Friday, April 29, 2005

Waheed, Afghan Warrior For Democracy

Waheed of the Afghan Warrior Blog is one of the first native Afghani Blogger in Afghanistan.
And in the: In T View: Waheed, Afghan Warrior For Democracy he tells of his Heritage, Afghanistan under the Taliban, his Love for his Mom, the Changes that have taken Place, his Interest in Blogging, his Work as an Interpreter for the U.S. Military, and who's Prettier: Afghani or Lebanese Women. . .

And a whole lot more in the In T View: Waheed, Afghan Warrior For Democracy

MG: Waheed, how did you become interested in Blogging, and how did your Blog: Afghan Warrior come about?

Waheed: From childhood I was interested to be lyric or writer. One day I went to check my email and after I checked it I had 15 more minutes so I went to IRC chat room and I met Paul Edwards who persuaded me to start my blog. My first post got many comments and I was so
impressed and happy so I decidedto keep on blogging.

When I was 9 years old the war started in the capital Kabul in 1992 and the situation was very horrible. Many rockets blasted near our house and we had to immigrate to many places.
It is a long story to tell you and Afghan warrior means i keep fighting against those responsible.

MG: What is your favorite food?

Waheed:I like all kinds of food that are cooked well. Afghan rice beef steak is my favorite food.

MG: Without divulging anything of a confidrential nature, what exactly do you do in your job as a translator with the U.S. Miltary?

Waheed: As an interpreter I go on patrols and also communicate between ANA and US Army. When we go on patrols we talk with people and ask questions about their problems and whether they have any problem with robbery or bad guys.

MG: Is Afghanistan a very tribal society?

Waheed: Yes, Afghanistan is a tribal society but the tribes are united.

MG: Waheed, if it's not too personal, could you tell me which tribal group you belong to?

Waheed: I belong to the Tajik tribe.

MG: And when you reached adulthood, did you have to undergo some sort of initiation, ritual or ceremony?

Waheed: When I reached adulthood I was in Pakistan with my family because the living conditions weren't good in Afghanistan. So I really didn't have any sort of ceremony. I was only thinking when will I be able to go back to my country and go back to school.

MG: What does the name Waheed mean? Does your name have a meaning?

Waheed: My name means "united" or "unity". In some old books it also means "single" or "only".

MG: What's the best book you ever read?

Waheed: My favorite book is Shahnama-E-Firdawsi. This book is full of nice stories about former kings of Afghanistan going back 1800 years and it's full of nice epic poems.

MG: So, do you have a favorite sport or activity that you like to do?

Waheed: I like all sports, especially soccer. Right now I don't have time because I work from 4pm till 7am, but sometimes I like to watch sports on TV.

MG: If you could go on vacation to any place in the World, where would it be?

Waheed: I love to travel and visit different countries. There are many places I would love to go e.g. US, Canada, Australia, India, Egypt.

MG: So, how bad was it living under the Taliban?

Waheed: When the Taliban came to power I moved to Pakistan with my family but I was reading the newspaper every day. Also I was talking with people who were coming from Afghanistan. Life was hard and very boring. No TV channels, no music. It was especially hard for women as they were not allowed to work outside of their houses. There was no education for women and no freedom of speech.

MG: Waheed, if someone said to you five years ago that the Taliban would be out of power, Afghanistan would have democratic elections, Kabul would be being rebuilt and blossoming, women would be actually allowed to protest for their rights, new schools would be being built, you would be working for the U.S. Military and telling the world about Afghanistan through your Blog on the Internet, would you have believed them?

Waheed: During the Taliban regime we wouldn't have believed that the US Army would come to Afghanistan, but we were hoping that one day Afghanistan will be free. But when the
US attacked, everything changed very quickly. I wouldn't have believed that one day I would be working as an interpreter and we would have 4 TV channels and women would have their ministry and protest for their rights.

MG: Now that Kabul has four TV Channels, do you have a television program you like to watch?

Waheed: I like all programs on our TV channels, but my favorite is Sahat-e-bashuma which gives very useful information about new technology and also is shows strange events. Also "hop"
program, which is a music program which play different songs such as Indian, Afghan, Iranian, English, Arabic

MG: Do you have any pets?

Waheed: I used to have a dog but not now.

MG: Who's Prettier: Afghani women or Lebanese women?

Waheed: Hahaha. I don't know which women are prettier. I guess they are very similar but we have some that are very pretty .........

MG: What's the strangest thing you've ever seen in Afghanistan?

Waheed: The strangest thing I ever saw was the 1992 war in Kabul. The rockets were coming from everywhere and the Kabul sky was covered by smoke.

MG: All Afghani boys love their mothers, so what is it about your mother that is special?

Waheed: Yes, all boys and girls love their parents, especially their mothers. There is a great respect for parents in Afghanistan and I love my mother more than anything in the world.
My mother is a special mother - she is very smart, she is a high school teacher. The special thing
about her is that she is really kind to me and she always cares for me.

MG: What is the biggest problem facing Afghanistan today?

Waheed: Afghanistan is facing a lot of problems today. The biggest problem we are facing is terrorism. Other problems that we are facing are power, weak economy, unpaved roads. We need hospitals and universities and we must have colleges in every province. Sports stadiums and much more.

MG: Do you have a favorite place you like to visit in Afghanistan and why?

Waheed: My favorite place in Afghanistan to visit is Panjshir and Paghman Valley.

MG: Waheed, I understand that Internet Costs are very expensive in Kabul and that you have a great need for a Digital Camera and Laptop. If people want to help you with these things, how do they go about it? Can they make donations to your Blog?

Waheed: Internet is expensive here in Kabul. It's impossible for people to get net connection for their homes because only few people have digital phones. The government hasn't issued new phone systems to the people.

They are working on it, but it might take a long time. There are some net companies in Kabul that issue satellite connection which costs US$3000 for the satellite and 3 months in advance, and every month they charge you US$300 for the lowest speed.

I am waiting to get a phone connection. It costs US$270 to get a phone but I don't know when they will issue them, so most people go to net cafes. There are almost cafes in all Kabul now.
If anyone wants to send me a second hand laptop or digital camera they can send it to me via the US Army mail. One guy offered me a laptop and one guy a digital camera, so I hope they send them.

Yes, they can donate money to my blog. (MG Says: Yes, you can donate to Waheed via the PayPal button at Afghan Warrior.)

MG: Thanks very much, Waheed, and final question: Have you ever seen a ghost?

Waheed: I have never seen a ghost in real life but sometimes in my dreams. My friend told me that he saw a ghost.


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