Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Why Canadian Foreign Minister resigns?!

Blogger’s note: It is an interesting news and especially important for Afghanistan because Canada is one of the countries involved in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and the documents were related to Afghanistan.

The Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier, resigns after forgetting some classified and important documents of NATO Summit in Romania about Afghanistan in April this year, in his ex girlfriend’s house. It is interesting from two aspects; One, how carelessly the issues of Afghanistan is dealt with, like a worthless time pass; documents are not important to be kept safe and after one month it reveals that this mistake is made, that is why the progress in Afghanistan is not taking place the way it should be, therefore it seems that the countries of international community involved in Afghanistan are not serious in their mission and do not care about the progress of Afghanistan.

Two, taking responsibility and acceptance of mistakes is good and when someone makes a mistake, some how apologies to compensate it, this way the minister apologized for his mistake, which just needs a conscience and courage to do it.

If in countries like Afghanistan, this conscience and courage exists among the governmental officials and if they accept their mistakes and some how compensate them, every thing will be fine and the country will move forward in a better way.

Toronto: The Canadian foreign minister who resigned this week for a security breach had left classified documents about a NATO summit at the home of his ex-girlfriend, the government said Tuesday
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it appeared that no confidential information had gotten out.
The foreign minister, Maxime Bernier, resigned Monday after leaving the documents at the home of Julie Couillard, who has generated controversy for past ties to members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Harper called Bernier's security breach a "serious error."
Conservative lawmaker Peter Van Loan said Tuesday that the documents were a mix of classified and public documents relating to the April NATO summit in Romania where Canada sought reinforcements for troops in Afghanistan.
"Thus far we have no information that would suggest that any secrets have been revealed," Harper said in Paris. He said the incident would be reviewed.
Bernier wrote in his letter of resignation that he learned Sunday night that he had left behind classified documents at a private residence.
"Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions," Bernier wrote.
Couillard said she contacted a lawyer five weeks after he left the documents at her home in April. Couillard's lawyer returned them to the government on Sunday.
In an interview broadcast Monday, she denied ever reading the documents, saying "it was definitely not for my eyes."
"I was panicked by the fact that I had that at my house," Couillard said.
Opposition parties demanded that the government explain how it took them five weeks to realize the classified documents were missing. Opposition Liberal Leader Stephane Dion said Harper showed "appalling lack of judgment" for dismissing security concerns over Bernier's involvement with a woman with past ties to gang members, and called for a public inquiry.
But Harper said that Bernier's resignation has put an end to the matter.
"As we've said, private lives are private lives and the government of Canada does not intend to get into the business of investigating private citizens," Harper said. "This has nothing to do with Madame Couillard. This was the unfortunate error, the unfortunate actions of the minister that are at issue here."
Bernier first drew the attention of Canadians when he appeared at his swearing-in ceremony in August with the provocatively dressed Couillard on his arm. Her former links to Hells Angels did not become public until recently.
Harper said Monday that David Emerson, the international trade minister, will take over as interim foreign minister. ( from International Herald Tribune)

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Kambakhsh, his trial and the jurors

Afghan Judges and jury members!

Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Afghanistan Abdul Salam Azimi

Just once watch 12 before making an important decision!


It is a good film to be watched once by the judges of judicial branch

While international efforts are made for the immediate release of Parwiz Kambakhsh without any trial, he is still in the prison waiting for the days of trial.

He was not feeling well the last time he appeared in the court, so he asked for a week of time so he gets better.

“It is a matter of my life” said Parwiz, “so I have to be fine to defend myself”.
In this case, in a few days, Parwiz Kambakhsh is going to be heard again in the appeal court to defend his case as he has appealed for.

Parwiz Kambakhsh facing death sentence accused of blasphemy, in appeal court

He appeared in the court with handcuffs which should not have happened for a journalist though, but it is Afghanistan; Criminals are rewarded and innocents, the enlightened and intellectuals are tortured and suffered.

