Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, June 26th, 2017

Cold Weather Aggravates Challenges

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Cold Weather Aggravates Challenges

The sufferings and misery of the poor have been compounded by the severe cold and heavy snow. A large number of Afghan people are engaged in manual labors from dawn to dusk to make the ends meet. However, with the increase of unemployment, some may have only roof over their heads and can hardly provide food and clothing for their family members. Scores of children will take the hope of going to school to the grave with them and forced to labor so as to alleviate the financial pressures of their families. Life, for them, is no more than pains and sufferings.

If you walk on Kabul streets, you will see countless children engaged in banal tasks from plastic sending to shoe-polishing. Their only claim to fame is to earn a penny in order to survive hunger as well as save their siblings. Similarly, widows, the husbands of whom might have been killed in battles against terrorist groups, moan from early morning to late evening to keep their children alive. They are seriously beset with financial problems and their painful beseeching can hardly get passersby to hand them a penny. Poor are the children who were born in such families and inherit their bad luck namely anguish and misery. In other words, some children are born and bred on the street, continue the same life-style and hand it down to the next generation. No job, no home and no birth control! So, the wintertime compounds the hardships of those poor women and children. They live in crumbled houses and slums or simply on streets. These people who earn their bread and butter by begging, how is it possible for them to obtain fuel for heating? Even though, their bodies are numb with cold and their faces pale with hunger, they still surpass death.

The nature has been very cruel recently. The avalanches struck after three days of heavy snow, which has destroyed scores of homes, killed at least hundred people and blocked roads mainly in central and northeastern provinces, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach the stricken villages. The bulk of the deaths however occurred in remote Nuristan province, where at least 50 people were killed in a single village. Elsewhere 54 people were killed in northern and central Afghan provinces, where officials said massive avalanches destroyed 168 houses and killed hundreds of cattle.

Deadly avalanches are common in Afghanistan’s mountainous areas in winter and rescue efforts are frequently hampered by lack of equipment. Despite billions of dollars in international aid after the ousting of the Taliban government in 2001, Afghanistan remains among the world’s poorest nations. Last month heavy snowfall and freezing weather killed 27 children, all under the age of five, in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan.

The silence of the government officials is very disappointing. The fact is that they live in skyscrapers, eat sumptuous meals, drive costly vehicles; no pains and pressures touch them. Hence, in such a utopian world, how can they realize the meaning of difficulties and poverty! They do not ever want to imagine the dystopian world of the poverty-stricken families.

Thomas Hobbes says “As machines, human beings pursue their own self-interest relentlessly, mechanically avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.” In this world, many are as machine, bereft of human feelings, emotions, sympathies and dignities, pursuing pleasure at the cost of others’ lives. They threaten, torture and murder in order to benefit in every possible way. For instance, besides suffering poverty, some locals wrestle with many other challenges, such as, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, murder, etc. No wonder, the mentioned crimes are engendered by extreme misery.

The fact is that humanity is moribund and moral standard is being eroded. A well-off family will not care if its next-door neighbor has nothing to eat. After all, a poor person will be treated with humiliation and contempt whereas a rich one will be held in high respect just for the sake of their money. It is simply said that ‘money talks’. In daily life, one’s personality is measured on the basis of their wealth. The richer you are, the more

important you will look.
In natural life-style in which machinery and modern technology had no influence, the ethical code and humanity are believed to held strong sway. People shared strong ties with one another and had empathetic feelings towards one another. The gap between the poor and the rich was not as wide as it is in the modern world. Even in feudalism, the lower ranks of society worked and fought for the higher ranks for receiving land and protection. But now, there is neither land nor protection for the workforce. Moreover, the government is not able to use the workforce in the right way and there is no strategy for tackling the mass unemployment. Therefore, a large number of Afghans immigrated to foreign countries, at the cost of their lives, to get the financial pressures alleviated. If they return to the country in such a critical time, the challenges will be compounded with too much workforce and no employment. The question to be answered by the government is that are there any effective strategies to tackle the issue of refugees and unemployment? The public misery will continue unless the government adopts an effective and nationwide strategy to put an end to the financial challenges.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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