Samstag, 25. Juni 2016

Brexit, Migration & Afghanistan


On the day after England's exit from the European Union - a hazardous referendum choice, full of unanswered questions and political threats at the European level (see inbetween others Timothy Garton Ash's essay here - it is clear that not only is the British society deeply devided between young and old, urban and rural, educated and less-educated; without any doubt the migration crisis of the last months and the immigration realities which the country is confronted with, have had consequences in the result of the referendum. A long time Afghan collegue, familiar with both, the British and the Afghan world, and for some years already living in England writes on the result: "This was coming and i am really surprised the elites didn't see it. they have their heads stuck up their arses and even after firm rejection of status quo they see this as fluky aberration. the main concern for leaving the EU was immigration and this is based on unfounded assertions about the impact and nature of immigration. The public parroted the fears of the establishment which is set by the elites or influential apparatus of capitalism i.e. media, celebrities, social media - the proxies. for decades the elites and their proxies have been banging on about immigration blaming the others for their own shortcomings and now they are surprised why middle England is driven by xenophobia. added to this mix is the EU which is a rigid institution with round headed rules that constantly tries to control more of our lives. this process of capital and power accumulation by oligarchy creates a burlesque culture marked by lethargy, trivia, apathy. the public is easily distracted and misinformed, a hotbed for xenophobia to become the political drive. As an Afghan who doesn't enjoy the protection of a state I can assure you the establishment has been out for me and their assault on basic individual rights are so appalling and grievous that it undermines the rule of law but also decency and kindness. changing leave rules and imposing restrictions have been only tolerable because I had no place to go and this has been done to create content for an anti immigration agenda. feeding into public fear, making a programme out of vulnerable people, dehumanising the others have all been the politics of establishment. it was bound to nurture the current political climate. what i find fascinating the most is the liberals. they are furious because this has offended their sense of identity while many non-white/non-EU people have lived for decades a dignified and honourable life in a culture marred by racism and institutionally xenophobic. --- This sentiment is also echoed by some of the British native comments, critical of themselves and of the 'establishment'. Maya Goodfellow a young freelance journalist from London draws a bridge to the European phenomenon involved in the vote: "The core element of the whole campaign: messages filled with hatered about migrants. Immigrants were made scapegoats in this campaign at any occasion, being demonized. A rhetoric that had been built up by our politicians and the media in recent years. But anti-immigration rhetoric is also a phenomenon that is sweeping all across Europe. It has become a common truth, to make foreigners responsible for all our problems. This is in many ways a return to the 1930s; also back than did hatred and fear characterize the political and public fields. It is a mindset that we must under no circumstances allow to continue to grow." --- A few days ago, ZENITH, a reknown German political magazine for Western-Eastern relations and the dialogue with the islamic world, asked me about a comprehensive essay on the exodus of the young Afghan generation to the old continent and about the EUROPEAN DREAM of the Afghan generation 2.0. The text is in German here as of now, the English version is to follow shortly. ________________________________________________ Am 24. Februar landet auf dem internationalen Flughafen in Kabul ein Sonderflug aus Deutschland. An Bord der Smartwings-Maschine, einer tschechischen Billigfluggesellschaft, sind 125 Passagiere. Alles afghanische Flüchtlinge und Migranten, die in ihr Heimatland