Category Archives: English

Whay new protest in Afghanistan?

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The statement of the Bamyan People’s Protest in regard to the 500 KV Electricity plan (regarding its diversion from its primary route (Bamyan-Maidan Provinces)
May 6, 2016
“The government is bound to create a progressive society, which attends to the welfare of its citizens, in accordance with the values of social justice, the protection of human dignity, the supporting of human rights, the fulfillment of democratic ideals, and the establishment of national unity. The government must follow a path that gives equality to all ethnic groups and equal development to all parts of the country (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Constitution; (Article 6)
Dear compatriots! As you are aware, unfortunately the Leadership of the National Government has decided, in contradiction to Afghanistan’s Constitution and the wellness of all its people, to divert the main route (Bamyan-Maidan) of Turkmenistan’s 500 Kilo Volt electricity cable. Even worse than what has been mentioned, they did not pay attention to the legitimate demands of the people of Afghanistan regarding the cable, and still insist on their tyrannical and monopolistic decision. We, the people of Bamyan and the central areas of Afghanistan understand that such a decision is irrational and in contrary of national interests of the country in the following ways:
1- Transferring the electricity cable through the Salang pass, as the new proposal intends, will result in fewer economic benefits in the short and long term.
2- As it means the crossing of several electricity lines already established along the same route, it is contrary to equal development for all provinces.
3- There is a lack of adequate safety and security along the Salang Route; as we all witnessed with the power cut-off in Kabul.
4- It is not compatible with the logic and established practices of development and is not supported by the majority of experts.
5- The majority of people are not satisfied with the transition of the route to Salang and it severely puts the empathy and brotherhood of the country in danger.
According to the above, as well as tens of other reasons, the people of Bamyan realize that the latest decision of National Unity Government Cabinet is unwise, and the obstinacy in insisting to adhere to such decision in light of the above is autocratic and an example of obscurantism. So we state our demands, through this demonstration to which thousands have participated, as follows:
1. We ask the heads of the National Unity Government to respect their responsibility to all citizens, and the principle of equality for all citizens to have equal rights and equal development. Such equal rights are emphasized in the Constitution and correspond with the people’s demands in regard to the electricity cable transfer through Bamyan-Maidan Provinces.
2. We condemn the intractable and disuniting stands of the Government, and alert that the government will be held responsible for any consequences that result from this decision.
3. We want the heads of the National Unity Government to desist with their obstinacy and obscurantism in making such an unjustified decision at the soonest possibility, to bring their one-sided politics to an end, and to seriously review their policy and return the 500 KV electricity to its original rout (Bamyan-Maidan), which also is the preference of national and international experts.
4. We ask the International Organizations, donor countries to the Government of Afghanistan, National and International Human Rights Organizations who have a responsibility to poverty alleviation and sustainable development, to hear the democratic demands voiced by the people and to put pressure on the government, and to not allow the donation funds to be spent in a fashion against development logic because of the personal will of rulers and the monopolist statesmen.
5. The people of Bamyan assure the people of Central Afghanistan and other justice-seekers all over the country and the world that we will stand against such decision until fulfilment of these legitimate demands, and we are ready to pay any required price to achieve this. We also request the noble and aware people of Afghanistan to stand against the intractable and divisive discord of the government and join us in protest.
6. We urge the National Unity Government to bring an end to the current situation, Otherwise, there will continue widespread protests, with millions of people joining. Therefore, their chance to maintain their status as the legitimate leadership will be severely lost or severely curtailed.
7. The protest of the Bamyan people today is one of the primary civil disobedience and justice-seeking steps, but in the event of lack of attention of the government to our justice-seeking demands, we will pursue other options; such as stopping cooperation with the Government, withdrawal of our representatives from the government and closing the Government Offices, as well as other necessary actions.
The People of Bamyan

Translated by Dawood Wassl Hazaristani
Edited by Melissa Skye Chiovenda, PHD Candidate

The “Shirin” theatre needs your help

Mr. Kaveh Ayreek needs your monetary help to complete his “Shirin” theatre.

