Tuesday, September 11, 2007

These may be my last words before I die! (Amin Wahidi's will)

The Taliban are the real symbol of terror without a doubt!

First let me tell you the whole story:

When we talk of terror and intimidation, normally the images of the 9/11 attacks flash in our minds. When we hear the word “Taliban” in our daily terminology, we imagine a bearded, turbaned man beating a poor Borqa-wearing woman with a black cable while holding an AK47 on his shoulder, don’t we? Or maybe many other images of bearded, armed Taliban come to our minds.

What about the use of threats as terrorism? Have you ever heard of this? Have you ever been threatened by an unknown stranger who you have never seen, but who follows you like your shadow?

Well, I have been threatened by unknown emails and phone calls, and I don’t know why.

The latest message that I have received, from an unknown person who I think follows my activities, tells me “to dig my grave when I come back to Afghanistan.”

I do not know why. This unknown person even knows that I am outside of Afghanistan, in Italy. In his mind I became a Christian by traveling to a European country.

Why me as a target?

I think a lot, day and night, about what I have done so wrong that they threaten me. I really cannot find a point or a reason! What have I done wrong? And why me?

There are many big figures that work against the Taliban and terrorists, but I am targeted instead! Who am I? A person who wants to make a film about a Taliban suicide bomber! I am threatened just for this? Oh, I get the answer. It’s very simple! They don’t want me to make the film about the Taliban! They don’t want me to say the Taliban are bad. Indeed, they don’t want me to reveal the black face of Taliban to the world.

I found these answers for the question of why I was threatened. But what do you think I am going to do? Do you think I am going to be afraid of them? No, never! I will do my work and hopefully I will accomplish my goal. Then whatever happens, let it happen.

Because I already believe that being a filmmaker is itself a big risk!

They probably think that if they kill me, there will be no one to make a film about the Taliban, but they are wrong! There are and there will be filmmakers who want to reveal the truth.

Let me tell you more:

It began in early July this year when I received an email entitled, “it is now time to Jihad” from the address almujahid.mujahid@googlemail.com. I ignored it, but later when I posted a new entry in my blog about the murders of journalists in Afghanistan, I again received a threatening comment and email. Then, when posting an entry entitled “Who Dares?”—the entry that introduced my next film, which is about a Taliban suicide bomber—I again received a comment from the same person, “Almujahid,” who was inviting me to join “real” Islam. But I again ignored it.

Once or twice I replied to him through a comment in my blog, but the latest reply I received was a bit shocking for me. It was threatening me and my family, telling me to dig my grave when I come back to Afghanistan. This stone-minded man even knew that I was outside of Afghanistan. I wonder how he knew that I am outside of Afghanistan in Italy.

To read the first message that have I received as a comment in my blog, please click the link below:


To read the second and third messages that I have received as comments in my blog, please click the link below:


I have also received emails with the same content.

I am almost lost!

Sometimes I think about my home, in my homeland where I do not feel secure. Then where in the world will I be secure? I think I am totally lost. Where I am from? From the land of violence, the land of killings and threats? Sometimes it confuses me. Most of the characters I create in my screenplays dream about their lives and try to find their desired places in their dreams. Sometimes in the past, while outside of Afghanistan, I myself used to dream of home, where I belonged. But these days, I have no idea where and what to dream about. My dreams are nightmares and frightening images of violence and intimidation come into my mind and I visualize them.

Where is my home?

I am really trying to find out the meaning of home. What is a home? Does it not mean a place where a person or a family can share all their pains and sorrows? Is it not a place where a person should feel safe? Then am I really safe when I am at my home?

As if it has been my lifestyle

Sometimes I feel it must be my lifestyle not to live in my own home, since I was advised to change my sleeping place from night to night when I didn’t feel secure.

It seems as if it is my lifestyle to stay one night in my grandparents' home per week, two nights in academy of arts per week, two nights in my uncle’s home per week and two nights in my home. Or it may be written in my fate, who knows?

Some of my colleagues who did not know about my safety problems and obstacles thought I was miser who didn’t want to spend a lot of money when I always used to come by public buses to my office. I hardly used the taxi to travel from my home to my office since I was advised to travel by public transportation, because of kidnappings and threats that we received.

Bathroom has become my thinking place these days

The only place for me to think about my unclear future is under the shower in the bathroom. I named it Andeshagah, which in Dari means "a place to think in." The only thing I can do in this situation is imprison myself under the shower in the bathroom, to get into the depths of my thoughts. What will I do next week, in two days, tomorrow, or even in two hours?

Afterwards I see I have passed hours there going over my life in-depth.

Now I want your support!

And now, I want the attention of the journalistic and free media associations of the world. I want you to reflect through the media of the world the issue of threats and intimidation against the journalists of Afghanistan. I want you to condemn the threats and intimidation made by the fundamentalists against the journalists and filmmakers of Afghanistan.

I want you to subscribe to my blog by entering your emails in the subscription box, so that you will receive each of the new articles automatically as we post them.

Visit our blog on a frequent basis. I want you all to read my articles and free media reports and leave your comments on them. I want you to give the address of my blog to everyone else interested in the media and cinema of Afghanistan.

I want you to hear our voices and reflect them to the world.

I am strongly committed to my goals

What is going to happen I do not now know, but I am still committed to accomplishing my goals. In any case I am going to do my work, make my films and deliver my message to the people of the world. As it says in Dari, "We are not the willows that tremble by these winds." I am not shocked by these threats into stopping my work, my responsibilities.

I now know why everyone tries to abandon Afghanistan

When I saw people leaving Afghanistan for other countries, I wondered why no one was patriotic and optimistic about Afghanistan. But now I can understand it.

I can feel very clearly why they are abandoning Afghanistan. I can now understand why people leave their lovely homeland to emigrate to other countries.

Where to run and for how long?

But for me, it seems very difficult to run and run my whole life to find a safer place to live in. I am confused about how much longer I am going to be in immigration or exile. I have spent about nine years of my life in immigration. How many more years am I going to be far from home? Where will I find my home? Will it be safer than my own original home? Will it accommodate me as a home? These are the questions that sometimes tinkle in my mind.

I will first accomplish my goals and then die!

But of one thing I am very sure, that first I have to consider my safety as much as possible—as said by God—and then do the things that I have set as the goals of my life. My goals are leave a trace of myself when I die, and to die only after expressing myself to others, when I have transferred my feelings and understanding of the world to others through the lens of cinema.

I want to make the films and to write the stories that I have kept for years and years in my heart, and then I may die.

When I am done with the responsibilities that I have undertaken, then I will have no fear of intimidation and threats! Thus I strictly follow my goals and try to accomplish them.

Therefore, while I am still alive and struggling for freedom of expression in Afghanistan, I will use my second blog, by the title of “Still Alive!” There you can read about my and other journalists’ obstacles as a diary.

--with editorial assistance from Nathan Hartle