zurückkehren. Freiwillig, wie die Bundesregierung betont. Denn Zwangsabschiebungen würden angesichts des Bildes in den Medien, um das sich die Regierung Merkel bemüht, den Eindruck von Mildtätigkeit stören. So erklärt Bundesinnenminister Thomas de Maizière, der zuvor mehrfach mit der Regierung in Kabul über die Rücknahme des ersten Kontingents verhandelt hatte, man wolle den Rückkehrern »wieder eine Existenz und Lebensperspektive schaffen«, und weiter auf »Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe« setzen. Als Zubrot zur freiwilligen Rückkehr erhalten die Afghanen eine Anschubfinanzierung von wenigen Hundert Euro. In Kabul reicht dies allerdings für einen Neustart kaum aus. Die Stadt lebt im Rhythmus von Teuerungsraten. Und die meisten Afghanen, die vor Monaten nach Deutschland und Europa geflüchtet sind, haben neben dem erheblichen Risiko auch hohe Schulden angehäuft. So der afghanische Asylbewerber Khodaye, der ebenfalls im Februar nach Afghanistan zurückkehrt ist. Der 24-Jährige, der über Pakistan und den Iran nach Europa geflohen war, ist allerdings nie richtig in Deutschland angekommen. Er berichtet über katastrophale Zustände am Berliner Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales (Lageso). Syrische Flüchtlinge seien dort nach seinem Eindruck bevorzugt worden. Am Ende, so gibt er an, hätten Übergriffe des Wachpersonals und Gefühle der menschlichen Erniedrigung ihn bewegt, wieder an den Hindukusch zurückzukehren. In Afghanistan war Khodaye Polizist. In Deutschland gab er an, von den Taliban verfolgt zu sein. »Ich habe Taliban getötet. Die kennen mich, mein Leben war in akuter Gefahr«, erzählt er deutschen Medien über seine Arbeit in der Heimatprovinz Baghlan im Norden Afghanistans. Trotzdem will er sich wieder der Polizei anschließen. In keinem anderen Beruf sterben in Afghanistan so viele Sicherheitskräfte durch Anschläge. Wer keinen Berufsabschluss hat, für den kann die Polizeiarbeit immerhin ein lohnendes Ziel sein. Baghlan ist ehemaliges Einsatzgebiet der Bundeswehr und grenzt an die Provinz Kunduz. Kunduz symbolisiert für die deutsche Politik und Bevölkerung die zahlreichen Traumata des Afghanistan-Einsatzes. Im April, knapp ein halbes Jahr nachdem die Taliban 2015 Kunduz für kurze Zeit zurückerobert hatten, stehen radikale Kämpfer erneut vor den Toren der Stadt. Zwar ist die Zahl afghanischer Sicherheitskräfte in den vergangenen Monaten und nach diversen Pannen im Sicherheitsapparat verstärkt worden. Aber das Grundübel – zu wenige, wenig spezialisierte paramilitärische Polizisten, zu wenig Spezialkräfte und verlässlichere Milizen in der Fläche – bleibt unverändert bestehen. Der Fall Kunduz kann auch erklären, warum die Menschen in Afghanistan über die Jahre kein Vertrauen in den Staat fassen und sich längst nach Alternativen außerhalb des Landes umsehen. Zumal der Abzug der ISAF- und NATO-Truppen aus dem Land nach Expertenmeinung übereilt erfolgt ist und eine nun schon über mehrere Jahre andauernde tiefe ökonomische Depression ausgelöst hat. Die ohnehin bestehende Massenarbeitslosigkeit unter jungen Menschen birgt ihrerseits das Risiko politischer Radikalisierung. So bieten der »Islamische Staat« (IS) (in Afghanistan Daesh genannt, falls ihr das austauschen wollt) und die Taliban jungen Rekruten oft mehr Geld, als es die staatliche Polizei vermag. So bleibt die Losung »neue Lebensperspektiven für die freiwilligen Rückkehrer« vor allem ein Wunsch. In der Mehrzahl der Provinzen ist die Lage instabil und unsicher. Aufständische gewinnen eher an Terrain als umgekehrt. Die Kabuler Regierung möchte zwar mithilfe der USA, Pakistans und Chinas so rasch wie möglich in Gespräche mit den Taliban einsteigen. Die aber zeigen keine Eile und haben eine erneute Frühjahrsoffensive gestartet, angefangen mit einem vernichtenden Anschlag im Herzen Kabuls Mitte April 2016. Zugleich bemühen sich afghanisches und US-Militär der Gefahr durch Daesh im Nordosten des Landes mithilfe von Drohnenangriffen Herr zu werden. Und so macht es wenig Sinn, Afghanen, die nach Deutschland kommen in Wirtschafts- oder politische Flüchtlinge aufzuteilen. Wirtschaftliche Gründe für Flucht und Migration gehen in Afghanistan immer mit fehlender Sicherheit einher. Beobachten lässt sich das etwa am Busbahnhof