شینکی اسمانه

ما خو دا نه ویل شینکی اسمانه

چی به د اور له پاسه اور راځی

زما د غیرت شمله به کښته ګوري

زما هدیرې ته به پیغور راځی

اسمانه ما خو داسی نه غوښتله

چی د ښارونو جنازې وژاړم

چي مي په کلیو کی بلا لنګه سي

چی د ځوانیو هدیرې وژاړم

اسمانه ما خو داسی نه ویله

چی د کابل ګریوان ته اور توی که

زما په جونګړه کی بلا وکره

زما په لستوڼی کی ښامار لوی که

اسمانه ما ستا د ځوانی په تمه

دلته رنګین رنګین خوبونه لیدل

ما له ازله بیخبره کوچي

له ورک یوسفه تعبیرونه غوښتل
ما ویل زه به ستا ښایستې سینې ته

له خپله نظمه امېلونه جوړ کړم

ستا له نسیم سره به الوزمه

ستا پسرلي ته به شعرونه جوړ کړم

ما ویل زه به ستا د شپې په زړه کی

د سباوون ترانې وپاڅوم

ما ویل زه به ټول نغمه نغمه سم

ستا د هستې شهباز به ونڅوم

ماویل زه به د سپېدو پر اوږو

ستا د زهرې پلوشې وتخنوم

۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵

اسمانه اوس خو اهریمن د قهر

راغزولي دي خیرن لاسونه

یا مرور دی له تعبیره قسمت

یا بیګانه  وه لېوني خیالونه

زما له زخمي کابله ویني څاڅي

کوڅو اخیستي دي ماشوم زخمونه

زما له انګړه جنازې درپاڅي

مه نیسه چیغو ته کاڼه غوږونه

اسمانه واخله ککرۍ درغلې

د ځوانیمرګو زړو تاوده رګونه

۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵

ماچی میوند میوند نارې وهلې

ما یی  په غېږه کی ګلونه غوښتل

ما چی هیلمند ته ترانې لیکلې

ما یی پرغاړه اتڼونه غوښتل

ماچی خیبرته حماسې لیکلې

ما یی لمن کی ولسونه غوښتل

ماچی پېچومي د پامیر ستایله

ما یی کمرونو کی لعلونه غوښتل

ما چي ټانکونه په سوکونو وهل

هغه می خړ وطن سمسور غوښتی

ماچی سکروټی په غاښو چیچلې

مامی سړو وینو ته اور غوښتی

ما چی ګولیو ته سینه سپرول

ما د ابا ساتلی کور غوښتی

ما د حیا پردو کی پټی غوښتې

چی می پیغلوټی د کابل ستایلې

ما یی سرونه تر عزت جارول

چی بې عزتو را سرتوري کړلې

۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵۵
بس که اسمانه نور یی مه زنګوه

د اهریمن د اولادونو زانګو

په نوراني غېږ کی دي مه لویوه

دا تور بدرنګه دا زامن د تیارو

نور د منبر څوکو ته مه خیژوه

د ریا کارو زاهدانو ټولۍ

نور د عصمت کوڅو ته مه وروله

د نامحرمو دلالانو غدۍ

نور پرکمبله راته مه ږغوه

دا د مرګي له چیغو ډکه شپېلۍ
چی په رګونو کی ساه وچلوي

دې سړو وینو ته می اور ورکړه

چی د کڼو غوږونه وپاڅوي

اسمانه چیغو ته می زور ورکړه .

ویرجینیا ۱۹۹۴ـ۹ـ۳


Kandahar

With Kandahar in the news again in the wake of the embarrassing 
prison-break, Bari Jahani’s poem gives me a great picture of how low 
Kandahar has fallen. Mr. Jahani was kind enough to share this with me a few
weeks back when I was corresponding with him on translations of some of 
his poems that I have been working on. You can find this and other poems 
of his on his website here as well: Jahani Online
             

