On Afghan Culture, Society, Religion and Politics
December 9, 2007
In Afghanistan, women have their own
seating section in automobiles!
Book 3: Latifa:
My Forbidden Face, Growing Up Under the Taliban
not the real name.
A young 20
yo Afghan goes to Paris with his father & sick mother to speak
plight of Afghan women, but then can't return due to the Taliban
desire to punish her &
Afghan women in Burqa, running around like domesticated cattle
R. Lovely Taliban Men, posing for the camera while holding hands!
mother tried to interpose herself, but one of the Taliban hit
her so hard she went
flying against barbed wire. Then, like a lynch mob, they all joined
in beating the youth
with the butts of their rifles.
When the Taliban entered Kabul, Aimal's family were amongst those
who threw flowers
from their windows to salute their victory. Since this tragedy,
his mother spends all her
time apologizing to everyone for having made the mistake of acclaiming
She's grown mad with it all.
man is angry, but he finally gives in. 'All right. Just give me
50. Get on with you.'
50 Pakistani rupee is hardly an enormous sum, less than a pound.
But it's a question of
principle with my father.
He is furious. Once the bribe
has been paid, he mutters
through his teeth, 'that's the last time I come to Pakistan!'
Father is taking mother & daughter to Pakistan for treatment,
but the guards want bribes.
His whole country had been F*ed over & over, yet he has done
nothing, yet he gets angry
when bribed in Pakistan because of 'principle'?!
People with 'principles' will not let their country & lives
to go down the drain.
Female Soldiers of the Afghan National Army marching, but still
covering their faces and heads with hijab! Are they afraid to
reveal their identity in the photo, or are they hardcore Muslims
and infected with the Allahic Virus?
& eat Daoud.'
'No, I'm not hungry
'What's wrong with you?'
Daoud didn't answer.
Mother sat next to him, waiting until
he could speak.
'I saw something that shocked me,' he said at last. "something
'What did you see?'
'I saw a woman completely understand
was nailed to one of those
swinging doors at the faculty (in UNI in Kabul). They had cut
her in 2
in 2 parts. On
each panel of the doors, there was half of her. Half of her nailed-up
And the door
opened & shut. It was appalling. Horrible.'
Mother started to cry. Daoud went on.
'There were feet. Hands cut up. Bleeding remains here, there,
& everywhere. It was a
massacre. I don't know how many they killed, but it was terrifying
The radio only said
the students should clean the building, put things back in place.
Did u enjoy this story? It was written & acted by Muslim Afghans.
Daoud was at UNI after the battle between the various Mujahidin
factions that lasted
from 1993 to 1996?
Author was 12 then & has not been able to forget.
'That's the end for women. The very end. There's nothing left.
It's genocide. And the UN
allows itself to be blackmailed by these Taliban.'
This is after Taliban kicked out all the humanitarian orgs run
It was Afghans who welcomed Talibans. The leader, Mullah Omar,
was a Goh Afghan.
Taliban have occupied the sacred city - site of the blue mosque
that shelters the tomb
of Ali, the prophet's son-in-law.
I find this incredible.
How the hell could Ali's tomb end up in Afghan?
How the hell could the Prophets coat end up in Afghan & last
till today (was shown to
Afghans by Mullah Omar)
Ali's tomb is in Najaf.
Iran then takes over to accuse the US of supporting the Taliban
in order to degrade
the image of Islam. Taliban, we learn, have massacred hundreds
of civilians in the sacred
city & kidnapped some Iranian diplomats. My father says simply,
Jihad. But a Muslim doesn't kill another Muslim. Nowhere in the
Koran is it written that
we should take life. This is the final proof that they're inventing
their own Sharia
Miranian Gondeh Guzi at its best!
They follow a shit version of Islam & completely destroy any
image Islam ever had, yet
now blame US for degrading image of Islam?
K*Keshy of Mullahs has no limits.
mother, who asked why, he (driver) replied, "madam, if you
have any jewels, you
have to give them to me, because very soon we'll come to a place
where thieves may stop
the car & take everything from us.'
After having hidden the watches & jeweler in the boot, he
started to drive briskly.
(the eldest brother) was quite bossy. Sometimes at home he argued
& they wouldn't talk to each other for 2 or 3 days, without
our parents realizing.
With me (much younger sister), Wahid was different. He would take
to me the
Wahid's face has changed with the years. He doesn't laugh anymore.
He's become grave,
He did his studies at the Ansari senior school, then went to military
college. He graduated
top of his officer class & was attached to the presidential
Wahid told us when he got back that the Soviet soldiers massacred
civilians before their
Wahid was then under the orders of Colonel Hazrat, his teacher,
who praised soviet aid to
Afghanistan repeatedly & demanded blind obedience from his
men to any orders from
Soviet officers. Wahid rebelled against Soviet orders & was
often less than polite to his
sent Daoud to the barracks where he leaned that his eldest brother
condemned to 5 months in a cell for having thrown a teapot at
One day a mullah from the council of ancients, a very old man,
came to see my father at
'Your son has done remarkable work for us & I've come to thank
Anyway to cut the story short, Wahid gets into trouble with the
Afghan/Soviet regime &
becomes a political prisoner of the Soviets.
Did u notice
him being "quite BOSSY"? A major feature of the culture.
Also, getting angry to throw teapot at his colonel, another feature.
had already been interrogated. He needed a lawyer
sisters always wear a chador, as well as long traditional dresses
He had always insisted
on this, but this time Chakila didn't have the heart to start
arguing with him.
Wait till u see who this fanatic Muslim marries.
Visit, Wahid told us stories of prison life. There was a chide
guard, prepared to give
him certain facilities for payments. He was called Khiali Gul
This man came to find
my father in his store one day. He took money away with him &
that very night, Wahid
telephoned us at home.
Once, when we were with him in the courtyard, he pointed to a
prisoner, 'His name's
Ghazi. He's the prison hitman. For 5000 afghanis (75 pence), he'll
kill any condemned
man. I was told that Commander Abdul Wahid, one of the great leaders
of the Resistance,
was captured during an offensive in the valley of Panshir. Ghazi
gunned him down right
One young prisoner, sentenced at 18 for theft, was offered up
as fodder to rapists by a
hardened criminal from the block 4. The man worked in the kitchens.
The victim took his
revenge by cutting his throat with a meat cleaver.
Chakila listened to my brother's stories with the curiosity of
a journalist. Soraya often
cried & I
well, I asked myself what kind of world this
was, so very distant from God.
Well, to me the question is: what kind of religion would create
Specially a religion that claims to have a merciful God &
tries to cover women for
greengrocer said to us, 'Commander Massoud is coming to Kabul.
talking about it.'
The girls were all discussing last night's development.
'If Hekmatyar's extremists take power, the war will go on.'
'The condition of women will change. We won't be able to work.'
The same day, some of our neighbors, particularly those who worked
in the Ministry of
the Interior, started bringing things home with them - TV sets,
rifles, tape recorders. We
all felt raids & looting were about to begin. Men started
to let their beard grow.
made a donation to the mosque & then went off to pray at the
tomb of Ali.
Chakila asked a woman what we were meant to do next.
She answered, 'This is Ali's temple. You can pray & ask something
of God. Your wish
will come true, since he's a maker of miracles.'
Then we saw a strange thing: hundreds of padlocks hanging
from a metal bar.
'You have to choose a padlock & pull on it. If it opens, your
wish will come true.
By an extraordinary chance, Chakila & I witnessed a miracle.
Some men had hoisted a
flag in front of the vast crowd. Sick & handicapped people
were praying just in front of
us. Suddenly a man lifted his hands to the skies, then rubbed
his eyes & started screaming
like a lunatic that he had recovered his vision! Immediately the
people around him rushed
to tear at his clothes, which were now sacred.
