Dec 25, 2008

The Fight of Nasim Fekrat in Afghanistan

This post is written Philippe R. in Courrier International, you can read this in original version in French language. My friend Jean-Baptiste Perrin translated into English.
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With his personal blog Afghan Lord, Nasim Fekrat, 25, is a real fighter. His country Afghanistan has been on the front page of Western and foreign media for so many years, at the heart of what is called "the fight against international terrorism." In Kabul, Nasim fights too. With his own weapons and for a cause much braver and more difficult: freedom of expression.

Nasim Fekrat is an Afghan journalist, internationally recognized for his blog Afghan Lord that exists in English and Farsi. In 2005 already, Reporters Without Borders has awarded him its first prize to reward his work, his courage, his commitment. Afghan Lord is currently competing for the best South Asia blog 2008 awarded by the Brass Crescent Awards, oriented towards the Muslim world's blogosphere. Most recently, Nasim Fekrat won the 2008 Information Safety Freedom (ISF), received in Siena in Italy.

Nasim Fekrat has more than deserved his "trophies" of defender of the freedom of expression. This very freedom, he conquered it thanks to the Internet. He is an Afghan proselyte for blogging: he created the Afghan Press online journal and founded the Association of Afghan bloggers. Both in two versions, English and Farsi.

In its latest post dated December 14, Nasim Fekrat explains better than anyone why he won the 2008 ISF prize, as a militant for an Afghanistan open to the outside world.

"Digital Afghanistan was in my plan to foster an interest in digital media among young people in the Universities, schools, institutes and journalists. Digital Afghanistan was very important for me because I believe this is the only way we can tell our story to the world. Presenting Afghanistan through digital world is a job for new generation, not for those were involved in war, for those who were involved in massacres, those who plant opium but this the new generation that can tell to the world the reality what they believe and streaming in their live daily. They are the sources of truth and honest, they are tired of war, they are not the generation of suicide anymore."

Nasim Fekrat was awarded the ISF prize jointly with Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, an Afghan boy whose death sentence was commuted to 20 years in prison. His crime? Having read an article on the Internet.

Dec 21, 2008

Afghan LORD received Honorable Metion

I appreciate you a lot for supporting me to receive Honorable Mention in the Fifth Annual of the Brass Crescent Awards in 2008. I received this prize in the category of Best South Asian Blog as Honorable Mention and it means a lot for me.

I would like to thank Jeffrey Stern and Javaid Zirak who supported me and thank from all of you.
This really give me hope and encourage to be updated.

I salute Brass Crescent people and their spirit and innovation.

Just to add this that i think you all have seen that I tend to gravitate toward enlightening and more a voice from inside a wounded land, a forgotten land and horror land (for many), of course there is always not only horror but also love, trust, honesty and culture which i like to write you. I don’t like to be too negative but also remember that i don't born optimistic too. My childhood story is scaring, i born in the time of war and you can understand what means that.

Oh, and by the way, i owe you much!

Dec 20, 2008

Dance with Burqa

The video is taken by Pino Scaccia from the Award Ceremony in Siena. At the end of the video you can see me at the corner.
The women in the Burqa are a group who perform widely in Italy.

Dec 14, 2008

Why I am the Freedom of Expression Award Winner?

I had to write and publish this piece sooner but I couldn't because of hectic schedule. Now, I have to tell you to everyone why I became an award winner for the freedom of expression by ISF (Information Safety and Freedom) in Siana, Italy.

On Friday morning, November 28 in Siena, in Tuscany region, the award for the freedom of expression given to two Afghan journalists. I also got Kambakhsh's award. It was painful for me to receive my award while the other winner Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh is still in prison only for reading an article in the internet.

Many of you may ask me that why you became the award winner while there were many journalists who were fighting for the freedom of speech, even some of them lost their lives, some of them exiled and some of them beaten and harassed by local warlords and drug lords. I am awarded because my satire/cartoon magazine was shot down in 2004, I am awarded because I got several death threats and exiled for seven months. I am award for my hard work on developing and teaching Blogging and online journalism in my country.
I have been running many workshops for teaching blogging in different cities.

Beside this I made an electronic online newspaper “Afghan Press” in two languages, Dari (farsi) and English, we are trying to get funds and hire a few journalist to write for us. The main idea is to provide a “narration from inside” about culture, media, politics, political parties, economics, and higher educations for whom are wise and interested in Afghanistan’s affairs, and especially local compatriots.

Simultaneously i built up the Association of Afghan Blog Writers in two languages which now it changed to a powerful online community of Afghan young bloggers, they share ideas and discus situation inside the county. These were the works and beside this I had to work to feed myself and my family.As a freelancer I sold photos to AP, wrote for BBC, Pajamasmedia.org, NATO, UNAMA and local papers in Kabul. My efforts were a give a better image from my country out to the world. Blogging was my plan to teach to young people in the Universities, schools, institutes and journalists. Blogging is important for me because I believe this is the only way we can tell our story to the world. Presenting Afghanistan through blog world is a job for new generation, not for those were involved in war, for those who were involved in massacres, those who plant opium but the new generation that can tell to the world the reality of what happening in their country.

