SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  The Lounge    Perspective, this Thanksgiving, from Afghanistan and how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. Selling daughters in hopes to stay alive.

Moderators: Chris Orndorff, LDD
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Perspective, this Thanksgiving, from Afghanistan and how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. Selling daughters in hopes to stay alive. Login/Join 
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
Picture of ChuckFinley
posted
https://www.spectator.co.uk/ar...re-growing-desperate

Shukria Abdul Wahid has nine children, two boys and seven girls. All they had to eat yesterday, she says, were two small pieces of stale flatbread — for the whole family. She and her husband went without. They couldn’t even have tea to quieten their own hunger pangs. The gas bottle used to boil water ran out long ago and there is no money for another one. She tells me it is unbearable having to say ‘no’ to her children all day when she doesn’t have a scrap of food to give them. ‘They are very little. They do not understand the situation, they do not know what’s happening in Afghanistan,’ she says. ‘So they just keep begging — “Give us something to eat. We are hungry” — and they won’t stop crying.’

An aid worker for an Islamic charity found Shukria for me in the Afghan capital, Kabul. He translated as she spoke into his phone and he sent me photographs. She is dressed in a blue burka and sits on a small rectangle of carpet on a bare concrete floor. Her children squeeze on to the carpet around her and look up at the camera, wide-eyed. The room is tiny — perhaps once a storeroom — and there’s no glass in the windows to keep out the bitter cold of a Kabul winter. They don’t have so much as a blanket for the children, she says. That’s because they had to flee their home in the province of Baghlan when the Taliban swept in. Her husband was a soldier and they were afraid he would be killed. The family could not find food in Baghlan and hunger drove them into Kabul. But Kabul is the same. Her husband goes to the bazaar every day to find work. Most days, he comes home empty-handed and they don’t eat.

The UN, aid agencies and human rights groups are warning that Afghanistan is on the brink of famine. Millions of Afghans are already in what the UN calls a ‘food emergency’. They are not starving yet, but a few more missed meals may bring them close to that. For people like Shukria, this means making awful choices to survive. She is terrified of losing a child to hunger (or cold) this winter and so she tells me that only the day before, with nothing left in the house, she came to a decision. ‘We hope from Allah that our lives will be better in the future. But everything is so difficult. It just seems impossible. I told my husband we had to do something. I said we had to sell one of our daughters — to get food for the other children, to stop their hunger, to save everyone.’

‘He takes everybody for a ride.’
‘He takes everybody for a ride.’
She was talking about selling her daughter into an early arranged marriage. There have been many reports about Afghan families being forced to do this, their daughters given away to whoever can pay. I asked an Afghan journalist in Herat, in the far west of the country, if this was widespread, or just a few stories in the international media. He drove out to a village named Shahrak-e-Sabz, which is known, even in Afghanistan, for its poverty. The place is a collection of mud-brick homes in the midst of a stony desert, a mountain looming in the background. As soon as he arrived — smartly dressed, driving a car, having come from the city — he was surrounded by a crowd who thought he had come to buy a child. Men and women called out to him to come with them so they could sell him one of their daughters. It didn’t take him long before he found a couple who had already done this terrible thing.

Jan Muhammad and his wife Shareen Gull are both in their early twenties. The journalist from Herat sends me a picture of them sitting against the mud wall of their house. He gives them my questions and translates their answers.

As the exchanges takes place, they proudly show off a chubby-faced little girl of seven months named Rahilla. She is their first child, yet they have sold her. They try to explain why. Jan Muhammad works as a labourer and if he’s lucky, and someone takes him on, he gets between 50 and 100 Afghanis a day, between 50 cents and $1. But those days are rare and he usually ends up scavenging for dry bits of bread in Herat. He brings these home and Shareen Gull adds water to make a paste for them to eat. ‘If he finds work, he brings some soft bread [from the bakery],’ she says, ‘but we haven’t had that in months.’

They could have gone on living like this for a long time, but in August there was a disaster. Jan Muhammed’s brother was arrested and taken to the central jail in Kabul. The family had to pay a bribe to get him out: 70,000 Afghanis, about $750. The timing was terrible. These were the last days of the Afghan government. If only they had waited a few more weeks, they tell me bitterly — the Taliban freed all the prisoners anyway. But they went deep into debt to pay the bribe and there was no money left over for food. Shareen Gull says: ‘I didn’t eat for a week because of that. We were in despair.’

