The Great Afghan Reality Show

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Hundreds of people gather near a US Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. Photo: AP/UNB

It is now exactly a month that a great spectacle of human tragedy was staged right on the runway of an international airport that had been watched live by people all over the world. We saw human souls, desperate to find safety from the approaching hyaenas, running along the runway side by side with a huge aircraft taxing for takeoff, ignoring the common knowledge of how dangerous it had been to do so. In times when a fragment of a second’s delay in decision making might push someone on the verge of a great debacle; people naturally lose the sense of proportion and try to hang on whatever they find nearby. The scene is a unique example of what happens when such a time approaches.

This great spectacle continued almost for two weeks, allowing us to see how people die falling from a great height and how people ignore the threat of death and how they cramp into a tiny space of an already loaded transport aircraft after virtually fighting against many others for that sought after place which probably would allow them to escape death and find a new life, no matter in which hell that unknown new life might be. No doubt it’s a great tragedy, particularly at a time when we’re taught regularly of how important the life of each and every individual in our planet earth is. People who had probably been living in a relatively cozy environment of ease and comfort had all of a sudden woke up in one fine morning to find themselves in such a desperate situation is something beyond the imagination of many, particularly those who know little about the reality of life in the other planet within the perimeter of our mother earth.

Yes, we exist in separate planets within the planet and hardly know what goes on next door.  Afghanistan is a stark reminder of that harsh reality, a reminder that what we’re fed constantly and without interruption by the big boss media is not what we’re supposed to take for granted. Moreover, all the bees and flies that were flying over Afghanistan during the rosy days to collect a portion of honey falling from the sky and lying beneath told us little or virtually nothing of how the earth beneath the feet was trembling and shifting quickly for taking revenge that humans had forgotten to take.

Easy and quicksilver dollars have spoiled Afghanistan, spoiled to the core that people even had forgotten the knowhow of how to stand against what they presume dangerous and unacceptable, and fight, not run for the fear of losing everything. If those tens and thousands, instead of running to the airport for saving their skin from the quickly approaching fire, would have stood and encountered the fire, what would have happened is a guessing game. It might had been a mass slaughter or even massacre. Who knows if the massacre would have turned into a heroic act reminding us of the dignity of life and also of the essential task of every human being to resist the evil for saving themselves and also those who are most vulnerable? The fact that nothing like that happened tells us more about the reality of Afghanistan than what the media fed us year after year about the situation of that unfortunate land.

We by now have come to know who are the people benefiting most from the bonanza in Afghanistan running almost for two decades. Definitely not the majority of Afghan citizens, nor the unfortunate souls falling from high as if acting in a live reality show to provide us with all the excitement of thrill and suspense. On the contrary, they are the self-proclaimed protectors of human dignity who had been to Kabul, Mazar and other major cities of Afghanistan for getting hold of a chunk of the trillion-dollar pie. When the pie comes with the price tag of a trillion or more, getting hold of even a tiny fraction might change the fortune overnight. Many saw that reversal of fortune in their life thanks to Afghanistan and hence with the approach of the difficult time they could easily forget about the plight of the Afghans and jump overboard the aircraft and fly to their own safety, leaving behind the poor Afghans to fight not against the new masters, but for any leftover available space in the aircraft.

For over the period of long two decades, Afghanistan was full of not only invading troops, but was also full of advisors, consultants, mercenaries of all kind, civilian contractors, business professionals, and of course honey-collecting NGOs. They had been busy protecting their own life with the help of hired mercenaries and advising Afghans about everything - ranging from how to use toilets to how to have a sound sleep when dreams get shattered by the big banging sound of grenades or mortars. Only important lessons they did not provide is how to stand on their own feet and fight, not run away, when the moment of truth knocks at the door. The end result is the great spectacle; tragic indeed, but comical too when we look back at the reason why this had to happen.

(Tokyo. September 16, 2021)

  • Aircraft
  • Airport
  • Taliban
  • Afghanistan
  • Kabul

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