I could address a prayer to Ali in front of his marble tomb at
the blue mosque, I would
implore him to perform a miracle for the poor Afghani people,
abandoned by everyone. I
would implore him to teach the Taliban - who dare to invent inhuman
rules, contrary to
the holy book, these Taliban who are utterly ignorant of the teachings
of the Koran - to
respect the holy book as we have always humbly done.
at the tomb of Ali which is not Tomb of Ali at all.
wonder which olaaq is buried there?
3- Afghans suffered, not because they were "abandoned by everyone",
Afghans abandoned LOGIC.
people can not have democracy. Democracy is not about gaav/olaaq
being able to
'vote' other gaav/olaaq into the government. U must have people
who can THINK &
follow LOGIC in their lives.
of our former teachers was recently caught in the act by the Taliban
- right in the
middle of teaching a class.
They threatened to stone her
entire family in public if she
didn't acknowledge the error of her ways.
Mrs Fawzia must have been denounced by a neighbor or a beggar.
These last are on the
watch for any information they can give the Taliban; it's their
way of currying favors.
children took risks in getting there. One day the bodies of several
of them were
found in a rubbish dump. They were only 7 or 8 years old. They
had been kidnapped,
raped & strangled with their own clothes.
Not bad hah?
Beggars spying & getting people killed.
Afghans raping & killing 7 yo children.
Just the kind of stuff a free democracy is made of , hah?
my class there was a girl called Wahida. She came from Kandahar
As she was older
then the rest of us, the teacher had designated her head of class,
an honour that should
have come to me as my grades were the highest. I thought she was
too bossy, but, of
course, I envied her. When Wahida announced that she was going
home, she expected me
to be sad. On the contrary. I remember saying to her, 'It's good
for you to go back there.'
I became head of class & took great pride in it.
Well folks, try to read between the lines:
Domination is the name of the game;
Age by default means power over others;
Envy is part of the culture;
Even women can be & r often BOSSY, if allowed to;
People take great PRIDE in being the BOSS!
had just built a modern building in Mikrorayan, which they called
School became compulsory, & various measures
were used to encourage
families to educate their children. They made a welfare payment
of 1500 afghanis per
month per pupil & in the senior schools clothes were freely
So not everything that Soviets did was 'bad'.
But the gaav/olaaq didn't want education.
In fact the gaav/olaaq didn't have clue what they wanted &
could not work together to
decide what was good for them.
we were living in the midst of daily civil war imposed by Hekmatyar
& his followers.
In order to terrorize the population, young boys carried out food
poisoning operations by
injecting a toxic substance into our fruit & vegetable. Those
who ate them fell ill. Some
Yes indeed, while many Aghans claimed they wanted to become Doktors
so they could
"help people", many others killed/raped/poisoned as
many as they could!
& pillaged: the university library, the second largest in
Asia. Destroyed & pillaged,
the museum. Somehow, despite it all, we carried on living. I went
to school. My sister got
I find this amazing.
The whole country was being destroyed. Not only they did nothing
to prevent or solve the
problems, but now they my even brag about it & make themselves
look good: "somehow,
despite it all, we carried on living"?!
They F*ed my mother & sisters & tortured & killed
my father & brothers, but "somehow,
despite it all" I carried on trying to ignore it all &
have a good time.
Yet, these people have the nerve to get angry at the West for
not doing anything about
Where was her father's 'principle' during all this?!
woman in a building near by knocked at the door of an apartment.
She was one of
those scouts who looks out for young Afghani girls for the Taliban.
The woman of the
house answered her knock. She was alone with her 3 daughters &
no sooner had she
opened the door than some Taliban barged in behind the scout.
They hit the mother until
she lost consciousness & kidnapped the 3 girls. The scout
told the neighbors that the girls
were married to her sons & that she had a right to bring her
daughters-in-law to live with
It seems to me that Afghans just accepted everything as 'normal',
like Afghan beggars
spying on people to have them killed or afghan women doing K*Keshy
for Taliban ,
as if justifying it that there was nothing wrong with it, so they
didn't have to do anything
about it. Just bragging "somehow, despite it all, we carried
But they always use a person or a group's name as the culprit,
like Taliban or Hekmatyar.