But then other families told them how to arrange the sale of a daughter and, at four months old, Rahilla was bought by a wealthy goat trader, a man in his fifties. This man promised that the little girl would eventually marry one of his sons, not him, but if he’s lying about that, there is really nothing her parents can do. The goat trader will take her away as soon as she can walk and she will work in his house as a servant until marriage. The down payment for Rahilla has cleared Jan Muhammed’s and Shareen Gull’s debts and they will get another 10,000 Afghanis — a little more than $100 — when the man comes to collect her. Her mother tells me: ‘If he pays us the rest of the money, we can survive. If he doesn’t come back for her, we will have nothing to live on.’ Both parents dream of somehow getting enough money to buy their daughter back one day. ‘We want to free our small girl,’ says Jan Muhammed. There seems no real chance of that.

The selling of daughters used to be rare in Afghanistan, but it is happening much more because of the country’s desperate situation. The UN calls it the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today. Food is short because of a drought over the summer — the most extreme in 20 years — and because fighting stopped the harvest in many places. What’s more important is the fact that three-quarters of all government spending and 43 per cent of the country’s income overall used to come from foreign aid. That’s all gone now with the Taliban in charge. It didn’t help that the American-backed government appears to have fled with much of the money in the country’s central bank. The Taliban are broke.

Afghanistan’s new leaders want the billions of dollars that belonged to the old government, which sit frozen in American banks. It seems unlikely that the Biden administration will give it to them. Only last month, a senior US official warned that al Qaeda were once again thriving under the Taliban. They had the ‘intention’ to attack the American homeland and would soon have the ‘capability’ as well, he said. An Afghan friend tells me it would be a mistake to give this money direct to the Taliban because ‘they will only steal it’. He is now a refugee in Pakistan and shares with me WhatsApp messages from people who haven’t been able to escape. There are stories of killings and kidnapping, arrests and beatings — and all this while the Taliban are trying to impress the world that they have changed. ‘If the world helps them out now, they will regret it,’ he says. But this is exactly the dilemma facing the international community: whether to trust that the Taliban have changed or watch as millions of people go hungry.




_________________________
NRA Endowment Member
_________________________
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis
 
Posts: 5355 | Location: District 12 | Registered: June 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lead slingin'
Parrot Head
Picture of Modern Day Savage
posted Hide Post
On this Thanksgiving Day of celebration, enjoying family and friends, and remembering what we have and should be grateful for, I was going to bump the Afghanistan thread, thinking about our fellow countrymen, allies, and the Afghans abandoned behind the lines, but this thread is as good a place to remember them and what they are suffering over there.

That people who weren't starving or selling their daughters just a few short months ago and now are, should be considered a crime. I hope the suffering and national disgrace the current administration has caused haunts them all for the rest of their years on this Earth.

It's tough to read a story like this, this day especially... but I'm glad you posted it.
 
Posts: 6130 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Optimistic Cynic
Picture of architect
posted Hide Post
Before we consider helping to alleviate this "emergency" (which was completely predictable IMO) by funding the Taliban, we might want to remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog. Yes, the Afghan people are suffering, but even now they are blaming the US for their predicament, not the holy warriors that are ruling them. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
 
Posts: 4701 | Location: NoVA | Registered: July 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
posted Hide Post
There are people suffering all over the globe. To a degree. Many only know their way.
After all that has transpired in that country I find it a bit odd that these kinds of stories continue to come out. What about everyone else elsewhere. Oh that's right, only matters there.

I have compassion for any who suffer. But no more there than anywhere else.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 16572 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lead slingin'
Parrot Head
Picture of Modern Day Savage
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by architect:
Before we consider helping to alleviate this "emergency" (which was completely predictable IMO) by funding the Taliban, we might want to remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog. Yes, the Afghan people are suffering, but even now they are blaming the US for their predicament, not the holy warriors that are ruling them. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


To be clear, I'm not in favor of releasing any funds to the Taliban, either theirs or ours. Enough tax payer money has already been given to the Taliban terrorists and giving them more would only be lost in corruption and wouldn't make it to those in need anyway.