Kaveh Ayreek is an Afghan mime artist, writer, director and actor currently residing in Kabul Afghanistan. His dream is to bring some relief to his post-war society, and help relieve their traumas of war through his art. ‘Shirin’, meaning sweet, in Farsi, is one of the many plays he has written. But the thought of Shirin is not leaving him alone. Neither does the pains of Shirin. As he puts it himself ‘‌Shirin is the symbol of Afghan women’s resistance and perseverance in one of the most male dominated societies of today’s world, Afghanistan.’ So he has to do something bigger with it. His Shirin (Sweet) dream is to start the first Shadow theatre in Afghanistan, ‘Shirin’s Theatre’. But he himself does not have the resources to start it. He has asked many people inside Afghanistan to help him launch it, but has not received any positive response yet. But he is determined to change that through his art, a society that has to start enjoying art and supports it. Afghanistan is a post-war country that needs people like Kaveh to start something new and different than what people are used to, war and devastation.
As one of his friends, I felt obligated to raise the amount he needs to start this. Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated and will be put to right use. Please consider helping Kaveh’s Dream of Shirin come true.

If you can help, please go to the link below.
http://www.gofundme.com/h6g728?fb_action_ids=767057353329404&fb_action_types=og.shares

To see Kaveh’s Work, please follow the link below.

The Afghan mime artist
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hD-R1vElfdk

Please also like Kaveh’s page in facebook and share this article with all of your friends.

If there is any questions please do not to hesitate to contact me.

Sorry Latifa, You are a Hazara

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It was a pleasant day in Lal-o-Sar Jangal, Ghor Province Afghanistan. Latifa was thrilled since morning because she was going to Kabul City with her husband today for the honey moon. Her husband, Nauroz had already told her to get all necessary stuff ready by 10pm.

Nearly a month ago, she got married with Nauroz, his village mate. She was just 22 years old, a young lady with full of dreams to enjoy the marriage life. It was early morning, when she left her bed to start the day but it was not the routine day. She couldn’t sleep properly as the honeymoon excitement kept her awake nearly all night. She hurriedly prepared breakfast for the family. Her blood was running fast in her veins. She seemed flying today—feeling over the moon. She wanted to finish all house chores as quick as possible and she also wanted to finish packing before the set time.

In the evening, her parents visited her home to see off her. She cooked a sumptuous dinner for the family. All family members enjoyed the dinner. Latifa promised to bring beautiful wool shawls, scarves from Kabul and warm shoes for her mother-in-law.

It was around 10pm, when her husband asked her to leave home. She kissed her elders’ hands to seek their blessings. In traditional Hazaragi dress, she was looking stunning with a bridal scarf. They both left home and arrived at the bus station, where a mini-bus was waiting to get them on board. The driver put their bags on the roof and tied them up. The commuters took a sigh of relief when the bus started moving forward.

“We will arrive in Kabul in the afternoon,” the driver said loudly and sped the bus bit fast.

“Why the bus doesn’t go in the morning?” she asked her husband inquisitively.

“It’s safe at night rather than in the day light,” Nauroz replied confidently.

The mini-bus was going slowly but the commuters could easily feel the jerk and the bump as it was running on the rough and unpaved road. The bus was swaying to either side when it moved bit fast. However, Latifa wasn’t feeling the knock and jolt because she was thinking about Kabul City, her honeymoon.

“Do you know which place we should see first in Kabul?” she asked.

“What do you think?” her husband replied.

“I don’t know. This is my first time going to Kabul.”

“After lunch in Kabul, we’ll take a rest for a few hours, and then we’ll go to the cinema. We’ll watch a Hindi film. What do you think?”

“Sounds great to me.”

She didn’t know how Kabul looks like. She heard a lot about Kabul City, especially Bagh-e-Babur, Bagh-e-Bala, Qargha, Kabul Zoo, cinemas and of course shopping malls. The beautiful national park Band-e-Amir and historical Bamiyan city known for its giant Buddhas were also in her list before coming home.

When the bus reached Feroz Koh, it stopped.

“Why it’s stopped?” she asked curiously.

“I think, it’s a normal checking by the authorities—not to worry,” her husband explained.

Three bearded armed men got on the bus. One of them put the gun on the head of the driver and shouted to get off the bus.

“Who are they? What are they doing?” she asked nervously.

“I don’t know—may be Taliban. Don’t know,” Nauroz said fearfully.

Both of the armed men were pulling commuters off the bus. She couldn’t believe her eyes, when a dark bearded armed man with thick eyebrows and a large nose dragged her out of the bus. She was horrified. She was made to line up beside the bus with other commuters. She also saw more armed men who were getting passengers out of the three buses and were lining them up. The women and children were crying. Armed men were asking everybody to show their ID Cards. She didn’t know, why they were asking ID Cards?