 کندهاره در واري سم

بیا دی څه یرغل ته نیت دی چی دي تاو کړله برېتونه

بیا دي لېڅي دي را نغښتي بیا دي ښکاري مړوندونه

بیا دي واری پر ارغند دی بیا دي خپل کړل میوندونه

بیا شرنگی د زولنو دی بیا دي مات کړل محبسونه

یاغي سوي دي زلمیان دي قهرېدلي دي پلرونه

بیا باران دی دگولیو پاڅولي یې جنگونه

غواړې بیا دي په نکلونو روڼی شپې کړې تر سهاره

کندهاره در واري سم در واري سم کندهاره

ته خبر یې پر لمن دي دا د چا آسونه ځغلي

دا راکټ د چا له کوره دا د چا ټانکونه ولي

دا جنگونه چا راوړي دا فوجونه څوک راغلي

دا قلا د چا نړېږي د چا کلي سوځېدلي

دا پرون د چا ماتم وو او دا نن یې څوک ویشتلي

ویني پېژنم چی ستا دي دا غازیان چا را لېږلي

یو دي وژني په باروتو  بل د توري له پرهاره

کندهاره در واري سم در واري سم کندهاره
ته پوهېږې چی دا څوک دي ستا پر خاوره چی جنگېږي

جنگ د چا سوبه د چا ده چی ستا کور پکښی نړېږی

هغه ستا شین ارغنداو دی چی لمبې یې پورته کېږی

هغه ستا  دخور پوړنی ستا د پلار مېنه سوځېږي

د نیکه پر هدیره دي بیا پردۍ لمبې بلېږي

دا پردی چړي راغلی دا پردی ملا غورېږي

بیا یې نوي دي زده کړي منترونه له باداره

کندهاره در واري سم، در واري سم کندهاره

څه ارزانه دي تویېږي مستي ویني د زلمیانو

څه اسانه دي نړېږي مالتونه د خپلوانو

څه په زور دي ابادېږي هدیرې د شهیدانو

څنگه زړونه در سړېږي د پېړۍ د غلیمانو

څه پلټني دي جوړېږي د بې وزلو یتیمانو

څه نېښونه در رسېږي د لستوڼی د مارانو

ته به کله را ویښېږې د دښمن د باغ ملیاره

کندهاره در واري سم، درواري سم کندهاره
چا دي واخیستل پوځونه د طلا په خرمنونو

چا زلمي در لېوني کړل په وعدو د جنتونو

اوروي څوک له اسمانه بارانونه د بمونو

بې څښتنه دي جونگړه کبابېږي په اورونو

په زامنو دي نازېږي پنجرې د زندانونو

په خپل کور کی یې پردی کړې د پردیو تپوسونو

د ازل برخه دي ښکاري ستا له خپله لاسه خواره

کندهاره در واري سم، در واري سم کندهاره
نه خوشال توره ایستلې را وتلی پر اورنگ دی

نه ایوب چپاو را وړی پر توپونو د فرنگ دی

نه زخمي دښمن په زړه کی ستا د مټو په خدنگ دی

ښار په وینو کی لمبېږي د خپل ځان په وینو رنگ دی

د تور تم ادې لنگېږي له رڼا سره یې جنگ دی

د عرفان ډېوې مړې کېږي د نصیب د توري شرنگ دی

ته به کله را پاڅېږې د اوږدو شپو له خماره

کندهاره در واري سم، در واري سم کندهاره
لا تر څو به یې مغروره په کیسو د میوندونو

لا نیکه به درته لولي زړې پاڼی د قرنونو

ورځی شپې به دی تېرېږي د بدیو په نکلونو

د سیالانو به دي تېر وي جرسونه تر مزلونو

ته به سل کاله یې پاته  د زمان له کارانونو

لټوې به په پرون کي تعبیرونه د خوبونو

لا تر څو به دي په خوا وي د مرگي د کنډو لاره

کندهاره در واري سم، در واري سم کندهاره
ته د غم په شپه پیدا یې ته ماتم ته زېږېدلی

ته  د هري بلا سپریې هره ورځ اجل نیولی

هر خونکار دي په لمن کي خپل غضب دی ازمېیلی

چا دي سترگي دي ایستلي چا دي زوی دی در وژلی

چا دي ویني بهولي چا دي کور دی سوځولی

چا له پاسه په بمونو چا پر مځکه یې ویشتلی

همدا ستا چیغي به باسي دا لېوان له دغه ښاره

کندهاره در واري سم، در واري سم کندهار
د افغان دبگړۍ گله د غلیم د سترگو خاره

کندهاره در واري سم ، در واري سم کندهاره
٢٠٠٨-٢٢-جون                     ویرجینیا


Hekmatyar the Compromise?

