Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Enlightenment, you know? All that beauty."

Ehsan opened his first school for Afghan refugees when he was 25 years old. He went on to open a network of schools in the Pakistani borderlands, in Helmand, Kunduz, and Chaman. In 2002, he decided to open a school here in Kandahar, the very heart of Taliban despotism, "because I thought there was an opportunity to serve." From that school, the ACCC blossomed. A few months before I met Ehsan, 250 women had graduated from the ACCC with certificates in business, English, computer skills, and other fields. Why does he risk his life for this?

"I want to make a change," Ehsan said. "I value freedom. I value civilization. And I would like to have that. But for that I have to work. If I try and if a few more try, then our country, our own country, will be similarly at once free and beautiful and peaceful and modern and as civilized as any nation.

"If we have the same kind of country, it will come within us and by us, with the help, of course, of the international community. This can come from a kind of unity, a kind of relationship, through different kinds of connections. But I start to weep when I see people here, bad people. They don't like what is good. . ."

- from my report in today's Calgary Herald. The tagline at the bottom: "Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang, who was killed by a roadside bomb near Kandahar on Dec. 30, 2009, had planned to meet Ehsan during her time in Afghanistan."

Another one for Michelle here, and here's Ehsan's tribute to Michelle and the men she died with. Here's how you can help.

On a not-unrelated subject, Jonathon Kay nails it with an essay provocatively titled "Imagine If They Had Been White." Reflecting on that atrocity strikes horribly close to home. Here's why.


Blogger Kaffir_Kanuck said...

Again, another great human interest story, yet devoid of why the acid was thrown in the faces of the six girls, or why his neighbour was shot. It isn’t good enough to just mention the “Taliban” did it without putting it in the context of their convictions behind these acts of brutality. I can understand why the left leaning Calgary Herald would omit such information, but this doesn’t explain why it is not on your site.

I understand the greater scheme and the effort of humanitarianism you wish to support, but omitting why such brutality occurs only relegates the oppressors to an identifiable enemy when you know as well that it is much more complicated than just “us” helping the locals against “them” who most often are also helped by the locals, whether through intimidation or religious suplication.

Sgt. Macneil’s death so close to Kandahar, where the locals must have known the IED was there, died because they stayed silent. The need to better the failed Islamic state of Afghanistan is doomed as long as the inherent culture of greed and corruption pervades the politics of notice, that is, those who actually have power and weapons.

We’ve seen an increase of executions by the Taliban on the local populace as they become increasingly frustrated at their lack of military inroads. If you had included the Taliban on one side funded by everybody under the sun, and the corrupt ANP on the other asking for bribes and illegal levies under the protection of NATO troops, your sad human interest story could really have some meat. Instead it is just a human interest story and only worthy of being an observation marker in history, rather than recording the history around the marker.

Stay safe Terry.

(Oh, and you might want to clean the spam from Ehsan’s tribute: )

9:44 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

"I can understand why the left leaning Calgary Herald would omit such information. . ."

Sounds like you're the one with some explaining to do, Kaffir.

10:33 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Terry: You gotta know you're on the right track when you get it from "Kaffir Kanuck" on the one side and the likes of Ahmed on the other. keep up the good work. I am on ahmed hiatus, as I simply can't bring myself to repeat myself yet again (and be slandered as a "stalinist" no less for doing it). Back soon, when there's a more worthy adversary. VC

10:11 AM  

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