All posts by najeebazad

About najeebazad

Civil and education activist, writer, and photographer; currently a European Commission fellow

In my dream, my roomie killed me?

Najeeb Azad Photography82.jpg

Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) seemed very unusual, the roads were not asphalted, the buildings unpainted, the window glasses broken, and the surrounding areas were all vacant; I could not see anything around, neither a person nor another living creature. It was only me in front of Vila/Hostel 2. The hostel looked like an old building in 40s, with wooden doors, old locks, and a direct entrance to the rooms from the road. It was foggy, and I heard loud noises of explosions in the distance, the explosions resulted to mushroom-like smoke in the air. All I could see around myself was the black foggy environment. I was worried and had no idea what was going on. The air was densely polluted with the smoke from the bombs (chemical bombs I reckon) that I could barely see my far-away surroundings. I was confusingly shocked of the whole situation, and had no idea what was happening as I was the only person walking in the university. I kept walking towards the entrance of my room in the hostel. While walking, I could see a river of blood flowing beside the hostel; the moment I skimmed my eyes off the river, I saw blood flowing from underneath the hostel doors. I had the knowledge about chemical bombs that after explosion and spread of the chemicals, the residents of the affected area start bleeding from their nose until they die, and I thought that the blood is flowing due to casualties from the bomb. I was fine, and was not feeling any disorder in my breathing.

I opened the door of my room, I saw the walls dividing the rooms were all ruined and I could see my neighbouring rooms fallen apart. I could still see no one in the hostel, and was curious about where everyone was and where the blood came from. My tears started rolling, realizing that everyone in the hostel – my roommate and my neighbours –  had all disappeared/died. I could do nothing but getting out of my room, and start running towards the city. I ran, and ran and ran so fast. I saw a group of people from far-away and got so happy deep inside, so I kept running faster to get to the group of people and escape together. I was running towards the group with a lot of optimism, until I saw that the group was fighting with each other – a group of Chinese who was very skilled in martial arts were kicking and punching the other European group in all of the ways possible. I could not stop because I would have faced the destiny of European group if I did. I diverted my path from one side of the ongoing martial arts tournament and kept running towards the city.

There was an interval in the dream. I was deeply drowned in my sleep, until I woke up in another dream again.

I was sleeping in my bed in my room, I woke and saw my roomie sleeping beside me in his bed. He seemed different – he had his head on the study table which I have no idea why he located next to his bed to use as his pillow. I got worried about his position because his head was positioned way above his entire body. I went to wake him up. He was not waking, I kept calling his name quietly not to frighten him. He did not wake up, I was worried so I increased the tone of my voice and shouted his name to wake him up. He woke up, but he looked very unusual, I never saw him that way – he had bits of blood on his face. He did not say anything to me. I was having mixed thoughts as I remembered the last time I came to my room, my roomie did not exist, and now that he does exist, he is not looking as usual. I was thinking he must have been affected by the chemicals or any other type of diseases. I started explaining to him what has been happening around the hostel, but I could not, because I was infected too, I fell and lost my conscious. I died.

There was another real interval in the dream which I do not remember. I finally woke up in the real world, but it did not seem real. My room was dark as hell, I found my IPhone and pressed the home button to lighten my surrounding. I wish I did not seek the light because it frightened me to death. Right after pressing the home button while I was still in my bed, I saw the pattern made by my beautiful white blanket right in front of my eyes – it looked like a dead child. As I still remembered the horrific dream, I did not think the world where I have woken up is real.

I wish I could have woken up my roomie, but I could not because I still thought I was in the previous world where I had to run away from every one. I got my IPhone and in the darkness walked slowly towards the washroom. I locked the door, turned on the light and sat. I could not bear the loneliness because it hurt me more and did not make me forget the horrendous dream I had. I texted in GLOBEDIAN group (my class group) if anyone was awake; none responded – maybe because becoming an official Erasmus scholar requires one to experience such awful dreams and stay lonely for the next hours.

I called my mom in Afghanistan, who at that moment was cleaning my room which she had promised me to keep like a VIP museum and allow no one but family members to enter. I talked to her for minutes. She asked me to stay brave and keep her souvenir with myself – a souvenir she bought from a religious shop in Kabul for my safety and to avert evil eyes from his youngest son.

I came out of the washroom, took my Mac, sat in my bed, and started writing my dream. Writing calms me down. I opened a Microsoft Word blank document, connected my headphone to my Mac, and played the rock song “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. I started to type my dream, a dream which I will never forget, and a dream which I do not remember fully. Whatever you read up there is only bits of it.

