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[Opinion] Children of Peshawar

Posted September. 25, 2001 08:38,   


Dear Reporter A

How are you doing there in Peshawar? I know that many reporters from all over the world have got together in the northern border cities, Peshawar and Quetta, to cover the pending U.S. retaliating attack against Afghanistan. When the war breaks forth, you might have to interview Afghanistan refugees, hearing the roaring of artilleries.

I have a painful memory from Peshawar. When I visited a small village near by Peshawar by a helicopter from Islamabad. The basic supplies for a living such as tents, food, clothes, living wares, fuel, water, and medial supplies, lack so much that the human dignity couldn`t even be imagined. A food supply rule regulates 500 grams of food, 30 grams of milk, and 30 grams of oil for an adult, or something like that. However, no body believed that the food was provided as it indicated.

One of the most serious problems of the refugees is the child education. The dry-bone children by dystrophy were learning letters and calculation, sitting on the ground. They couldn`t even imagine about the luxuries of desks and chairs. The teachers were selected from the refugees. The students didn`t have anything like grades to move forward.

I took a helicopter after completing my interviews there. When the propellers began to rotate, all the surrounding children reached out their hands toward the helicopter. The security guards tried to move them back, blowing warning whistles, but the vacant spot where the helicopter was a moment ago was filled with those poor children. As if they were crying out to the heaven, they were reaching out their hands, waving their hands, and shouting something.

In the sky, I felt as if I had just escaped from hell with a feeling of betrayal running away from the danger alone. I had been so depressed on my way back to Islamabad. Tracing back that memory, I searched the estimated number of the Pakistan refugees. The number still reaches over 2 million by the material from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

The most dislocated people even after the withdrawal of the Russian Military are still wandering in the same wilderness. They are captured in such a vicious cycle that they cannot return to Afghanistan, which is still in a state of internal war, but they also cannot make a living independently in Pakistan, and their poor education regenerates their poverty from generation to generation. If the U.S. begins its attack, more people will run away at the risk of their own lives and the new exiles will surge into the refugee camps, multiplying the number of refugees.

Today, I heard the U.S. confirmation of retaliating war again. They urge the world `to choose either to stand for the U.S. or for the terrorists,` insisting their `infinite justice.`

The Taliban government and the terrorist conspirators might pay the penalties for their crimes. However, I cannot escape from reminding the situation of the Afghanistan people and the innocent refugees who had left their homelands. They have already suffered and been damaged too much by the gunshots and bombings.

To erase the terrorism that had killed innocent passengers and those who were just having a morning coffee at their office in the World Trade Center on Sep. 11, to secure the peace and to mourn over the victims, a new war is about to break out. However, isn`t it self-contradicting to kill more innocent Afghanistan to condole the innocent victims in New York?

Americans have been promoting their patriotism, waving their Stars and Strips. On the contrary, many Muslims raised high their slogan, ``Osama bin Laden is Our Hero.`` at their continuous Anti-America demonstration. The seriously damaged pride and the highly elevated praise by the destruction of the symbol of the U.S. sharply clash here.

They celebrate the terrorist act that tolls over 6000 deaths and eventually bring out the economic loss of hundreds of billions including lay-offs, drastic reduction of consumption, and the devaluation of the business. I wonder if there were some self-abandoned refugees among the terrorists.

Mr. A

In the twilight, you might want to cope with the conflicts of religions and human kinds, leaning on the wall of a nearby Mosque; about the terrorist acts done in the name of salvation and peace, about the mourning and crying out of the meek who had been driven to the battle fields, and about this vicious cycle that had begun before our generation and it seems that it would not end in our generation. And about a possible answer…….

Kim Chung-Shik (Editorial Writer)