Monday, March 24, 2008

A reply to readers’ comments
(By Amin Wahidi)

I received some emails and two comments from readers of a recent post in my blog, and I would like to respond.

I am happy that there are still people who read my blog and take time to write comments; indeed one of my purposes is to open a way for discussion and sharing each other’s ideas here in this blog.

A reader, Luca de Angelis, criticized the current situation in Afghanistan and added that no one in the West would be interested in Afghanistan, because the situation was hopeless there.

Then another lady Saha K added a short affirmation of Luca’s comment.

First, I would like to give a concise explanation of why I want to have this short film festival in Milan, then I will respond to the comments and ask some questions.

The day by day deterioration of security in Afghanistan, and the disagreement of NATO member countries about sending more soldiers, or at least extending the deployment of their soldiers are the main issues to be decided by the parliaments of the countries involved. The decisions are mostly linked with public opinion, and public opinion is based on how Afghanistan is shown in the media.

But the media does not present sufficient information about Afghanistan, and since I am a guest in Italy, I wanted to have an event that showed a broader, deeper picture of my people, my culture and the true values of the majority.

This idea was in my mind until I heard that there was The Afghan Reel, an Afghan Music and Film Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland - UK that was supported by universities and cultural associations. It was very warmly welcomed and admired by the people of Edinburgh. This news encouraged me, so I wrote wrote about my idea for a film festival in my blog and began communicating it with the filmmakers within Afghanistan who also warmly welcomed it.

Now, hoping there will be support in Milan and I am still working on how to program it. So far two or three organizations have shown initial interest in this event but every thing takes time.

One of the aims of this film festival is to show what is happening in Afghanistan; it doesn’t mean that the government of Afghanistan has been successful in building a fully democratic government yet. But it will bring new information from Afghan artists and communicators, that may help Italians get a clearer picture of Afghanistan.

My questions from Luca de Angelis and Saha K will be: How well do you know Afghanistan? What do you expect from a country that was almost thirty years in war and crisis? Considering what is currently happening to the people of Afghanistan such as: continuing extreme poverty, victimization of women, censorship of the media, do you think is it not better to raise these points and expose it to the world and discuss them instead of criticizing them or taking them for granted and putting them away as you have suggested?

I believe that in our new global village, when there is a little change in the East it affects the West, thus the situations of countries in crisis are are shared responsibilities for the international community, if the world is to survive.

Consider not just Afghanistan, but also conflicts in Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Kosovo, Venezuela, or Tibet. Consider issues like climate change, or HIV, or mercury pollution, or nuclear contamination. All of these affect all of us.

A Farsi proverb says: “when the forest is on fire, everything burns without distinction.” If the world had been more cautious before the 9/11 attacks took place, the world would not have witnessed this disaster. “When we close the tap we prevent water waste.” Knowledge and cooperation are good things, especially since we are all on the same ship in a dangerous ocean.

I hope this answers the questions of need and of serious and continuous attention by the International Community to Afghanistan because all that you have described about Afghanistan were the result of lack of attention of the International Community to since the Iraq war began in 2003.


I hope you will see this film festival will take place first in Milan – Italy and then in other cities of Italy although right now you may not be interested.

Also I hope one day there will be peace, prosperity and democracy in wider range in my country, so that there will be no more burdens on the citizens of the countries of International Community especially the European countries, we all (The Afghans) are praying for that day to come.

edited and photo by Robert Maier

1 comment:

  1. Dear Amin,
    thank you for paying attention to my email and for answering, but
    please do not put in my mouth (as we say here in Italy) words that I
    have never said.

    I've never said that the West wouldn't be interested in Afghanistan because the situation is hopeless there nor have I ever said that the huge problems of your tormented country should be put away.
    I just criticized a view of the political situation of Afghanistan as a "developing democracy" and "a country in reconstruction" that I
    consider totally unrealistic and propagandistic.

    As a Westerner I have a conception of democracy which has little to do
    with the "new" Afghanistan whose new constitution is based on the
    Sharia law, where there's no distinction between religion and state, where freedom of religion and of speech are absent to the point that you can be imprisoned or sentenced to death if you dare convert to Christianity or criticize Muslim extremism. Is this the new Afghanistan that you Afghans want? I surely hope not.

    I'm very happy that your main aim with this festival in your mind
    would be "to raise these points and expose it to the world and discuss
    them" as you say, but in order to do this you need to face reality by
    calling things with their name. And reality is that Afghanistan, way
    from being a "not yet fully democratic state in reconstruction", is a country still at war, whose new constitution is all but democratic,where the central governement has no control on most of the territory
    (remember the cruel joke of Kharzai defined as mayor of Kabul instead
    of president of Afghanistan), where women keep on being oppressed and
    psychologically and physically tortured, where the production and
    trade of opium are still the main business, where the talibans are way from being defeated and where, most important point, thousands of
    people keep on suffering, starving and being killed in terrorist
    attacks or blown up by allied bombs.

    What I meant was that a festival showing these things, which
    truthfully represent Afghanistan today as a country dangerously
    sinking lower and lower, would perhaps be interesting and draw
    A festival depicting rethorically Afghanistan as a utopistic phoenix
    trying to resurrect from its ashes would just add new propaganda to
    the propaganda which is already being offered to us daily by most of our mass media .
    Are you ready to face horror and show it as objectively as possible to the West? In that case, and only in that case, the Afghan film festival you have in mind would have a use and maybe stir the consciences of the

    Sincerely yours, Luca De Angelis


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