After checking ID Cards, the armed men were letting some commuters to go, while some others’ hands were being tied on their back. She started crying when her husband’s hands were tied on the back. She realized that only Hazaras were being singled out and lined them up against the bus. The armed men were kicking and punching Hazaras. After excluding Hazaras from others, armed men started torturing and shooting including women. She also felt something in her head and after that she didn’t know, what happened to her.

In the morning, the horrifying news struck to the national media and the social media networks. 15 innocent people were shot dead in Feroz Koh area including three women and a 9-month old child. Nobody was found injured. They were shot killed because they were Hazaras and Shias. Latifa’s body was lying dead beside her husband. Her hands were also tied on the back. She received several bullets but the bullet in the head took her life. She was killed because she was a Hazara and it was the only crime.

As routine, Kabul government issued clichéd statement vowing to bring terrorists to book. It’s worth mentioning, that for the past one month, around 50 Hazaras have so far been slaughtered by the religious terrorists in different parts of Afghanistan. No single terrorist in this regard was brought to justice, which is a matter of great concern for Hazaras in Afghanistan.

Angry protesters from different parts of Afghanistan including Kabul, Herath, Mazar-e-Sharif, Bamiyan and Daykundi even from Quetta City, Pakistan took to the street to expressed their solidarity with aggrieved family members and demanded Kabul Government to stop the killings of Hazaras in Afghanistan and provide full protection to its citizens. Many believe that if the recent ongoing Hazara killings were not stopped immediately by the government, it would further divide Afghanistan on ethnic lines.

Tuesday 29 July 2014, by Muhammad Younas

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Edris Joya and his wife together agains racism to Hazara killing

Fifteen Hazara civilians shot dead in Ghor/Afghanistan

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Suspected Taliban gunmen stopped two vehicles in central Afghanistan and shot dead 15 Hazara passengers at the side of the road, police in Ghor province have said.

Only one man escaped after the gunmen held up two vehicles on a road in the province and shot dead 10 men, four women and one child, police said.

“Armed gunmen stopped two vehicles and shot dead the passengers,” Abdul Hai Khatibi, spokesman for the governor of Ghor province, told the AFP news agency.

“They ordered all passengers to stand in one line, and then they shot them dead one by one.

“One man managed to flee. All of the others were shot in the head and chest.”

The apparently sectarian killings included a newlywed couple. The Hazara Passengers may have been on the way back from celebrating the marriage.

Hazaras are not safe at any place in Afghanistan, as Taliban have killed many passengers on their way to home.

Behsood is another victim of Taliban by the name of Kochi, burning the home of innocent Hazaras.

According to recent UN figures, civilian casualties soared by 24 percent in the first half of 2014, while the International Crisis Group has said the “overall trend is one of escalating violence and insurgent attacks.”

Who is the Talib?

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In the time around 1971, when radical Islamic theories where born in Afghanistan through the influence of the Mujaheddin, the CIA initiated a project which followed these tendencies. Back then, the name of the project was hardly known to anyone, while nowadays everyone is familiar with it: Taliban.

History

The concept was in accordance with the situation in Afghanistan at that time. People where illiterate and mostly believed what mullahs would tell them. Of course, this circumstance was widely used to spread propaganda. The Mujaheddin made people fight against the Sowjet Union in 1971 to 1981 to win the war.
Ten years later, after the Russians had left the country to hands of the Mujaheddin, the different religious leaders fought over presidency and split up Kabul, the capital city, amongst them into four districts. The contract between them scheduled a two month long reign for each of the leaders in a rotating system. But after the first president, Sebqatullah Mujadedi had served his two months, the second president, Burhanuddin Rabbani tried to stay in office with the use of violence. A civil war erupted in Kabul and Afghanistan, in which afghans fought against afghans, who belonged to different ethnic groups. Pashtuns fought against Hazaras, Uzbeks against Tajiks. In this time from 1992 until 1996, 25.000 to 30.000 afghan civilians died according to official record, while the informal number reaches up to half a million.
In September 1996, the Taliban, who had until then had played a minor role in Afghanistan, took over Kabul in a military strike. From then on, they had the country under their control. There was constant fighting though with the National Front that had formed itself under Ahmad Shah Massoud, the former Mujaheddin leader. Many people died from the Taliban’s atrocities so as violence and suppression against women and ethnic cleansing of minorities like the Hazara.

