Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Today's Optimistic Post

It did not start too optimistic, because I read about the three American troops killed in Pakistan:

The troops were traveling to attend the opening of another girls school in Maidan in the same district that had been built by the Corps with American funding.

At least 100 people, most of them school girls, were injured and 10 of them are in serious condition, reports quoting medicos said.

The bomb flattened much of the Koto Girls High School.

The reference to a girls' school in that story is no accident. Such schools are a major target for the Islamic militant groups operating in the area, though this particular attack may have had other reasons, too.

But here's the bit I have decided to take as an optimistic sign, from a Huffington Post article about tribal police in Afghanistan. This is a tribal elder speaking:

"For 30 years everything has been going wrong." says Mr Qazi, an elder. "We like peace. Our place is the nearest place to Pakistan, when the Taliban came they destroyed our schools, our roads, we have no work and the economic situation is terrible, we are very poor. The Taliban are terrorizing our lives because there is a gap between the people and the government. Because the government is corrupt and inefficient many local tribes are assisting the the Taliban. The main reason we are united is that we want a viable alternative to the present worsening situation and we need to bring peace and stability to our homeland. We want reconstruction. We want libraries, hospitals, universities. The reason we are so poor is that our girls don't go to school. That is why our community is backwards."

He continues, "We want education for our mothers and our daughters, we want education for older women too, we want women to be able to work, to make things that they can sell in the bazaar. But we also want medical aid. We need maternity wards, and first aid. None of that exists."

"We had 14 girls graduate from middle school," he boasts. "Unfortunately there is no school building, so they did their studies in the shadow of the sun, but even under the Taliban we had a secret place to teach them. I have good ideas for girls," he continues, "we just are not able to develop them. Why can't women be doctors, ministers or engineers?" he asks. "Or even journalists? The most difficult issues are solved by people taking positive and practical steps. We too can solve our own problems this way. I believe aid should reach the poor and needy but the mafia of the present Afghan regime doesn't allow this to happen."