I dedicate this award to my fellow journalists in Afghanistan; I dedicate this award to those journalists who lost their lives fighting for freedom of speech, to Shaima Rezayee, Abdul Samad Rohani, Shekiba Sanga Amaaj, Zakia Zaki and Ajmal Naqshbandi.This award not only belongs to me but to my people, to Pashtun, Tajek, Hazara and Uzbek. This award belongs to my country, to my entire countryman especially for those journalists whom were jailed, harassed, and exiled. This award is belongs to Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh who is in prison now, he was convicted to death but later reduced to 20 years in prison. Right now, he is in one cell with four criminals and murders, Sayed Parwiz Kambakhsh is teaching them literacy how to read and write.

Interview with Pino Scaccia from TG1
This award belongs to journalists and writers of my country who can’t bring out their voice in public, for those who are isolated. This award belongs to those families who lost a member, to the children who lost their fathers. This award belongs to those journalists who don’t have enough to eat but can’t stop writing the truth.

I dedicate this award to my fellow bloggers, journalists and writers in Iran who are in prison now and some of them are sentenced to death only because of telling the truth to others.

This is an alert to Karzai's government which appointed Abdul Karim Khoram an ex-member of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar party in the Ministry of Information and Culture who said to media "freedom of speech is a western product and it is meaningless in Afghan society." This award is a warning to irresponsibility of foreign countries that apparently support but don’t look after where the money goes.

This award by ISF is an alert to those organizations and institutes who are working for the freedom of speech but they are not aware that journalists are receiving threats from different channels, like religious parties, fanatic fundamentalist figures, political parties, warlords, drug lords and Karzai government authorities. This is an alert to them to accelerate their efforts for supporting freedom of expression in Afghanistan which is in danger now.

And finally this award by ISF is encouragement for me and for my fellow journalist in my country to fight for freedom of expression. This award means I have to continue my works in the future.

I salute to freedom of expression, I salute those to thinks and says freely and support freedom.

Related materials:
Afghan Journalists Awarded for their hard work towards free speech
Free Kambakhsh!
Eventi a cui ha partecipato Nasim Fekrat - Audio
Nasim in Val di Susa
Una mattina a Siena per la libertà in Afghanistan- Video+picture
Tactic: Afghan blogger wins free speech award

Dec 10, 2008

Bush, Chirac and Karzai in Hell

George Bush, Jacques René Chirac, and Hamed Karzia the president of Afghanistan die and they all go to hell. The devil sees their faces and asks: 'why are you so depressed?'
Bush says 'I left USA so fast, I did not have time to kiss my family and say good bye, I wish I could call home in Texas.
The devil gives him a phone, Bush calls home, talks with his family.
Bus gives a couple of instructions to Condoleza Rice...
When he's finished, the devil asks for 2 million USD, Bush says: 'What? 2 million bucks? I only spoke for 10 minutes that's insane'.

The devil answers 'but you are in hell man, that's some distance call!'
Chirac then tells the devil: if Bush could call the USA, I want to call
France! And so he did.
When he is finished, devil asks for 3 million
Euros. Chirac is shocked: 'what? 3 million Euros for 15 minutes talk?',
'well you call from hell...' answers the devil.

Finally Karzai asks for the telephone to call Afghanistan, he starts to
speak and speak and speak for 5 hours. When he is finished, he asks: 'how
much do I pay?'
Devil says '5 Afghanis'.
'Only five Afghanis for 5 hours?' protest Bush and Chirac.
'Well'... says the Devil, 'that's local call...

Dec 7, 2008

Strong Action Is a Joke

Today, on the way coming to Berlin, I was reading USA-Today in plane from 5 December about Condolleza Rice’s meeting in Islamabad about Mumbai case.
This report was saying, Rice satisfied with Pakistan’s readiness to peruse lead in the attacks in India that have sharply raised tensions between the two nuclear power.

It is really funny to hear that after her talks with Islamabad, Pakistani leaders is committed to the war on terror and does not want to be associated with terrorism.
The funniest part is that when Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari told to Rice that the attack were a chance to strengthen efforts against terrorism in his country and promised to take “strong action”.

Once again, look at this sentence: “Asif Ali Zardari told to Rice that the attack were a chance to strengthen efforts against terrorism in his country and promised to take “strong action”.

As Afghan who is living in Pakistan neighborhood which is directly affected by its extremism and radicals Muslim groups, for me it is a joke. Pakistan supported Taliban and Islamic militants in the past and present and I am sure this will be turn to an internal enemy inside the country which may lead Pakistan to a civil war. Taliban was born in the time of Benazir Bhutto and ISI generals committed to support them; they look for their regional political benefits after Taliban still and after.

