Thursday, February 08, 2007

Parliament a deux

I wrote a long, in-depth explanation on the proposed legislation but I started to bore myself. It can be summarized to:

I thought that the new proposed law granting immunity to fighters of the previous wars, including persons responsible for heinous crimes, was different from the National Reconciliation charter. The National Reconciliation Shura is attempting to bring many fighting Afghans back into the fold. It’s different in that it’s not proposing a law giving wide-scale immunity.

I’m too busy to look it up now but it looks like I am wrong. I want to touch upon a few other points though. Askar Gu Raiz’s comments were thought-provoking and I’d like to babble on about this situation. I stated in my previous post, “No wonder most local Afghans don't want Western-style democracy. They have a better chance of justice when there is one 'good' leader rather than a whole lot of folks who have capitalized on the bloodshed.”

Well, as MC Serch says, “Say what you mean and mean what you say” [Yes, that’s right, I just referenced MC Serch of The White Rapper Show. That’s just me. You have to ‘Do you’ (that’s reference #2, for those keeping track). For the record, I think it’ll be a Persia-Shamrock Final.]

I was pretty angry about the whole situation. That these Wakils, who have only passed one law since the start of Parliament, would have the audacity to write, debate and approve this bootleg law. Heck, it makes me angry now.

The role of democratic institutions (Parliament voted in by the people, Judicial system and etc) is to provide checks and balances on each other while serving the people. However, in a post-conflict country like Afghanistan, these institutions are often used to co-opt or integrate persons who would otherwise rebel against the government. Couple this with voters who are largely illiterate and are afraid of said leaders – well, it’s not the best function of democracy. While stability may be achieved, the institutions perceived as ‘Western’ (Parliament and etc), lose credibility because they are not speaking out against abuses heaped on Afghans.

So I come back to my statement of, “No wonder most local Afghans don't want Western-style democracy.” I fell into my most-hated of traps, the ‘Things would be better if we had a dictator’ trap. Sure, I didn’t say it, but I felt it. I wanted a magic wand that would create an environment where local Afghans wouldn’t be afraid to speak out against such abuses. That’s never going to happen by magic. We're going to have to do it ourselves.

But, I take it back. It’s not perfect, but democracy is working, albeit imperfectly and grudgingly. The international and domestic community speaking out against the law has given the President and other groups (some within the Parliament) some help in opposing the law. The recent news that President Karzai has sent law to his experts to review the constitutionality of the law is positive. That’s exactly what should be done.

So, drop by drop, we make a river.

Hallelujah Holla back (That’s reference #3)


Frida World said...

Yes - democracy s working. People spoke out, Malalai Joya spoke out, my friend and heroine Shinkai Karokhail spoke out, the Civil Sopciety and Human Rights Network spoke out, the Herat Professional Shura (a acouncil of lawyers, doctors, journalists and academics) spoke out.

Civil society moved and the President listened (okay may be he was also listening to big donor govts, but I like to think he was also listening to his people).

This whole thing sent me into a little fit of despair, but watching the respons from Afghan civil society unfold, it has turned into almost the opposite.

Good on you for coming back to the topic, there are so many layers that there is always room for another thought, andother relfection.

choayang letters said...

Thank you. You are never boring - send me the long version. I've been absent from blog-world but you're not absent from my thoughts.

Can't wait to catch up.

Tarous said...

I am so exited that someone else besides me remembers MC Serch that I wont even comment on the majority of the post. I'm just going to give parliament the 3rd Bass Gas Face.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the informative post... What's worrying is that these are the elected people. In the next election, will they be remembered?

homeinkabul said...

Much more to write on this topic. I haven't looked at the text of the current and final law - I hope it's positive.

THIRD BASS GAS FACE!! Tarous, you might be my bff