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Dr. Rahmani – losing hope in Afghanistan

February 11, 2010

 I’ve been picking out footage at random from my collection – kind of mixing the geography up a bit to keep things interesting as I go through and summarize/log the shots.  It seems however, that over the past couple of weeks I’ve coincidentally landed upon several interviews with some rather hopeless people.  I assure you that this is by chance rather than by design, and that I am not seeking to destroy the souls and optimism of my readers!  Though I must reiterate what I said in my last post – that I often find these cynical interviews more reassuring than those seen through rose-coloured lenses.  The fact that many people seem to see how bad a situation we’re really in, strikes me a good sign – because seeing reality for what it is, is the first step to making positive change.

Today I’ve been reviewing a tape of Dr. Rahmani – a medical doctor in Kabul, Afghanistan.  The Afghanistan interviews were conducted by my friend Fahreen Dossa, who graciously offered to conduct some interviews while she was working (also as a physician) in Kabul.  Dr. Rahmani is the medical director of the Roshan medical clinic in Kabul.  Given the immediacy of strife in his local region and context, the discussion focussed less on hope for humanity as a whole, and more upon hope for the future of Afghanistan.

Dr. Rahmani shared his thoughts with us in a reflective and candid manner.  While he thinks that we all need to strive for the betterment of our future (particularly for our children), he himself feels quite hopeless about the future of Afghanistan.  He speaks about the worsening situation in Afghanistan, and the lack of basic needs like food, employment, and electricity.  In previous years, other countries attacked Afghanistan, but never has there been such scarcity of basic resources.  Now, even with several different nations’ troops present trying to support the rebuilding effort, much of what ordinary Afghans need remains far from reach.  He attributes this to the lack of cultural understanding on the parts of the occupying countries, and the mismatch between the priorities set by foreign interests versus the priorities of everyday Afghans.  He acknowledges that the economic and infrastructural situation in his country is such that rebuilding may require outside support, however he laments the fact that this support is often misdirected such that local populations remain hungry and disempowered.

While he did not speak in a broader sense of the world and humanity as a whole, Dr. Rahmani’s insights on Afghanistan can be reflected upon a larger context.  The history of human conflict has always involved conquering and rebuilding – with the rebuilding usually striving to achieve cultural diffusion.  Whether we look at the Roman conquests, Alexander the Great’s expansion, the British colonization of India and Africa, or the current American colonization of Iraq and Afghanistan – the exportation of culture along with the importation of valuable resources seem to go hand-in-hand.  What Dr. Rahmani’s observations show us is that our patterns of global interaction seem to be continuing in a cyclical manner, however in the case of Afghanistan the costs and struggles associated with today’s occupation seem vastly greater than could have been imagined with previous oppressors.

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