Mar 22, 2010

It's a new year in Afghanistan

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This year, the Nowruz festival holds even more significance and importance in the lives of Afghans since the United Nation’s General Assembly recognized March 21 as International Day of Nowruz.

Nowruz, banned under Taliban rule, begins on the day of the vernal equinox (the first day of spring) and marks the beginning of the new year. Every year, three days before Nowruz, tens of thousands of people travel to the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e Sharif to watch the elaborate ceremony.

Nowruz is celebrated for two weeks throughout Afghanistan. People wear new clothes, refurbish their house, paint the buildings and henna their hands. Young girls go with their mothers to holy shrines and pray to have a good future, a good life and a good husband and be fortunate while the boys have an eye on their parents to decide who is fair and suitable for him. Continued on...

Mar 17, 2010

The US did not "invade" Afghanistan

The western media has always framed the presence of US and other international forces in Afghanistan negatively. We constantly read and hear from the media the word “invasion” to articulate the presence of US forces in Afghanistan.

It is true that US forces are using the territory of Afghanistan in the war against terrorism, but does that mean that the US invaded Afghanistan? Simply put, the answer is no. This is because the United States was invited by the Northern Alliance, and the two united to stand against the Taliban, who at the time had seized almost 95% of the country.

Nine years of US presence in Afghanistan have passed. There are about 36,000 US troops who are not part of ISAF serving in the east of Afghanistan. As of October 2009, the ISAF had 67,700 personnel from 42 different countries including the US, European countries, Australia, Jordan and New Zealand. Now, does that mean that 42 countries invaded Afghanistan? Continue reading...

Mar 5, 2010

The National Constitution Center and Nasim Fekrat

The National Constitution Center's own International Engagement Manager, Jeffrey Stern met Fekrat while working a two-year stint as a freelance journalist in Afghanistan. Stern saw the power of citizen journalism first hand, and upon returning to Philadelphia joined with the Center to further projects like Fekrat's to burgeoning democracies around the world. It was in keeping with this pursuit that the Being We the People at the Center and Beyond project came into being. Continue reading...