Man, it was a terrible dream…


10+ Things to (sort of) Dislike about Afghanistan*

It takes a bit of courage to start writing about things a person dislike about the country and people he/she loves, but I believe that without hatred love is meaningless, and that hatred gives significance to love.
At the end of each point a famous Afghan proverb is used to showcase a niche perspective within the point, hope you get it right:

1. Heart in Kabul, investment in Dubai

From left to right: Dubai skyscrapers and an Afghan beggar in Kabul

Afghanistan’s migration crises, insecurity, illicit economy and government instability cost the world and the country itself a huge amount of trouble and money. The international community grants trillions of dollars to the Government of Afghanistan annually, but unfortunately, the lions (most Afghan politicians refer to themselves as lions) who govern this country, takes hold of the money, spend a small bit in Kabul, and transfer the rest abroad (mainly Dubai) for financing their own companies.

“To eat salt and break the salt shaker”

2. World records

Though holding world records; a highway to prosperity seems nearby. Band-e Amir, Bamyan

My country is very famous; we are the only country whose Election results were announced after the new imposed president and CEO created the National Unity Government (NUG). We are also at the top list of Transparency International’s corruption index; though there are many commissions and governmental organizations that work on combating corruption, but it seems the lions have grown up and these ordinary human-beings cannot combat the grown-up lions.
Afghanistan produces more than 80% of the world’s opium, and is the most dangerous place for women, second top illiterate country in the world.

“The wheat is a little wet, the millstone is a little dull”

3. Tribal insults

Partridge fighting in the outskirts of Kabul

A lot of Afghan purza goya / babblers have a habit of using tribal insults to subjugate and control other tribes. Afghanistan is a diverse country from tribal, language, and cultural perspective. Around forty tribes live in Afghanistan, each representing beautiful culture, language and traditions. The babblers, for example insult: 1) Wardakis (residents of Maidan Wardak province) and Laghmanis (residents of Laghman province) by jokes on them and indicating that they are foxy and clever; 2) Punjsheris (residents of Punjsher province) for being very stuck-up; 3) Hazaragis (people from Hazara tribe) for being too liberal and hard-working. To these babblers I want to say: “Man, we love our diversity as we need clever Wardakis and Laghmanis, stuck-up Panjsheris, and hard-working Hazaras to build this country, only “politicians” and “lions” are not going to be helpful in this rebuilding process.”

“From one hand comes no sound”

4. Love for the past and hate for the present

A souvenir from Afghan national heroes

Afghanistan has many national heroes; every tribe considers their leader to be a national hero. Most of these national heroes rose during the thirty years of civil war. Within the offices of governmental organizations, one can see photos of the head of office’s tribal leader; tribal leaders who have been the perpetrators of mass killings in Afghanistan. These photos indicate how current Afghans and descendants of these tribal leaders give value to tribal massacres that took place during the reign of these tribal leaders. Usually young Afghans use this proverb to criticize the reality about some Afghan’s love for past and hate for present: “Afghans have no good person alive, and no bad person dead.”
For some of the new generations of Afghans, every youngster who has a share in rebuilding Afghanistan, is a national hero.

“A dead goat has golden horns”

5. Poor governance by NUG

A united fight, Kabul

A famous proverb: “Two chefs destroy the meal.” In the case of governance by NUG in Afghanistan this proverb seems to show its meaning in practical means. During the NUG Afghans have suffered from increased insecurity, unemployment, and declined economic growth. The government has been unable to ensure the equal share of Afghanistan’s tribes in power, enforce the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) to ensure gender equity, provide new job opportunities, fight against corruption, decrease opium production, promote education and literacy in northern and southern areas of the country, and promote equal development. Like most Afghans, I am also confused of the poor governance in Afghanistan during this time-period, for President Ghani being the world’s second best thinker and philosopher leads the country. The NUG’s approach for solving serious social issues by establishing unproductive special commissions surprise me; the commissions that are gone with the wind without prevailing justice – the windy commissions.

“Everyone should be looked at with the same eye”

6. Durand line, the line of blood and unrest

A partition line in Dragon Valley, Bamyan, Afghanistan

It has been proven that some of our neighbors are evil. The Durand Line has proven to be the source of bloodshed and unrest in Afghanistan as most insurgent groups move and reside without any limitations within this line. Although Afghan politicians do not recognize this line by pretending that the Afghan king who signed the Durand Line agreement with the British-India was under pressure by the British, but let’s give a chance for the people of Afghanistan (if possible, Pakistan as well) to decide whether they want to give up on this line or not?
Inspired by Brexit, a Durexit campaign might be helpful for Afghan politicians to understand the people’s will; which might be giving up this line, and giving an end to the line of blood.

“Stopping your losses is a gain”

7. Women subordination

Women washing dishes during a harsh winter, Bamyan, Afghanistan

Majority of Afghan men think of women as subordinate human beings. They think women are objects whose remotes are in the hands of men, and that women do not have the right to choose, get education, work, swim, jump, bike, and live on their own. This attitude of men has blocked the share of half of Afghanistan’s population in rebuilding the country, killed millions of hopes, taken hundreds of lives, and affected the lives of both men and women in this country.

