Saturday, October 16, 2004

Muffled Voices (2): "Many Afghans Must Recall the Soviet Occupation with Deep Nostalgia"

If a letter to the editor in the International Herald Tribune states that "many Afghans must recall [the Soviet occupation] with deep nostalgia", where is it likely that the writer is writing from? It may be that several answers are possible, but one possible answer is France. I.e., one of those places where reporters, pundits, intellectuals, and politicians are regularly analysing everybody and everything, except… for the people most directly concerned.

Notice that the reader from Echenevex (she seems to be married to an Anglo-Saxon) does not actually quote any Afghans (men or women), she just states that "many Afghans must recall" the Soviet occupation "with deep nostalgia" — which, if you think about it, is entirely logical, based upon the double standard reporting one reads, hears, and sees in the French media day after day, year in and year out.

Nicholas Kristof (Afghan women still in thrall, Views, Oct. 7) draws a depressing picture of life for Afghan women today, two years after George W. Bush announced that they were "at last free." What a contrast to their situation from 1978 to 1990 under the "evil" rule of the nominally Marxist People's Democratic Party, which the United States and Britain with their Saudi ally did so much to destroy while helping to create the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the bargain.

On several visits as a Moscow-based correspondent during the Soviet occupation, a period many Afghans must recall with deep nostalgia, my husband did not need official "minders" to point out the young women without headscarves, let alone burkas, pouring into Kabul and Kandahar universities every morning, the young girls skipping to school with their brothers, the female doctors running hospitals and holding high posts in ministries.

And regarding the Kremlin, I recall reading that Russia's czarina also said that life could only be good in Russia's villages, following the visit into the countryside a certain Potemkin (no minder, he, either) had taken her on.
Meanwhile, the "freedom fighting" mujahedeen whom the West was arming were destroying schools and clinics wherever they could in their own zealous war against such abominations as coeducation and medical treatment for women.
I thought the only mujahedeen destroying schools and clinics were the Taliban (opposed by many of the other factions), and that education and medical treatment under the latter's government — as well as under the communist government — was much of a sham, but then again, who am I to put the word of a one-party government's public relations policy (whether Islamist, communist, secular, or other) into question, much less be so uncouth as to call it "evil"?
Not too different from what we are seeing in Iraq today since the destruction of Saddam's secular, if brutal, regime by the ideologues in power in Washington and London.
"If brutal": oh, well, if Saddam's régime was just a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy, brutal (but just a tad, you understand), at least Iraq was secular, Dieu merci, and women had rights! And, yes, Eugénie, many Iraqis must recall Saddam's secular régime with deep nostalgia as well!

No comments: