fredag, maj 28, 2010

Growing opium use in Afghanistan

I looked at a BBC-reportage about the growing use of opium and heroin among the native population in Afghanistan and this mostly among the pour people on the countryside.

It's e.g. used by women when working hard with (among other things) weaving (tiing carpets/rugs), when their bodies are in pain.
It's very diffcult to get in contact with medical centers far away as they have no transport means and the roads are long - and dangerous.

What is even worse is that they also give opium/heroin to their children in order to calm them down when not being able to occupy themselves with the small ones, due to their working hours, starting early in the mornings ending late in the evenings.
This creates even greater problems both right now and in the future, making these children addicts at a very young age!
One can of course discuss the responsibility of the mothers and fathers, providing these drugs to their children but I will not go in to this here.

Detoxication-clinics are built but the resources are'nt sufficient as this is a problem that rapidly grows larger and larger every day.

Afghanistan is a country that have suffered and suffers under different problems as we know:
Political and social problems lasting for long, not least during the 20th century (and before that).
These problems implies poverty, hunger, war, nowadays being in the middle of the crossfire between NATO troups and the talibans among others.

Before this they were living under the dictatorship of the talibans (1996-2001) and the different warlords claiming their right to lead the country in a dictatorial way and before that we also had the Sovjet invasion lasting from 1978-92.

In spite of or due to these circumstances Afghanistan has for decades (or more) been the major opium producing country in the world and this not least during the reign of the talibans (92% of the world market today).

NATO , and other international organizations have to work hard - not only to stop the ongoing struggles in Afghanistan - but to save a population who is at risk becoming collectively intoxicated and unable to govern themselves.

Experiments with different crops,d replacing the opium cultivations have been made but I don't know the result of these attempts, as the opium the peasants produced rendered them incomes that no other crop could do. This even though they got a, less than, microscopical part of the revenues from the sale on a world wide basis.

What will happen with this country for so long torn apart by all these factors?

If the world doesn't support Afghanistan on different levels besides the military actions, this country will fall apart and even worse, a generation or two among the Afghans will be condemned to obscurity and self destruction, both physically and mentally.

Some might say that it would be better to let the talibans try to rule the country again - if there are a sufficient number of talibans left - but this would lead to a very hard rule, where not least women would be forced to live according to the taliban interpretations of the Koran, not according to their own will.
During the late 1990's the talibans said that they wanted to create the 'purest islamic state in the world' (this is not an exact quote but the content of they expressed concerning the rule).
I don't believe in states being governed using one single ideology, shutting all others out. This is to dictate the everyday life in an unacceptable way.
Of course we are governed by the authorities in democratic states too but one of many differences is though that I'm free to think and live my life as I wish, as long as it doesn't affect others negatively. I can think, believe and express my thoughts freely and this would not be possible in a taliban governed state.

It's totally out of the question to let the warlords take over again and neither can foreign forces stay in the country to long, they have already fought on the soil of Afghanistan for to long.

Some might say that this is a number of truistic statements but I write this as there are people who argue for letting the talibans get back in power and some even discuss letting the warlords play there game as this couldn't be worse than the current situation. I do believe it would get much much worse, in spite of the problems with the government under Harmid Karzaï.

Hamid Karzaï initially gave the impression being a rather 'honest' and straightforward person but lately a great number of political leaders all over the world, have doubted his legitimacy, not least in connection to the elections.
Of course one can say that he rules a country in need of a strong leadership where other forces (mentioned above) have to be held back but this - according to me - have to be combined with a democratic leadership, if he and his government wants the approaval of other countries in the world, notably the USA.
I'm well aware of that the latter country not always have supported democratic states, on the contrary, the policy of the USA has been to support them who in the best way promote the interests of the United States.
This goes for other democratic countries too. Pragmatism is a dangerous but prevalent ruling principle.

I hope Karzaïs government - and the following - and all those countries being more or less involved in Afghanistan, focuses more on the initially mentioned drug problems, not least for the sake of the children.
It will be devastating for the country if one can't come to terms with this huge and constantly growing problem.

Unfortunately this question is by no means new, it's something that has been discussed for decades but little has been done and achieved.


(Picture map Afghanistan copied from: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/IMG/jpg/AFGHANISTAN-I-_Converti_-2.jpg)
(Photo opium plant copied from: http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/financiers/docs/opium_poppy_big.jpg)
(Photo Hamid Karzaï copied from http://questionscritiques.free.fr/Photos/Hamid_Karzai_2006-09-26.jpg)

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