given. Our driver came at 12pm to pick us up, stopped by at Kabul City Centre (shopping centre) picked up S’s dress (indian stuff). The guy that served us is so nice, he got the dress tailored to fit my sister and he bought my brother anti-acne cream.

Anyways, then we went to my job interview. I was escorted by W to the conference room where I waited for a while. One of the other workers was passing by, he stopped over to say hello and wished me luck for the interview. Interview went extremely well, was interviewed by a german who immediately picked up my Australian accent. She said I was a ‘fantastic candidate’ because of my business expertise and academic studies. She’ll get back to me within a week.

Next stop: mama Haji’s house for the lafz ceremony. I was running late- it was 2pm and people were due at 3pm. And S was asleep when I went in. took her to the salon, did her grooming. Went back, she got dressed. Went in to say hello to the guests. Lafz took place. Presents were distributed- the only recipient was S. she got gold, American dollars and more gold. eventually, they all left.

That was that.

Ba omideh deedaar khuda negahdaar!

Kabul Coffee House

Hezar ranjo aatash o gham..naamash ishq
Hezar dardo gham wa balaah.. naamash yaar
-Rumi

My new hang out place. Went there today for another job interview, atmosphere is so cosy and comfortable. Mainly for foreigners, the only afghans there were the waiters. Dad and I had a pretty long wait, an hour. We had coffee- my first in Afghanistan. Interview went well, got offered a job as a ‘civic development’ lecturer at Kabul University. But my only concern is I HATE TEACHING. But I’ll give it a go-I want to make maximum use of myself, I’m considering working 8am-4pm at my other office (if I get the job) and 4pm-7pm at the university. Hmmm….

Until next time…
Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

PS My internet should be connected tomorrow. Oh yeah, got news today- grandparents are flying over from Australia within a matter of weeks. Spoke to my paternal grand dad, man was he happy to hear that S is engaged. Cant wait til he comes. My maternal grandma also arrived from Paki land today.

Not again?! Another suicide blast

Mr Suicide bomber detonated himself this morning at Darulaman, Kabul. He killed 4 instantly, one died on his way to the hospital and 5 were injured.

Left Kabul for the first time. We went to Maidan- mum’s hometown. Grandma wanted to take Nawroozi for her soon to be daughter in law (currently engaged to my uncle). A few days ago there was a crossfire between Taliban fighters and ISAF troops in Maidan. Basically, the city is full of Taliban sympathisers who are truly dedicated to their cause.

We had to cross a river through the water (bridge had collapsed due to floods a few days back). Thankfully it was a 4WD. it was an hours drive, not a nice scene at all (surprisingly!). Compared to Jalalabad and Laghman, it was very dry, plain and flat.

At my mums-brothers- in-laws place, everything was predictable. We had lunch, ladies sang around a dayra. Some ladies got up and danced while others clapped and sang along. Mum told me to dance, I told her I didn’t want to in a subtle way. She kept insisting- literally pulling me by the hand. Jesus Christ!! I don’t want to dance, just want to sit and watch- which part of that don’t they understand? Spent the whole time counting the minutes (our driver instructed us to leave at 4.30pm at the latest due to insecurity along the way). Mum and grandma ended up staying a bit longer- great, more boredom for me! Everything was in Pashto.

Finally, it was time to leave. I said my goodbyes quickly and left for the car taking the front seat. Yay! It meant hearing more jihadi stories from our driver. He told me stories about how he had fought in Maidan for one and a half years during the Soviet invasion and pointed out their tracks through the mountains which they travelled by foot.

Still no internet- DODGY AFGHAN TELECOM! Typing this on Microsoft Word. It was supposed to be connected yesterday!

There’s an engagement party tomorrow at 9am (what the?). Doubt I’ll go! I need to find a job… there’s nothing else to do here. They must have emailed me- but I got no net!

