It surprises me how many Afghan experts the Netherlands suddenly seems to have. As if all these sages had consciously retained all knowledge and science for twenty years, knowing that at some point the country would turn back half a century. Then predict the past as a kind of reverse nostradamus. Cheers.
Let me say that the interest is more than justified. That nuances, backstories and context are more than necessary. This awareness, thanks to social media, is deservedly growing. Not at least for the Dutch Afghans who grew up here and didn’t have the space to have this part of history about Afghanistan taught by our parents, for various reasons.
Yet I can’t resist asking: Where have these rich analysis, wisdom, and insights been over the past 20 years? Where have the well-intentioned nuances and stories about the “Afghanistan we don’t know” in recent decades? Not that current events were not upon it, unfortunately the country is always on top of the news of ongoing turmoil, current danger and fractured people. Now piece by piece appears and everyone is an expert.
They were undoubtedly there, but they were very few. Very humble, very humble. I didn’t contribute either.
But the conclusion is clear: we were reused, plundered and left to our fate by the West, who came to bring civilization for a while. I read somewhere this week: “If you leave a country in ruins like this, neglect a people so much, and don’t help rebuild, you run a colony.”
I see reports comparing the departure of Western forces from Afghanistan to the United States’ exit from Vietnam in the mid-1970s. An image of a military helicopter taking off confirms the similarities between the two moments, almost forty years later. I read about the geopolitical reasons for Britain and the United States to station themselves militarily in Afghanistan throughout history. I see Hillary Clinton explain in old interview footage how the Taliban are a creation of the United States. I see people clinging to the wheels of a plane taking off.
Therefore, unless you write to prove it true, suppose that the Dutch government should have a generous asylum policy for new Afghans – not just those who took part in Dutch military operations, but everyone who comes here now – and the Afghans present in the Netherlands for an indefinite period of time If you don’t turn it off, you’re not adding nuance but putting a forty-year humanitarian crisis into perspective.
You can’t expect that from a country where Srebrenica lives on its conscience, can you? But then what?
Rapper and writer messiah hotak (1992) writes a weekly column for Het Parool. Read all of his columns Here Back.
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