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To Give a Voice
When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Ahmad Mansoor Ramizy lost almost everything except his voice. Now, he is working to give a platform for all those who have their stories left to tell.
I met Ahmad Mansoor through the great Tom Palmer from Atlas Network, a partner organization of Ideas Beyond Borders. Atlas Network is a nonprofit organization that aims to secure for all individuals the rights to economic and personal freedom through its global network of strategic partners. - Faisal
Few people knew what was happening behind the curtains in Doha between the Taliban, the United States, and the apparently excluded Republic. However, everyone knew what was coming their way; the inevitable trade of the Afghan people's dreams, hopes, and achievements for the benefit of a few. I am consciously trying to avoid this month and the atrocities we witnessed last year, even though my birthday was on the 6th of August. In reflection on my 20 years of development in the educational sector, working for freedom of speech, freedom for women, a viable economy, and the protection of basic human rights, I still can't believe all of the progress that went down the drain in a single day.
An extremist group that shares no values with the public is torturing the entire country. The previous education system has been replaced with one in which strict interpretations of sharia law dictate who can and cannot learn. The Quran is more valuable to them than science, math, and technology. Doctors, engineers, and professors are spending their days hiding in their homes while an uneducated religious extremist group rules the streets of the country.
Since the Taliban regained power, the de facto group has committed atrocities wherever possible. Raping, murdering, public executions by stoning, and beatings are among their everyday tasks. They target those they deem to be a threat to their power. In particular, they have set their sights on musicians, journalists, and civil rights activists. Sentencing people without a trial has become mainstream. People who don't share their values, such as having a long beard, wearing their clothing style, or being willing to devalue women publicly, are kicked out of offices permanently and publicly humiliated. The forced migration of people not from the Taliban’s shared ethnicity is actively taking place.
What can we do to fight the violence and damage that the Taliban are inflicting today from thousands of miles away? I believe that as an Afghan in exile, it is my job to provide a platform for those inside the country to let the world know what is really happening in Afghanistan. To give a voice to the academics and critical thinkers who are collaborating to create a philosophy of life in opposition to the Taliban's violent authoritarianism. To encourage democracy and create institutional habits for Afghans to adopt as their way of life. The United States had 20 years to do this work and somehow failed. Democracy only sticks if the people in the country believe in it.
I believe democracy needs a firm foundation to stand on. Without one, it shatters and falls in days as it did in Afghanistan. People inside the country must be made aware of the sweet taste of liberty, freedom, and what it feels like to have a choice over your life and your way of thinking.
I lost my home, friends, years of work, and memories in my country when the Taliban seized control. My country is now a slave to dogma and religious indoctrination that will haunt my generation and the generations to come. Yet I remain hopeful that through my work with Ideas Beyond Borders and Voice of Science, I will be able to take part in bringing about the country that my countrymen deserve.
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