A few days ago, the judicial branch announced that Parwiz Kambakhsh will be released provided that he apologizes before the media, for what he is accused of, while this request of the judicial branch of Afghanistan is an obvious attack and censorship against freedom of speech in Afghanistan.

When I heard of Parwiz Kambakhsh request for a week time until he gets better, I just thought of writing a short message to the Afghan Judges and Juries, to be very careful, to be very sensitive, to be accurate and then to be real human beings when making any important decisions that is the decision of some one’s life and death.

Therefore, I would recommend them to watch a film which might be interesting for them and help them how to make decisions on such sensitive cases, so within these days when they have time, they should at least watch once this film, although it is a film from a country which they think have been their biggest enemy in the past decades; a film from Russia.

12 (2007) by Nikita Mikhalkov

Of course, I am talking about 12 a film from Russia, directed by Nikita Mikhalkov, that I watched in the 64th International Venice Film Festival last year.
Nikita Mikhalkov is the director who received career award and was honored for the "ensemble of his work", after the closing ceremony of the 64th Venice International Film Festival on 08 September 2007.

Nikita Mikhalkov, kissing his career award recieved at 64th International Venice Film Festival

I think watching a film just for once may not give a person enough tips and thoughts to write a critic on it, therefore I am not writing a critic but just shortly introduce the film to the Afghan judges and juries who want to decide on Parwiz Kambakhsh’s case, although, the case in the film is quite different from Kambakhsh’s case, but the main thing how a person is trialed and based on what facts and evidences the final decision is made in a court.

Although this film is said to be a newer copy of old “Twelve hungry men” 1957 directed by Sidney Lumet but it is still strong enough to have its viewers.

First I like the theme of this film, the trial of a Chechen boy accused of murdering his Russian stepfather. Although there are just a few locations in this film, and most of the parts of the film were shot indoor inside a gymnasium of a school building where the decision is being made, by a group of 12 jurors to judge and make the final decision about the Chechen Boy, but still the film is so attractive that catches the attention of the viewers in every single moment. The outdoor scenes are limited, in the beginning, and then when there are flashbacks of the story. Such stories with limited locations and a tender theme can be very difficult for the directors to make it successfully but Nikita Mikhalkov has done is wonderfully while he himself had a role in it too.

Apart from the strength of the director, for using the artistic creativity in lighting, symbolism, accurate casting and marvelous acting of actors to create an atmosphere of suspense and attraction, the viewers are not for once but for many times being tricked by the director when they see the vice versa of what they predict what is to happen next, and this way, the film spikes the viewers to sit and watch it to the end without knowing how it passed.

In theory, sitting of a group of jurors in a single room or a hall discussing about a matter like to decide about an accused prisoner, seem to be very boring while in this film, the atmosphere created is not boring at all which is the strength of the director.

The twelve jurors making decision about the Chechen boy are with different backgrounds; a hesitant TV producer, a flamboyant musician, a racist taxi-driver, a suspicious doctor, a Holocaust survivor, a cemetery manager and some others. Once all of them decide to vote against the boy after a long discussion accept one, so the film seem to go to towards to acme, and this one person remaining alone can not vote against, because his logic, his reasons and evidences are not enough to vote against that boy and more important is matter of the life of a human being!

There was a strong sense of humanity visible along the film; the result of the discussions many times turns against the accused prisoner, but again comes back for his favor and this way, all reasoning, defending and discussions are indeed the story telling of the pasts and experiences of each of the jury members but still important points of the director are;
“One negative vote is also a vote and a voice and sometimes can bring a change”, or “Let’s not ignore but consider any possibilities and probabilities that can effect our decisions especially when we make an important decision”, and “it worth to take time, do enough research, make it sure from different aspects, consider any possibilities and evidences when we make decision about life or death sentence of a human being”, and the director has been successful to deliver his messages through his film.

I hope the Afghan judges and jury members would hear my voice and once watch this film before making any decisions about Parwiz Kambakhsh, because it is a matter of innocence and guiltiness, it is a matter of life and death of an intellectual human being, who he has done nothing wrong accept being curious to know more and increase his knowledge, is it a crime?!