I'm lamenting, and blaming, the administstions that set this debacle in motion. You are absolutely right when you say this mess was completely predictable.. and I will add, avoidable.

Equipment, money, weapons... and people didn't have to be left behind and this level of anguish and suffering didn't have to occur. Incompetent, foolish ignorant, corrupt, selfish decisions led to this crisis and national embarrassment.

As you point out, there were lessons learned in U.S. history that, if leadership had bothered to learn, could've avoided this disaster.
 
Posts: 6130 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Am The Walrus
posted Hide Post
20 years, thousands of America lives lost, billions of dollars and they can't even get their shit right. Doesn't sound like our problem anymore.


_____________

 
Posts: 11738 | Registered: March 12, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
Picture of ChuckFinley
posted Hide Post
Guys, I think pretty much all of us see the mistakes in Afghanistan, what should've been done, what should not have been done and what should NOT be done in the future pretty much all the same way. In this thread I'm suggesting that we pause before we type on laptops that cost more than that family makes in a year to send what message we want to communicate.

On this day of Thanksgiving, could we not all pause for a moment, set aside the political and even the entirety of the shithole that Afghanistan has been throughout all of our lifespans and is likely to remain no matter what is done and reflect on the situation outlined in this story?

Can we not, as we sit down to, or get up from a table jam packed with more food in one meal for our family than that village will have collectively eaten in a month and feel the gratitude and thanks to God for our blessings?

Going back a few hundred years there was a small village on the coast, set against the wilderness. Those people were subject to a similar degree of privation. On Thanksgiving day the story isn't about going back in or releasing billions of tax payer dollars. It is realizing how much hardship there has been in history, even at times in our own history, and how much exists still in the world today. It is the story of how much each of us has to be thankful for.




_________________________
NRA Endowment Member
_________________________
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C.S. Lewis
 
Posts: 5355 | Location: District 12 | Registered: June 16, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
posted Hide Post
Sure thing chuck, but you might want to read or re-read the article you posted in your op. Especially the last couple of paragraphs Roll Eyes



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 16572 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arabiancowboy
posted Hide Post
What was the point of posting this? Life is terrible in AFG and worse now that TB rule again. Noted, and unfortunate. But as I’ve told the Afghans I advised who reach out to me now: you should have fought to win, now I can’t help you anymore. Instead they were laser focused on grifting us and the enemy won. Winning matters.
 
Posts: 2195 | Registered: May 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of bigdeal
posted Hide Post
Guys, I really think Chuck's point was to offer an example of those who have virtually nothing on a day we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving with family and friends with a bounty many of us aren't as thankful for as we might should be. Even with all the problems this country faces right now, we are truly blessed. I for one have been as guilty as anyone of absorbing all the negative nonsense we're fed daily and forgetting about the goodness and blessings I do enjoy every day. I hope to make it a New Year's resolution this year to try and look harder for and appreciate the goodness that exists in the world around me.


-----------------------------
Guns are awesome because they shoot solid lead freedom. Every man should have several guns. And several dogs, because a man with a cat is a woman. Kurt Schlichter
 
Posts: 32467 | Location: Orlando, FL | Registered: April 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by architect:
Before we consider helping to alleviate this "emergency" (which was completely predictable IMO) by funding the Taliban, we might want to remember the tale of the scorpion and the frog. Yes, the Afghan people are suffering, but even now they are blaming the US for their predicament, not the holy warriors that are ruling them. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


That part of the world was once where the most advanced societies in the world existed. Look at where the most prosperous countries were on a map in the middle ages and compare to today.
Shows what radical religions and political systems controlling the government can do.
Dumping money there will never really change anything as long as the root problem exists. Back towards the stone age they go.


___________________________
Avoid buying ChiCom/CCP products whenever possible.
 
Posts: 7334 | Location: NE GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Sad situation. But fully expected, since the Afghans have spent centuries busily killing each other in pointless tribal or religious warfare. And if we should send them $$$ or release any funds to the Taliban, would it really reach the ordinary Afghan family, like the one in the OPs post?
I dont think so. Its hard for me to generate any sympathy for Afghans.


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 12626 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

SIGforum.com    Main Page  Hop To Forum Categories  The Lounge    Perspective, this Thanksgiving, from Afghanistan and how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. Selling daughters in hopes to stay alive.

© SIGforum 2021