Given my background as the son of an anti-Communist Afghan leader, I never thought I would find myself writing a favorable article about a former KGB officer who probably back in the 1980s, would have wanted the likes of my father apprehended and killed, as was the case in the Communist days of Afghanistan.
While flying through Heathrow International Airport in London recently during my holiday, I was not surprised (emphasis on not surprised) to see how the western media lynch mob has already jumped on Vladimir Putin’s throat in making him the front-page villain who shot down the Malaysian Airline MH17 flight over Ukraine. Four magazines’ July/August issues have Vladimir Putin pretty much labelled as the man behind the downing of MH17 and the one who must pay for a convenient accusation by US and EU. It is unfortunate how the western media (TV, online, print, radio, et al.) who consistently speak of ‘freedom of speech’ have themselves become the sole projectors of the voice of their politicians. Experts on such cases have said that it takes weeks, even months, to collect evidence and determine what really happened but of course, that doesn’t matter – if the western powers say you’re the criminal, then criminal you must be. Speaking from personal experience, I have seen the wrath of western media’s propaganda in Afghanistan post-9/11 when allies who fought the Soviet Union were all carpet-labelled as warlords and war criminals, while the new faces imported from the US that would later become globally known, were labelled as ‘technocrats’ and ‘global thinkers’ of Afghanistan.
A prime example is the way the western media glamorized their first import to Afghanistan: the outgoing President, Hamid Karzai. Hamid Karzai, who was barely known to most of Afghanistan before 9/11, rose to stardom with US support. In 2004 and later in 2007, Esquire magazine named as amongst the ‘best dressed men in the world’ (http://www.esquire.com/style/fashion-story/bestdressed0907-11). Fast-forward to 2013-2014 period, once can see how the relations deteriorated and Karzai became a shadow of himself to the western politicians and media. In this same manner, the other new presidential incumbent in Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani (also another post-9/11 US import), has been labelled as the second top ‘global thinker’ of the world. Who is to question how such titles are validated?
Super Power Bullies
When following the MH17 story, it was disgusting to see that within 24-hours United Nations had convened everyone and Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, was already spelling out sanctions on Russia. Now here’s the irony, the US was silent all along this period and did not say a word on Israel’s atrocities when Palestinians were getting bombed in Gaza and Israel had already killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians. To add insult to injury, it took United Nations three days to issue a joint public statement about what was going on in Palestine and even then, the statement which was drafted with inclusion of Arab states, was edited and mellowed down by the US because the wording was ‘too harsh’ on Israel.
Want to Be a Journalist in Afghanistan, Where’s your Western Stamp-of-Approval?
Much of the international journalism in Afghanistan is also dependent on American media giants like The New York Times, Washington Post, etc., and I have been critical of the way Afghan journalists report internal matters of Afghanistan. Understandably, the representation of the factual news is not in their hands and if they are to keep their jobs, they would have to succumb to western interests. What this also means for Afghanistan is that there will be continued sidelining and character assassination of any Afghan that is not pro-west or has political disagreements with the west.