Click here to know more about Parwiz Kambakhsh'sUpdates

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

“Jihad continues in Afghanistan”: Baitullah Mahsud

“Jihad continues in Afghanistan” is announced to the media by Baitullah Mahsood, the Taliban leader and top commander in Pakistan.

This decision is taking place by Pakistani Taliban leader after the new government of Pakistan has adopted a cease fire and signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in Free Tribal Areas in the North West Province of Sarhad.

The Taliban agreed to sign this agreement provided that their Jihad would still continue on in Afghanistan without any disturbance by the Pakistani Government which is accepted by the government of Pakistan.

Since they have again obtained their legitimacy and license of terrorist activities by the government of Pakistan, they are going to be well-organized and more concentrated than before, but this time only in one specific front that is Afghanistan.

And it means since they are not involved internally with the government of Pakistan, they can spend all their energy and logistical funds for the Jihad in Afghanistan which is killing, destruction of the innocent civilians by bomb blasts and sabotage of reconstruction process in Afghanistan which is one of desires of Pakistan.
The definition of what is Jihad in their understandings can be written in a separate piece of writing, but in this writing more important is the role of Pakistan as a country that always pretends to be committed to the global anti- terror campaign of the international community while has always been growing, supporting and then exporting the Taliban terrorists into countries of the region especially to Afghanistan and Kashmir of India.
After singing this agreement with the Taliban, apparently it looks as if Pakistan is compel to throw the snows of its roofs on Afghanistan but in indeed the Taliban have the role of a reserved militia force for Pakistan to send them for the accession of crisis in which ever part they want. This can be seen very clearly, when Baitullah Mahsood says to the media that; “we do not have any fight with Pakistan anymore, Pakistan is an Islamic Country and our fight is harmful for it, but we will continue our Jihad in Afghanistan which is an invaded country and Jihad does not have a border.”

Baitullah Mahsud top Taliban leader and commander in Pakistan

A big questions mark can be put here; why these Pakistani Taliban do not begin their Jihad from within Pakistan, where there is a lot of corruption, bribery, crimes, prostitution, human trafficking, and many more issues which do not match with their living styles? Perhaps, they lose their logistical supports or they are not given permission by Pakistani authorities for that Jihad.

The negative result of Pakistan’s agreement with the Taliban is seen obviously in Afghanistan as the number of suicide attacks and bomb blasting has increased especially in the eastern and southern provinces and the civilian spokesperson of NATO has also announced NOTO’s concern on this agreement explaining that this agreement of Pakistan with the Taliban so far has left negative effects on the security situation of Afghanistan.

It is to say that, this is the third and the most dangerous political pressure of Pakistan on Afghanistan in the recent months.

First, the issue of deportation of the refuges has already created a lot of problems for the government of Afghanistan, then the ban of food imports to Afghanistan from Pakistan caused a rapid raise of food costs as a result many poor people died of hunger and starvation in Afghanistan and then signing peace agreement with the Taliban brings more instability for Afghanistan.

As far as the global war against the terror is not confined to one or some of the countries but to the whole world, Pakistan as a country in the region has the responsibility to respect the international community efforts in Afghanistan to fight and eradicate the roots of terrorism.

While Pakistan has the responsibility to make sure that there are not any terrorist training centers in this country, instead it promotes the terrorist training centers by logistically supporting them, allowing their activities and legitimizing them by agreements and treaties, and then export them to the neighboring countries.

The new elected government of Pakistan that was believed to be better than Musharaf’s military government decreases the hopes for a change in this country and a better situation in the region; in this case, there are some serious steps for Afghanistan and the international community to follow to handle the situation.

As a mid - term, or long term plan, Afghanistan has to think of resolving the Durand Line and should have control on the borders with Pakistan, which is one of the main reasons of Taliban issues and export of them from Pakistan, while the international community has to reprimand Pakistan for supporting and exporting the terrorism into the other countries.

