Arthur Chrenkoff notes a remarkable achievement in Afghanistan in the latest installment of his “Good news from Afghanistan” series.
A few days ago, hundreds of Afghan leaders and some 150 foreign dignitaries, including the Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, got to witness a historic event; the swearing in of Afghanistan’s first democratically elected president, Hamid Karzai:
“Wearing a black lambskin hat and traditional striped silk coat over his shoulders, Mr. Karzai took his oath before the aging former king, Zaher Shah. The president himself then swore in his two vice presidents, Ahmed Zia Massoud and Mohammed Karim Khalili, who represent the two largest ethnic minorities, the Tajiks and the Shia Hazaras, after Karzai’s own ethnic group, the Pashtuns.”
“We have now left a hard and dark past behind us, and today we are opening a new chapter in our history, in a spirit of friendship with the international community,” said Karzai in his inauguration speech, switching between Pashto and Dari, Afghanistan’s two main languages.
The irony of the situation, if irony is indeed the correct word, is that the country that only three years ago was still ruled by the most dictatorial and backward of regimes can now claim to have one of the few democratically elected leaders in the whole region. Electing a president, of course, is only a start; great many challenges remain for this impoverished and war-scarred country. How much still remains to be done to improve security, eradicate the scourge of drugs, and rebuild the physical and human infrastructure should not blind us to how much has already been achieved in the three years since the overthrow of the Taliban regime - indeed, how much continues to be achieved every day throughout Afghanistan, for most part out of the media spotlight.
And while you are visiting his site, you should also read his post on the 23rd anniversary of the imposition of martial law on Poland. As always, when Arthur details life behind the Iron Curtain, it is a fascinating read.
And a belated welcome to those who are visiting from Athur’s link to my photos of Florida’s Everglades. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Visiting the Everglades is always a wonderful experience for me. In the near future, I plan to post some photos I took on my recent trip to Las Vegas and California. I had the opportunity to visit Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Yosemite and Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks along with a couple of other places in the Las Vegas area. Check back for those soon.