Hope, development, injustice and inequality

Hamesha  just wrote about his recent trip to Bamyan.

to see that amid all that goes wrong -which the media never misses on- so much is going right, and that it is to the credit of the people, the ordinary folks, who in most cases barely have enough to get by but at the same time put up to 70% of the costs of development projects and invest in their and their children’s future. people who have a humble rural folk wisdom that can touch you unlike anything you have heard or read or discussed.

people who -in the case of bamyan- have no idea why a government that they accept and back and support ignores them while they inhabit a province so secure you could backpack through it and hitch rides from the locals and stay in their homes for the night, while they are so deeply mired in poverty that by barney rubin’s reasoning they should cultivate the highest harvest of afghanistan’s opium -but still don’t; these people have not the slightest idea why they are being neglected in development and are relegated to carving a living for themselves out of the forbidding cliffs and the rocky valleys to which geography and history have conspired together to imprison them in, and why after so many years and so many billions of development dollars, they have yet to experience a paved road, or a hospital birth.

A lovely, sad, apt choice of words.

still they persevere and salute the government cars and un vehicles driving through and covering them up all in dust, and they share the cream and quroot and sheep milk that they have. and on occasion, when it gets really frustrating, they take up not arms and ammunitions, but working tools and in what is an unprecedented example of civic action and silent protest in this country, mud-asphalt their roads to try to call attention to their miserable lot.

We really don’t hear enough about Bamyan and other areas  [like Ghor, as Marianne added in the comments] –precisely because they are not hotbeds of insurgency and political machinations. On the contrary, they are peaceful, pro-government, and comparatively progressive on gender. They are also edge-of-catastrophe poor. But without the threat of violence, reducing poverty lacks the kind of urgency that opens fat wallets and gets things done.

I am certain the irony of being neglected for doing all the right things has not escaped the people of Bamyan.

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2 thoughts on “Hope, development, injustice and inequality

  1. And it is not only the Hazara areas, Ghor – neighbouring Bamyan and majority Aimak – is similarly neglected. Hamesha write more eleoquently than I ever did, but I said the same things about Ghor the whole time I was there and made repeated (and relatively futile) trips to Kabul to try to get that message through to people who could release more resources to a province that was stable and secure enough to do something with them…

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