Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Afghan elections: "This is what we must do, as people who believe in civilization."

My essay in today's Vancouver Sun is about the Afghan struggle for democracy:

KABUL- The most ambitious undertaking in the history of the United Nations has reached a critical crossroads at an unlikely, desolate place on the outskirts of this war-battered city. It's on the Jalalabad Road, just beyond the Hodkheal district, a slum notorious for its gangs of murderers and thieves.

From the outside, the headquarters of Afghanistan's Independent Elections Commission (IEC) looks just like a maximum-security prison. Inside, a grim collection of Quonset huts houses the command centre of the first major test of Afghanistan's embryonic democracy.

The forces massing to scuttle the upcoming Afghan elections are not just the illiterate jihadists terrorizing the Afghan countryside, or the suicide bombers that haunt the Jalalabad Road. Foreign diplomats in Kabul have been especially busy lately, whispering their intrigues to western journalists. The upcoming elections should be cancelled or postponed, they say. Afghanistan could be further destabilized. Better the devil you know, the security challenges are too great, and so on. Not a few of Afghanistan's warlord parliamentarians are quietly counseling the same course. . .

One thing I didn't have room for in the story was this message the journalist Jafar Rasouli - the international-affairs adviser to Karzai quoted in the story - wanted me to pass along: "Will you please tell Canada, thank you. Thank you to all the brave young sons and daughters, the soldiers, who are here with us. Thank you. Thank you."


Post a Comment

<< Home