According to Plan

Until 2001, when the Taliban had gained foothold as the government, everything had worked out according to plan for the US and the CIA. But Massoud’s forces continued fighting the Taliban movement. On his visit to Europe in spring 2001, he voiced concernes that his secret service had information that an attack on american ground would take place very soon. Massoud was killed shortly after in a suicidal bombing attack on September 9th 2001.
When the planes crashed into the twin towers two days later, there where no more obstacles in the way of the US. Just a month later, George W. Bush invaded Afghanistan. 15.000 Afghan civilians died (according to US statistics) in the war that followed.

Vultures on the Corpse

Not without reason has Afghanistan for long carried the name „Heart of Asia“. The geographic position is perfectly located in the center of many important countries in the middle east, providing proximity to the Arabian Sea, to Iran, Israel and Palestine, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. To be added are the rich mineral resources below the surface. But the US weren’t the only country wanting to profit from these benefits. Soon, several nations began to place their soldiers at the Hindukush under the smokescreen of a peacekeeping mission. Today, they add up to 50 countries, collectively known as ISAF. Obviously, in wars, profit always plays an important role. This includes the trade of arms and weapons to different parties of the conflict. Soon, an extensive problem started forming itself. The Taliban, once a heterogenic group, began splitting up amongst itself. Not only the US, but every country now had it’s own Talib who they used as puppets to secure their power. They made use of the Taliban, who had been trained in Pakistan, to gain stabilty in the country.
Fact is, no one really wants peace and freedom for Afghanistan. If this would become the case one day, the presence of foreign troops would become unnecessary. The US and the other nations would lose all the geostrategic benefits, and the flourishing arms trade would run dry.

Afghanistan Carries the Cost

The Taliban’s identity can no longer be defined clearly. The USA, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tchechnia and even Germany have meanwhile installed their own Talibanistic forces in Afghanistan. The CIA has lost complete control of it’s project and has really harmed itself in the end. The Taliban, who where born in Pakistan and raised by the US, have now been adopted and instrumentalized by the rest of the world. Enduring the suffering that results from this, is left to Afghanistan and it’s people.

Edris Joya
Afghan freelance journalist, Germany

Afghan 007 Has Died

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Gholam Yahya Hussaini from Parvan province, Afghanistan, has died from a heart attack today in Kabul. He was the only trusted person who carried information between the two leaders Mazari and Massoud during the civil war from 1992 to 1996 in Afghanistan . During that time, the Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks and Pashtuns where fighting against each other, while he remained standing.
When Burhanuddin Rabbani was president in 1992, he was marshal Fahim’s assistant, who himself is now Karzai’s accomplice. After the civil war, when both Mazari and Massoud had died, he still had good contact with their both brothers and their parties. But he didn’t want to become a minister or diplomat. Instead of gaining position in the government, he remained as a silent force behind the curtain.
Today, Karzai, the Mujaheddin leaders and lots of other important people in Afghanistan have sent out their condolence messages in remembrance of Hussaini. The remaining question is, what was his real identity and how much information did he have that we don’t? Why did he not publish them all in a book? What meaning is behind the wave of reactions in Afghanistan? Was he a real spy? Or just a trustworthy person, who remained this way until death? Who could answer these questions? He has now taken these informations to the grave.

