Afghan and Cuban people | Journalist

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A retired US congressman told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday night that the Afghan people hate the Taliban more than anyone in the United States. The Taliban know this and they are fighting against such deep-seated animosities.

The scenes that have continued and intensified before the eyes of the world since the August 15 takeover more than confirms the depth of bravery and resolve, contempt and rejection inherent in this theater of ongoing conflict. .

Who in charge could easily sit down and watch thousands, tens of thousands of their own citizens jostling each other relentlessly for a week and more, desperate to escape what they see as hell to come, if they had to stay. Parents hand over their newborns to strangers over the walls of the besieged Hamid Karzai International Airport. “Work, education, political participation are our right. So read the words on a sign ahead of time at a protest demonstration organized by women in Kabul within 48 hours of the occupation of the presidential palace by the Taliban.

Afghan dust had not yet settled on assurances from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid of respect for basic human rights, before gangs of his own members and other zealous extremists launched their own brands of tactics. conformists to those they deemed necessary to align.

Mujahid spoke face to face with reporters, several of whom said that after years of clandestine interactions, they wondered if he really existed and what he looked like. He had promised that the Islamic Republic “would forgive all who worked with and for the United States and the Western coalition in the 20-year war against them.” He said that women’s rights would be respected, “in accordance with Sharia law”. Much of the questions he faced had to do with deep-seated fears of a return to the six-year period from 1996 to 2001, when under their rule the place of women was at home. Girls could only go to primary school. He was singing a different song, but there was no reception, neither by the women in front of him, nor by those in society in general. As he spoke, television cameras showed the white paint on the glass windows of beauty salons in Kabul. About two days later, courageous and rebellious Afghans took to the streets to celebrate their country’s independence, waving a long banner featuring the country’s national flag. They expressed their rejection of the white flag hoisted by the Taliban.

Dominating international news cycles over the past ten days, the story of the Taliban’s return evokes that of Malalai Joya. It was the Afghan woman who, at 23, became a member of her country’s parliament and had to fight to demand respect from a majority of men in that chamber. It was after the first take by the Taliban of the levers of power of the country.

In Raising my Voice (2009), she said that television, movies and “many other things” were banned under the Taliban. Even having books other than the Quran in your home has become dangerous, especially if they contain pictures of human beings, she said. The Taliban sent gangs of men to enforce their rules, “and if we saw them around or thought they might come and do a search, we would hide our books and our notes.” Once, she said, she burned two notebooks full of memories, lest they find them.

Forget the “western powers”, if you will, but how do we even begin to express our solidarity with those who challenge totalitarianism and its associated torments? We have a duty to reflect.

Likewise, for those who speak on behalf of the Cuban people. They call for the lifting of the “illegal” international blockade. But they say nothing of the muffled voices among the people there, who demand the right to free speech, the right to form political parties of their choice and to participate in elections, among other things that we take for granted. . They are not counted by many among the “progressive” forces among us. Brave Cubans speak out against what they call 62 years of oppression and injustice. The Catholic News published an article on August 8 on the call of the Christian Liberation Movement to the authorities in Havana to hold general elections. They also demand the release of political prisoners, the annulment of what they call the “repressive laws against freedom”, the recognition of the economic rights of free enterprise for Cubans and the recognition of the right of every Cuban (to the inside and outside the island) to vote and be elected.

This organization was created in 1988 by a Cuban patriot named Osvaldo Paya Sardinas, with the aim of achieving “peaceful and democratic reform” in his country. He was reportedly killed in a traffic accident in 2012 “in controversial circumstances”.

Such freedom fighters also deserve our collective attention.

—Andy Johnson is a

seasoned journalist


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