Kabul bleeds again, such a horrific day, full of sorrow and fear. Summer breeze converted into misty smoky fierce storm, everyone’s eyes were full of tears when grey beard fathers were burying their young sons, how difficult it is to go with the last farewell. Many women became widows and children orphans abruptly, they will never see their much loved ones again.
The forthcoming sweet time of Eid has quickly become sour for everyone, particularly the families of the victims. Words cannot even begin to express my sorrow, grief and pain for them, I really don’t know how to console them, and patience seems to me like something stuck in my throat that neither I can swallow nor it can be thrown away. I wish I could replace May 31, 2017 with a beautiful shiny day in the history of Afghanistan. I can’t sleep properly; a wave of fear shocks my spasm.
That same day my five year old son returned from school with such a pale face, and told me that it was a horrible earthquake and they all cried, sob and clung to their teacher, she was crying too. He asked me that why my eyes were so red and if I was okay. I was receiving questions that had no answers.
It had been only two days from the attack that a small group of people came out and started protesting against the government, which swiftly hijacked the huge explosion’s news. All national media outlets diverted their coverage to the protest. It all happened when the rest of the world was busy with sending condolences, but unfortunately the Afghan media kept spreading fear and befuddlement. Although, I had been watching Afghan TVs for a decade now but for the first time noticed that they are doing not less than the offenders responsible for May 31 explosion.
For the first time, I went into a deep definition of terrorism and found that not only explosions, bombing, kidnapping, robbery and rapes are terrorism, but scaring people, propaganda, threatening the government and providing all disappointed and negative news are ways bigger forms of terrorism, and the Afghan media — particularly some TV channels that claim to be the leading Afghan channels — are doing it quite eagerly. Furthermore, when only few people are killed in other countries, their media mourn by changing their picture into black and white for days, but unfortunately our media neither have journalistic ethics and principle, nor the sense of being citizens of this country.
The protesters kept blaming the government and did not care if they visited the victims’ families and consoled the wounded ones. They did not even think that it was the government who spread bold statements through its spokesmen across the world that Afghanistan is suffering from transitional terrorism, even though it was not the first massive blast — there have been similar or even bigger blasts in terms of the numbers of casualties.
For instance, the attacks on the Shaheen Corps, Military Hospital and many others including the Mahmoud Khan’ bridge attack that turned the Kabul River into red with innocent people’s blood. Did that news have international media coverage? The answer is a simple no. While, this time all renowned international media including BBC, CNN, VOA, Al jazeera, German ARD TV, DW, Fox, NBC, ZNEWS, IBN, WION and many others were busy covering the Kabul blast.
The government successfully caught the international communities’ attention and delivered the message that Afghanistan is the victim of transitional terrorism. In addition to that, France switched off Eiffel Tower’s light in solidarity with Afghanistan, Pope Francis for the first time prayed for Kabul and every other country mourned for Kabul for which we are very grateful to them.
It was time to light candles for the martyrs and visit the hospitalized injured of the attack, but riots blocked the roads, they didn’t even let ambulances to pass and they gave a tough time to the families of martyrs for the funeral and burial. Furthermore, the protestors deteriorated the situation by making people stay home, businesses have been shut, laborers are suffering and schools are closed. On June 8, a young woman in labor pain could not make it to the hospital because of the road blocks and delivered her baby on the road. They installed their tent next to the busiest and most equipped with foreigner staff hospital called Emergency Hospital, which put the hospital in a situation that its management warned the Afghan government and the UN that they will close and leave. I cannot figure out what is that they want? Are they more patriotic and nationalist than the government? If the answer is yes, than why have they created such a mess? If they are so devoted for the victims then they should have healed, but not persecuted and hurt them in one or other way?
It has been a week now that Kabul is losing millions of capital every day. The protests soon turned its real face, which is based on self and political interests. This prisoner dilemma takes Afghanistan nowhere but to the darkness as their thoughts and minds. Indeed, they are openly fueling the fire Kabul caught. This was no time to polish and seek their political demands. The protesters and/or the ones behind this entire scenario committed this in a time when Afghan government was for the first time leading and hosting a multinational Peace conference called the “Kabul Process”. It was the time to show the world that Afghans are a peace loving nation, and they have the capacity and capability to bring peace and defeat terrorism with international cooperation. But, the riotors started shouting, shooting each other and destroying public and private properties. The media, which are always equally responsible to bring stability and development to a country, played an enmity role by being propagandist in their reports. A true patriotic cannot even think of this.
Undoubtedly, terrorism is a more horrible threat than the hole of ozone layer, climate, hegemony, religion and poverty. But, disunity is even more perilous than terrorism. We badly need unity so that peace can be brought to educate our nation to be good citizens and teach them how to communicate with their country during good and bad times. Afghanistan asks us to stand by her. God bless my beautiful land.
* Sarwat Najib is an Afghan writer, columnist, critic and poet.