von Kabul. Hier im Nordwesten der Stadt trifft man noch (?? ohne besser) Minder- wie Volljährige. Bärtige in Perhan Tamban, dem traditionellen weiten Hemd mit Pluderhose, und rasierte junge Männer in Jeans, die für ein Busticket in den Iran anstehen. Zwar ist der Andrang mittlerweile gesunken. Die Nachricht von der versperrten Balkanroute hat sich in Kabul verbreitet. Trotzdem ist die Nachfrage nicht zum Erliegen gekommen. »Nimroz, Nimroz«, schreit ein Verkäufer mit Patu, einer Decke aus Schafswolle, die er auf seinen Schultern trägt. Ein Jugendlicher, 17 Jahre alt, sucht nach einer Mitfahrt für umgerechnet 10 US-Dollar: »Ich will in den Iran und von da aus weiter. Hier gibt es keine Sicherheit, keine Chance, zwei Dollar am Tag zu verdienen. Deutschland, habe ich gehört, ist sicher. Da gibt es Arbeit und Fabriken.« Ob der Junge aus eigenen Stücken geht oder von der Familie als Vorhut geschickt wird, bleibt unklar. Neben ihm steht ein Busfahrer, der zwischen iranischer Grenze und Kabul pendelt. »Es fahren selbst 13- und 14-Jährige von hier ab. Sie suchen Arbeit. Die Menschen sind unzufrieden mit der Regierung, weil sie keine neuen Beschäftigungsmöglichkeiten schafft«. Damit nicht noch mehr Afghanen nach Deutschland kommen, hat die deutsche Botschaft in Kabul im Herbst 2015 begonnen, große Plakate auf den Straßen von Kabul anzubringen. »Afghanistan verlassen? Haben Sie sich das gut überlegt?«, steht darauf in den Landessprachen Dari und Paschto. Die Facebook-Seite »Rumors about Germany« will zudem Gerüchte zerstreuen. »Deutschland ein Einwanderungsland? Nein. Illegale Einreise wird strafrechtlich verfolgt«, ist dort zu lesen. Das Auswärtige Amt nennt es eine Aufklärungskampagne. Menschenrechtsorganisationen sehen vor allem den abschreckenden Effekt. Von einem Arbeitsverbot für Asylbewerber in Deutschland etwa haben die Reisenden am Busbahnhof in Kabul keine Vorstellung. Sie geben sich optimistisch, auch trotzig: »Wenn wir Europa erreichen, werden wir ganz unten anfangen, um etwas zu verdienen und es unseren Familien daheim schicken«, so ein Mann. Sharif, Student der Ingenieurwissenschaften an der Universität Kabul, hilft mir bei der Übersetzung. »Mein eigener Bruder ist nach Deutschland ausgewandert. Er hat Wirtschaft im 2. Semester studiert. Dann hörte er plötzlich auf, zur Uni zu gehen. Er hat nur noch zuhause rumgesessen. Ein Verwandter in Deutschland hat ihm von den Vorzügen erzählt. Sie haben über Facebook gesprochen. Er hat erzählt, dass er dort weiterkommen und vielleicht Karriere machen könne. Das hat ihn ganz verrückt gemacht«, erzählt er auf dem Rückweg zur Universität. Mitauslöser der Massenauswanderung seit 2015 sind vor allem Facebook-Netzwerke, so der Fotograf Massoud Hosseini: »Es kursieren dort allerlei Gerüchte. Etwa dass Angela Merkel an alle Muslime gerichtet gesagt habe soll: ›Fahrt nicht nach Mekka, sondern lieber nach Europa! Deutschland wird euch menschlich behandeln und aufnehmen‹.« Hosseini ist Anfang dreißig und reist viel ins Ausland. Bisher kehrt er immer wieder zurück: »Die Hälfte meiner Freunde ist unterwegs nach Deutschland: Künstler, junge Autoren, mit denen ich immer zum Kaffee saß. Es ist ein Desaster.« Kritiker der Pläne zur freiwilligen Rückkehr nach Afghanistan sitzen unverändert im afghanischen Parlament. Beim Minister für Flüchtlingsfragen, Alemi Balkhi, finden sie Rückhalt. Solange Krieg herrsche in Afghanistan, gebe es eine Verpflichtung des Westens, Flüchtlinge nicht zurück zu schicken, finden viele Abgeordnete. »Wir können die massenhafte Emigration momentan nicht stoppen«, so Balkhi vor dem Parlament. »Es ist unmöglich, die Menschen physisch am Auswandern zu hindern. Keine Institution kann das verbieten. Ein Teil verlässt das Land mit Hilfe von Schmugglern. Das entzieht sich dem Auge der staatlichen Behörden.