Interview with Basir Ahang (February 2012)



Good evening to everybody! I would like to purpose you this time an interview with Basir Ahang, an Afghan journalist and political refugee in Italy. Basir has realized a documentary “The Voice of Patra” about the conditions of the Afghan refugees in Greece, has worked as an interpreter and cultural mediator and is involved in project aiming in capturing the attention on its people and expecially on the third ethnic group of Afghanistan, the Hazara, victims of violence and persecutions. What else could i say? Enjoy the interview and stay tuned!
  What can you tell us about the scarcely discussed and dramatic condition of the Hazara people?
The Hazara people constitute the 67% of the whole Afghan population before the XIX century, but since 1882 until 1890 more than the half of them were exterminated by the King Abdul Rahman Khan. Today it’s believed that the Hazara constitute the 22% of the population, even if because of the census’ lack it’s difficult to establish the precise number of them. Anyway, the story of the Hazara covers a very long period of time and it would be necessary a whole book to tell their affairs. Referring to the current times, the Hazara condition meet less space in the debate because of the government’s effort to censor any information about the massacres and the discriminations towards this ethnic group. In 1993, during the Mujaheddin wars, the Hazara were victims of an authentic genocide. The major tragedy occurred in the zone of Ashfar, located in the west of Kabul, where in just two days were killed more than 7 000 civilians and 2 500 women were first raped and then sold as slaves. The responsible of this massacre were Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ahmad Shah Massud, Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, now member of the Parliament and Ayatollah Muhammad Asif Muhsini, currently leader of the “Islamic Movement of Afghanistan” party (Harakat-e Islami-yi Afghanistan). Since 1999 until 2001, the Taliban instead were the ones carrying on the genocide, declaring the destruction of the Hazara to be among their aims; the massacres that need to be remembered here are the ones of Mazar-Sharif, Bamyan, Baghlan and Ghazni. Bayman’s Buddhas were also destroyed in order to erase the symbols of Hazara’s history and art. Today millions of Hazara live in various parts of the world, where they hope to conduct a pacific life and where many of them study and work in order to build a better future in Afghanistan.
Do you think that the Western intervention had increased the internal conflicts in Afghanistan?
No, the Western intervention had not increased the internal conflicts in Afghanistan. All the ethnical groups, except the Pashtun sustain the presence of the international forces, because they know that as soon as it’ll come the time of their retreat, the Taliban will take back the power and the situation will completely crumble. The Westerners unfortunately have never understood the reality of the country and they have always given trust to the dominating ethnic group, ignoring the fact that the other ethnic groups have always been against the Taliban and their return.
Which are the actors that could really express a role in the current Afghan scenery?
At this point, I think that it’s already too late to improve the situation. The only thing that we can do is trying to influence the internal politics of Afghanistan by the exterior with the force and skills of the Diaspora’s Afghans. One of the options on which we are working is federalism. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnical country indeed and only a federal state could create the necessary conditions so that everybody could live in peace without oppression and ethnical discrimination. In fact we believe that as the United States chose federalism in order to avoid a civil war, also Afghanistan could decrease the ethnical tensions which are lacerating the country trough the creation of a federal State. In the past, it could have made instead something really simple in order not to influence in a negative way, in Afghanistan, by not influencing it at all. Afghanistan has always been a game’s theater for the foreign powers which have actually influenced its present, past and future; Great Britain and the Soviet Union begun to do so, today it’s the time of the United States with other Western countries , Great Britain above all the others.
The importance of creating a new economy for Afghanistan it’s often forgotten; how it could be possible in front of the undisputed opium’s cultivation?
Millions of dollars have been spent for the war in Afghanistan; if a quarter of that money would have been spent for the reconstruction and the economy we would have many less problems today. Beyond that, it should be remembered that Karzai government grants money to the provinces and the regions according to the ethnical group of the inhabitants, so we have regions populated by Hazara disposing of less of 2% of the national budget for the economic development. An example of it its Daikundi region, to which have been granted 4.500.000 dollars for the agriculture improvement, while millions of dollars have been granted to Kandahar. The opium cultivation it’s already part of Afghanistan policy, and until members of the underworld and Taliban will remain in power no one could change this tendency. The economic improvement is strictly linked to justice’s condition; without it, there can’t be development.
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Finance regulation: here comes Finance Watch!

Finance has never been considered as much important as during the last years following the Lehman Brothers’ fall . The term ethical finance started to be purposed and spread. An example of ethic finance may be represented by Islamic finance, based on Sha’aria’s principles and focused on avoiding the use of capitals for mere gain, but rather for direct economic investments. In the Eurozone, many protest movements consider the financial industry as a reality that is heavily profiting of the widespread crisis. In any case, every industry requires a certain degree of regulation and here comes the role of Finance Watch.

Finance Watch is an independent and non profit organization, originated by an initial group of 22 European MEPS and their call for action. The Secretary General of the organization is Thierry Philipponnat, with a background in economy, finance and Amnesty International. The organization is based in Brussels, near to the European Parliament; the location is not casual at all, as long as like it’s underlined in the documentary The Brussels Business, Brussels is the world’ second major seat of lobbies, after Washington D.C.

The quest of the organization is summarized in its motto “make finance serve society” and consider as fundamental for its vision realization’s passages such as a banking system not based on moral hazard and the reduction of the costs of the intermediation by the financial industry.

One of the key challenges in the European future is the one of analyzing finance and its role in the future of the Eurozone. It would be important to follow the evolutions of Finance Watch’s projects and their results in the future.

If you want to have a deeper understanding of Finance Watch’s results you can have a look at the Finance Watch Annual Report 2011-2012.