Saturday, April 2, 2011

Here's a Question: Why Not Listen to and Follow the Orders of the Women of RAWA?

image is from here
Visiting a local Kabul primary school, I asked the teacher there what she thought of Australia's contribution of building schools. Expecting enthusiastic support, I was surprised at her response. "Pff," she scoffed. "We don't need schools. We need teachers. What good is a school when there are no teachers to teach the children? Why wouldn't your government ask us what we really need instead of building empty schools?"


Time and time again I was asked, "Why is your military here? They pay local warlords for protection for their convoys, and they in turn pay the Taliban. Why are you supporting the people you're trying to fight?" It so defies logic that they turn to other explanations; indefinite occupation, control of resources. I struggle to think of other plausible reasons for our presence. "Help us do it by ourselves," my teacher friend pleaded. "It is something we should do by ourselves." (this is an excerpt from what follows in the article below)

If you don't get by now that the U.S. government is a terroristic organisation designed to rule the world by any and all means necessary, or, at least, to try and militarily occupy as much of it as possible, while also killing civilians and non-human Life, then I honestly have to ask if you're paying attention at all to what the U.S. government is doing. The banking industry, the megacorporations that won't and don't pay taxes, and the leadership that is about as corrupt as it gets, will all be presented to you as, somehow, "good" for U.S. Americans, meaning, honestly, rich white het men. Because the laws here don't protect anyone else from rich white het men's abuses, including against rich white women.To Simon Moyle: please instruct all who listen to you to listen to the revolutionary WOMEN of RAWA and in Afghanistan generally. Thank you. And thank you for speaking out against a murderous, corrupt, insane, and barbaric war initiated by the Rich White Man and fought only for HIS interests and no one else's.

The source for what follows is *here*.

Face to face with Afghanistan and a war we cannot win

Simon MoyleThe customs officer pulled me aside as I exited the airport gates. "Sir, was there a reason for your going to Afghanistan on a tourist visa in the ... uh ... current climate?"

I smiled. I know it's not everyone's holiday destination, but I had my reasons.

Afghanistan has from the very beginning been sold to us as "the good war". Yet precious little information about the situation on the ground is allowed to filter through to the Australian people. With a Defence Department which routes everything through its PR department, I decided to travel to Afghanistan to see for myself.


What I saw and heard there belies most of what we are told by our government.


No one - it seems - in Afghanistan supports the Karzai government, with the exception of government officials and the military. Karzai is seen as entirely corrupt and out of touch with everyday people, and his warlord Parliament are only interested in their own wealth. People just get on with their lives, resigned to this veneer of democracy being impenetrable for the ordinary Afghan, with no expectation that these criminals will represent their interests. The only thing stopping the government from being entirely irrelevant is the amount of aid money which flows straight into their pockets, a source of anger for ordinary Afghans.


As a result, even aid has become suspect in Afghanistan - so much of it is militarised, tainted by partisan interests or stripped bare by corruption that only the bravest, most foolish and most desperate are willing to receive it.


Meanwhile, according to a World Health Organisation worker at my hotel, there is nothing stopping the open sewers in the streets of Kabul from running into the water supply. There is no sanitation, and he is shocked a massive outbreak of cholera has not occurred. Additionally, the poor air quality in Kabul kills 3000 people a year through respiratory disease.


Unemployment is at 40%, and people still have to survive on an average wage of $200 per year. Meanwhile, security contractors earn up to $350 per hour. Afghans see this disparity and understandably conclude we are not there to help them.


Poverty and insecurity are in such dire proportions that the day before I departed for Afghanistan, the International Committee for the Red Cross - normally conservative in their statements - declared life for ordinary Afghans to be "untenable".


Women, too, are no more liberated. Outside of Kabul every woman I saw wore a burqua; even inside Kabul most women still wear one. The best work being done in this respect is by organisations like the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), and courageous individual women who risk their lives; a job made harder by the perception that such groups are Western influenced.


Visiting a local Kabul primary school, I asked the teacher there what she thought of Australia's contribution of building schools. Expecting enthusiastic support, I was surprised at her response. "Pff," she scoffed. "We don't need schools. We need teachers. What good is a school when there are no teachers to teach the children? Why wouldn't your government ask us what we really need instead of building empty schools?"


Time and time again I was asked, "Why is your military here? They pay local warlords for protection for their convoys, and they in turn pay the Taliban. Why are you supporting the people you're trying to fight?" It so defies logic that they turn to other explanations; indefinite occupation, control of resources. I struggle to think of other plausible reasons for our presence. "Help us do it by ourselves," my teacher friend pleaded. "It is something we should do by ourselves."


Poverty and unemployment fuel the anger here, especially when they see billions spent on aid which does not reach the people, and on a military occupation which is not making them safer. This year is set to be the most violent yet. There is no love for the Taliban, but the foreign militaries are seen as worsening the problem by fuelling the armed resistance and supporting corruption.


The Australian government and Defence Forces might be able to keep us in the dark, but ordinary Afghans are not so easily fooled. We are losing this war. We are militarily supporting a corrupt, criminal regime. We are not making progress; the insurgency is growing every day and Afghans feel increasingly less secure. Even our aid and good intentions are not reaching the people who need them most. As my Afghan friends said, "Peace is a prerequisite for progress."


Hope exists in the strong and resilient Afghan people and the fragile Afghan civil society organisations, groups unfortunately made more fragile by the insecurity of the foreign military presence.


"Why not listen?" my new Afghan friends asked me. Not to the corrupt Karzai government, nor to the military elite, but to the ordinary farmers, taxi drivers, and unemployed of Afghanistan. I'd like to ask the same of my own government.

Simon Moyle is a Melbourne Baptist Minister, husband and father of three.

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