Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Winter – The Hell of the Poor

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Winter – The Hell of the Poor

The poor are left at the mercy of cold weather in Afghanistan. There are many poor men and women who seek to survive the cold winter. It will not be an exaggeration to call winter the hell of the poor since they suffer severely. The winter is a thorn in the side of the poor across the country and inflict heavy sufferings upon them.
I am constantly touched with the pain and anguish of poor men and women who sit on streets from the break of dawn to the fall of dusk, in this cold weather, to earn a penny. Afghan widows, who have probably lost their spouses in battlefield or terrorist attacks, beseech passersby to hand them a penny so that they could save their children from hunger and coldness. If you walk in Kabul streets, you will see a large number of women sitting with burqa (a head-to-toe covering) and unfolding their problems with passersby. Mostly, they say that their children are left without food and clothing. There are women who walk with a cane beg on the streets.
On the other hand, there are scores of children either begging or selling minor stuff such as plastic, mobile card, chewing gum, etc. Although it is time for them to play joyfully with their childhood friends and go to school without worrying about financial issues, they are forced to engage in labor and daily chores to provide their families with a morsel of bread. They might be the children of soldiers, who sacrificed their lives in battlefields, or war victims. Those who are killed for the protection of national values are forgotten by the public and government. Only their families are left with indescribable pain and sufferings.
There are countless of people in Afghanistan who do not have a roof over their heads. If you pass Pole-Sokhta in Kabul, you will see many addicted individuals who suffer in the worst possible way. It is believed that extreme poverty and unemployment forced them to seek solace in narcotic drug. Rather than being sympathized, they have been changed into fun for the public. People go to Pole-Sokhta to watch the misery of some others who were forced to the quagmire of drug. The question is that what is the government’s attitude toward them?
The government turns a close eye to the addicted individuals. Ironically, the only responsibility the officials feel toward them is to bury the addicts who die out of pain and disease. Those addicts mostly die in winter as a result of coldness. Rather than treating them as patients, policemen humiliate and punch them every once in a while. A picture of an addict, who resided Pole-Sokhta, went viral when he was killed by the punching of a policeman. Only few days ago, I passed Pole-Sokhta in an early morning and saw the dead body of an addict beside the road. People were passing him with indifference. I was shocked to see how death is changed into an ordinary issue in the country and no one feels sorry for him. Hence, addicts die a silent death and buried with disgust in Afghanistan. Do you not think that humanity is moribund?
It should be noted that they are also citizens of this country and deserve to be helped by the government. The government will have to build a hospital for the addicts and treat them. If they are treated, they will be ready to work in companies or even serve in the army. In this case, it will be an honor for them to die in battles against terrorists rather than dying in a corner of a street. After all, treating them will also mitigate crime and corruption in the country. Almost all those addicts are involved in crime. They will succumb to corruption to survive poverty and hunger. So, treating them will benefit the society.
It is further believed that if poverty and unemployment do not be dealt with, the graph of crime and corruption will increase. Meanwhile, many other youths and children will also resort to using narcotic drug to alleviate their mental pressure. Poverty generates many kinds of crime and corruption, including moral corruption.
The fact is that officials live a luxury life and their families are well-off and their children do not feel any problems. They concentrate all their attention on their own families and forget other citizens. In such a case, they may not feel responsibility toward those who are afflicted with great misery and lack basic necessities of life such as food and clothing. They are not touched with the grief and sorrow of widows or orphans.
In the current era, humanity and ethical code are eroding and one is not aware of the pain of their next-door neighbor. People have turned extremely selfish and turn a close eye to the hardship of their fellows. To be honest, altruism and moral values have reduced to mere slogans and the vacuum of humanity is widely felt in human societies. The poor are humiliated and made fun of rather than being supported.
The government ought to pay attention to the citizens’ challenges and create jobs for both men and women so as to mitigate poverty. If unemployment is not dealt with, poverty will continue unabated. Moreover the families that have lost their bread-winners in battlefields or terrorist attacks, should be supported by the government. Their children must be given privileges in schools, universities, and educational centers so that they could continue their education. 

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

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