Posts tagged Afghanistan

Who is following this 15 year old girl from Afghanistan?

Would you consider this 15 year old girl fortunate because her uncle alerted authorities about her condition?  If you read this story, you will be

shocked and appalled at what evil people do to get vulnerable girls to become prostitutes.  This incident happened in Afghanistan and it continues to go on, but child brides are also supposedly kidnapped in Kazakhstan. The numbers of victims have escalated.

Who is following up on these girls? Can the authorities be trusted to do their part in upholding the law? Most of these girls go unwillingly to be “brides” or wives to their captors and the in-laws, that is known as “bride-kidnapping.”  In some cases it is due to economics and where elopement saves face for the families to avoid the payment of dowries. Whatever happened to the young child brides from 100 years ago in Kazakhstan who would work on their dowry carpets to bring to their new home? (I hope to find out more from a Kazakh woman who lives in Tucson, Arizona) I also learned that Kazakh families in the past, who had children marry each other, became very close.  How does that work out now when a Kazakh (or Afghan) woman is trapped into being married to a man and then is essentially a slave to her mother-in-law and the rest of the family?

I’m wondering how much of the traditions from yesteryear were stamped out entirely during the period of communism when in the 1960s it was outlawed for young women to create their dowry carpets.  So many questions about Kazakh traditions and culture…so many MORE questions about how young girls are being currently snatched up to not be kidnapped brides but to be prostitutes either in their own country of Kazakhstan or exported out by their traffickers to other countries.  Too…many…sad questions.

This young Afghan girl is hopefully getting a new start on life after she heals up in India.  She has certainly gotten the world’s attention by her resisting what she knew to be wrong. Thankfully her uncle cared enough to try and save her. How many other young, innocent girls at this present hour are trapped?  What can we do to help half way around the world?

Leave a comment »

Who are following these girls (Part II)

I’m picking up from where I left off with Philip Cameron writing about the organization he founded “Stella’s Voice”  in Moldova, check out this website with an interview with one of the orphans.

“The magnitude of this misery in Moldova is astounding.  Over 450,000 girls have gone “missing.”  Nearly half a million girls have vanished into the night…and as the clock counts down more will join them…”

…As Chrissie (Philip’s wife) and I began to comfort orphaned children it became evident that what they craved most was a smile and a warm embrace.  I realized my personal mandate was not just bringing them “stuff”…what these precious orphans needed from me was to be their Dad.

That’s where I met Stella.  She was a small handicapped girl, with a pronounced limp, but who possessed a huge personality and spirit.  We formed a special bond and she became my ever-present helper during trips to Modolva.  I joyously watched her grow from a young girl to a delightful teen.  But then on one of my return trips I walked into the orphanage and Stella was gone.  No one seemed to know where to find her.  I was heartsick.

I searched relentlessly for her. I would ask everyone: “Have you heard where Stella went? Do you know how she’s doing?” Then one day my answer came…Stella was dead.  She became a victim ensnared in Europe’s vicious sex trade.  She was used by men over and over again, contracted AIDS, and perished, homeless, helpless and victimized until she took her last breath.

Stella and innocent girls just like her are abused because they have no place to call home when they turn 16.  And the sex traffickers are sickeningly clever. They approach girls like Stella pretending to be a friend.  Here’s how they deceive: A woman may approach a girl on a bus and ask if she would be a live-in nanny for her children.  Or a man may approach a girl and tell her that his brother owns a restaurant in Italy and needs workers for the kitchen.  He’ll pay $300 a month.

The innocent and homeless girl will jump at a chance to be a part of something and traffickers prey on this vulnerability…Instead they are sold into the sex trade for as little as $3,500. And then, there is no escape.  A girl is raped 30-40 times a day with their owners profiting as much as $350,000 per year until they are ‘used up’ or dead.  The only way for us to dry up this market of innocent girls was to establish homes where good could triumph over evil…one girl at a time.  An in doing so, Stella’s “voice” remains alive for girls who would otherwise be homeless, powerless and eventually silenced.