But the fact remains that they were all AFGHANS, Afghans killing
Talibans were holy Afghan Muslims!
Even the Afghanis who live abroad don't give a damn!'
Y should they, when the Afghans who live inside don't give a damn?!
u'r damn right
they don't, but they just keep on shouting "cho Miraan lavaashak
make themselves look important.
Y should they? They got it made. They r now superior to other
gaav/olaaq who r back
home. They can rest & brag about it all & live with poz
long for Chakila. Since her marriage, her authority & her
smile are equally missed by
Yes indeed, AUTHORITY is at the heart of the culture. Even women
have it & use it if
had filmed Pakistani & Arab fighters in Hekmatyar's ranks.
So Hekmatyar wanted to
scare Jalil & to wipe out this evidence of foreign mercenaries
amongst the extremist
I don't see how a few hundred 'foreign' Muslim fighters could
have changed things.
Afghans were quite capable of killing/raping Afghans themselves.
day, while she was carrying out her cleaning duties, she heard
the head of the
department, his deputy & several others talking. They were
discussing the resale of bus
parts, something that was totally illegal. The director asked
his deputy to ensure that
buses belonging to the state broke down more often & were
declared unusable, so that
they could be sent off to the garage. The engine & detachable
parts were ten removed &
. Poor Mrs Zarmina had no idea she was dealing with
an organized mafia.
The director has been keeping her prisoner for a week.
He received her husband in his
office, locked the door behind him & insisted that he watch
the rape of his wife.
Furious at such resistance, the director had the children thrown
into the Kabul River.
Mad with pain, the poor woman went home. Her husband didn't want
her any more.
was a young woman working in the ministry of Education. The rapists
colleagues in the ministry who invited her to a party. When she
arrived she realized that
she was the only woman present. But it was too late to leave alone.
They forced her to
drink. A good number had collaborated in this premeditated encounter.
And even the
chauffeur participated in the ultimate rape. It was the guardian
of the house who took
Parwin to the hospital. She was unconscious.
Not bad hah?!
Afghan Mafia in action everywhere.
Rape the wife in front of husband.
Lucky Afghans r very 'religious'. I just hate to think what they'd
have done if they were
who didn't have enough money to buy kites manufactured something
chelak - a treacherous instrument composed of a stone tied to
the end of a string. Armed
with this, off they went to look out other boy's kites. When they
found one they
particularly wanted, they launched their missiles into the kite's
path. If the 2 strings got
tangled, the little thieves had only to wait for their booty to
hit the ground & off they
would run with a new kite. The hunt for kites often ended up in
Wow, u learn from childhood to just steal anything u like.
How do u think these kids would behave when they grow up?
U want a woman, just rape her. U want anything, just kill the
owner & grab it.
my elder brother, everything (circumcision!) happened as foreseen.
But little Daoud
was very frightened when his turn came. As in the habit on these
occasions, the doctor
said to him, 'Look up at the sky, little one
Taut with apprehension, Daoud answered. 'Get on with it. Cut it
off. I know what you're
going to do.'
Wahid & Daoud were always embarrassed when Mother or our aunts
repeated this story.
They grumbled. The stories weren't funny to them, they said. Nor
had it been their
celebration; they had to suffer while everyone else had fun.
It's all about laughing at others, including u'r own family &
All about dominating others.
one family, some members might be on the side of the Resistance,
were on the government side, Families were torn apart. The questions
were so difficult to
resolve: to be Afghan & fight with Afghan army led by Soviets
against other Afghans?
To be a pro-Communist or anti-Communist Afghan? To stay neutral?
All his was trebly
difficult when a son arrived at conscription age, an age that
kept on changing depending
on the whims of the government & the need of the army.
