Simin + Lamia

Interview, Simin + Lamia, Karteparwan

Time: Election Day+3, 2 pm

play audio only (mp3, 15 MB, 16 min)

play video (QuickTime, 75 MB, 16 min)

Transcript of Pashto dialogue in video:
Over tea in her house, great-aunt Simin asks: What would my dear daughter like to hear from me?
Asked if she went to vote, she says, no.
"Why not?" asks the interviewer. She says: "[My husband] Doctor Ludin was ill and I therefore couldn't make it, due to the time needed to go to vote. However, in my heart I do vote for the person whom I like and tell others as well to cast their votes for him. Because firstly he is very near to me and had the courage to come to a wasteland to help; and secondly because of your father who is very dear to me. Therefore, I pray for him to be successful in whatever category he may be."
She continues, "He is a very social person and can easily go along with other people. He resorted to neither nepotism nor favoritism, but rather endeavored for others. So those who are happy with him, they will (inshallah) remain happy. In fact, everybody should be happy. In case there are some who are not happy, let them be unhappy."
Simin asks if the interviewer voted. The interpreter replies in lieu of the interviewer that she was not registered to vote.
Simin replies, "We [myself and my husband] were also not registered. Moreover, the registration for our district was held in the mosque and very far away, and so we did not find time to register."
Asked if she was influenced by the other candidate during the election campaign, she said: "They all have very bad associations for me. Their speeches were not only inappropriate but also not compatible in any way to the real situation of the country. Those who lived outside Afghanistan had not experienced the destruction of this land, and those who lived inside were already known to us as not suitable at all for a candidacy.
"Those who decided to come to Afghanistan, a ruined country, are those like your father and Mr. Karzai who took the risk of insecurity to rebuild this country, to bring together to some extent the national minorities, Hazaras, Panshiris, Tajiks, etc. It was not an easy task. We witnessed the flames of hostilities and conflict in Afghanistan. I appreciate their courage to come to this land. But when they arrived, the government posts were already distributed… Just removing an interior minister was a very hard job. People lived in an atmosphere of fear.
"To rebuild a destroyed house is not an easy thing. It takes at least 2 to 3 years. To rebuild a city you need more time. Some cry: what happened to the foreign donations and dollars flowing to Afghanistan? They forget, however, about how the ministries are being rebuilt. When Mr. Mojadidi arrived he didn't even have a single chair in his ministry. All this needed funds to repair. God bless all the Moslem world and particularly your father."
Cousin Lamia, sitting next to Simin, replies to a question about her voting experience: "I think it was fine despite negative rumors. The ink from the ballot room still remained on my hand after even three days."
Asked whether she is satisfied with the outcome of the elections and how she sees the parliamentary elections, she says: "Yes, the ink turned out in some cases not to be the correct one. But they managed promptly to provide the correct ink. Secondly, Mr. Karzai did not have enough experience when first installed in office, but now he has accumulated enough experience. I wish him more success… At that time one could not do his job without fear, because there were people still in government from the previous time. Now the way has been paved. The people have also learned from the past. I am sure that the flaws will be removed and the parliamentary elections will be successful.
"Many ordinary people are very easily deceived. I am one person, but I have contacts with hundreds of people telling me the truth."
[Murmurs from the TV in the background.]
"I am sitting at home and can be considered as an illiterate person," says Simin. Everyone protests this description.
Asked about the role of the media in the election campaign, Lamia [who works for Afghan Radio] says: "The press is free and the people know that they have the right to freely express their views. There are private radio stations that broadcast the views of the people without any censorship."
[TV news: some rockets hit the city, damaging a hospital…]
Simin says: "I appreciate the patience and wisdom of Mr. Karzai who has been frequently damned by obscene words, but never reacted negatively. This has given him much credit among the people."

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