“A mother shakes the cradle with one hand, and shakes the world with the other hand”

8. International media coverage about Afghanistan

One can’t be an example of all, Kabul

The international media coverage on Afghanistan’s war on terror has only been focused on the military aspect. War on terror is never won by military means as has been proven during the decades of civil war and war on terror in Afghanistan, South Africa, and during the two world wars. The enemy can be defeated through education, equality of rights, negotiations, and national unity. Unfortunately, the international media do not cover the achievements (minor and major) of Afghanistan in education sector, human rights and gender sector, economic sector, rural development, and agriculture.

“Taking fish from muddy water”

9. Financially heavy-weight weddings and Hajj

Child malnutrition, central highlands of Afghanistan

On a daily basis Afghans die of hunger, women and children die during child birth, youngsters take dangerous illegal routes to seek asylum abroad, and youth join militant groups. Most Afghans ignore the current circumstances, and spend huge amounts of money to go for Hajj – not considering that the real Hajj can be done in their surroundings by supporting poor families, supporting health initiatives, supporting young entrepreneurs, and working towards development of their muddy streets. Dear Hajis, God is everywhere, not in Saudi Arabia. God can be seen in the faces of every human being – your family, your neighbors, and yourself; so stop seeking almighty God in Saudi Arabia.

“Extend your legs to the length of your carpet”

In addition to Hajj, the financially heavy-weight weddings and dowry system are another thing I dislike about my country. Youngsters spend thousands of dollars in their wedding parties to feed the guests, trying to promote obesity (which is not possible by one-time food availability) and trying to ignore people who die of hunger and kids who die of malnutrition on daily basis.

“The goat worries about his life, the butcher worries about the fat”

10. Dependency

A queue of customers awaiting to buy breads, Kabul

Afghanistan is famous as a graveyard of empires for defeating the world super powers – the British and the Soviet Union. As a matter of fact, the defeats could not have been possible without foreign aid, this is an example of dependency from the past.
Currently, dependency comes in the face of migration and vast support from the international community. Most of the young Afghans who cannot bear crises in the country, migrate to other countries. I want to say to this youngsters: “dear migrant youngsters! Afghanistan needs you and depends on you. If you flee, I flee and others flee, who will rebuild this beautiful country?”

“Half a loaf, but a peaceful body”

11. Two-faced politicians

An Afghan citizen, tired of poor governance and two-faced politicians think of future, Kabul

Lying in Islam is a big sin, though lying to cheat your enemy in times of war to win the war is permissible. Unfortunately, our politicians think of the population as enemies and lie to them in public. I remember the president and CEO of Afghanistan, promising the residents of our district to establish a university for them because one of them dreamed of teaching in the schools of our district when he was teaching in universities abroad.
I believe every district in Afghanistan, like my district, have been cheated by the politicians. Let’s hope for our youngsters to be honest politicians.

“Your mouth cannot become sweet by saying Halwa – a traditional Afghan dessert”

12. Quick adaptation due to weak decision-making (without further ado)

Filafil-e Irani, a fast food named after a closely weird neighbour, Kabul

From ordinary Afghans to Afghan kings, one can see how globalization has affected both. I don’t say that adapting globally accepted norms and systems are a bad idea, but one should think and analyse their own situation, culture, and circumstances before adapting globally accepted norms. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan, without further ado the ordinary people and the politicians adapt to the norms and systems that look shiny for them at the first glance.
From King Amanullah Khan who wanted to bring liberal reforms to modernize Afghanistan on western design by announcing short-skirt western dress code for women; to our new generation who think of Polat Alemdar (a Turkish agent in a Turkish movie-series who tries to fight a mafia) as their role model; Civilization does not come with short-sleeve dress codes and an agent population, but it comes with suitable reforms through analysis, negotiation and a serious thought process. Afghans are sometimes very weak in decision-making about governance reforms and personal life reforms, and with the passage of time we learn to strengthen ourselves in these aspects.

