Not Ordinary: education, elections and freedom

News that makes a difference: a young man’s first election in Afghanistan


320px-Abdul_Rahman_Mosque_in_March_2010

Photo: public domain

This story was done as an interview with Jamshid. It was his first interview.

THIS year was my first experience with a presidential election. I am too young to vote, but I went with my father and brothers to experience it. When I woke up on election day I was so happy. I felt that Afghanistan had become an independent country. Afghanistan had kings and they chose their sons to rule after them. But when Hamid Karzai was elected, we finally had an educated person as president. He gave us education again. Before our independence everyone was going to school secretly because they were afraid of the Taliban. When we got our independence from them people were saying, “Now we can go to school with confidence and without fear.” President Karzai also gave the same rights to men and women. This election gave more people the chance to vote. The day was dark and rainy, but the people were sunny. Everyone celebrated like a party. Everyone was happy.  

     We went to our local school to vote. There were voting stations in every school and university. Our government prepared these places. They wanted to make voting comfortable for everyone so they would not be discouraged from voting. My brothers, father and I drove to our voting station in a car. The first voting station we went to was full of people, so we went to another station and voted there. On the way in the car we talked about the candidates. We each felt we had our own responsibility to think for ourselves. We did not just follow our father’s choice. We knew we had to think for ourselves. 

afghan police

Afghan National Civil Order Police. Photo: public domain

     There were police officers at voting places, but everyone was being polite and everyone was happy because the election process was going so well. Some people were talking quietly, but most people waited silently so they would not disturb the election process. My older brother is a police chief. His work was to take charge of security. He secured all the entrances. He checked people to make sure there were no guns and he helped organize people. He was polite with everyone.  It was important for him to be very alert so people wouldn’t be afraid. The night before, he worked until midnight. On election day he worked from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  We were so proud of our policemen. They worked so well.   

     The lines were very long. People waited two and three hours to vote. They waited patiently because they wanted to vote so badly. To us it means our country will be better. There will be more education and more rights for everyone. Also, the elections were a chance to bring unity to our country. I was happy when I was looking at my people voting. I felt that my country can be a developed country. 

     I will also tell you a beautiful story that President Karzai told in a speech he gave in India after the elections. There was a woman from the Frah province of Afghanistan. She walked to the place in her town where she was told she could vote. When she got there, she waited in a long line. When it was her turn, she told the workers that she also wanted to vote for her daughter, because her daughter was ill and could not come out, but her daughter very much wanted to vote. The workers told the mother that she could not vote for her daughter. She was very sad and left. Later, she came back with her daughter. Three days before, her daughter gave birth to a little baby. The new mother walked to the polling station, waited in line with her four day old baby and made her own vote.  

     On this day I felt that Afghanistan is being rebuilt. On this day I felt we were gaining new rights. I was happy because we don’t have war. We went from oppressive kings and warlords to having a president who showed us our rights and our responsibilities. With education, we are making our country free and independent. — Jamshid 

………...Jamshid is 16 years old. He speaks both Pashto and Dari, and loves learning English. He studies at SOLA, the School of Leadership, Afghanistan. His dream is to be a leader in his country.  In April, he was voted Vice President of SOLA’s Student Council. Congratulations, Jamshid!

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 ©InterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com