Monday, June 06, 2005

Evil Wages of Bushco

The good news from Afghanistan just keeps chugging along, though not widely circulated. TONS of developments rounded up here, including
A crowd of 600 Afghan clerics gathered in front of an historic mosque yesterday to strip the fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar of his claim to religious authority, in a ceremony that provided a significant boost to the presidency of Hamid Karzai.

The declaration, signed by 1,000 clerics from across the country, is an endorsement of the US-backed programme of reconciliation with more moderate elements of the Taliban movement that Karzai has been pursuing ahead of the country's first parliamentary elections, due in September.

Symbolically, the ulema shura, or council of clerics, was held at the Blue Mosque in the southern city of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban movement.

At the same venue in 1996 the Taliban leader held up a cloak said to belong to the Prophet Mohammed, which is kept in a shrine in the mosque. He was proclaimed Amir ul-Mumineen or Leader of Muslims by the same clerical body, one of the few occasions the title has been granted anywhere in the Islamic world in the modern era.
Take that! And,
Hundreds of young men, fed up with the ethnic animosities that have long divided Afghanistan, are traveling the country preaching peace and brotherhood.
"Just yesterday our youngsters were trying to kill one another, but today they're thinking about national unity and they want to live as brothers," said Haji Sarajuddin, a teacher from Kandahar province.

Sarajuddin recently accompanied about 200 senior high school students from the traditional Pashtun stronghold in the south to Mazar-e-Sharif in the north, in an area where ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks are in the majority.

The two regions came to symbolise the deep divisions that marked the years of strife of the Nineties.

But in April, nearly 300 students in Mazar-e-Sharif warmly embraced their fellow countrymen from Kandahar when they met at a local hotel.

The students, all in their teens or early twenties, were too young to have participated in the years of civil war.

"We know that due to the conflicts, a lot of distance has come between the peoples of Afghanistan," Mohammad Nazar, 23, told IWPR. "You can't bring about national unity by just talking, so about 30 of us at schools in Kandahar got together and decided to do something practical."

From the core group of 30, the unity movement boomed, said Nazar.

The young men say they have no political agenda other than reconciliation. They have taken their message not only to Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province, but also to other northern regions such as Parwan, Baghlan, Takhar and Kunduz, to Paktia and Zabul in the south, and to the capital Kabul and the nearby Wardak province.
There's so much more, from infrastructure development to juvenile & women's rights to entertainment:
On the outskirts of the Afghan capital Kabul, Daud Maqsoudi and several other men and women were sitting around, talking about village reconstruction.
"We should be united and rebuild Chamanistan [Afghanistan]. Lets consult with everyone and find out how to rebuild our land," Haji Tawab, who was introduced as the community elder and head of the Shura [community council] was heard saying. Tawab's call was followed by a murmur of agreement from the group.

Maqsoudi and the others are not rural villagers but renowned Afghan actors recording the new "Let Us Build Our Village," radio soap opera that was aired for the first time on Wednesday. The new programme is only the second radio soap opera after the BBC's popular ten-year-old "New Home New Life" programme.

Like the BBC's offering, "Let us build our village" is also broadcast in Dari and Pashtu. It's the brainchild of the Afghan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD), and designed to realistically portray both the joys and hardships of life in rural Afghanistan. The programme will focus on progress in construction and reconstruction of rural communities.

"Afghans are really fond of soap operas and the experience of New Home New Life proved that soap opera dramas can be one of the best means of bringing people together and raising awareness of rural areas," Maqsoudi, the director and editor of the new drama, who also wrote for the BBC soap, said.
Iraq is following along. Iran and SAudi Arabia must follow, if we have to drag them.

It's the only way to make the world safe for liberty and free markets in a nuclear age.

But, should we fail, my consolation is, few in the West actually deserve the bounty which they currently enjoy so mindlessly.


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