ARGH! I’m going to sign out because I’m getting F R U S T R A T E D.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

Untitled
Saturday 7th April

She takes burdened steps into her new life
Her heart cries, her eyes weep
My heart had always wanted you, only you
The wounds you left me with only adds to my beauty
Like the scarred moon…
– Devdas

Ajmal Naqshbandi is still detained with the scruffy Talibans! They have issued an ultimatum which declares for the afghan government to meet their requirements by Monday otherwise they will execute Naqshbandi. I’m dying to find out more, but everything is in Dari (or even worst, Pashto!) and I still have no net. So dodgy!

The song from Devdas came on TV. I’m not a fan of indian movies but I fell in love with ‘Devdas’ when I watched it. It’s truly a classic! Anyways, the song is from the scene where it’s Parvatis final moments with her beloved Devdas before being taken away to her new husband, whom she doesn’t love. It’s all very powerful and emotional.

S and older R went to the engagement party with my grandma and yes, it was at 9am. I stayed home with mum, cooked and helped with the chores (which I HATE). Had to get some groceries for mum so I went with lil R to the shops near our place. I dread passing groups of eyes, I can feel them staring as if they have never seen girls in their entire life. or maybe it’s because they can tell we’re from ‘khaarij’ (referring to the west). as I was walking past I heard two boys talking loudly enough for me to hear, the conversation went something like this:

Guy 1- these girls are from the same place as you are
Guy 2- oh really? From Canada? Where do they live?

I didn’t hear the rest but at this point I just watned to turn around and blast them off verbally. Instead I continued walking, if I had done that- they would have taken it as though I have lead them on. YEAH RIGHT! Wishful thinking!

Rest of the day was spent serving tea, lunch, dinner, tea, tea and more tea. One of dads relatives came over proposing for his son- NOT INTERESTED, MATE! My sisters in laws came over- they came over with sweets and bought her a chunky solid gold bracelet (typical Afghan gift). We too gave them gifts.

I’m getting extremely aggravated with the dodgy internet services here. By the way, water has stopped running but electricity has been good to us. You don’t realise it, but without electricity life is dull. When the power used to return after a day of no electricity my sisters and I would jump for joy yelling, ‘YAY ELECTRICITY IS BACK!’ as if it’s a truck load of chocolates. Believe me, it’s more than that. Imagine life without electricity!

I’m looking forward to tomorrow- I’ll be seeing Kaka Sidiq at the orphanage. Bliss!

Until then…

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar!

Dreamy mood
Sunday 8 April 2007

Az roozeh ke tu rafti pareedeh rangeh shaadi.
Amma khursheed metaabeh mesleh yek roozi aadih
Chetoor haanoz parandeh daareh havayeh parwaaz
Magar khabar nadaran tu rafti az kenaram
Chera baret nagoftan bi tu che haaleh daaram.
Ba chashme khastayeh mann, Asemoon az sang shudeh.
La’nat ba een tanhayee, dilam barat tang shudeh

-Tanhayee (Persian song)

Baran mebaarad emshaab, dilam gham daarad emshaab
Araameh jaaneh khasteh ra mesparam emshab
Qatreh qatreh ashkeh chashmam mechakeh ba nam nammeh baraan

Rangeh chashmat rangeh darya seenayeh mann dashteh ghamha
Yaadem ayad zeereh baraan baa tu boodam, zireh baraan baa tu tanha
Zeereh baraan gerya kardam, bal ke barran shoyad goonah az jaanem.

– Baraan (Omid)

Emshab mikhaam mast beshaam,
Een jaaneh naqabeleh hast, hezar fadayeh tu besheh
Beyofteh zeereh qadam haat, ke khaakeh paayetu besheh

Kohneh sharaab, kohneh sharaab emshab baal o param bedi
Emshab mekham harf bezanam khandeh konam geryeh konam
Lutfee konn saaqi emshab chand barabaram bedi

Emshab parr o baal daram, shoor daram haal daram
– Omid

mmmmm..ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar…

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