“Looking for wool hairs in a wool carpet”

13. et al

et al in picture, Kabul streets

To ensure that my list does not exceed 20+ things I dislike, I will shorten my points under one point:
a. Furious celebrations of happiness: Afghans are famous in celebrating happiness and joy with gun-fire towards the sky, and also they are also known for buying plastic gun toys for their children to celebrate happiness. Changing gun-fire to a Facebook post and changing plastic guns to a pen for the purpose of celebration would be a good revision for this furious process.
b. Littering and sparrow soup: Kabul is in the list of polluted capitals, and the pollution mostly comes from the dust blown by wind and the littered waste. Most Afghans I have seen litter anywhere they want, not thinking that another person is needed to bend and collect his waste. Also in some areas of Afghanistan sparrows are sold in 5 AFN per piece; people buy the birds and make sparrow soup. No litter and sparrow soup please.
c. Child labour: Due to poverty and unemployment, most families forcibly use their children to finance the family by waste collection, begging, herding livestock, and serving the minor needs of local markets. The children should be empowered, educated, and trained for leading us to the path of future development.
d. Landmines: Afghanistan still have millions of landmines in its soil, and there are usual casualties of landmines affecting the lives of children and the bread-bringers of families across Afghanistan.
e. Reliance on government: most citizens of Afghanistan think of the government as the superior body, responsible for handling every minor and major dilemmas of the country; from collecting their house waste to bringing security. We should better learn to be on our own and not depend on the poor government that lacks resources for our vast wish-list. We should learn to keep our cities clean and secure through reporting suspicious persons/objects to the police/act ourselves logically.
To conclude the post, I want to share the Afghan proverb:

“a sword wound will heal, but not a wound from words”

I hope my words have not wounded your heart, if due to my carelessness it has wounded your heart then please keep in touch through email for reasoning/healing the wound.
May we work hard and make Afghanistan prosper!

*This post is an edited version of a post that appeared on Global Voices.

*not all of my 10+ things address every Afghan. There are millions of Afghans who suffer from the consequences of the situation caused by my above points and dream of a better Afghanistan.

*those who want to check-out the 9 things to like about Afghanistan, please follow this link:

10 Extraordinary Things I Like About Afghanistan

Let’s start with a comparison of fabricated and real/desired scenario about Afghanistan:

  • Fabricated scenario: Daily news broadcast globally: “Due to Taliban attack twelve civilians were killed, and thirty injured. The clash between Afghanistan National Army and the Taliban is still on-going…”
  • Real/desired scenario: “Afghanistan is the land of opportunities for investment, there is a lot of qualified human resources and labourers to support the investment. Though there are security concerns but no tensions Mr. Investor, keep your spirits high and enjoy the opportunities within the country”

Globally, people have different perceptions about different countries. From what I have personally experienced in some of the countries I have visited, people have different fabricated understandings about my country. There have been many occasions where I have introduced myself from China, Mongolia, and even from my district with newly-met people (I introduced myself from these Asian countries due to the similarity of my facial feature with the people of these countries), and then when real acquaintance had been made, truth would have prevailed about my real country, and my friends’ perception would have positively changed about Afghanistan. Overseas, most of the people are afraid of my country’s name – Afghanistan, they sometimes even mistakenly call it Taliban / Terrorist. But I am a proud citizen of Afghanistan. Excluding the political scenario; I am proud of how the country is diverse in many ways, how gracefully Afghans live their life, and how radiant the future can be with the old generation/warlords gone.

The extraordinary things I like about my tangled country are listed below:

  1. The state of being the in the top list of youngest countries in the world

Afghanistan is the 5th youngest country in the world, with 68% of the population under 25. Being in the top list of youngest countries has many opportunities and threats. Opportunities can only be created by utilization of the young task-force to contribute their share in development of the country. Utilization from these young resources can only happen when the leadership of the country is given to a policy-implementer geek, who creates jobs within the country so that the most productive task-force doesn’t flee the country. However the current policy-making leadership of the government’s most suitable decision is to stop giving passports to these young resources so that they don’t flee the country.

“5th youngest country in the world”

I hope opportunities are created for the youth inside the country and they are given a chance to serve their desperate developing country, rather than serving the advanced developed countries. I like my country being the 5th youngest nation in the world, but unfortunately the youth are now more of a threat to the country rather than being supportive, due to high level of bad governance by NUG that has led to high level of unemployment. These jobless youngsters either illegally take the dangerous journey of getting to the west, or join extremist groups, or gets addicted to narcotics and live on the roads/under the bridges – being a burden to their family and country.

1Picture 1: a group of young labourers building the compound of a football stadium in District 13, Kabul

  1. Diversity

Afghanistan, with such a small geographical area is the home for diverse range of:

  1. culture – from Ghaznavian reign in Ghazni (the Cultural Capital of Islamic World)to the Koshani reign in Bamyan (the 2015 Cultural Capital of SAARC);
  2. languages – from Shighnani to Brahawi;
  3. dialects – from a Pashtun’s Kandahari Kha – meaning: okay/good; to a Nangarhari Sha;
  4. food – from an Uzbaki Qabuli to a Hazaragi Wogray Ajay;
  5. costumes – from long Uzbaki costume to the beautiful modern Kabuli costume;
  6. musical instruments – from Danbura to Rubab;
  7. dance – from Atan to Qarsak;
  8. national games: from Buzkashi to toup-dunda ;
  9. Fauna species: from the beautiful snow leopard, Marco Polo, and yak to the jet-like snow finch; and
  10. Flora species: from rhubarb to giant hogweed (To be noted: There are over 3000 plant species in Afghanistan, including hundreds of varieties of trees, shrubs, vines, flowers, and fungi which makes Afghanistan more diverse in flora species comparing to entire Europe)