Yup, the gaav/olaaq didn't have a F*ing clue what they wanted
& what was the right for
who's living in Moscow. He's told us about his marriage to a young
But the color photos of Wahid's wedding
My brother is in a suit & tie, a white flower at his buttonhole.
His bride, prettily made up,
is wearing a white low-cut lace dress that leaves her shoulders
bare. Her blond hair is
pulled back in a chignon & covered in a delicate white veil.
They both look beautiful.
Same bossy brother who ordered the sisters to cover themselves!
worst news on the BBC in this month of Feb 2001 is announcement
of a visit by the
Minister of Health, the Mullah Mohammed Abbas, to Paris for a
A Taliban in Paris, home of the rights
of man! A minister of
'health' who forbids women to use hospitals, who dared in 1997
to imprison the
European Commissioner for Human Rights.
Farida, Soraya & I are both furious & disgusted. The French
would have done far better
to invite one of our women doctors or nurses to whom work is forbidden,
ironically, before the Taliban regime made up the very structure
of our hospitals & our
To send an uneducated mullah, a puppet
of Pakistan who knows
nothing about medicine, to France instead of one of them is a
Many Afghan men would've killed any woman who dared to accept
Afghans didn't have any objection to a Goh uneducated mullah to
run their country,
but they object if he goes to Paris for a health conference?!
2001. The voice of America & the BBC announce the arrival
in Paris of
commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, chief of the Resistance of Panshir.
Kabulis are in a state of hyper-excitement, so excited that people
have been seen publicly
listening to their transistor radios, having turned them up as
loud as possible.
The whole culture is about hyper-excitement & shur & hayajaan.
They r all shur junkies.
No brain, just pure adrenaline & hyper-excitement .
Nobody bothered to think that this Goh had taken Kabul before
& nothing good came out
of it, so y have him back again?!
at the same moment, Dr Sima, who has set up his clandestine surgery
sends a message to Mother.
'We're looking for women who could go to Paris to talk about the
Afghanistan. A French magazine together with a French association
want to start up an information campaign. I can't go. So I've
told the French to contact
you. It would be good if Latifa went. She could talk about our
oppressed women & our
clandestine schools. Witnessing is the only form of resistance
we now have.
Although she's always tired & still ill, mother wants us to
go. 'Dr Sima is right,' she
says. It's important for westerners to know that women medics
are condemned to staying
at home & can do nothing at all for the sick.'
They r just obsessed with "It's important for westerners
to know". Yet they keep on
bragging how they hate foreigners & would kill them on sight.
too, is all for it. 'Listen, Latifa,' she says, 'life is hard.
If this could bring us any
kind of change
You'll meet important people. Dr Sima said
My father is altogether agreed.
He'll have to accompany
us, because we need a
mahram armed with a passport in order to travel. On the other
hand, he's worried about
leaving Daoud at home with his wife & Soraya.
I've been keeping an eye on mother. In fact all my thoughts are
focused on her. I just
hope that the trip & the tension of it won't exhaust her utterly.
All 3 of us shall have to go everywhere under borrowed names.
From now on, I'm Latifa.
I had imagined Paris as magnificent & it is just that.
Let me get this right, "Mother has been very down & depressed."
& she was taken to
Pakistan for treatment, yet they go to Paris to represent women,
while mother is
depressed & "In fact all my thoughts are focused on her"?!
All this when Taliban r such killers & would surely make them
all pay for it?!
tells me that the support Massoud managed to get (in his visit
to Europe) was
pretty thin. She shows me a few extracts from Massoud's text:
The Taliban massacred thousands of people because of their ethnic
affiliation. [-- well, so did the Mujaheddin, including Massoud
. Taliban maintain & form a whole terrorist underground
which threatens neighboring
Well, Afghans themselves used to raid & loot neighboring countries,
until British put an
stop to it. The whole Islamic government is designed around this
idea. Looting has been
their main source of income for centuries.
put an end to this tragedy, the international community could,
on one hand, increase
its humanitarian aid to the Afghan people
Y? So that Afghan would use the aid to buy guns & kill/rape/loot
one another for another
50 years, creating even more refugees? Helping the same Afghans
who brag how they
hate foreigners & would kill the infidels on sight?
the men talked politics, mother, Diba & I could only speak
of women, the
oppressed who lived without voice or rights, designated victims
of a systematic
They all know & believe that men r not equal to women.
must all 3 of us fight to say that we refuse to lose our dignity
in this way, that we
want to bring back from France a freedom that I have never known
in 20 years of
existence. We are proud people. Our country is rich in history.
