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Burqa Candidates + Donkey Ballots + Taliban Violence + Karzai as a Winner = History Burqa Candidates + Donkey Ballots + Taliban Violence + Karzai as a Winner = History
by Abdulhadi Hairan
2009-08-07 09:17:21
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Described by the UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, as the ‘most complicated,’ the 2009 Afghan presidential and provincial elections, set for August 20, are going to make history in many ways.

During the first presidential election, held in September 2004, the people had commonly developed a hope that the coming four years will have a huge contribution to their country and the next time they will cast their votes in peace and prosperity. But they are now seeing the opposite, unfortunately.

Besides a surge in attacks countrywide, the Taliban militants vowed on July 30th that they will try their best to prevent voters from going to polling stations to cast their votes. They have already killed many campaigners and have attacked many campaign offices in different provinces.

On the other hand, among 41 in total, there are only two female presidential candidates this time (In the 2004 presidential election, there was 1 female among 18 total candidates). They are even not able to put their campaign posters freely on public places let alone asking people for votes. The female candidates for provincial seats have been campaigning in burqas, not because they are so fond of wearing the garment, but they have been facing opposition and are under constant threats from people around them. Some times their families also get targeted by the anti-election and anti-women elements so they use every means to hide their identity and go to the campaign meetings where only women are present. And that too after getting permission from their male relatives.

The UN special envoy also said that around 3000 donkeys were deployed to carry the ballots to the remote areas in the provinces. This means that the areas where the donkeys have to carry the ballots do not have any roads (’road’ here does not necessarily mean an asphalted and properly constructed road, but can be a pathway on which a vehicle just can draw itself. We have hundreds of this kind of pathways, in Afghanistan, even in the capital, Kabul, which are generally called ‘roads.’ But the areas mentioned do not have even these roads why the UN had to hire 3000 donkeys).

Question: would the people to whom the donkeys are carrying the ballots have any idea what to do with them? Would they be aware of the election campaign, the candidates, the issues and challenges that the country has been facing and the candidates’ policies on them? Let’s hope the donkeys do not return from the villages and write down this interesting history.

Fresh news: another rival candidate, Baz Mohammad Kofi, announced his withdrawal from the race in favor of the incumbent Hamid Karzai. What does this mean? He is the winner again!


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