“From an Uzbaki Qabuli to a Hazaragi Wogray Ajay”

Unfortunately diversity in Afghanistan is handled negatively by some high-level racist leadership which then leads serious impact on thousands of illiterate low-level racists; making the biased diversity national. I hope, someday, these all national days dedicated to some dead tribal leaders are dedicated to the events related to national diversity where national unity is strengthened rather than a specific tribal unity.2Picture 2: Thousands of Afghans from different provinces of the country and abroad (both men and women) gathered in front of the giant Buddhas of Bamyan to enjoy the Hamdeli Concert

  1. Hospitality

Afghans are hospitable, in the sense that they are simple and serve the guest as usual with the routine family food, and that’s why we have the proverb: “Nan wa piyaz, qash waz” meaning: “Bread and onion be the food, with happy mood”. Unfortunately our hospitality has no eligibility criteria; even world terrorists are served well, which then leads to global crisis and national conflict/decades of war.

“Nan wa piyaz, qash waz”

The hospitality of Mullah Omar (Taliban Leader) that caused keeping Osama Bin Laden (Al-Qaeda Leader) in the country during the time when he was exiled from his own country caused the worst tragedy in the history of USA and Afghanistan. I want to see the hospitality eligibility to be introduced in the country so that further tragedies are overwhelmed.

3Picture 3: Group of mechanics having lunch after a busy morning work in Bamyan bazaar, Bamyan

  1. Public servants

Though my country has received many international awards for being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, which is partly due to corrupt public servants, but I still believe that there are public servants who have great ambitions of serving the country loyally – mostly coming from the new generation. One cannot judge hundred by one. More likely than the pen-moving officials (who sip tea in luxury rooms and sometimes move their pen for signing on a letter) sitting in their offices, I believe real hardship and suffering of the country is undertaken by lower-level authorities like municipality workers and brave security forces that serve the country with real hardship, in spite of getting the lowest payment. Pen-moving officials (in some cases) and real-hardworking officials (in most cases), we are proud of both of you; but in different ways.

“Great ambitions of development and commitment within the public servants”

4Picture 4: An Afghan National Police (ANP) protecting the Hamdeli concert surroundings, Bamyan

  1. Sense of patriotism / dire of independence

Afghans are patriots; they have always fought for the independence of their country. Fighting for independence and against invasions is in their bloods and history. The British and USSR invasions have both been defeated by Afghans; though there has been some other foreign intelligence/support involved in these victories but still it would not have been possible without Afghans’ sense of patriotism and dire of independence.

“Fighting for independence is in an Afghan’s blood”

Sometimes the sense of patriotism of Afghans are undermined when they just get lost after visiting developed countries in order the get the foreign country’s citizenship; but as said earlier, hundred cannot be judged by one. Still I have a brotherly advice for my countrymen: “Your developing country needs you more than the other imaginary developed countries. Please stay patient, work hard, and rebuild your country for your grandsons.”

Our country knows how to unite in times of sorrow and despair, and they showed it during the Tabassum Revolution (Tabassum meaning smile. The revolution took its name from a 9 year old beheaded girl in Zabul province of Afghanistan which caused national unity and one voice against terrorism and extremism throughout the country). I hope the Tabssum, like the Tudor Rose of England unite the people of Afghanistan and ensure a peaceful, prosperous, and developed future.

5Picture 5: Patriots during the Hamdeli concert in Bamyan, wave Afghanistan’s flag to show their support for unity in the country, Bamyan

  1. Rise of gender equality

Though based on a 2011 survey by Thomos Reuters Foundation, Afghanistan was identified as the most dangerous places for women due to high mortality rates, limited access to doctors and lack of economic rights. There have been major achievements in the path of gender equality, comparing the conditions to the Taliban’s era in the country. During the black era of Taliban regime, women were not allowed to work outside the home, were forced to wear burqa, and were not allowed to travel unless they were accompanied by a man and fully covered.

“The citizens of Afghanistan – whether man or woman – have equal rights and duties before the law”

Things have changed significantly during the post-Taliban period. Surveys by the Asia Foundation show that Afghan women from different social classes believe that they are experiencing slow but steady improvements in their life, and that 82% of men support principles of equality regardless of gender, ethnicity and religion.  Major advocacy on gender equality has been included in the national legislations. The Afghan constitution, established in 2004, notes gender equality in Article 22, which states: “Any kind of discrimination and privilege between the citizens of Afghanistan are prohibited. The citizens of Afghanistan – whether man or woman – have equal rights and duties before the law.”