« Tatsächlich wird viel über organisierte Schlepper-Ringe am Hindukusch berichtet. Unklar ist, ob die afghanischen Sicherheitskräfte ihnen nicht Herr werden können oder wollen. Noch unlängst haben Schlepper die Wirtschaftskrise für ihre Zwecke genutzt. Für die Reise nach Europa forderten sie reduzierte Preise von 6.000 bis 7.000 US-Dollar statt zuvor 10.000 bis 15.000, erzählen die Menschen am Busbahnhof. Da hilft es wenig, dass die Politik in Berlin gelegentlich mit der Kürzung der Entwicklungshilfe droht. Thomas Ruttig, Co-Direktor des »Afghanistan Analysts Network«, einer Forschungseinrichtung in Kabul, findet das wenig glaubwürdig: »Da fehlen mir die Worte, wenn ich das höre. Vielleicht sollte der Minister mal in den Berichten unbescholtener Organisationen wie Oxfam, UN und Weltbank über die Effektivität von Entwicklungshilfe im Land nachlesen. Und wie viel davon zurückgeflossen ist. Die Weltbank rechnet, dass nur 15 bis 30 Prozent ›in-country impact‹ hatten, also tatsächlich Veränderungen im Land angestoßen haben. Dazu kommt die Korruption, die ja nicht nur auf afghanischem Boden gewachsen ist, sondern die wir ja mit gefördert haben.« Klar ist: Afghanistan erlebt seit Monaten einen dramatischen »Brain Drain«, der auch und vor allem die urbane Mittelschicht betrifft. »Die Mittelklasse verfügt über finanzielle Reserven für die Reise nach Europa. Wenn aber immer mehr junge, gebildete Menschen Afghanistan verlassen, wird das zur Gefahr für Stabilität und Sicherheit des Landes«, meint der Philosoph und Islamwissenschaftler Ali Amiri. Amiri ist Mitbegründer einer Universität, die selbst massiv betroffen von der Abwanderung ist: »Bereits 280 unserer Studenten – junge Männer wie Frauen – kommen nicht mehr zum Unterricht. Sie sind jetzt in Hamburg und in Köln. Aber ich möchte klarstellen: Ich habe Niemanden dazu animiert. Im Gegenteil.« Amiri nennt die Flucht einen beispiellosen kulturellen Wandel unter jungen Afghanen: »Wir reden hier von einem europäischen Traum vieler junger Leute. So wie es einen amerikanischen Traum gibt. Von Europa geht eindeutig eine Magie aus. Eines dürfen wir nicht vergessen: Viele junge Menschen in Afghanistan und den islamischen Ländern akzeptieren längst nicht mehr die Werte und Traditionen, wie sie von den Älteren vorgelebt werden. Dazu kommt die Anziehungskraft, die Europa auf sie ausübt.« Zuletzt gingen Initiativen von der afghanischen Zivilgesellschaft und von offizieller Seite aus, die über Spots in Zeitungen, Radio und Fernsehen zum Bleiben animieren. – mit begrenztem Erfolg. Wenige Hundert Meter Luftlinie vom Busbahnhof und der Universität Kabul entfernt wohnt Esanullah. Er arbeitet bei einer afghanischen Regierungsbehörde, die für die Stabilisierung und den Aufbau in den 36 Provinzen zuständig ist. Die rapide Auswanderung wundert ihn nicht. »Die Menschen spüren, dass die Regierung Ghani nicht liefert, was sie versprochen hat.« Esanullah ist ein Rückkehrer der anderen Art. Kein Flüchtling, sondern ein erfolgreicher Student, der etwas bewegen möchte in seinem Land. Er gehört zur neuen afghanischen Elite und ist mit einem Master der Universität York in England aus dem Ausland zurückgekehrt. Stolz hängt das Foto, das ihn mit Doktorhut und Abschluss-Diplom im Arm zeigt, gerahmt über seinem Schreibtisch. Mit viel Hoffnung ist er nach Kabul zurückgekehrt. »Die Regierung versagt. Sie verliert rapide an Vertrauen. Seit drei Monaten habe ich kein Gehalt mehr bekommen. Wenn du der eigenen Regierung nicht mehr trauen kannst, fängst du an, dir Gedanken zu machen«, stellt er nun desillusioniert fest. Fakt ist auch: Für die aktuelle Misere in Afghanistan tragen Deutschland und der Westen eine gehörige Mitverantwortung. Die westlichen Staaten finanzieren weiterhin den Löwenanteil des afghanischen Staatshaushalts. Zugleich sind wirtschaftlicher Aufbau und der Versuch die Institutionen über »Nation Building« zu stärken negativ verlaufen, gemessen an allen Prognosen. Bei positiverem Verlauf wären die meisten Menschen heute vermutlich nicht auf der Flucht. Eine Lösung wären effektivere Hilfen von Anfang an für die afghanische Wirtschaft gewesen. Wohnungsbauprogramme etwa, die Menschen langfristig in Arbeit bringen und Bedürftigen ein Dach über dem Kopf geben. Robuste Hilfen für afghanische Industrie und Landwirtschaft. Förderung von Solarenergie auch. Projekte, die das Land nicht nur als Absatzmarkt für deutsche und ausländische Waren begreifen. Bis 2006 hätte man so Fundamente legen können. Da waren die Taliban noch nicht erstarkt. Jetzt haben viele resigniert, auch weil Korruption oder gewendete Warlords herrschen. Und es sind die Geberländer, die viele gewendete Warlords an die Macht gebracht haben.

