Women on Streets of Kabul

In a very shocking experiment, a female reporter of 1TV, goes undercover to reveal what “a typical day in life of a woman in Kabul” looks like. All she does is appearing on streets and waiting for a taxi. It was apparently enough for a non-stop caravan of cars pulling over to “pick her up:” they offer her money, they brag about working for high level officials, they use whatever trick in the book to talk the lady into their vehicles. A hidden camera recorded the experiment only  for 27 minutes, during which, more than 80 cars stopped by to talk to Arezo Nawbahar, the reporter, as if she was a prostitute waiting for her next client.

She doesn’t dress very provocatively, to blame it on her appearance. Even women under burqa, the video shows, are regular targets of harassment  by men who consider any woman on street as a potential sex worker. (This video also shows how prostitution works in the city.)

This is just catastrophic, even the thought of being a woman in that city makes me sick. What a total collapse of morality. Shame.

The Hazara work ethics

Hazara Juwalis (porters) in Kabul / January 30, 2012

Hazara Juwalis (porters) in Kabul / January 30, 2012

Some observations from two foreigners (a US engineer and a British diplomat) working in Afghanistan about the work ethics of the Hazaras:

When the men from the south were gone I called for volunteers among the Hazaras, feeling intuitively that at least we had come among men again instead of children… In the first place, even from two days’ acquaintance with the steady Hazara people, I felt free to leave the pack train in their charge without remaining constantly in sight.

Fox, E. F. (1943). Travels in Afghanistan, 1937-1938. New York: Macmillan. p. 251-252

The Hazaras differ radically from the Afghans, with whom they have been constantly at feud, and retain many of the traits of their Central Asian ancestors.  They are honest, courageous, good-natured, and simple. They make excellent servants, first-rate solders, and cheerful labourers.

Fraser-Tytler, W. K. (1950). Afghanistan: A study of political developments in Central Asia. London: Oxford University Press. p. 57

About non-Hazaras, I have posted some interesting quotes too, click here.

City/Body

Al-Farabi (872-950 AD)

Al-Farabi (872-950 AD)

I just wanted to share an aphorism from the great Al-Farabi, a man who is known in the Muslim world as “the second teacher” – the first teacher being Aristotle. An influential political philosopher, he also wrote extensively about cities.  When reading this  following passage of his, I couldn’t help but think about Kabul, our open city which resembles a painfully ill living body with no physician around to take care of it – to use the Farabian metaphor.

“Just as the health of the body is an equilibrium of its temperament and its sickness is a deviation from equilibrium, so, too, are the health of the city and its uprightness an equilibrium of the moral habits of its inhabitants and its sickness a disparity found in their moral habits. When the body deviates from equilibrium in its temperament, the one who brings it back to equilibrium and preserves it there is the physician. So, too, when the city deviates from equilibrium with respect to the moral habits of its inhabitants, the one who brings it back to uprightness and preserves it there is the statesman. So the statesman and physician have their two actions in common and differ with respect to the two subjects of their two arts. For the subject of the former is souls and the subject of the latter, bodies. And just as the soul is more eminent than the body, so, too, is the statesman more eminent than the physician.”

Al-Farabi (2004). The Political Writings: Selected Aphorisms and Other Texts (trans. by Charles Butterworth). Ithaca: Cornell University Press. p.12