I want to help to bring it
the freedom it deserves.
Proud of what?!
I can understand the Swiss to be proud of their country, but what
the F* would Afghan or
Miranians have to be proud about?! Who gives a shit what happened
2000 years ago,
when the whole culture has not created nothing but shit for the
last 200 years!
People of Miran & Afghan don't have much in common with those
who lived there 2000
years ago, all their genes r mixed up after 2000 years of invasion
& rape & killing.
They even follow the religion of their invaders who raped them
& forced them to become
have the feeling nothing will ever change. My father, always optimistic,
repeating what good fortunes we've had, being able to visit France,
to meet all these
people. On top of it, he says, words are never lost in the desert.
One day they'll take root
'You haven't done this in vain,' he says to me. 'Trust me, women
listen to other women.
Your testimony will make people here understand what the Taliban
have imposed on us.'
there's a fax for us from Daoud
the Taliban have issued
a fatwa against all women
who denounce the regime.
Taliban had laid waste to our
We've now lost
everything. All our memories, our family photos, my uncle's painting
that my mother had
hidden away so carefully.
My parent's eyes, fixed on the
emptiness which is now our
past, pierce my heart. I feel guilty. We can no longer go back
time even my father is demoralized. 'Of course you were well received
he now admits, 'but what good had it let to?'
What do u expect, surely this is to be expected & u all should've
Don't u know u'r own people?
Afghanis are still at war in my country. The refuges on the frontiers
countries neighboring Afghanistan suffer far more than I do. I'm
aware of that. What
else is there for me to do but to tell the story of my life as
a woman citizen of Kabul of
which there is nothing left but ruins?
Well u can learn about stupidity of Islam & that the a Goh
culture would only create Goh
for me, I am for the moment a privileged exile who eats her fill,
has no fears about the
winter cold, & can hold her own with Westerners. So I can
now express, without fear, my
instinctive anxieties for the future - & that too is a privilege.
See what I mean by it's all about dominating others: "can
hold her own with Westerners".
prays at the wrong tomb, which is laughable for most Muslims,
"hold her own with Westerners".
centuries the men of my country have been given knives, guns,
files, Kalashnikovs to
be played with like children' rattles. For centuries the rhythms
of the generations has
been played out like a chess game, grand masters succeeding each
other, one after
another, as if tribal wars were a national sport. For centuries,
too, women were borne to
wear the burqa. And the ambitions of the international powers
supported these traditions.
Most Swiss have guns in their homes coz most r part of the army
& have regular meeting
& exercise. How come they haven't destroyed their country?
It's the guns but the gaav/olaaq who use them that r the problem.
want to say - along with all my hopes for the dream of peace &
democracy, to which
my generation is already committed - that I pray that women will
be more substantially
represented in future debates. Out of the 30 people in Bonn, 3
women is not enough.
Which women? Those gaav/olaaq who r beggars & sell off their
own people or those who
kidnap Afghan girls for their sons to rape? Or maybe the toothless
old women in
BK1 or the one who brags about having 15 tuleh sag?
U need BRAIN to run a country & gaav/olaaq just don't have
won't be enough. As soon as the last Taliban has hung up his black
turban & I
can be a free woman in a free country, I'll return to my life
in Afghanistan & take up my
duties as a citizen, a woman - & I hope, one day, as a mother.
U won't be free in a free country as long as u pray at the wrong
tomb & Islam rules
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