To build on gender equality, Afghan government has established Ministry of Women Affairs (MoWA), Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), and many other long-term national programmes including the National Action Plan for Women (NAPWA). Surveys by Oxfam show that girls comprise 38% of Afghanistan’s student population, there are around 3 million girls going to school in Afghanistan, and that 36% of teachers hired since 2002 have been female.

According to the PIRS report, Afghanistan grants 25% of seats to women in its lower house of parliament, the Wolesi Jirga, and 17% of seat to women in the upper house, the Meshrano Jirga. These quotas are specified in Articles 83 and 84 of the Afghan constitution.

6Picture 6: Thousands of Afghan women and men gathered at Bamyan Provincial Park to enjoy the 7th Silk Way Festival, Bamyan

  1. Simple lifestyle

Afghans live their life in the simplest way. An Afghan family lives within a house together collectively, unlike life in the west where everybody has their own compartment, and the family only gathers during the meal hours. Simplicity in life of Afghans start from living collectively and continues to: a) their simple sitting style – cross-legged sitting on the floor rather than the fancy chairs; b) their sleeping style on a mattress on the floor rather than luxury beds.

Appreciating the simple Afghan lifestyle, it would have been great that their daily lives were free of huge national tensions which mentally affect them. As an Afghan, the living environment within a house which depends on the family is fair mostly; but when you are out of the house, things change. Outside your house, people are poor – they beg, they live on the road-sides, they are narcotic addicts, they are hopeless about the country’s now and future, they leave the country in search of a peaceful place to live, they are jobless, they are being killed by insurgents, etc.

“Afghans live simply with happy faces, but loads of national sorrow inside their radiant heart.”

Living in such a society, every human-being with a sense/feeling will be affected. Huge national tensions rise throughout the country due to the terrible situation throughout the country.  In other sense Afghans are happy in their face, but with loads of national sorrow inside their radiant heart. I like the simple lifestyle of Afghans, until they have the resources to change it better, but the first priority area before changing the lifestyle should be removing the national tensions from the life of every Afghan which needs a lot of time, effort and resources to happen.

7Picture 7: Rope-pulling, the national game of Afghanistan is also a simple game with simple principles

  1. Children going to school

The long-running conflict in the country has affected Afghan children significantly. In 2001, there were no girls formally attending schools in Afghanistan, and only one million boys going to school.

“7.8 million children enrolled in schools”

According to the World Bank, a total of 7.8 million children enrolled in schools as of 2012, including 2.9 million girls. Though there are many challenges faced by the Afghan children, considering the UNICEF surveys that show approximately one quarter of children ages seven to 14 were working in 2007.

With around 8 million national hopes enrolled in schools, the future appears bright and prosperous. The new generations of hardworking intellectual Afghans, having pen in hand and wisdom within, can truly change the country’s direction towards development and self-sufficiency.

8Picture 8: An Afghan traffic police guiding the students of a school to pass from a busy road, Kabul

  1. Nan

Afghans are addict of nans; get everything out of their meal but don’t get the nan. We Afghans even eat nan with nan when our desire for nan is heightened. Our nan with nan meal is called Shorba where pieces of shortened nan is soaked in the cooked meat’s water, and then eaten back with nan (optional).

“Afghans even eat nan with nan when our desire for nan is heightened, and that meal is delicious”

For the sake of nans – which are highly harder than sliced bread (which is way softer than Afghanistan nans) Afghans sometime get toothache after eating soft sliced bread for more than a year overseas, and then eating the hard nans back in the country. So thanks to our hard nans that has grown strong teeth for Afghans.The strong Afghan teeth sometimes made/make our former president/proud Afghans recall that “Afghans are lions”, yes we are lions only from the strong teeth perspective.

9Picture 9: Early morning in Bamyan bazaar, a baker bakes nan, Bamyan

  1. Fruits and mineral resources

More than 80% of Afghanistan’s population depend on natural resources for living. Unfortunately due to security threats less investment has been done in the field of country’s natural resources. Afghanistan’s Kandahar province has the most delicious pomegranate in the world, the country has the best dry fruit, and Bamyan has the best potatoes.  The value of country’s mineral resources were estimated to be around three trillion US Dollars.

“Three trillion US Dollars of natural resources”

Despite the quality pomegranate, potatoes, best dry fruits, and huge amount of mineral resources, the country witnesses extreme poverty, less/no economic growth, and rising unemployment. Though our so called president is a policy-making geek, I hope we had a policy-implementing geek president who could actually make things happen rather than talking about it. The policy-implementing geek president would have led to economic growth, employment opportunities, poverty eradication, and extinction of Afghanistan-based terrorism.