As a controlling halter, this chastise could be political and economical bans on Pakistan to disable this country supporting terrorism.

People, starvation, war criminals and justice (Part two)

Will there be justice for the Afghan people?!

Considering the current situation of Afghanistan, it seems too far away until there will be justice for the Afghans to be able to bring the war criminals before the courts.
There is a good saying in Dari (Persian) “who digs pits will one day fall in one of them” and it signifies that bad things and bad intentions due to their negative essence and nature will face with negative results, even to the doers, which signifies the accountability of the nature. While at the same time there is another saying “don’t hit some one’s door with finger, so no one hits your door with fist” and this one also means the accountability but in this one, the optional and arbitrary accountability is emphasized on, or more it means “every action can have a reaction”.
There is a caution in the second saying; “the comparison of finger and fist” is like an alert. The comparison in between “finger and fist” bewares the mind; of accountability of “benefit or loss”, accountability of actions and their reactions or consequences. This alert just awakens the mind; of a reaction, a punishment, an accountability and equality or inequality. And this reminder creates precautions before every action the minds think of.

It is also a rule of the nature that every action has a reaction; as a result of what we do something is done. And more realistic example when people do good things, the result they see is good, same is if they do bad things, the result they see would be bad, but when this rule in the hands of human beings, it is violated and not followed as it is set naturally, on the other hand at the same time, it is possible and again in the hand of human beings to balance it back “optional like the second saying”.
To balance such contravenes, phenomena like penalty and punishment are used just to normalize the rule of “do good, see good” as well as “every action has a reaction” or “finger and fist”.
Punishment in itself may be an abhorrent action since it is correlated with fear and negativity but this fear and negativity is used to bring positivism then it is reasonable, accepted and recommended when it is used for purposes like bringing social security through balance, justice and equality to maintain and secure human life in groups.

The purpose of bringing these two sayings here is to study the patterns of Afghan people’s opinions, understandings and reactions regarding the punishment or forgiveness of war criminals in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a country where like the first saying many pits are dug in different times but most of the pit diggers have enjoyed using those pits against the people without falling in them themselves due to different causes.

It is important to know the willingness and the ability of the Afghan people too regarding what they would do with the war criminals as well as the possibilities of what could be done in this regard.

Photo from COPASS.COM
Any thing the Afghans are willing to do or think of doing in this regard is very much related to their beliefs, their way of thinking about things and finally their ability to take any actions considering their living conditions.
In Afghanistan, unfortunately there have been thousands of cases of human rights violations, tyrannies and injustice in a period of thirty years by different regimes; the communists and socialists, Islamists like the Mujahedeen warlords and extremist Islamists like Taliban that have left hundreds of thousands of victims behind, who still can not talk about their rights and about what happened to them and who are responsible for it because of problems they face.
It again depends on how we define crimes and war. Although there are specific NGOs who write and use slogans against some of the war criminals (especially the war criminals of civil war), but in action they themselves are not better than those warlords and war criminals. The war criminals looted the people’s wealth by the power of gun but these NGOs loot the money they receive for the poor Afghan women, children, the widows, the orphans, the illiterate and etc.
Perhaps if we can not give title of war criminals to them, but we can still call them criminals since they have hands in very big embezzlements of public wealth.

On the other hands, at the same time, not only the warlords of Mujahedeen but the Taliban should also be at the top of the list of war criminals, also the people who committed crimes against humanity during the communist regimes, but in this regard there are many different opinions, but more important is to rehabilitate the living condition of the people and let them decide how to categorize the war criminals and what to do with them.
There are many reasons that the people especially who are victims or the reminders of the civil war victims in Afghanistan do not talk about trial or punishment of the warlords and the war criminals.