Dienstag, 31. Mai 2016

Rupert Neudeck, death of a Green Helmet


The death of Rupert Neudeck at age 77 is worth remembering, with regard to Afghanistan but also on an international scale as an example of radical humanitairan aid. A fervent human rights activist his philosophical and religious studies shaped him in the same way as did his encounters with the French intellectuals Sartre and the reading of Camus in the 70ies. Late in the 70ies and as a journalist, he founded the committee for Vietnam together with humanitarian doctors and other aids, who immediately afterwards would save the lives of more than ten thousand Vietnamese Boat People through means of the Cap Anamur, a frighter boat they had bought, to try and solve the crisis in this early flow of refugees coming from the far East. Interestingly, his biggest supporter in shipping the Vietnamese refugees to Germany became Ernst Albrecht, a conservative politician of the center-right CDU and the father of the current German secretary for Defense, Ursula von der Leyen. Albrecht acted pretty unconventionally at that time, allowing for the immigration of many of Cap Anamur's Boat People, as his organisation later on was to be called. Neudeck motivated many with his dauntlessness and optimism. It might be that even my father, a navy officer than in the cold war, converted to more reasonable work as part of the German civil society as a result of the encounter with the Cap Anamur in the Atlantic sea, as his vessel and Neudeck's boat closely met to exchange a salute. Later, Neudeck, with whom I have shared a decade together as editor at German National Broadcaster Deutschlandfunk, went on to found the Grünhelme or Green Helmets (kulha sabs in Persian/Dari), a relief organisation that he founded together with his wife and that since tries to build bridges between Western and Islamic societies, building hospitals, schools, health facilities and housing in more than 20 countries arount the world. More than 30 of these schools are in Afghanistan and were built especially in the region of rural Herat, some of which I could witness in the last years. Thousands of young Afghan children find a way to nurse their hunger for education in these schools. Though we currently see loads of young Afghans leave - illiterate and educated ones, who migrate to Europe as a result the lack of security in vast parts of the country, due to a deep economical crisis and as a consequence of a subjectively felt lack of perspectives in a corrupt society - schooling and education remain the crucial challenge and achievements in post-Taliban Afghanistan. For good reasons, Neudeck mistrusted the Kabul bureaucracy, be it Afghan governmental or Western aid driven. His organisation, like many others of small size and without costy offices, cars and administrative budgets, stood for money directly chanelled to those in need as compared to the major players. As with quite a few remarkable human rights activists, Neudeck was disputatious and reacted sensitively to criticism. This does not alter his record as a person serving human and humanitarian values and the understanding between cultures often alienated by means of politics and public media. Neudeck was stubborn in the eyes of my Afghan friends. He would not pay more than the equivalent of three US-Dollars (or 150 Afghanis) for workers who built the schools in Herat province out of the earth, water and mud of the deserty plains. Everything more than that he considered probably ruining the prices of the local construction industry, as he could witness through the years of foreign aid being shipped by billions into the country. Neudeck demanded a lot of his teams on site and in the conflicts, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or in Africa. Luck and success were on his side most often in this. He payed it back to them by intervening actively into German politics in some of the important debates on war, rescue aid and refugees. He was far from being a pacifist, often actually misunderstood in this. One of his outstanding qualities was a sense of natural mistrust towards major organisations and governments who often claim to have the solution right at hand as a conflict begins. His experiences in World War II shaped him. He narrowly escaped to go on board of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a rescue ship in the fleet of the German Reich, bombarded and sunk in the Russian advance in Poland and that he luckily missed as a child with his family. His wife Christel was a congenial partner for him. Was motivated both, besides the desire to help without false Western martyrism, was the complacency and smugness of many of his German compatirots, he used to tell. The home of the Neudecks is still a model of modesty. A second name, Hamidi, has come to figure on the door bell. The family hosts a young Afghan migrant now. Rupert would probably say that in doing so, they only act up to their own responsability.

