When I graduated from university, I worked in ministry of women affairs for six months and I was working on criminal cases. One day when I was crossing the Puli Sokhta bridge, I saw addicted people under the bridge. They were laying there, and their situation was unbearable. When I saw this, I thought: the women who are suffering from a problem, at least they know that they are human beings. They are not forgetting their own personalities. But these people, they get this sickness, they forget who they are. So, that made me think to change my field.
Shabnam S., a 25-year-old woman from Afghanistan, in The Therapist.
The piece is part of a series by Jeffrey Stern, a grantee of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, called Afghanistan: On Its Own, in which Stern chronicles how vulnerable groups (women, minorities, youth, businesses dependent on foreign presence) are preparing for the withdrawal of foreign troops this year.
Shabnam, for example, writes about how jobs including her own are funded by foreign money:
Nowadays, people are graduating with good grades from universities. They go and search for jobs, but they cannot get them. For my own job, funding is provided by foreign countries. Once 2014 comes, foreign forces will leave and it is concern for all. We are all concerned, scared. But with all these challenges and with all this thinking that comes to our minds, we still try to believe that even after the foreign forces leave Afghanistan, we can stand on our own feet. And that we should still help these people on our own, somehow. But we understand that we are losing our budgets.
And the other concern we have is that, right now, there are organizations working against drug sellers, working against people who are importing, using, producing drugs, but when the foreign forces leave, there will be insecurity. And that insecurity will increase the rate of drug sellers and drug users and drug importers. That’s a big concern, because it is a big problem for us, we will have even more people addicted to the drugs. Now, there are organizations who are taking care of child labor, street children and other children, but in the future there won’t be such a thing. That will make more children drug users.
See the other pieces in the series, published in Foreign Policy, here.
Charging any individual with the extremely grave offense of ‘aiding the enemy’ on the basis of nothing beyond the fact that the individual posted leaked information on the web and thereby ‘knowingly gave intelligence information’ to whoever could gain access to it there, does indeed seem to break dangerous new ground.
Laurence Tribe, professor, Harvard Law School, to The Guardian. Bradley Manning trial ‘dangerous’ for civil liberties – experts.
The News: The trial of Bradley Manning begins today. The US soldier leaked hundreds of thousands of battlefield reports and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks in 2009 and 2010, and has plead guilty to ten of the 22 charges brought against him.
The most serious charge though is that Manning knowingly aided the enemy. If found guilty, he faces life in military prison.
The past two decades have witnessed a disconcerting decline in the quality of coverage, particularly by TV networks obsessed with presentation rather than content. This became more pronounced during the US-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The ‘dictatorship’ of live-time coverage has proved especially subversive. ‘Parachuted’ journalists are obliged to broadcast within minutes, even if they have no idea what’s going on.
This means less legwork. As veteran producers lament, their networks have abandoned real journalism, while Fox News is nothing more than propaganda. Wars are now presented as reality shows with computer game graphics and screaming captions.
"Lessons from Afghanistan: Let’s Get Back to Real Foreign Reporting," a perspective on foreign reporting from Edward Girardet, former foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.
via Nicholas Kristof