To Commemorate The 2014 Election in Afghanistan

Introduction followed by reprint of post by Sherif Samir on Our Journey to Smile

After months of wrangling, and a runoff between feuding candidates, Abdullah Abdullah, and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who  represent different regions and ethnic groups of the country, Ashraf Ghani was declared the new president of Afghanistan.    The numeric results were apparently too sensitive to release, and were suppressed, surprisingly, at the request of Abdullah, who won the initial vote with a strong lead, and then lost the run-off to Ghani who had been fourth in the initial competition.   In any case, a deal was finally struck where Ghani would become ‘President’ and Abdullah, would become ‘Prime Minister’ or ‘Chief Executive Officer’,  This lack of a firm definition for the second position strikes me as a less than promising basis for future amity.

Ashraf Ghani is apparently an economist who has held a position with the World Bank, and has been Finance Minister in Afghanistan, a modernizer, you might say.  However, his Vice President, General Abdul Rashid Dostum is a Northern Warlord who, with the apparent acquiescence of US ‘advisers’ on the scene, massacred a few hundred POWs early in the war.     With the clock running out on the ‘legitimate’ US military presence in Afghanistan, it was critical that someone be brought to power.   The day after his inauguration, Ghani signed the Status of Forces agreement that long time President Karzai had rejected.   US forces are now cleared to stay in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.     Will we stop calling our presence there a ‘war’?  I suppose it doesn’t much matter as long as the Status of Forces allows US bases in the country and exempts US military personnel and contractors from the local justice system.     In any case, Afghan casualties, except for those killed by suicide bombers,  have not been reported in this country for years.

In honor of the auspicious occasion, I am reprinting a post by an Egyptian friend of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, from the website, Our Journey to Smile   Feel free to visit there and see the true hope for the future of Afghanistan. 

From Egypt to Afghanistan : Electing our own slavery

Sherif Samir, writing from Egypt, June 13, 2014

Thoughts behind the voting curtain…

Democracy is not the aim. The aim is justice, dignity, and development. Democracy is the way to it, and it’s not the perfect way, but it’s the best way so far. According to Rousseau, representative democracy is not a democracy at all, and even that democracy is so hard for us to reach to in Egypt.

As in Afghanistan and other parts of the third world, people must cross many obstacles before experiencing democracy. First, they must believe that politics controls the food on their tables, the education for their children, clothes, traffic, and everything else, Second, people must know that democracy is not infidelity, and that we can’t go back in time and practice to the Muslim medieval regime (Khalifa), as fanatical Muslims always urge. Third, people have to know that democracy is not just an election, not just voting papers and transparent boxes. It is that and everything before and after it. It should be a free choice of a freely educated generation. It should be a choice of peace, not war, a choice of enlightenment, not ignorance, of progress, not poverty, of science, not myth, a choice of a people’s representative, and not just of the lesser of two evils.

But this is not what we are having now in our countries. So, when I make my mark on the voting paper, place it in the box, put my finger in the phosphoric ink, smile at the camera and share the photo on Facebook, I won’t be expecting any good change out of it, because it’s a fake fruit of a fake tree.

“My dear voter, the multiple choice question you are answering now was written by me,” said the imperialist.

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