Mittwoch, 30. Dezember 2015

Into 2016: change makers


2015 seems to end with dull echoes on the next months to come: battles in Helmand with the spectre of a '2nd Kunduz', the young generation continuing to leave the country. But whoever continues to go and spend time in Kabul and in Afghanistan's provinces will be able to witness work of those parts of the society though who believe in change and are working hard to improve living conditions and keep hope afloat. My favorite this year in this context is the 2nd annual Students' theater festival (from nov. 8th to 11th 2015) eager and pragmatic in spirit to win back an audience after the murderous attack on a theater performance in Esteqlal lycée last december. Here are some pictures I took during this year's festival, including some rehearsals that students partly perform in private rooms due to the scarcety of official rehearsal rooms. The Festival, without any exaggeration, can be seen as a means by youths and academics who had orgainzed it, to try and keep a young generation in the country rather than to have them migrating abroad due to a lack of security and a deep economic crisis. The Festival was in fact the first event in which actors would appear publically on stage again as a sign to fight terrorism and let arts and cultural indentity revive. Just about a year ago, a suicide bomber had exploded himself during a running theater performance at Esteqlal Lycée, Kabul, killing one person and wounding many. For this year's Students's Festival, security precautions were taken, with Theater students and staff strict and searching spectators for their own security. With an audience of some 350 mostly young people daily on all four days, many females came to see the plays. It is to say that acting on stage for women in Afghanistan remains diffictult. Women speaking out loud in public are considered a taboo in Afghanistan's male-dominated society. They face with restrictions in their theater roles (a female addict cannot play out her role to the full degree without possible consequences) and professional careers. Laughing out loud in public is considered unusual and offensive to many a traditional Afghan man. Kabul's Faculty of Fine Arts, who hosted the Student's Theater Festival - on the contrary - took an open approach again this year, challenging the conservative fringe of society, even though the person in the picture above, playing an attractive US-female somewhere in Afghanistan, is a male Student and actor. See also my coverage here.

Samstag, 5. Dezember 2015

100 years Afghan-German relations: The Afghanistan we deserve


It is commonly known amongst many educated Afghans that a first delegation of the German Reich, military and diplomatic, arrived to Kabul in 1915 with the idea to win the Afghan King in the fight against the British Empire. But the plans for a German-led Jihad, enlisting different muslim countries and troops, against the Britisch influence in the Middle East and in Central asia, are not common with the German educated population nor even with most intellectuals. Why that is so, is an interesting question, discussed on the backstages of an Afghan cultural week in Berlin, initiated by the German Foreign office this week with regard to 100 years of official relations between Berlin and Kabul. It was not by chance that Ashraf Ghani extended his Europe stay for the occasion. In a way, he didn't have a choice: the problem of Afghan refugees being too pertinent for EU and German domestic policies, the question was whether Berlin and Kabul would be able to agree on taking back Afghan refugees that are rejected in their quest for asylum in Germany. Though there still seems to be no concrete outcome on the issue after Ghani's visit, the (general) German support for the economical emergency program the government of national unity has announced can hardly mask that the overriding wish of Berlin is that Afghanistan solves the crisis largely with domestic means. Though changes in this may come and are counted in, as the crisis – economical and security wise – will develop in the months ahead. Inseperably linked with each other all along the Culture Week, I have looked into what relates the art pieces, exhibitions and festival events of the official program with the behind scene talks and with the overarching policies of Western donors so far on the question of culture in post-conflict states. ______________________________________________ Essay WDR3 / German National Radio on Art & Politics in 100 years of German-Afghan relations Deutschlandfunk Audio /the ongoing migration from Kabul and Afghanistan to Germany and the European Dream of the younger Afghan generation Deutschlandfunk / Audio on political theater between conflict and refugee crisis Deutschlandfunk / Audio on Who is Daesh/ISIS in Afghanistan?

Mittwoch, 18. November 2015

Alive and kicking: theater festival Kabul


This year's 2nd annual Kabul Students Theater Festival, held from November 8th to 11th was a great success. The team of Fine Arts Faculty at Kabul university did a great job. Eleven plays were on stage this year, for which the donation we had called for in support of Afghan culture and civil society, was invested successfully. Each of the plays turned out to be a highlight, with around 350 mostly young and enthusiastic spectators every day in the theater hall of Kabul university. The festival week not only reflected the vibrant state of current Afghan theater art. It was also entertaining and - most of all - an opportunity to spread optimism at a time where many Afghan youth think of leaving the country. Click on the main picture on this page to see more and discover yourself how Afghan culture is alive and kicking. De Nationale Scene/Norway, who support Kabul Fine Arts Facutly, and the Goethe Institute in Kabul also contributed to the festival. But most of all, it was the team of some 25 students and teachers of Fine Arts facutly who made the festival week a unique event. Besides staging the plays with, caring for decor, light, sound and food, students provided security at the entrance of the stage. That the festival went without incident is also their unprecedented success. ___________________________________________ facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Afghan-Students-Theatre-Festival-1601729056708730/ (fb-site of the Faculty of Fine Arts) (Background / Statement by some of the teachers of Kabul's Fine Arts Faculty) // - THE STUDENT'S THEATER FESTIVAL "WE - theatre actors, directors and teachers in Afghanistan - have roots that go back to the 1980s and that have regrown after 2001 as a result of the international intervention. But in December 2014, as the international community withdrew, many achievements were lost when a heavy bomb exploded during a Theatrical Performance in Esteqlal High School. This terrorist act caused death and fear, with many theatrical groups and acitivities forced to slow down or close. - REBUILD THEATER IN AFGHANISTAN YOUR DONATION can help rebuild theatre in Afghanistan and regain the artistic values of a young generation. Though still under shock, the Theatre Department of Kabul University shortly after the terror act in late 2014 started an annual festival. This festival gives birth to young theatre artists and brings students to create their own ensembles. The first festival was held in Kabul University shortly afterwards. It brings together student groups who work on joint performances and bring back artistic values that were threatened to disappear due to the attack. In founding the Student's festival, we want to withstand the negative energy and impact brought in by the extremists. -DONATE for the FUTURE OF AFGHAN THEATER WE, the Theatre Department of Kabul University, believe that the Festival for Students has the power to rebuild theatre in Afghanistan. Our young generation has the energy, potential and knowledge to recreate what is at risk of being lost. To regrow theatre through student festivals, we need financial support. Your pledge helps theatre in Afghanistan regrow and take new roots. Your contribution will help our young artists create a path for creativity and help rebuild theatre in Afghanistan. Their enthusiasm and excitement, featuring in the pictures below, must live on! " see also Deutsche Welle, Pajhwok Afghan News Agency, Deutschlandfunk/German Radio.

