Saturday, August 22, 2009

A first hand account from voting in Afghanistan

As you all know, I worked in Afghanistan for six months in 2007, and I befriended a co-worker there, "Friba", who I have maintained contact with. I asked her if her family voted in Thursdays elections and what the experience was like. She wrote back:
We all voted but for different persons.
Ah, democracy! Sounds like my family!

I won't say who they voted for, except to say none voted for Karzai, the current president, and that should tell you something.

She also said:
I went early in the morning but in all streets we were the only women. My father and my older brother escorted the women of my family. I can tell you that in this election the attendance of people were not so much as the first election, especially the women.

For selecting presidential candidate it was easy for me, but for provincial candidates, it took me lots of time.

After voting, one journalist from Azadi Radio interviewed me. His questions were why I came to vote and whether I was scared after voting that I would go back home and the Taliban would cut off my fingers.

I told him since I am a woman it is my right to vote. It is our Islamic, legal and half of the population right to vote. I won't be scared by anybody and I won't let anybody to cut off my finger.
And that's the part where I started crying.

Never, ever take voting for granted.

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