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.