Donnerstag, 1. Oktober 2015

Taliban assault Kunduz: what truth?

After Taliban began their assault on Kunduz in the night to Monday, Sept. 28th, holding the city yesterday, governmental sources claim that the city is back into their hands and that people should not worry any longer. This very reapidly has proven to be propaganda, which one can observe on either side of the parties in conflict. I've listed up here today's record of the (neutrally operating) doctors without borders, who hold the only operating trauma hospital in town and who have received hundreds of heavily wounded civilians. In contrast to the doctor's statement, I've added a) the Afghan Presidency's statement and b) what you find on the website of the Taliban on their Kunduz advance, as to get an sense of the battle on the public opinion. Even if the Taliban might withdraw in the coming days, the difficulty for any civilian in Kunduz now resides in regaining trust in each and every person he or she encounters, for the worst seeds of war and conflict is mistrust and uncertainty that follow the military battle. ___________________________________________ P.S., October 3rd: While fighting is still going on in the city of Kunduz, a US air strike has obviously badly damaged the trauma hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, killing a large number of doctors, patients and staff, and wounding dozens. To many observers, local and foreign, this comes as a reminder of a pattern that played out again and again in the past years as US-American aircraft trying to strike the Taliban mistakenly hit civilians. See here doctors without borders' statement. Pictures courtesy of doctors without borders. Dr. Masood Nasim, Chief of the medial team of doctors without borders in the Kunduz trauma hospital Kunduz, Afghanistan: “By midday our hospital was on the frontline, with fighting right outside the gate” Dr Masood Nasim is leading the medical team at Médecins Sans Frontières’ trauma hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan. He describes the first 72 hours in the hospital after fighting engulfed Kunduz city on Monday. “Early on Monday morning, I came to MSF’s hospital here in Kunduz after hearing increasing shouting and the sound of shells falling. By midday our hospital was on the frontline, with fighting right outside the gate. You could hear the sound of shelling, rockets and airplanes. Some bullets have come into the hospital, some even through the roof of the intensive care unit. But despite being in the middle of the fighting, our hospital and staff have been respected and we’ve been able to carry on our work. Since Monday morning, we’ve received 296 wounded patients, including 64 children. Seventy-four of our patients arrived in a critical condition. Most have gunshot wounds from being caught in the crossfire. Our surgeons have been treating very severe abdominal wounds and limb and head injuries. The hospital has been completely full of patients. We normally have a capacity of 92 beds, but we expanded immediately and increased the number of beds to 150. There have been patients in the offices, in the examination rooms, and being stabilised on mattresses on the floor. We are trying to treat as many people as possible, and our team is working non-stop to provide life-saving care. We have carried out 90 surgeries over the past two days. We have 400 Afghan staff and ten international staff. They’ve worked for two days in a row without any sleep, and are completely exhausted. We are trying to give them the space to regain their energy and also trying to bring in more staff. Since we opened the hospital in August 2011, we have been receiving large numbers of patients injured in fighting, so our staff is very experienced and efficient at dealing with multiple casualties. But what makes this different is that instead of receiving an influx of wounded over a short period, we have been receiving a huge number of patients constantly, all in a very critical condition. It is very difficult to manage as there is no time to recuperate or restock supplies. We’re trying to get a new team in and to bring in more medical supplies, but it’s a huge struggle because of the active fighting. As this situation carries on for longer and longer, it becomes increasingly challenging. We are really very worried about how we will continue to cope with the number of patients. For days this has been the only functioning hospital in the area, and we are receiving wounded from across the city. We treat women, men, children; civilians and combatants. We treat everyone, regardless of their ethnicity or political affiliations and as long as they leave their weapons at the door. I’m very proud that we have this specialist trauma hospital, the only one of its kind in the whole north-east of Afghanistan. From time to time the fighting calms, and I’ve been outside the hospital briefly. But all of my energy has been focused on the medical activities here. I’m Afghan, and I’ve grown up with fighting, shelling and bullets, as has most of our team. No one looks scared. But whether or not you are used to it, when there is violence going on around you, of course you are worried. It interferes with