In 2007, the original Stella’s House was born…” Check out the website…

However, I believe the traffickers have moved to Central Asia where they can prey on other young girls who are vulnerable and unprotected because it is not talked about.  People are becoming more aware in Kazakhstan but there is much work left to do to create a safe environment for girls.  Did you see what happened to the young girl in Afghanistan who was kidnapped to marry some guy in the military and they tortured her to go into prostitution.  She fought it tooth and nail. (literally she lost several finger nails and had her ear burned) I may blog about that tomorrow.

Leave a comment »

“I Write as I Please” 1935 Book (Part VI)

I am sure some in my reading audience wonders when this old, yellow paged book will ever end. I know from looking at my statistics that my reader numbers have jumped up instead of gone down. That indicates to me that I have some serious thinkers who know about the truth of Soviet Union’s dark history.  It wasn’t pretty.  I know because I am in the middle of reading John Noble’s book “I was a Slave in Russia.” Not sure I want to take notes on that book, it’s too surreal with all the agony and pain he witnessed and lived to write about it.

I’m up to page 288 in my notes for “I Write as I Please” and this is the best part where Walter Duranty writes of his experience going to Central Asia.  Of course, he is more interested in Uzbekistan but this is some shared history with those people who live in Kazakhstan too.

p. 288 James Elroy Flecker wrote a play called “Hassan” and a poem “The Golden Road to Samarkand” – Tamerlane’s proud capital [I will try to find by googling that play and poem to see if it is still around]

Walter Duranty wrote about F.G. Burnaby – hero of “Ride to Khiva” – reached ancient city far south of Aral Sea at Khiva, dikes built when Sumeria ruled Mesopotamia

Khan rebelled in 1922 against the Bolsheviks [what is in Kazakhstan’s history books about THIS event?]

p. 292 – WD wants to see Tamerlane’s tomb and they want to show dam and tobacco factory

Molly Van Rensselaer Cogswell was the hero because she rescued W.D. and two other veteran reporters Jim Mills with A.P., and Ed Deuss with Hearst so they could see the Registran instead of going to a boring factory that was built by the Soviets and hosted by the Soviet officials on this important junket [at least W.D. had his interest in history to spur him on to see the actual historical sites]

Lord Curzon praised Samarkand

Russian archeologist had been there since 1890 – earthquake in 1886

Mosque Bibi Khanoum – Tamerlane built in memory of dearest wife suffered damage dreadfully

p. 295 Bokhara

Ermin fled to Afghanistan in 1920-21 when Red Army advanced, he financed the “Basmachee” religious uprising against Bolshevik in 1922

p. 297 – kill those who are insane – admires the comet German regime with sterilization

p. 300 – “I Re-write as I please” (chapter title) rushed into collectivization – desirable in theory but it meant in practice mismanagement and woe.  Rescued by Political Section from the militant communists

W.D. wrote that “people suffered greatly in the the process of 1928-1933” [that would be an understatement]

p. 301 – Even to a reporter who prides himself on having no bowels of compassion to weep over ruined homes and broken hearts, it is not always easy or plan and to describe such wreckage?  [W.D. hearkens back to the cost of war and what he lived through during WWI, seems that nothing could top what he experienced as a war correspondent, his experience seemed to trump all others’ suffering under communism]

p. 302 – “unprecedented capital investment in socialized industry and has simultaneously converted agriculture for narrow and obsolete individualism to modern Socialist methods…their cost in blood and tears and other terms of human suffering has been prodigious, but I am not prepared to say that it is unjustified.” [so in other words, W.D. is willing to say “the end justifies the means”]

“ex malo scilicet bonum” =  “don’t let yourself be defeated by difficulties you must try to turn them to your advantage.” [Did W.D. turn others’ suffering to his advantage by writing this book “I Write as I please?”

p. 304 – W.D. noted that the Bolsheviks used language by deliberate intent words incomprehensible to all save adepts.  Their aims and ideas were magnificent but their methods distressing.

Does the end justify the means?  [W.D. had to ask himself that question over and over again, I’m sure]

(to be continued)

Leave a comment »

What ELSE Hillary Clinton said in Astana

I remember when I lived in Minneapolis close to Interstate Highway I-94 and 35W in the early 1990s, we had an important dignitary ride by in his black limo. We knew this was a VIP because all the freeways had been closed off that particular Sunday afternoon, we had been warned of this interruption. It was eerie to see what was a usually very busy freeway, was completely silent. But we weren’t as a neighborhood, we all excitedly stood by the fence to watch the black motorcade roll past with great anticipation. I don’t know what we expected to see, certainly with about 4-5 limos, you are NOT going to see the person of interest through dark paned glass.  It was like a parade of one float and when it was over we could say that we saw one of the CARS of the  leader of the former Soviet Union go past us. Yes, it was Gorbachev rolling through Minnesota on that cool day. I won’t ever forget that historic moment but I’m sure Gorbachev won’t remember simply because he had been driven through so many towns and in so many countries all his public life.