Edris Joya
Freelance journalist, Germany

September 4th 2009 – An Open Wound

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If someone would decide to bomb a large group of people whilst being aware of the fact that civilians are most likely to be among them he would probably face massive legal prosecution. The court in Bonn, Germany, has now declared that the man who did excactly this, was doing nothing but his job.
It was on September the 4th, when two tank trucks loaded with petrol got stuck in the shallow bed of Kunduz river. The trucks had been abducted by the Taliban the day before, but had then been abandoned in the mud for the moment. At night, more than a hundred Afghans from a dozen surrounding villages gathered around the vehicles to look for things that might still be of use, like clothes or food. Especially the prospect of free gas, which many couldn’t afford, attracted people of all different ages.
In the Camp of german soldiers 15 kilometres away, the commander of „provincial reconstruction team Kunduz“ colonel Georg Klein receives reports on the gathering of Afghans on the trucks that where captured the day before. Believing that the people on the Kunduz river sand bank are opposing military insurgents, he orders US-force bombers to deliver heavy artillery. When the bomber pilotes send live video pictures from their front cameras that show a huge group of people, they ask colonel Klein several times if they should not rather try to chase away the people by flying close to the ground. His answer is a clear no. But nstead of the six bombs that Klein had instructed, the pilots drop two. Their doubts are to be cofirmed as justified.
In this night, more than 130 people die. Nearly fourty are children from the age of five to 16, the rest are mostly farmers, tractor drivers, common people. But most importantly, they were fathers to a total of over 160 children who’s families are now on their own. In fact, no more than five of the people killed where members of the Taliban.
While the lives of so many where destroyed in a few minutes, back in Germany colonen Klein has been promoted to a higher position within the military. Two victims of the Kunduz massacre had pledged for compensation at the high court in Bonn: Abdul Hannan, who had lost his two sons aged eight and twelve, and Quraisha Ra’uf who’s husband was killed in the NATO bombing attack. She now has to raise six children on her own. But on December 11th, their attorney Karim Popal had bad news for them. Klein and the federal republic of Germany had not been found guilty. The colonel for example said, he could only identify tiny black dots on the video screens. Also he could’t be sure that there was no cooperation with the enemy, the Taliban. All in all, this judgement has been very unsatisfying not only for the attorney Popal and the victims Hannan and Ra’uf, who have to carry the trial costs by themselves. It is seen very critically throughout Germany, but for the Afghan people and all the victims of Kunduz it is a humiliation to see the man who killed their children has not even been suspended from office, but even gets to work in a higher position. Justice has not been done, considering that the Kunduz massacre in 2009 was the worst atrocity by German soldiers since 1945. Karim Popal promised to initiate another trial.
The jugement that has been made in Bonn is yet another symbol for the inequality in treatment of people in the Middle East and the west. The former german politician and author Jürgen Todenhöfer sums this up with the statement: „In the last few years, Afghanistan has whitnessed several 9/11s.“

Edris Joya, afghan freelance journalist

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Twenty-Four Hours for Human Rights

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For more than sixty years, December 10th has been celebrated as the Human Rights Day . The remembrance is a commemoration of the declaration of human rights, which was passed on December 10th in 1948. But at the same time, it is an annual reminder. It shows us how year after year passes, and still the situation for people around the world who suffer from human rights violation, increases only in small steps.
One might think that sixty years are a very long time, when in fact it is very little if it comes to changing things. If we try for example to transform the way people treat or perceive each other in our immediate social environment (this might include a school, university, or home town), we soon realize how incredibly hard it is to change peoples minds. Ways of thinking about or treating people, for example of a different ethnic or religious group, are patterns manifested already in childhood days. The result is a society where for example racism occurs on a daily basis.
If we can’t even, or only hardly can make our direct neighbors pay attention to human rights – how should this ever be possible on a worldwide basis?
Human rights are violated every day in wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine and many more, and it is often hard to tell by which side of the conflicr. Exploitation, human trafficking and modern day slavery are still major issues of the 21st century. And countless journalists, whistle blowers or intellectuals that are held in prison or killed by repressive regimes show that freedom of speech is still not guaranteed anywhere. Random killings and genocide of certain minorities are sad and regular atrocities to humanity.
How come though that the western hemisphere has appointed itself as the ultimate protector of human rights? A look behind the bars of America’s high security prison Guantanamo Bay quickly lets the image of our so called civilized world fade a way. Not only the US, but also Europe ensure discrimination rather than the protection of human rights.
The increasing number of immigrants in many European countries is one of the biggest challenges for society because it requires innovative ideas and new ways of thinking. Instead, political parties and media often misuse the image of migrants as the new enemy and a threat to the local culture and population – only to have someone to blame for current problems. Sadly, this leads to stereotype thinking, prejudice and fear among citizens and culminates in zero tolerance. People from other countries face huge problems just finding a job or renting a flat. The conditions asylum seekers have to live in, sometimes for years, are devastating especially in the crowded accommodations in Greece or Turkey. Life in central Europe is not much more pleasant for them, though. Police forces make use of so called racial profiling and observe people with a darker skin color or foreign appearance much more often than locals. This shows how even in national institutions neutrality is slowly being replaced by presumption.
Facing these deficits in the protection of human rights, not just on the other side of the world but also in our immediate social environment, no one should be satisfied with only twenty-four hours for human rights every year. We need to realize that discrimination sometimes takes place in wars of countries far away, but sometimes just round the corner of where we live. This also means that everyone can step outside and start changing something right away. We need to work on this, the issue of human rights, together as a global community, and not just leave it all to governmental bodies, so that the steps of improvement can steadily grow bigger every year. An individual may be the smallest part of society, but individuals also make up the biggest proportion. With once being aware of this, every day will become Human Rights Day.