your normal activities and thinking. You don’t see it, but in your body you feel it.” President Ghani spoke with military leadership of Kunduz province via video teleconference Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, spoke this morning via video teleconference from the Tawheed National Center in ARG with the military leadership of Kunduz province about the security situation of Kunduz city and the latest developments in that province. In this video teleconference in which members of the National Security Council were also present, General Murad Ali Murad, Deputy National Army Chief of Staff, briefed the President on retaking of Kunduz City, and assured that the situation in Kunduz city is calm, and has returned to normalcy. The Deputy Chief of Staff said that a commission made up of all security entities run all the affairs in an orderly manner, and would not allow irresponsible and powerful groups to enter the city. He reassured the President that civilians have not been harmed during the clearance operations, and all the government offices will start their operations soon, and the people will resume their routine and normal lives as well. After listening to the briefings by the defense officials, the President directed the military leadership of Kunduz city not to allow anybody to harm or harass people, and reassure people that they are safe and secure. President Ghani urged the security and defense authorities and military leadership of Kunduz city to continue the military operations and said that the districts of Kunduz, the region as well as the entire northeastern zone must be cleared of the enemy’s presence. The President said that he will soon send a delegation to assess the Kunduz incident. He added that in light of the delegation’s assessment, those who have neglected their duties will be punished and those officers and personnel of the defense and security forces who have shown bravery in retaking Kunduz city will be commended. Taliban Kunduz briefing: Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Imam Sahib district captured, 233 vehicles seized A day after the heroic Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate managed to liberate Kunduz city from the invaders and their hireling troops, clearance operations were launched today to uproot and wrestle control of the remaining pockets of enemy resistance. Amid these operations, one of the most important districts of the province, Imam Sahib, was completely captured 08:00 pm at night with Mujahideen taking control over the administration buildings, police HQ building, 12 check posts as well as Tashgozar and Dahqan Qushlaq bases. Tens of enemy soldiers were killed and wounded in these attacks on top of which tens of vehicles and APCs, hundreds of heavy and small arms and other military equipment seized. 2 more important bases and 5 check posts were also captured in Dasht Abdan area, capital peripheries, around dusk time today causing tens of enemy casualties as well as Mujahideen getting their hands of 104 APCs, 100 Ford Ranger pickup trucks and a large amount of arms, ammunition and military equipment. Ghulam Ali base in Chahr Dara district (which was captured by Mujahideen Tuesday) also fell to Mujahideen early night hours today in which 33 hirelings were detained, 3 APCs and 3 pickup trucks along with a large amount of arms and ammunition seized. On the other hand, 50 hireling troops were taken into custody as Bala Hisar strategic hill was taken over by Mujahideen earlier today where 23 military vehicles and a sizable amount of arms and ammunition was also seized. Similarly 21 hireling troops were detained in Aliabad district to the south of the city as 6 enemy check posts were stormed during the course of the day while the large enemy reinforcement convoy arriving from Kabul and Balkh and headed towards Kunduz is still trapped by Mujahideen IEDs and ambushes in the neighboring Baghlan province with 4 APCs destroyed during today’s battles along with dozens of enemy killed and wounded. The above mentioned reports were collected from Kunduz province today. The enemy is facing a humiliating collapse in this province and are looking for a way out and all rumors about counter attacks are absolutely baseless and mere propaganda ploys. These huge conquests is the divine help of Allah Almighty which He has promised his Mujahideen and it carries a message of further victories by the grace of Allah Almighty which shall break the back of the invaders and their stooges and will finally cleanse the country from their filthy presence and replace it with divine Shariah Law which is the aspiration of the entire Mujahid nation, and nothing is hard for Allah. Zabihullah Mujahid 16/12/1436 Hijri Lunar 08/07/1394 Hijri Solar 30/09/2015 Gregorian

Freitag, 11. September 2015

New Website


Starting with today (not intentionally 9'11) you may find this blog also by accessing my new site at www.martingerner.de The page is a presentation of my photographic portfolio and film work with a focus on the Afghan conflict but including also other countries of conflict, such as Kashmir for instance. There will be added materials from my journalistic work as the pages progresses.