Well, the same thing happened here in Astana, Kazakhstan these past couple of days. Except no one was supposed to be out watching because this was actually like a parade of many motorcades with police cars flashing lights in front. Each delegation of the 55 plus countries were driven through the streets in Astana to discuss peace, security and human rights issues. Seems ironic that so much extra police were on hand to make sure that these talks would go without a hitch, meaning NO TERRORISTS allowed! I think it worked!

I’m most interested in what Hillary said especially after her very rigorous meetings with so many people yesterday. She ended up at the U.S. embassy in the evening and shook hands and talked with an American friend of mine. Of course, my friend said that Hillary looked tired but she has a job to do of diplomacy and showing the U.S. best face to this summit conference. I saw this quote about what ambassadors are supposed to do. I believe Hillary as Secretary of State has a different job description.

A 16th century English diplomat Henry Wotton said, ” An ambassador is a man of virtue sent to lie abroad for his country.”

The following is what Hillary said in answer to a journalist’s question.  I found it intriguing.  I got this from the same blog website I got other Hillary info from yesterday:

“And one more question to State Secretary Clinton. It is known that some amendments to the act on cyber space have been adopted in the United States that would entitle the U.S. President to regulate the exchange of information in the Internet. I would like to know more about this concerning the amendments to the act on cyber space. Thank you.”

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I would add…With regard to cyber security and cyber space, the United States is, like many nations, addressing the opportunities and the challenges and the threats that are posed in cyber space. We want the Internet to be a vehicle for the free exchange of information, yet we are well aware of the dangers that can be posed to the misuse of the Internet to all kinds of institutions and networks. And so this is not only a matter of concern for the United States; we think this deserves attention at the highest international levels, and that is beginning to occur.

The following thing that Hillary said is what REALLY surprised me.  That the Afghan students will come to Kazakhstan to study?  I will believe it when I see it!!! (yeah like THAT’s going to happen!)

“Last night, I met with many of the participants who took part in the independent conference of non-governmental organizations that ran parallel with the summit. I was impressed by their effort and energy on crucial challenges, including protecting fundamental freedoms. They know what we all know, that a thriving civil society is a vital building block of democracy, and that disparate, diverse voices must be heard and supported.

In the discussion that I had with both the president and the foreign minister, I thanked Kazakhstan for your support of the international mission in Afghanistan, and for all you are doing to help the Afghan people, particularly the very kind invitation for 1,000 students to continue their education here, in Kazakhstan. This will enable these young people to contribute to Afghanistan’s development. I also thanked Kazakhstan for the recently concluded air transit agreement that will help ensure the delivery of critical resources to Afghanistan, and I welcomed Kazakhstan as the newest member of the International Security Assistance Force, which now includes 49 countries.”

Comments (1) »

Letter dated Oct. 12, 1994 – Kyrgyzstan

The following letter is the last of this series I found and retyped for my blog audience.  It reveals what I was experiencing 17 years ago while still single but about to get married to a man I met in Almaty, Kazakhstan on May 2, 1993.  It was a long courtship for Ken, but it was a necessary wait and see period for me since I had finally enjoyed being single and LOVED my work I was doing with Fulbright.  But all good things have gotten better for me and Ken, we are in Astana together now, where we are supposed to be.  Hey, it’s better than being in Afghanistan, which the salaries for both of us are very tempting, but no thank you.

Oct. 12, 1994

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. This verse is what Ken is having inscribed in our wedding bands.  We will get married in several months and have our honeymoon in Israel.

There was a close call with my dad two weeks ago where he had to be hospitalized from some strange intestinal ailment.  It was a three hour long operation and put a scare into my whole family since it happened so suddenly.  Ken was right there beside me by telephone, praying through the difficult times of not knowing what was happening with my Dad.  Fortunately, my dad should be recovered in time to walk me down the aisle on December 24th.