A couple days back, Pajhwok broke news of Hizb-e-Islami and Taliban battling each other in Maidan Wardak. The news, despite being very curious, went almost unnoticed. Even the usually attentive Af-Pak Channel at Foreign Policy had only line on it in their daily brief. But if some sources are to be believed, the news could give us a clue about Hekmatyar’s future. First, here is the Pajhwok piece:

The death toll from an ongoing clash between Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) in central Maidan Wardak province increased to seven on Sunday when four more people were killed, a district chief said on Sunday.The clash that erupted between armed men loyal to two rival commanders, Mullah Zakhil of the Taliban and Azizullah of the HIA in Sadmardi area of Nirkh district on Saturday night was still ongoing, Mohammad Hanif Hanifi said. He added they had received reports of seven people killed and scores wounded in the firefight.Residents said the Taliban commander Zakhil was injured and some of his supporters were killed. More gunmen were joining opposition ranks and residents staying indoors, they said. There was no word from the anti-government groups about the clash.

On the one had, its natural to interpret this us as a clash of only local proportions where personal animosities between commander might be the cause and nothing ideological. However, if one Washington insider is to be believed, the news is a reflection of how Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the Hizb e Islami leader, has broken away from the Taliban and might be reconciling with the government soon.

The news comes a day after the Pakistani Prime Minister visited Kabul to announce a joint Peace Commission between the two countries. The visit had particular importance because the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff General Kayani and the ISI Chief General Pasha both accompanied him on the trip. Moreover, the announcement of the joint commission was made by Gilani and Karzai only echoed it. Pakistan showed an enthusiasm for reconciliation that was unseen to date. In fact, this was their first resounding statement after a long period of hesitance.

Hekmatyar has always been a darling of Pakistan. One of the reasons why the civil war dragged so long during the 1990s was that Pakistan wanted to see Hekmatyar take the highest office in Afghanistan, which never materialized. If there is any connection between these two dots– the battle in Maidan and the visit by Pakistani delegation– then its a fair assumption that Hekmatyar might be the compromise that Pakistan has achieved. Pakistan has convinced the United States to bring Hekmatyar on board and he will be the safeguard to their interests in the future of the Afghanistan.

What throws off this assumption, though, is that Hekmatyar has never seemed to be a priority of Karzai’s government. In fact, his name barely comes up in the talks on reconciliation with the insurgency: southern Taliban have always the focus of his reconciliation efforts.  This lack of attention to Hekmatyar could be that Karzai does not believe he makes up that big a part in the insurgency. Or, another possibility, is that behind the silence there has always been talks with Hekmatyar through Pakistan that might be coming to fruition now. The number two in the Peace Council, Attaullah Ludin, is a Hizb e Islami. They have had talks with Hekmatyar’s representatives recently. And what was the location of their couple meetings with Hizb e Islami representatives? Surprise surprise: Islamabad.


A New Afghanistan

The younger generation of Afghan politicians–people like Fawzi Koofi, Waheed Omer, Amrullah Salleh etc– give me tremendous hope for the country.

Here is a excerpt from Fawzia Koofi’s recent profile in Ms. Magazine:

Representing the distant Badakhshan province, this single mother of two young girls is a tenacious voice in the national discourse. Whether debating electoral fraud on television or revealing abuses in the prison system in Parliament, her passion and unbending civility stands out as a rare combination in the country’s infant democracy. She won the second highest number of votes from her province in the recent parliamentary elections, only 250 behind the leading candidate (a former commander), and a resounding 7,000 votes ahead of her closest male competitor. In a country where women largely make it to the Parliament because of a gender quota, the election results speak to Ms. Koofi’s popularity. At the local level she has championed the building of a highway from Kabul to Faizabad. At the national level, through her agenda and personal example, she has worked tirelessly to achieve substantial women participation in national politics.

