Media Torn Not War Torn Afghanistan

An Article written by Shilpi Batra on account of her last visit to Afghanistan couple of weeks back. 
Let’s start with a game called Word Association. I will simply say a word and you give me the associating word. Afghanistan? Even before you answer, let me eat your thoughts, War. Isn’t it?
Had you given me the same word, I would make Afghanistan synonymous to Bravery of civilians or reconstruction. This is what I felt during my last trip to Afghanistan, which took place right next day of the recent attack. 

I reached Afghanistan at 2’o clock on April16, 2012, exactly on the next day when Afghanistan flashed on almost all the TV channels and occupied larger space on the front pages of newspapers, for the number of attacks, which happened in the different areas of Afghanistan. 

The attack left intense effects, not in Afghanistan, but everywhere else in the world. All thanks to our media, which blew up the issue even more than the Taliban, could intend to blow Afghanistan. Nevertheless, let me come to the point. The coverage of media was all overhyped. 

As I have come back, safe and sound, I still cannot escape those weird stares of people around me, as if saying, ‘Come on, you can’t come back in one piece’ or ‘Oh my god, how brave you are, you came back safe?’ Well, people can throw this question to me, then why don’t they question themselves that how do millions of people in Afghanistan, survive Or are alive? And when they are alive and moving freely then why can’t I? If they think that by coming back alive from Afghanistan is an achievement then it’s nothing but their failure in understanding real Afghanistan. 

The civilians of Afghanistan don’t even want to waste a single moment to give such meager attacks a thought. They resume their work absolutely in a way as if nothing happened.  The media, which till yesterday had hijacked Afghanistan with its war torn stories, why doesn’t it cover the after-impacts of this attack? Well, let me guess, because war is what sells in the market, not how people retaliate it. 

A young lady professor of Kabul University, said, “Gone are the days when we used to surrender ourselves in front of these silly attacks. Taliban wants to destroy our peace of mind. It wants to simply hinder our daily schedule. We are working hard on reconstructing this wonderful land, and we would never let it get affected by these shallow gestures of Taliban. We resumed our work again the next day, no gap at all!” said Saliya Khan. 

Like Saliya, the other professors too moved around fearlessly, in fact cracking jokes on the attack. ‘Oh I remember, you brave, you had hidden yourself in the basement library, and you didn’t even raise your head at once’ said Azmat to Saliya, mocking the exact posture. And all the lady professors burst out laughing. 

Well, for us it’s an everyday thing now. The good part is, if you see, Taliban was defeated in this fight. Army did a fabulous job,” said Azmat. 

As I walked the streets of Kabul (Like many other women, Yes, women in Kabul roam around freely!) I saw army men’s head popping out from every bit and corner. A sense of safety ran across my body. And sensing that I was a foreigner from India, every army men took trouble rather pleasure to bow down showing a genuine respect not to me but to India… And I being at loss to respond, just reflected!

Shilpi Batra: A Jamia Milia Islamia MCRC Graduate, extremely passionate about filmmaking had earlier worked with the Lifestyle section of DNA Newspaper. She is a Hindu Pashtun by heritage & dedicated to preserve Pashto Language in India. Recently represented Pashtun Community in Afghanistan & worked on a documentary project for BBC Pashto in London. Besides filmmaking, she also runs the Jaipur Pashtun Cultural Society namely Kakarai Guldaan. She is a self admitted foodie but fitness freak too, a photographer & a traveler.

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