It is right to marry Ken after knowing him for over a year.  I could have missed it, I could have let him go.  I cannot believe that someone could really love me and put up with me for LIFE!!!

It is not unlike my Russian friend, Tatyana, who lives in Almaty and I want her to be one of my bridesmaids. She simply can’t believe that I would fly her to the States to be a part of our wedding.  It means getting a letter of invitation, a visa, her passport in order, plus the plane fare arranged.  I told her in June to make the necessary preparations by writing friends of hers in the States so she could stay with them after the wedding.  It hasn’t happened because of her unbelief and the time for buying airfare tickets is NOW! Because she thinks something could go wrong with her Kazakhstan government not granting an exit visa, she doesn’t want to get her hopes up.  Inertia was winning.  People are still steeped in their old way of thinking.  They have been programmed to think negatively.  Thinking it will not work, it will not happen.

I also want to bring Jyldyz, as a traveling companion for Tatyana. She is a Kyrgyz, 16 year old girl who will play violin and piano at our wedding.  She will fly with Tatyana to New York from Moscow and then into Chicago.  They will take a bus to Minneapolis from there together. The two girls will have an extra week or two to do what they want on their own (while we honeymoon).

Back to reality here in Bishkek, the downside of being the only American English teacher is that I have a heavy teaching load this semester.  It is like giving an essay test to 60 students and returning their results to them each week.  Each student’s assignment takes about 10-15 minutes to grade.  The decision was made by me to give up my Fulbright grant at the end of January, four months early.  That is when Ken and I will get marriage AGAIN in Bishkek for the benefit of my expat, Kyrgyz and Russian friends but mostly for my students.  I will move to where Ken’s job is, either in Almaty or Washington D.C.  We are expecting great things together!!!

Ken and I have two households stored away in the States and two separate ones in Central Asia to put together once married.  We do not need more THINGS!!!  If you feel really compelled to give, I would encourage you to consider New Life Family services as a worthy opportunity.  I really hope to see you on Dec. 24 though I know it is a very busy, family time.  We are coming from the “ends of the earth” to celebrate with you God’s love and grace in bringing two imperfect people together.  Love to all…

Leave a comment »

Kazakh Economy: Bull or “Buddy Bear” Market?

I’m “Buddy Bear” back! Subscribers to my blog, did you miss me?  Well, I missed you too while I had my MacBook in the shop getting extra memory installed.  I went through 48 hours of withdrawal from my laptop but tried to get by on my old trusty Dell and my iPod Touch. That didn’t work so well because our Internet went out at home and was intermittent at work.  You may think this is a lot of “bull” but no, it is just another day where I will show off the Buddy Bear.  The one I am featuring first is from the Netherlands, I should have asked a Dutch person I know what they think the artist meant with the “X” eye and belly button?  Also I’m featuring a Buddy Bear from Afghanistan, which portrays a mother comforting a child who is crying with a backdrop of beautiful mountains.  I have many more photos I took of the Buddy Bears.  I suppose I could blog a whole month doing the Buddy Bears but I’ll have to stop at some point.  Enjoy them while you can, they look better in bear-person of course.  But go see them and then take a ride up the Baiterek to get a view of the city of Astana!

Leave a comment »

Photos of Victory Day Celebration in Almaty

medals for saleThe president put out a proclamation about the annual Victory Day celebration on one of the billboards. (I wish I could read what it says in Kazakh) Many old men and their families were walking around Panfilov Park this morning. I caught several with their chest full of medals. However, you do the math, any surviving war veterans of the Great Patriotic War have all probably passed away or nearly so. That war was almost 70 years ago and if those still walking the streets started fighting at age 16 or even 20, they are at least 90 now. Some who did actually see real war during the campaign and are still living are perhaps bedridden. Others may have fought in the Afghanistan war, those ones I see usually have one leg or one arm. In any case, Victory Day is all about Soviet Union nostalgia or becoming more so with each passing year. The old music plays, the male choruses sing, the parades with all the military tanks and missiles come out. What a beautiful day to remember those who fought valiantly during the Great Patriotic War.

chest full of medalsBazaar mandeer in headlights lookflowers and medalsbillboard for May 9Presidents quote

Comments (1) »