Friday, 13 January 2012

Hi everyone,

Since my last post on blogger I have traveled to Afghanistan and came back to London. Will post a detail list of 'things that I found odd in Afghanistan' and 'things that were pleasant in Afghanistan' soon. But for the meantime I want to share a link to a story I have written since my return;

Hope you enjoy it

Saturday, 13 August 2011

3 days left in London

Sorry for the absence.

As you may have already heard or had put two and two together from the title of this post-I am still in London and my travels had been delayed.

Only days before the initial day of departure my family had received a phone call informing us that my aunt (from my mother' side) had passed away in Afghanistan.

Flights and original plans were all put aside so we could be there for my mother and the rest of my family here.

I am have only three days left in London, leaving on Tuesday for Germany. I am landing in Kabul in the morning of Friday 19th August.

My next post will be from Afghanistan.

Thank you for your support

Sunday, 12 June 2011

May has been the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since 2007

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) revealed that May 2011 has been 'the deadliest month for Afghan civilians since at least 2007'. They have released a statement calling for protection of civilians while revealing their concern that civilian 'suffering' is due to increase this summer.

“More civilians were killed in May than in any other month since 2007 when UNAMA began documenting civilian casualties,” said Georgette Gagnon, Director of Human Rights for UNAMA.

The organisation has documented 368 conflict-related civilian deaths and 593 civilian injuries in May, making May 2011 the deadliest month for the Afghan civilians. 

Georgette also stated the organisations fears of an increase in civilian casualties this summer. He said: “We are very concerned that civilian suffering will increase even more over the summer fighting season which historically brings the highest numbers of civilian casualties."

From the total death-toll anti government elements were responsible for 301 civilian deaths and forty-five civilians deaths were attributed to pro government forces. 

These death represent a growing awareness from the Afghan public of their government's policies and actions. 

Many Afghan civilians have died during demonstrations and protests against domestic and international affairs with little if any protection from the government. 

 demands for the parties involved to the conflict to "increase their efforts to protect civilians.” 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Tickets are booked!!

I have booked my tickets for Afghanistan, well in fact it was my aunt in Germany that has booked them for me since I am going through Germany. It is booked for the 29th July from Frankfurt to Kabul, it is an open ticket and I do not know when I will be coming to visit London next but I would like to think that it would be in the first 6-9months of my move. Obviously I will need to fly from London to Frankfurt before hand but I have not purchased these tickets yet, but it will be for the 27th July.

I have also booked the restaurant for my leaving diner, I am sure you are all aware of it and will be attending.

My next task is to find a place to live in Kabul and a job to start once I am there.

I am also becoming more and more anxious about my luggage. How do you decide what you absolutely NEED to have. As I am sure most of you know, I have loads of stuff. And most of it is just 'stuff' things that have accumulated over the years that mean something. But how do i decide between my books, my shoes, my tops and my jackets. What is essential?

This is harder than persuading everyone that going is the right thing to do, I think I need to start to pack and see what fits.

For now I am counting down the weeks and enjoying the time I have left with family and friends.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

I am 10 weeks away from moving to Afghanistan

I was born in Kabul but my family moved to Russia when I was 4 years old. 

I have my earliest memories in Russia- climbing trees, playing football, snow fighting and getting lost in the woods in search of adventure.  

My family lived in Moscow for a year and eventually moved to Minsk (Belarussia)-in total we spent 8 years in the two countries.

In 2000 we moved again-this time we settled in London. I came to the country without knowing a single word of English-but eventually I picked up everything I needed to pass my GCSE's and get my A-levels. By this time I had made a decision that I was going to become an international correspondent and travel the world in search of the untold stories.

Because I made this decision when I was 14 years old I was able to dedicate all my spare time in gaining as much experience as possible. I particularly enjoyed writing feature stories and filming news packages.

Going to university to complete a history degree was also part of the plan-i enjoy history and wanted to give myself the opportunity to discover more about the subject but I knew what I was going to do next.

While working full time at a school I started my NCTJ course in newspaper.