BSA – Bargaining over Signatures in Afghanistan

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Apart from the actual meaning of the acronym BSA, bilateral security agreement, “bargaining over signatures in Afghanistan” could also be a possible translation. The BSA contract, which is currently being negotiated between Afghanistan and the US, will regulate the future presence of US troops in the war torn country after 2014. Despite the planned withdrawal of all NATO soldiers, there are talks that a small part of the americans will remain in certain military bases to insure stability and continue training of afghan security forces. Although the draft is completed, president Hamid Karzai’s signature is still missing on the document.

The placement of foreign troops in Afghanistan has always been viewed from very diverging opinions throughout the country. While a respectable part of the population considers the presence of NATO military as necessary to secure stability, some would also go so far as to speak of a western “occupation” and a modern form of colonialism.
But on the other hand, what reasons makes the US want to stay in Afghanistan, on it’s own expenses, even if the stability pact expires in 2014 and the “peace mission” comes to an end? Worldwide belief in the altruistic motivation of the former Bush and the current Obama administration to bring peace administration to bring peace to Afghanistan and fight the have faded away long ago. Rather it is widely accepted that the US takes advantage of the convenient geo strategic position of the country that is referred to as the heart of Asia. If the BSA comes into effect, it will be possible for the US military to maintain bases close to the important capital cities of neighbouring countries like Iran or Russia. Furthermore, the proximity to the Arabian Sea will guarantee flawless supply of military missions in the Middle East. An extendet stay in Afghanistan can bring massive opportunities for the USA.

This is a fact that Karzai is fully aware of. To discuss the contract, he scheduled a Loya Jirgain November, even if the desicion has no legal power because only the parliament can determine if the pact will be accepted or not. Through this move, the president shows that he takes the opinion if tribal leaders and the population into account. But although the Loya Jirga has accepted the BSA, Karzai has still not signed the contract. Rather he has added more conditions to the security pact, like the one that soldiers should have no more permission to raid afghan homes, and that all afghan prisoners that are held in Guantanamo bay should be released and can return to their home country.
This has put the US under pressure. Even if they threaten to withdraw all troups immediately if Karzai doesn’t sign until the end of the year 2013, a so called zero option, it is very unlikely they will do so. This way, Karzai can push through his aims. He said he might even wait with signing until after the elevations in April 2014. Also, through counselling the Loya Jirga, he gained their sympathy. If they are against the elections taking place, they would most likely be impossible to be taken through, and like this Karzai can remain president even if legally this is not possible because he has already been in power for two legislative periods.

It all depends on Karzai’s signature now. If he agrees to the contract, he will be the one who has secured stability for his country and also brought pressure on US troups to respect afghan lives. If he doesn’t, he will make history as the man who freed Afghanistan from it’s “occupation” while it will be in his successors hand to sort out the future of the country without the security of foreign troups. At the moment, it is at his hands to play games with the US by taking his time. In the end, every one of the options that are open at the moment will bring a win-win situation for him.

Edris Joya
Afghan freelance journalist, Germany

“Our Nation has lost it’s greatest Son”

With these words, Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, summarized the era that has come to an end today. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013), former president of South Africa and Peace Nobel prize winner of 1993, has died at the age of 95 after suffering months in illness.
Mandela had passed away in his residency with close family members, where he spent his last weeks following a stay at intensive care in a private clinic in Pretoria. He had there been treated because of severe lung problems. These probably resulted from a never completely cured tuberculosis, which Mandela got infected with during his 17 year long incarceration at Robben Island, Cape Town.

Although the long period of illness had prepared people around the world for the death of Nelson Mandela, the news shocked South Africans. Instant responses worldwide through social networks or spontaneous prayers show what an extraordinary and iconic person Mandela was. His significant dedication to peace and equality might only be comparable to Mahatma Ghandi. As a politician he had fought for the end of the apartheid in South Africa with all of his power, regardless of threats to his own safety or well being. This was the reason why he had to spend long years in prison.
When he was released on February 11th 1990 after five years of stern negotiations with the apartheid regime, his effort paid off. A peaceful transition of power took place and Mandela was elected as the first black president of South Africa. Even though he had spent nearly twenty years living in terrible conditions held captured by the regime, he forgave his tormentors surprisingly to the public.

Even though Mandela is not among us any more, his legacy will remind us of what it takes to fight for freedom and equality. We can learn a lot from his life, and maybe should also start thinking about we can do to peacefully topple repressive regimes, and to free all those people suffering from them.

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