When Zardari says to Rice “this is a chance to wake up and to strengthen efforts against terrorist”, this means the attacks and several violent for the last two years which increasing caused lot of casualties inside Pakistan is nothing and this is the one he was struck that the Pakistan government should take “strong action”.

For the last years, Pakistan was lying that terrorism does not exists there but now the United States realized where the terrorism and Taliban are getting supports and equipped. If Pakistan government doesn’t support Afghan government and US, the only way to get ride of these Islamic extremism in Pakistan is i think American missile could wipe them off.

I hope Obama administration comes up with a better strategy towards liberating Afghanistan from the current situation.

Dec 6, 2008

Traveling to Germany

I just came back from L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo region. Today, there was a photo exhibition and one of my Photos was also exhibited among 50 photos from different photographers there. The association which called themselves “the Cultural Association “L’Idea di Clèves” was born and developed in the provincial reality of L’Aquila” organizes this competition every year.

This year they had two categories, prize for online competition and the one which jury had to choose among 200 pictures. The photo which was selected by the jury was a red lip and with white face and side red colored. I didn’t understand why the jury selected this picture as the winner as I found lot of great shots there. I have doubt nepotism is so strong and influenced here in Italy.

I am tired, my domain kabuli.net is expired and my kabuli.org is still not working, it was hacked before and a few days before the data moved to a new server but the DNS is not fixed I don’t know why. I wrote several times to the host and technician who is helping me but there is no positive answer. It is not complicated but now it turned to an exigent problem.

Tomorrow, I am traveling to Berlin for a workshop which is organized by GTZ, I will write more about this later.

Dec 3, 2008

My Farsi Blog Hacked Again

My Farsi blog was hacked once by someone who called himself Aljera7, Saudi hacker but this time it is worse. I don't know what is going wrong with the host and my blog. The only thing i have access is the domain kabuli.org which is registered with aplus.net but my blog which was hosted with Hostiran.net, since five days i don't have access to it nor i have the info login.

Just a few days before this happen, i was receiving the below message periodically but i ignored because i was thinking that they want to steal my password. But when i saw my account was suspended and the host gave me this reason which they received similar e-mail that i did.
I don't know who should feel responsible, the host instead to solve the problem and feel responsible to provide security, they blocked my account. Please let me know if you can help me with this i am getting mad. Read the below message which caused to block my account.

HIS IS AN URGENT MATTER
Hello,
I work for and represent Westpac Banking Corporation.

Please be advised that we have received reports of Phishing website(s) at
the following URL(s) being used to illegally obtain the login details of
Westpac Internet Banking customers:

http://kabuli.org/UserFiles/Image/secure.htm

As at 06:50 29/11/2008 (AEST) these URLs resolved to the IP address(es) of
208.64.230.251
for which you are listed as an abuse/support contact. We would greatly
appreciate your prompt assistance in:

1. Zipping any relevant files from the folders below and forwarding these
to cdar@westpac.com.au for investigation
http://kabuli.org/UserFiles/Image/
2. Immediately shutting these sites down or removing the phishing related
material
3. Checking for other compromised web accounts on your servers which may
also contain the same files
4. Checking for and fixing any security vulnerabilities which may have
contributed to the creation of these phishing pages

We believe the purpose of this webpage is solely to commit fraud against
Internet Banking customers and in the absence of any response we reserve
the right to take this matter further. In case of the need for further
investigation the Australian Federal Police and AusCERT have also been
notified.

Please contact me as soon as possible via the email address
cdar@westpac.com.au to let me know when this site has been removed.

If you are not the correct person(s) to deal with this incident, please
forward this request to the appropriate person(s).

For tracking purposes please include "[CDAR #9580]" in the subject line of
any correspondence.

Dec 1, 2008

Afghan LORD In Competition

Afghan LORD has been nominated under the “BEST SOUTH ASIAN BLOG” category for the Fifth Annual Brass Crescent Awards in 2008. It would be great if you vote for your humble Afghan blogger.

How to vote?
Please browse the Brass Crescent page and go to the bottom of the page, look at the second category from down, there you can find Afghan Lord, you have to click where to select the blog then go to the lowest page, enter your e-mail address, before you have to tick mark this option: "
I certify that I am only voting once for the Brass Crescent Awards". Finally click to submit your vote.
Check your inbox, an approval will be send to your e-mail address with a link, in order to complete and your vote submitted please click on the link.

Voting Directions: Use the form below to select one nominee from each category. We will ask you for your email address to confirm your vote, but don't worry - we will discard your email address after votes have been tallied.

What is the Brass Crescent Awards?
The Brass Crescent Awards, a joint project of altmuslim and City of Brass, is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere). Nominations are taken from blog readers, who then vote for the winners.