Afghanistan#1

A journey through Afghanistan, in a land whose precise geographical location most people didn’t even know before September 11, but now apparently everyone claims to know customs and folklore. Whether you are a manager or a housewife, we are all interested to know, in need of more information, maybe to selfishly prospect a safer future. To erase evil, to know your enemy in order to eliminate it. Our minds and eyes are bombarded with pro-war information, able only to inform in order to get approval, but unable to provide a farsighted contribution to events which are devastating for many.

A journey in those times and places where a piece of news originates. To meet those people who were first named liberators, and then considered torturers, trying to understand why it is so easy label people.

This way, we discovered a whole country trying to survive, fighting with weapons and revolving around ideals to find motivation and belief that their state of misery is in fact a privileged condition.

Ok, at long last we’ve left. My first consideration was: why do I want to get there ? The plane is full of journalists, and once arrived there number will be fivefold. But…which different things do I want to do ? In Italy I felt the need for some balanced information, not slanted and most of all in depth, and maybe taking sides for peace and dialogue. Instead many tv reports only serve the need to fill the time between commercials (best reports are broadcast in the middle of the night); often commentators pretend to be tense or afraid, all is packaged to provide masses with “fake” information.

But finally I can spot all the passengers on the flight to Dushanbe: apart from 3 or 4, they are all journalists… how can information be missing ?

On the other hand… who do I think I am ?? Surely now I feel like a fish out of water; not only because I don’t speak a word of English (which greatly contributes to my uneasiness) but also because I realize, after meeting some Italians, that I am the only “fool” without life insurance. I get the impression that, without insurance, along with an organized trip, they wouldn’t have left. Better not knowing how much they earn. I won’t go futher since, at the moment, these are impressions derived from a small group of people, so I could be disproved soon. I hope so.

This is the fourth checkpoint, we left this morning at 9 in a convoy of about 30 cars. I presume they are still all with us, but it’s not a certainty: on the way we overtook cars on the side with the bonnet lifted, and the number of their convoy visible on the rear. There were many stops to give respite to the engines, and wait for “disabled”cars. I cannot understand how these vehicles – it’s a euphemism – can still go on, as always.

The last 30 chilometres were in hell, the temperature in the cabin was so high, the heat so oppressive that dust would stick on you.

We’ve been waiting at the fifth checkpoint for nearly 3 hours now, and eveything keeps on looking so absurd. It’s almost dark as if it was night; we move about thanks to flashlights which more expert journalists brought along. Under a small tent, embedded on the hill just like a nativity, guards register with unrelenting slowness anything that can be recorded.

Five minutes ago, while I was stepping along the “road”, I heard the cries of kids coming along: and there comes a ten-year-old girl with a 4-year-old boy, possible her brother, together with two scraggy dogs. I cannot imagine where they might come from, considering there is nothing around us, in every direction. This world seems more and more absurd.

On the way, I wonder the reasons for all this, and I think I will still ponder for a long time. Something’s for sure: here there are thousands of people surviving famine, surviving their jobs, but absolutely dead socially.

I am driving through small villages and hamlets (not even sure how to define them), and I get the impression that they exist for themselves, they are not recognized by anybody.

Just as they exist, they might as well not be there at all.

This is the indifference that is still reserved, in other ways and forms, even to more developed countries. Lack of attention to most, inevitably brings about the collapse. More and more do I feel the impression that this is due to selfishness and neglect. Rebellion was ineludible, retaliation stupid. An alternative process to aggression, could in my opinion exist, but it would surely make the weaker stronger, and this does not suit anybody. Dictatorship has always been supported by a minority and the only way to overturn it is to share culture and give more power, independence, freedom and positive ideals to the majority. A rebellion from the people ineluctably builds a democratic, strong and stable government. The big mistake in all this is neglecting to inform the masses, who remain in their ignorance. I am referring to the Western world, where most believe this conflict (or, better, this aggression) is motivated and just.

A paradox is clearly reached when people talk about liberation: Americans have a strange idea of liberation which does not seem to coincide with the  Declaration of Human Rights.