Poverty and lack of stable economy

Poverty and lack of a stable economy can keep people just busy in their daily lives and confines their vision only in their day and night livelihood and they do not have time, energy and thoughts about what to do with the war criminals and even when they have any thoughts about it, they do not have time to follow up, and then they do not have any access to the officials or courts, and then there are not courts in the country without a warlord or war criminals, in this case who should they refer to?.

The current situation in Afghanistan is a clear example of this reason. The global raise of cost of food has had a negative impact on the living conditions of many poor Afghans. In this regard the government has a responsibility to provide cheaper food for the people, but instead the current government takes advantages of this situation and by keeping people in starvation, for its political benefits before the elections approach and does not make enough efforts to solve this problem.

Nowadays, some can find something to eat and most can not have even only bread to eat. People are dying of hunger and starvation therefore; some people sell their family members for the survival of the rest, some attempt to kill their family members when they can not feed them because of lack of food, work and money to buy food. In this situation how can someone think of what to do with the war criminals?

Photo from COPASS.COM
The continuous ruling of war criminals on people

The Mujahedeen war criminals are still on power in different governmental departments and branches.
The reasons how they are still on power; we can say, because of the system existed in the country, lack of sovereignty of the national government in the country let any warlord rule on specific area with the power of gun and hiring some gun men.
This is also possible based on tribal, ethnic and regional basis and gave a chance to as many people who were very aggressive, tyrant and risky enough to hire more gunmen and rule on the others. The bigger warlords can rule on the people through the governmental power, whether by occupying a seat in the parliament, or in any other position in a governmental department in the capital or in the major cities and in provinces on the other hand, because the central government does not have a full control in all over the country yet, therefore the warlords still have their gun men in different areas especially in the villages and the people fear from them and can not tell anything about them where they even can get money from the people.

The continuous influences of the mullahs on the society

As an Islamic state, the people in Afghanistan are strictly religious and the mullahs are taking the biggest advantages of people’s faith, sensations and beliefs, thus most of the time people are being misused for their faith and sensation by mullahs by the name of Islam.
Mullahs can bring any change in religious issues for their own benefits and can sell “Hadises”, concoct any rule and regulation for the safety of their positions and power.
Most of these civil war criminals, are whether a senior or junior mullah and when ever there is talk on war criminals, war crimes, human rights, justice, equality and humanitarian laws, they tell the people that all these issues are produced by the western countries and are plots against Islam and religion; while people are not educated and enlightened enough to know the reality, they believe easily what the mullahs say although they are suffered by these mullahs.
That’s how the kingdom of these mullahs is still stable in the rural areas of the country.

Illiteracy and low level of education

Afghanistan is a country with a large number of illiterate people therefore illiteracy effects on the economy, productivity and then on the level of living condition. Illiteracy in addition to be one of the main causes of poverty, could be one of the reasons for why the people easily tend to believe in superstitions and religious figures can easily find a place for themselves among the people. This level of education of people is something proportional with the loss of positions of the mullahs in the society, meaning that as educated the people are, that harder it is for the mullahs to have place among the people. That is why different efforts are made by the mullahs to stop people getting enough education by any approaches.

Lack of knowledge about the laws, judicial procedures and existence of corruptions in the courts

When there is poverty and general illiteracy of course naturally the people to do not have knowledge to understand their rights and what could be done if their rights are violated.
The laws are no more than just written pieces of paper because they are not practiced and are not introduced well to people, in this case the people never know that according to the laws they have certain rights and when those rights are violated they can knock the doors of courts and get their rights back.
Some of the people who even knew about these procedures, they did not have good experience with the judicial system of the country. According to people’s experiences there has never been time when these judicial branch has done its work properly thus people never tend to rely on this branch; bribery, judgment based on personal relationships and influences on this branch has reduced the quality of it operation.

Religiously beliefs in punishment of tyrants by God

In addition to poverty and illiteracy also religiously believing that punishment of the tyrants has to be done or is done by God, made most Afghan people reluctant first to think and then talk about the trial of the war criminals in this country.
Most of the religious people, have this opinion that the judgement is done by God and human beings are weak to have a proper judgement on other human beings and this opinion is polished and strengthened by mullahs who are mostly the war criminals.

Monday, May 26, 2008

People, starvation, war criminals and justice (Part one)


The enlightening books like “War Crimes” are very useful for the people if pressures and starvation let them.

Lately an Afghan cultural NGO has published Dari and Pashto versions of a book titled “War Crimes” that is written in English by foreign writers.
In this book, which is said to be for the purpose of enlightening the people of Afghanistan about war crimes, war criminals and what could be done with them according to international laws, the writers have brought examples of war crimes in the other countries, and then examples of Afghanistan itself.

Although such books can be counted a remarkable effort, but in reality there are many challenges and problems for the people to be able to bring the war criminals before the court of justice. One of the challenges is lack of a real democracy in which the government will be by the people for the people, in which the people feel themselves a part of the government and their voice would really be reflected in that government and would be heard by the officials.
Unfortunately so far any regimes have come on power in Afghanistan whether supported by east or by the west has not been really democratic while they have only talking of democracy which is not seen in the practical lives of the people or seen for a short period and then disappeared again.

The relative democratic environment in Afghanistan that was created by the efforts of international community after the collapse of Taliban regime, first seemed to be good enough at least for the period when people had suffered a five years of hardest pressures by the most extremist regime of the world; Taliban. And now this relative democratic environment is going to be more limited day by day.
Before the victory of Mujahedeen warlords, the pressures and dictatorship of the pro communist and socialist regimes had already cleared path for he Mujaheen warlords to come on power and then their inability to govern the country had left chances for the fundamentalist group of the Taliban.
Having specific and confined definitions and interpretations of Islamic rules the extremist regime of Taliban enforced many pressures on the people in different affairs of their lives which already born the need for a real free and democratic environment for the people, where the people would live as human beings; as humans in the twenty first century, free, bright and happy. Along with attacks on WTC twin towers by Al-Qaeda and decision if international community to eradicate the extremist regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Afghans were hopeful to begin a real democratic era thereafter, and now after seven years this is the result.

In the new era, up to the current time, first the people were given voice but when they shout their voices whether they are not heard or they are shut up or suffocated which could be a kind of dictatorship, a bit modern, imposed by the current government of Afghanistan. This may be named a disappearing dictatorship under the title of democracy and brings the fears of appearing dictatorships of two to three decades back.

The difference between this kind of dictatorship and apparent dictatorship is that; in direct dictatorship they kill the people directly and apparently but in this dictatorship they “cut heads with cotton” and people in the grassroots do not see it while still feel and suffer it.
Interfering in the affairs of daily lives of people, raising the costs of food, keep people always in need and then shut up any voice come out of them are all clear examples of the current situation which is going to be believed a kind of indirect dictatorship by the existing government of Afghanistan when no significant efforts are not seen to be done to resolve the problems of the people; while it is obvious that the Taliban and the warlords are the enemies of the people of Afghanistan but both groups are given chances by the Afghan government. Warlords have entered in the systems of the government since the collapse of Taliban in 2001 while Taliban are also brought inside slowly on in different periods. They are easily forgiven, given rewards and compensations for the crimes they have committed against the people. Knowing all these, many times the current Afghan government has attempted to have negotiations with the Taliban who are in direct battle among them, which indeed showed the weakness of the government and encouraged the Taliban to strengthen them.

There are some NGOs supported with a lot of funds by foreign donors and sponsors for the purpose of educating the Afghan people about such issues, but unfortunately they do not function very well; they just rely on the slogans and abusing or blackguarding only a group of the warlords of civil war. They blame the war crimes of the civil war for looting the assistances of the people, while they themselves misuses a lot of the funds they receive from their foreign donors without any clear accountability and transparency.
They do not have clear programs, while there are many practical ways for educating the people about their rights and their living conditions.
While there was only hope of a real change in the lives of people by the civil society organizations, but sometimes, the way they work makes every one hopeless of a change to take place by them.

To be continued….