To read the rest of the articleMs. Magazine:  Fawzia Koofi: Making a New Afghanistan For Her Daughters

Waheed Omer, the current spokesperson to President Karzai, is an impressively well-rounded character. Well educated, with a masters from York University, Omer is a poet, a writer, and a masterful orator. A former civil society activist– founder of Young Leaders Forum– Omer has spent the past 6 years in different capacities in the government. He founded the Government Media and Information Center. He was a major factor in Karzai reelection: as his campaign spokesperson, he managed the local media very well. Equally fluent in Dari and Pashto, his television debates were critical in defending Karzai’s image despite being a position of great weakness. His proficiency in both languages showed Karzai as a national figure while Abdullah’s representatives stuck to one language, Dari.

But what is most impressive about Omer is his mix of energy, eloquence, and civility that he brings to his politics.

We need more Fawzia Koofis and Waheed Omers to step up for the sake of a new Afghanistan.


Peace with the Taliban

What is at stake in the Afghan government’s efforts to make peace with the Taliban?

Amrullah Saleh, a former intelligence chief under Karzai and current opponent of the president’s policy, agrees. He told prominent Kabul-based television channel Tolo News: “They are the same Taliban who used scorched-earth tactics against not only humans but also trees and animals. Nothing has changed about their cruelty.”

Saleh and his former government colleague Hanif Atmar have been vocal in their opposition to government attempts to forge a deal, with Atmar, the interior minister until he resigned in the autumn, calling the talks “political insanity”.

The two men, well respected as effective administrators during their years in Karzai’s national security team, are leading a vociferous opposition. Their insight into the Taliban, appeal to young people and undeniable eloquence has put the government’s political agenda in an awkward position.

A recent piece at Al Jazeera English: Rebranding the Taliban


The Power of Youth…and their Vulnerability

In the wake of the Egyptian revolution, and in relation to Dexter Filkin’s recent post about the lessons of Egypt to Afghanistan, I was reminded of a passage by Pankaj Mishra. It describes the winds of change that blew in Afghanistan in the 1960s and how the youth of Kabul University marched the streets. In retrospect, those events manifest the power of the youth as well as their vulnerability:

It is hard to imagine now, but for students at Kabul University, 1968 was no less a hectic year than it was for students at Columbia, Berkeley, Oxford, and the Sorbonne. A king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, had been presiding over the many ethnic and tribal enclaves of Afghanistan since 1933. But he knew enough of the world elsewhere to attempt, cautiously, a few liberal reforms in his capital city, Kabul. The university had been set up in 1946; a liberal constitution was introduced in 1964; the press was technically free; women ran for public office in 1965. By the Sixties, many students and teachers had traveled abroad; and new ideas about how to organize the state and society had come to the sons of peasants and nomads and artisans from their foreign or foreign-educated teachers.

In the somewhat rarefied world of modernizing Kabul, where women were allowed to appear without the veil in 1959, communism and radical Islam attracted almost an equal number of believers: to these impatient men, the great Afghan countryside with its antique ways appeared ready for revolution. It was from this fledgling intelligentsia in Kabul that almost all of the crucial political figures of the next three decades emerged.

Pankaj Mishra, The Making of Afghanistan

 


Back From Kabul: impressions

Smog in Kabul (Image: FRE/RL)

 

I recently got back from three weeks in Kabul.  Here are first two impressions. More to come later.

1. Until last week, it had not rained or snowed in Kabul. For the Kabulis, if nothing else hurts them the environment will. Pollution in this  small city is at extreme degrees. During the day, particularly in the afternoons, visibility beyond 20 meters is impossible due to dust and smoke. Quite a depressing situation. To imagine that people on the streets breath this air 24/7 is a dark reality. Cars are abundant on the street, vast construction creates tremendous dust, and on top of all that you have at least 2-3 stoves in every home that burn material ranging from wood and coal to diesel and trash.

2. The extent of women involvement in public life is much more visible. One small example speaks for it: at the airport, you see as many young female workers doing the routine security checks as male workers. Most of them in their 20s, a representation of the vast potential in Afghanistan. I hear that close to 60% of the country is between the ages of 18-35, which is quite a heartening statistic.

As dusk took over Kabul Airport and I walked up the stairs to board the plane, there were workers at the bottom of the stairs, checking the boarding passes one last time. One of them was a petite and pretty young lady, wearing a lime fluorescent jacket on top of her blue uniform. Her hands in the pockets of the her jacket, she paced about with an air of tremendous confidence. It was a fantastic little scene, very telling of some of the progress in the country.


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