10Picture 10: A happy Afghan fruit-seller in Shar-e Naw, Kabul

Stay tuned: Coming up – 10 Things I Hate About Afghanistan





Me, Grandpa, and the Empires


It was the morning of a harsh winter; everywhere was white, foggy and beautiful – like the so called paradise. The empire of snow was growing all around the village; a village located inside one of the world’s most dangerous country – Afghanistan – but for sure, was one of the most secure villages on the earth. Even the people were secure of today’s intangible war – technological war – because there was no network coverage area at all in the village.

The harsh winter always brought harsh circumstances for a loving grandpa and his modest grandson who loved sweeping snow with his plastic shovel more than anything in the world. The family awaited for the grandpa and the grandson to start their journey of sweeping the roof’s snow and if humble enough – sweeping the snow of the road that led to the village fountain. The journey began with burning fire to heat the fat of the sheep/goat our family sacrificed to commemorate Abraham’s honesty and willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac; and then lubrication of my grandpa’s old wooden shovel, and my plastic shovel. Lubrication of the shovel prevents the snow from sticking to the shovel and makes the snow-sweeping process steady.

With snow falling gently, we would have walked towards the roof slowly, sweeping all the way that led to the roof. I would have been assigned with the easiest task while sweeping, and would have swept the parts of the roof where I did not have to throw the snow all the way – out of the residential area. The true taste of the journey started when we got tired; sat and shared the differences of my era (era of technology – globally, and cruelty – nationally) and my grandpa’s era (era of simplicity, kindness and poverty). Our tales would have passed the borders of continents, including Hitler’s rise in WWI and WWII in Germany and the use of atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With the empire of snow and fog growing all around, I enjoyed listening to my grandpa, explaining how simple the world was without cars, internet, telephone and the modern deadly weapons; and my grandpa enjoyed listening to me explaining how Skype/social media works – where he would have then asked me to connect him with his sons and grandsons overseas when we are in internet coverage area in the center of our district.

With fatigue gone, the sweeping started again – an old grandpa trying to protect his house and family from an empire of fog and snow with his teenage grandson. Our second/third break for taking rest and sharing tales was special as I would have visited the kitchen to bring black tea and some fancy candy. The grandson and grandpa sitting on the swept part of the roof, sipping black tea, continued to talk on the Grass Era (the name – Grass Era is given by the local people to an era of abject poverty in Afghanistan during the 1950s and 60s where people ate grass), and more personal matters – counting the 30+ grandsons of the grandpa who struggled to learn their names.

And the story of grandpa and the grandson continued for years, with love and delight…

Rest in Peace Babai Jan.

Unfortunately the journey of storytelling ends


India, a country with unbelievable culture, have got an amazing way of examining the students by giving them exam papers containing 32 pages which should be filled in 3 hours, it may look very different and strange because that amount of pages cannot be filled by specific definitions or explanations, a student must write a story regarding the question or answer the questions based on the essay rules by writing a page of introduction, some pages of main body by explaining each points with figures, and finally some pages for concluding the answer.

Suppose if in examinations of Afghanistan a student is asked to write a way of killing a rat, then the answer might be a line:

“For killing a rat the rat poison should be used”

But in amazing India, the situation is different. Because here the student must write an introduction, main body, and the conclusion, maybe like:

“Introduction: rat is a large long-tailed rodent which is usually found in old houses, and shops…

Main body: for killing a rat, the killer should go to a shop and buy a packet of rat poison. He can use either auto rickshaw or any other vehicle to transport that rat poison, and the rat poison should be stored out of the reach of children so that the rat poison should not cause killing a child. Finally, when the rat poison is at home then it should be spread around the endangered area.

Conclusion: rat poison is the most significant way of killing a mouse…”

I remember that one friend of mine had filled the 32 pages with some lines of numerical in Business Mathematics by writing each number and symbol in one page, he was a genius because he filled 32 pages by writing some lines of numerical on it. Situations can severely affect one and it can be seen in this case.

Though for me writing 32 pages was entertaining and easy, but some of my friends were getting stuck in 20th page because of their writing speed and not knowing the methods of telling a story.

Three years of BBA course have been an enriching experience for me, I have made many friends, and learned a great deal of management.

Graduated friends, don’t hejitate because you will be vijiting your country finally. You all just take your degrees and go! Just take it and go – the Indian style of “don’t hesitate because you will be visiting your country finally.”

While talking about doing M.A. after getting our degrees, some friends tell that “I won’t do my M.A. this fast because Afghanistan needs me, I should get back there and serve my country.” Am glad that the young generations of Afghanistan thinks of education as a tool for development of the country, and hopefully we graduates will be playing a significant role in development of our country. I wish my friends and Afghan youngsters best of luck in serving their country through dedication and hard work.

