I already thought that we can pass our judgment based on countenance, but now I know that I was wrong. The criteria based on which I classified people as good and evil were the amount of money they could make, how good-looking and beautiful they seem or which part of the city they live. But after being in Kabul for four months and interacting with Kabul residents I changed my attitude in this aspect.
I don’t pass my judgment based on people’s appearance any more. Now I would like to understand how people would become or how their reactions would be if they encounter difficulties or I ask them what Afghanistan is and how you imagine the future of your country. This is one of the criteria. I would like to alter my attitude by telling to myself what Afghans would do if they situated in a condition like Taliban in terms of economy and finance matters. In other words, what would Afghans do if international donors stop their funding to Afghanistan? I believe these are better criteria that would let me understand my people’s real faces.
Now I would like to represent two different stories that I witnessed during my stay in Kabul.
The first story is about an old lady who was in search of food among garbage piled in a corner of deadlock lane. In vicinity to my house which is a closed end lane there is a place that people pile their house garbage. Last week, three days ago and today, I met an old woman over 50 years ago stuck around the junks. When I saw her at the first time, last week, I supposed she was putting the garbage in the only big recycle bin so I didn’t pay attention to her.
In the second time, I found her disassembling the garbage up and down. I stopped starring at her wondering what she was doing. I saw that she found a thin layer of a watermelon putting it in a plastic basket in hurry. It was so interesting and tragic as well because picking the membrane of watermelon or any other fruit from garbage indicates only one thing – chronic poverty.
Finding her carrying two big plastic baskets I dared to talk to her figuring out who she is and why she is doing so, maybe every day. At first, it was so hard to build communication with her since I cannot talk in an Afghan Persian accent and I was born in Iran. I approached her. She was bent down searching something amongst junks piled before us.
First of all I asked her who she is and how many children she has. She told me that she has four daughters who are all married as well as four goats. Then I went to the point by asking why you pick garbage putting in big plastic baskets. She sighed and said:” my daughter, I have four goats and they need food. The only properties I have in this big world are them.” “Who support you financially?” I continued. “I need nothing, but bread, cheese, butter and milk. If I need something else, I can sell dairy products and prepare it. All I need is prosperity and peaceful Afghanistan.”
My mind blinked when she said peaceful Afghanistan. What does she want for peace while she only needs bread, milk, cheese and butter?
I asked her above question and heard that “I have never seen peace during my life. When my husband was alive, he was violated me and after his death Mujahidin and Taliban did the same to me. I want peace because I don’t know if I would be in peace after death.” In this time she showed me a big scar in the skin of her belly. The scar was terrific.
Then I asked:” how you feel about the future of Afghanistan since you have a lot of experience?” “uh, my daughter! The world is so small. One day we came to existence and the other day we embrace the grave. The less you are obsessed with this world, the easier you give a hug to the soil. I feel that the future of Afghanistan is vague, but it will become prosperous and peaceful. It will happen when I am not alive.”
It was a profound and shocking talk with an old woman, but it – as mentioned earlier this story – changed my attitude toward who a real human being is.