An essay by Abdul Samad Amiri

With the arriving of Nowruz one more year is added to the calendar of our lives and we are experiencing the first days of the New Year. For years, the common wishes of all my friends are to have security, justice, peace, prosperity and a calm period for the country at New Year. As long as I can remember, at the beginning of each year I have wished for the same things as my friends and also for liberty and a permanent stability in our country. If we have these elements then the society can become more developed and we can concentrate on the welfare and comfort of our people. We are all tired of daily suicide attacks, explosions, and human rights violations in Afghanistan.

Fifteen years have passed since the implementation of a new system of government in Afghanistan. During this time, different countries of the world, especially America, have sent aid and enormous amounts of money have been consumed in support of different sectors of security, the political system, the economy, culture, education, health, human rights and social development in Afghanistan. Fortunately, we see noticeable changes in comparison to fifteen years ago. Right now, the number of women and other ethnic and religious minorities’ access to their human rights is higher. But still, abundant threats and limitations exist against the security and rule of law especially in the area of fair participation of women and ethnic minorities in political power and decision making.

Even though there is more awareness that equality is important and even though a lot of money has been spent in many parts of the country violence and extremism is increasing. Even in many universities there are signs with slogans for the support of extremist group’s voices in opposition to human rights and equality.

Very good laws have been passed to guarantee the fundamental rights and freedom of citizens. But in practice, due to lack of the upholding of the rule of law, the ideals of freedom, justice, equality and democracy have not been universalized in all parts of the country. In universities in many provinces of Afghanistan human rights are treated as a foreign idea and teaching things like human rights and democracy is unacceptable to many.

Governmental authorities have arrested those who work in support of extremists and are enemies of Afghanistan’s government but they have not been taken to trial and judged yet. There is an abundance of killing, violence, and destruction in Afghanistan. Those responsible go unpunished because of the corruption of some in high ranking governmental positions. Suicide attacks, explosions and destruction continue. This misery and disaster in Afghanistan is treated with supplication and prosecuted based on ethnic and personal benefits not based on the rule of law.

Even with the existence of all these continued challenges, there are still lots of chances to realize the ideals we wish for — peace, freedom, justice, rule of law and a prosperous Afghanistan. But we have to begin with ourselves. Every big change starts from individuals who then change the society.

This tragedy and destruction in Afghanistan will not be changed if we don’t change ourselves. To rescue our society from the current situation, once again in the New Year, we have to commit to be responsible with integrity, fidelity, temperance, courage, patience and justice. If we do that then we will have created our ideal country.

About the Author: Abdul Samad Amiri has a BA in law and political science. He is a human rights activist and currently lives in Ghor province of Afghanistan. Tragically, Samad was murdered by the Taliban on 4-September-2019.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart