Which Election?

This election was not the same as the first one. Then, I had hopes and desires for the future of my country. I voted for Masouda Jalal, the only woman who wanted to be president in our country’s history. I was waiting to see a bright future for Afghans and a government that works for the people.

But when I look back over the last five years, I see we didn’t have the president people wanted. I know President Karzai came at a time when everything was destroyed and needed rebuilding. I appreciate some of his work, especially the fact that I could continue my education. He faced a lot of challenges. There was no real democracy, no real security, economic difficulties, and other problems big and small. People grew disheartened during the last five years. They wanted to see real changes. They wanted food, job, security, education, and health care.

This election ate my heart out. Everyone was worried about everything. For example, could people vote in the election? Everyone wondered: will there be changes? Will the situation be better or worse? My family was worried. My mother bought some food and everything we need for the coming three to four months. I was sad. What will happen with my education if the situation gets worse?

This year, I didn’t vote. I had no trust in any candidate. But my heart wanted to vote. I wish there was someone I could trust. I asked most of my classmates and families, and they didn’t vote either. Those who voted either had top positions in the government or full stomachs during the last five years.

I feel pity for Afghans who voted and lost their noses and fingers. Some lost their fingers because they had ink from voting on them. The Taliban did this in Wardak Province. A group of Taliban stood on the road and stopped cars and buses; they checked fingers and asked who voted and those whose fingers had ink lost their fingers. I also heard of a farmer who went to vote. Afterwards, on his way home, they cut off his nose and ears, and neighbors had to take him to the hospital. He was in critical condition. Then he was moved to a hospital in Kabul; he is alive but I think, how is life without nose and ears? I was very sad when I heard this.

I am sorry to say this, but I think we experienced a very invalid election. I watched the videos. Most people voted in their houses, children voted and those voted who had power and guns. I feel this was a pity. The money spent on the election could have been used to build schools, universities, hospitals. The security conditions got worse and worse. They couldn’t announce the results, and people were worried. They said if Karzai won, people would demonstrate and anything could happen.

Finally, as you know, the election went to the second round and Abdullah Abdullah boycotted. This was bad, I think; it was not the time to leave the country in empty space.

When they announced that Karzai was the winner of the election, I laughed and laughed and asked myself, “Which election?”

But I hope he will prove himself very good this time and work hard for our country. He can’t play with people’s feelings and trust. Those who work for the future in the government in my country from A to Z should know that they have the responsibility to answer one day to God.

They should do something for the family who lost their two young sons in Jahad. It has been years and years and now they can only look at a picture of them. They should care for those people who lost legs and hands in the war, and care for those who lost family members in suicide attacks. They should care for the old man with one leg who repairs shoes for 40 cents from morning till evening. They should care for the women who sell things at night in front of hotels to support their families. They should take care of the hungry and thirsty children who are not able to go to school and sell plastic bags on the streets. They should know people are full of expectations. Winning the election doesn’t mean having the opportunity to eat a $400 dinner, it doesn’t mean filling your pockets from the blood of poor people, it doesn’t mean living in modern buildings, it doesn’t mean sending your son and daughter to foreign countries for education, it doesn’t mean to giving jobs to your family members and forgetting others. It doesn’t mean sleeping on a golden pillow and letting poor people rest in a bed of pain.

I hope they understand the people’s needs, expectations and desires. Afghan people don’t want to go to space. People know Afghans as terrorists but we don’t fire upon the world. We only only only want food. And peace.

We want a new Karzai; this time, a president by all means. He should close the sad chapter of five and three years ago. We want change. We don’t want to die under the sky of wishes. We can’t see our country, land of blood, land of blood.

By Roya

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3 responses to “Which Election?

  1. Roya — Not surprisingly, your essay is poetic and moving. Some of my favorite lines are:

    But my heart wanted to vote.

    It doesn’t mean sleeping on a golden pillow and letting poor people rest in a bed of pain.

    We want change. We don’t want to die under the sky of wishes.

    These words all give strength and beauty to your opinions that straight facts would not. Gorgeous writing.

  2. Lovely, heartbreaking essay, Roya.

    I hope you get a new Karzai, too. And a new kind of support from his allies!

  3. This was amazing. I wrote a similar essay during the U.S. Election of Barack Obama, when I volunteered.

    I know one day you will be able to elect a leader that wants the change that you want. We did.

    Be strong and keep fighting with your vote.

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