Saturday, April 24, 2010

How The Media Spins Afghanistan.

Reporting the speech of Afghanistan's newly appointed Independent Elections Commission head, Fazel Ahmed Manavi, the Associated Press presents this goofball version: Afghan Vote Chief - West Should Not Meddle, which appears to be a straight re-write of the Iranian government's propaganda version in Press TV: Kabul Warns Against Foreign Interference.

Even the Chinese Communist Party news organ presents a more honest version than the AP account, here, leading with Manavi's statement: "IEC welcomes any proposal from national and international institutions for holding a free and fair parliamentary elections but security is vital for ensuring the electoral process." And Lynne O'Donnell is completely reliable and thorough in her account for Agence-France Press.

So compare and contrast, and read for yourself a (slighlty stilted) English translation from Manavi's office, and note my emphasis in bold:

"Foremost, with due respect, I am to heartily appreciate His Excellency, President Hamid Karzai for his honorable trust and awarding me this huge responsibility. Additionally, I thank all leaders and the elites of my lovely homeland Afghanistan who have preferred me and not spared their consultations and good will to His Excellency, President Hamid Karzai with reference to my posting of this momentous responsibility.

"Moreover, I, from the deepest point of my heart, warmly appreciate UNAMA, the Afghanistan based special representative of the United Nations’ General Secretary, all the distinguished representatives of the cooperative countries including the United States of America, the European Community, NATO Headquarter and all other national and international organizations, who have announced their support upon giving me this crucial and huge responsibility. Also, I am really thankful to the noble and zealous nation of Afghanistan to take my appointment on this position full of responsibility as a good omen and hope to remain as they think. It is on the occasion to be told that I really appreciate the national and international media that have considered my posting as a positive change in the Independent Election Commission.

"Furthermore, I, warmly and respectfully thank the honorable colleagues in the leadership of the Independent Election Commission who have warmly welcomed my posting to this position with great optimism.

"Dear Friends!

"The success of a manager is possible as a result of the cooperation and assistance of the colleagues bearing the expertise and if the manager is lacking an effective and reliable working team, it is too difficult to overcome carrying the huge responsibility out. It is worth mentioning that, for the purpose of carrying our assigned duties out, I am in need of the honest and true to life cooperation of my colleagues and team and I believe that the success of a manager is an absolute success and a good name of the whole management.

"Electing and being elected is a sound right of all the people of Afghanistan and each and every eligible Afghan is deserving to choose one of them; we must have a special respect to the determination and decision of our people so as to enable each Afghan citizen to choose one of them and decide based on their self-decisions and we are the only ones, who are facilitating the concerned affairs and pave the way for holding transparent, free and fair elections. Exploiting people’s votes is; in fact, invading on their natural and God-given rights and the ones, who commit this crime, must never be forgiven. It is to be stated that I think violation or any kind of infringement or a change in people’s votes is a dreadful crime and those who commit election frauds, violations and infringements are the dangerous criminals who are bearing no respect to the natural and God-given rights.

"Anyway, we are the trustees of the people of Afghanistan and based on the different explicit Ayaas of the Holy Quraan, we are obliged to observe this trust-keeping and this treachery in trust is a big crime.

"It is important to be stated that the people of our country are experiencing the problems of their country and do not expect us to do more beyond our ability. In case we are carrying our duties out honestly and in conformity with the conditions of our work, our truth-knowing people will appreciate it and will add more to their reliance on us and if, despite all our efforts some faults occur in some cases, they will accept our excuses.

"Respectable Friends!

"We never want to be involved with national and international organizations and think of any issue under dispute, create any kind of pessimism, distrust or any atmosphere of detestation and we never want to think of us as sinless and blame others, but we, as the trustees of the people of Afghanistan, are willing to achieve our assigned duties devoid of any kind of party, regional, ethnical, racial and religious relations.

"My Honorable Companions!

"At the very beginning of my work and for the purpose of achieving a better success in the electoral process, I am willing to allude to some points which will be as the strategy in the agenda of my work.

"Holding elections in all countries of the world can be considered a very complicated and full of problems process and it is usually carried out with a lot of hubbubs, hues and cries. In a country like Afghanistan, in which the absolute democracy has not been established or the democracy has not yet reached to its social growth and maturity; it is safe to say that it is very difficult to apply this reality of democracy in Afghan Elections, but we, despite all these challenges, imperfections and difficult situations held two or three elections and now we are on the brink of holding Wolesi Jirga Elections in the country.

"One of the ways of ensuring success in Wolesi Jirga Elections is to close the file of previous elections and is better to go ahead because moving backward can give us nothing for the solution of our problems, but this does not mean that we have not learned anything from the previous elections. It is better to distinguish between the weak and strong points of the previous elections; we are to retain the strong or good points and add them to our experience and remedy the weak ones and this is the only way towards a success.

"The IEC has such an attribute that we would succeed if we could keep that and if it loses that feature, no real and legal person could trust on it any longer. That important feature which seems a firm support for the IEC is its independence. The best way to maintain the independence of the Commission is to act non-politically and impartially. We must not get involved in any political dispute, conflict and clash. In accordance with the Constitution, we are to manage and supervise every election and we would make any effort to implement that and to provide such conditions to get an election done in a better way.

"Any discrimination and prejudice is unfair and undesirable in our culture and religion. Discrimination and prejudice cannot be constructive in any area of life particularly in a national process like the elections. This is the most awful action which is not reasonable for a Muslim. Based on this principle, I am assuring you that we will not allow any discrimination and prejudice in this organization. Our organization is a component of Government of Afghanistan functioning at the side of the three main powers and pillars of the government. We would like to have friendly relations and when necessary good cooperation with all the three powers of the government including the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary.

"The Afghan laws have determined the basic lines of these relations and we are responsible to follow them. No problem would happen if the law is observed. We need our international colleagues. They have come to Afghanistan for the purpose of ensuring security, establishing democracy and stability and elections are the basis for a democracy. Therefore, we should have their support in the elections process. This will assist us in establishing democracy in Afghanistan. We need our national and international colleagues in the election process and we will let them participate in it as far as the laws and rules of our country make it possible, but we will never allow any illegal, immoral and unnatural interference in our national affairs. Imposing any action on us which is contradicting national and international principles, would not be acceptable. If so, we would not substitute democracy and elections for our national sovereignty. We and our international colleagues are committed to the success of Afghanistan. We would never expect anything beyond the law and we are thankful to them and appreciate their humanitarian assistance.

"I have been appointed to a new job at such a sensitive time which the election process had already begun, however, we will endeavor to succeed. We require some reforms which may be difficult to make considering the limited time left for the elections, but we have to do it. Some measures are required for the transparency of the elections and we should practice a number of plans in addition to those activities already performed to make the process more transparent. In this regard, we will embrace any national and international plan and suggestion which would help us in ensuring transparency and improving the election process.

"In conclusion, I have to mention that a good election depends on a good security. The more security is ensured, the better election will be conducted. For this reason, at the beginning of my work, I would like to urge all national and international security forces to make any effort for ensuring a better security for the elections and assure the Commission of this issue as the Commission will put ballot boxes in those areas where security is ensured. We will not place any ballot box in any area until we ensure that the life of the electoral officials, agents, observers, candidates and voters are protected.

"At the end, I thank donor organizations, which are essentially coordinated by UNDP, for providing and committing the election budget. I hope that everyone takes one another hand for the success of this national process and strive to hold a transparent, fair and general elections."


Post a Comment

<< Home