Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lessons Connected: Afghanistan to the Middle East

I was going through old files on my computer, and I found this very powerful (at least to me) video report from CNN about Afghanistan civilians fleeing their homes in the face of the U.S.-NATO Kandahar offensive. This video is about 8 months old, and I also do know that Afghanistan is not per-say in the Middle East region. However I think it ties in well with our talk with Islamic politics and terrorism. Just so I am not misunderstood, I am not saying anyone in the video is a terrorist or anything else; they are innocent families just wanting a peaceful life and whats best for their children.

In the video, you can see the refugee camp is poorly built, the small children are sleeping on barren floors. The video is dated February, so it is still winter. The conditions seem horrible, and I sure there is poor sanitation and food hardships. In America this would be more than unacceptable. Where is the UNHCR? Hopefully the situation has changed.

In class and through the primary source readings we have seen that Islamic parties in government often provide more social welfare and are connected to the civilians through grassroots efforts. Not saying Pres. Karzai isn't, but from the video, it doesn't seem much was done for refugees. Thus, people may be swayed to support a candidate in Afghanistan who provides support for the people. The inability of a government to provide for its people, and it looks like Karzai's government is one of them, spur the formation of parties which are closer to the people (i.e. Islamic groups) .

These families have left their homes, and their lives have been shaken because of the war against terrorism. If the Afghan government or/and the U.S. government focused on improving and modernizing the country's infrastructure, economy, and health care; maybe there would be less terrorist. If the United States does more to raise the living conditions of Afghan civilians, by providing a safe environment, building society, and creating jobs, terrorism may seem less appealing. This notion applies especially to the youth, who have been more prone to join radical organization due to the lack of jobs and a secure future in the country.

Both these notions can certainly can apply to Middle Eastern states in understanding Islamism and why some join radical organizations.

I'm just throwing my opinion out there about these ideas. Even though Afghanistan is not the focus of our class, I think the lessons in the video are. I encourage you to watch if you have 2-3 minutes free.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the video; I think it is important to keep such things in mind - humanizing. Unfortunately, the realist in me feels the need to note that such conditions are not so out of the norm and "more than unacceptable" elsewhere, as much as I'd like to think so; the two months I spent in Ghana this past summer were enough to remind me of that (not to mention that drastic differences of wealth even here in the US). The UNHCR, sadly, has its hands full. Also, while I certainly agree that improvement of the general welfare of the state and citizens is absolutely necessary and in everyone's best interest, what you've listed is state-building - highly debatable that this should be the responsibility of the US (that is, debated both within and outside of the country). ...Most definitely agreed that a crucial factor of a group's coming to power is the support system they (at least seem to) offer the citizens, sense of concern and genuine interest in their well-being, etc. Necessity often trumps ideology, anyways.