I finished the course recently. My next plan is to move to Afghanistan to work as a journalist.

I am 10 weeks away from moving-although I have not got my ticket I will be in Kabul at the end of July.

I will be using this blog to keep you updated with the developments of my move.

At the moment my priorities are to get my tickets and organise my leaving party.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

An Afghan taekwondo champion is entered in 2012 Olympics

My family fled Afghanistan in 1993, first moving to Russia and then settling in London over a decade ago.
As a budding journalist living here in London, I see that there is hardly a day that does not involve Afghanistan in the headlines.
But when I look at my country's representation in the media I find the stories are mainly about extremist groups, poppy fields and women's rights and all this shapes the views of Afghans to the rest of the world.
When I am confronted with the widely accepted negative view of my homeland I feel responsible to point out the positives, highlighting out that Afghanistan was not as we know it today before the war, it was progressive, open minded and developed.
Today I am proud to add Rohullah Nikpai, the Afghan Taekwondo champion’s achievements to the list to show that we are heading in the right direction.
I think it is important that positives are shown despite the negatives, I am worried that the bad will become a stable view of Afghanistan and it may become a barrier between the future generations and the countries success.
Nikpai's achievements are a ray of hope not only to put the country's name on the sports map but also to present Afghanistan in a positive light to the world.
Afghans should be able to pick up from where they left off before the war and move the country to become the centre of culture, civilization and ultimately become an inspiration to others.
Nikpai's athletic journey is also an example of fighting against all odds and achieving your dreams despite all the hardship faced.
And I know he's a great role-model to young Afghans, including my siblings and myself.
A young Afghan boxer living in London said: “It was amazing to see Nikpai’s achievements unfold. He is a great role model. I myself am currently training in boxing and hope that one day I too can represent my country within the sports competition to the world.”
“Many Afghan’s around the world feel proud of his achievements as they should”, he added.
I hope other Afghans will follow in his footsteps and move forward with their dreams, the more similar achievements are reported the easier it will become for the world to accept Afghanistan without prejudice and the easier it is going to be for the Afghans to reunite and trust one another.
It is not just a matter of sports and medals it is a starting point of a renewed society and I hope that the Afghan women do not fall behind and instead start breaking the barriers to step into the world.
That's why I'm so committed to following my dreams to be a journalist so I can make my own contribution.
But for now, like all other Afghans around the world me and my family are very proud of Nikpai’s achievements and will support him in his future, and I hope I can be part of greeting Nikpai to London when he arrives for the Olympics in 2012.

Women in Afghanistan still fight for human rights as world celebrates 100th year of International Women’s Day

Since the 10 years of western invasion Afghan women have been able to enter politics, attend schools and walk the streets without a male guardian.

But the Taliban are still controlling parts of the country where women’s rights are non-existent. They are notorious for depriving women of basic human rights in the name of Islam.

Zarghona Rassa, founder of the British Afghan Women’s Society and the producer of ‘Fears behind the Veil’ a documentary filmed in 2007, claims “nothing has changed for women in Afghanistan post-Taliban. Women in there are still subject to heavy domestic violence and injustice”

Many dismiss the lack of women’s rights in Afghanistan as being part of their culture and religion.

Kori Abdul Vakil, a religious leader from the Afghan Islamic Cultural Centre in London argues: “What the Taliban have been doing to women in Afghanistan is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, it is also against humanity.”

He passionately stated: “For years now, the Taliban have excluded women from education, they banned them from working, and they have been brutal in their treatment of women. None of this is in the religion of Islam.”

Shirin Ebadi, a human rights activist and Nobel Prize winner during her talk on Women’s Role in Middle East at School of Oriental and African Studies insisted: “the rise of Islamic fundamentalism above all and in the first instance targets women’s rights.”

Perhaps Islamic fundamentalism is one of the reasons why many Muslims have been demanding democracy but Afghanistan is unlikely to follow.

Vakil concludes: “If the government continues to work as it has been Afghanistan will not see peace for another thousand years.”