Being Housewife of Your Own


Well, thinking of jobs, one may think that housewives are having the easiest job because they stay in the house and husbands go out – maybe the degree of hardness is measured based on the miles one go to work; but don’t ask! It is the hardest job because I have experienced it and I know it very well now.

Housewives manage the house, prepares food, and takes care of the family, though it looks simple than other complicated works men do for living outside the house (if listed gets longer than a housewife’s list of works) but let me explain the matter because I have been my own housewife for nearly three years, and also been a student besides that.

The main concern of being away from home is the food because according to one of my friend: “stomach matters”. Living in another country with different culture and traditions it is hard to find the sort of food one requires, and living in one of the most culturally diverse country of the world which is the incredible India it is not easy to find Afghani food, but it is easy to find spicy Biryanis which doubles the level of hotness in such a hot place of the world; so due to such circumstances in India, Afghan students cook Afghani food for themselves. Though another blessing for me in India is my Afghan friends who are my roomies, it is through them that turn by turn we cook food (only for lunch and dinner) for each other; but still cooking seems to be hard for a nonprofessional cook like me.

In the mornings everyone prepares their own breakfast separately due to the difference in times of waking up. So the problem of being my own housewife starts from the morning where I should prepare breakfast, wash the dishes used for eating the breakfast, manage the room, polish my shoes, iron my clothes, and lastly start to be transformed to a student for going to the university. After coming from university, if it is not my turn to cook food for lunch and dinner then I can relax, but if it is my turn then worrying starts. Though in other professional cook’s turn worrying starts only on cook’s side but during my turn of cooking, worrying starts by me and my friends. By me because I will be thinking and worrying about the whole process, and by my friends because they go through a cool process of decision making whether to stay at the room and eat the bland food cooked by me or go out to eat something delicious.

Getting in depth of the cooking process there are many complexities which requires a written book to be explained. Besides cooking food, being my own housewife I should do the laundries, but one thing I like about doing the laundries in India is the easy drying up of clothes under the +40° C sunlight. And as a matter of fact I have been the witness of 47° C temperature in India. Besides doing the laundries, sweeping the room and all other tasks should also be done by me as my own housewife.

Things I explained was in a general way, but getting into the sub-points of them there are many complexities. One of the complexities which I want to share is so funny because once while being my own housewife I bought mutton thinking it is the meat from the limb of a cow.

One more thing dear friends, learn how to be housewives of your own because by not learning, you will get in too much trouble in a long journey; like the famous tale. The tale states that there were two guys (the shipman and an educated man) sailing on a boat. While sailing the educated man asked the shipman whether he knew how to read or no? The shipman answered: “no, I can’t read” then the educated man said: “half of your life is ruined” Later on suddenly a hurricane struck the river, and now the shipman asks the educated man whether he knows how to swim or no? The educated man answers: “no I can’t” then the shipman says: “Your life is completely ruined”. So dear friends learn to be housewives of your own before starting a long journey alone because your whole journey will be spoiled only due to the matter that you did not know how to be your own housewife.

Though now, doing jobs have been easier through technology; am glad that I was not born decades before where being my own housewife could have been harder for me. But despite the hardships involved in being housewife of your own, still it is fun being housewife of your own after getting used to it.

Ending the post, I want to thank all housewives and mothers around the world for being patient and dedicated to their job, and also I want to thank all men around the world who have been their own housewives and dedicated to themselves.

Happy Mother’s Day.

A Vote for Denial of Extremism


In previous decade after the rule of democratic government in Afghanistan, there has been vast development in different areas. Many Afghans have gained what they had dreamed of, but as whole Afghans dreamed of a peaceful Afghanistan which is yet not realized, and the realization of this dream wholly depends on the new patriot Afghan cabinet which will be formed after the coming presidential election.

I am pleased of appearance of long queues of my fellow citizens outside voting registration centres; with such enthusiasm I am sure that they have got the idea of voting a presidential hopeful who can better serve the country and the nation, and they have got that for fighting against extremism, and for shaping their destiny they have to vote. Such appearance in such insecurity and instability where Afghans had been watching many others getting killed by suicide attacks in voting registration centres, should be honored and appreciated.

The achievements of previous decade through hardship and sacrifice of millions of Afghans depends on the presidential election which will be held on 5th April 2014. Following the recent attacks in Afghanistan, Afghans have been more sensitive regarding the effect their vote can bring in lives of millions of other Afghans. I am sure that amid of Taliban threats Afghans will vote on Saturday for a presidential hopeful who can fulfill their dreams of having a peaceful, stable, and developed Afghanistan.

I, as many other Afghans do not give importance to the person who will be the next president of the country, but we care for what will be the outcomes of selection of the new president. I hope the outcomes are satisfactory and I hope it leads to a peaceful and developed Afghanistan.


May peace be in Afghanistan!