Day 7, Sunday March 20

We started early, meeting with a friend who is the head of an international NGO that has been running projects in Afghanistan for 45 years. It was good to hear his perspective on things; that is that be believes the solution to the strife and suffering in Afghanistan is not a military one.

Next we went to the internet café where the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers were in full swing of their world-wide Global Day of Listening skype-a-thon which started in the very early hours of the morning and will continue late into the night. We heard the boys speak with people from around the world including the U.S, Australia and Iraq. What a great opportunity for people across to connect and hear each others views. These calls will happen again in the future, so if you would like to be involved see http://globaldayoflistening.org/Home.html

the boys on their global skype call

 

 

 

 

 

 

the boys hard at work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Taxi driver’s view:

During our time in Kabul we’ve been catching taxi’s here and there and we all know that taxi drivers are great barometers for public opinion. Aware of this I always took the chance to ask taxi drivers what they thought about the situation here. Our taxi driver today had clearly thought this through and gave an insightful answer. He said from is point of view the problem is that Afghanistan is divided into three sectors: the smallest sector is the rich and powerful – President Karzai and his friends and relatives, and the warlords surrounding them, these people are not honest, he said, yet they control everything through bribes and corruption. Then, he said, there is a larger group of people who are the general workers, like himself, who have a job and who are just able to provide for their family. Life is a constant struggle and they work very hard, often at several jobs, just to get by. Then, he said, is the largest group by far: the people who have no job, widows, orphaned children, people in rural areas who have to beg to survive or rely on occasional aid. Dogged by malnutrition and poverty, more often than not, they don’t get by. The taxi-driver said these groups are in the wrong proportion. The masses should not be suffering and hungry – it should be a smaller group who suffer so badly. His conclusion: in Afghanistan, thanks to corruption, and the unnacounted for billions of dollars of western aid the richer are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and this trend is continuing at a fast pace. He said for the ordinary people to prosper, there first needs to be security, and this is what is lacking. After ten years of war in Afghanistan, of sending soldiers, tanks and guns and billions of dollars of aid, the observation of the taxi driver raises some serious issues and deserves our consideration.

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