Hambastagi.org (Translated by RAWA), July 7, 2014
Ghulam Rasool: if I don’t find a job, I will be forced to steal
Rasool says that if his life continues this way, he will be forced to steal because he cannot hear the cries and screams of his children
By Kawa Azm
Poverty and hunger can be seen on 50-year-old Ghulam Rasool’s wrinkled face and dry lips from a distance. He lives in Dashte Barchi and is the only one who earns for his family of nine. One of his feet is crippled. He sells smokeless tobacco to feed his children.
Like thousands of other poor and impoverished people, Ghulam Rasool makes it through the day with countless hardships. He says about his life, “We are nine people at home. I took a hundred packets of smokeless tobacco three days back but I have not been able to sell even 20 packets till now. I earn 1 Afghanis in each packet I sell. My children went to sleep with an empty stomach last night. Today I was forced to borrow three nans (Afghani bread) from the neighbors. We all took a small piece of it and I left for my job.”
Ghulam Rasool. (Photo: Hambastagi.org)
Ghulam Rasool has bitter memories from the era of the domination of the factions (1992-1996). He said he could not leave his house for weeks at that time and lived in fear and hunger. He describes the dark and horrible events of those days, “The situation was terrible. We constantly feared a rocket attack and could not leave our home. Members of the Wahdat party had built their posts and trenches in every street and rooftop. They would take anyone they saw in the streets to their posts or kill them. They forcefully entered the houses of people and raped girls and women. There was war so there were no jobs and no flour. We spent each day on empty stomachs. My children had no sleep out of fear of rockets and bullets. Every area was under a party. Common people could not travel from one area to another area because they would be called the other side’s enemy and killed.”
Ghulam Rasool says that he had hardly earned 20 Afghanis per day in the past week, but had to pay a house rent of 3000 Afghanis per month, not to count the electricity bill and other costs. With a lump in his throat, he spoke with difficulty. He cursed the current government with utter hatred. He even said he preferred the dark era of the Taliban over this corrupt government, “During the Taliban era I had a cart in Mandayi (a big market where everyday items are sold). I could at least earn enough to fill my children’s stomachs but today our situation has gotten worse.”
He added, “Everyone says the US has helped Afghanistan a lot but I have not seen one Afghani of that aid and my life has not changed one bit. All the money has filled the pockets of the powerful and now they own cars, bungalows, and bodyguards.”
He is knocked down from every side in his torturous life. He said he wishes for a day when Afghanistan is free and the poor people don’t have to sleep hungry at night.
Rasool says that if his life continues this way, he will be forced to steal because he cannot hear the cries and screams of his children. His children eagerly wait for him every day as he returns from work, with the hope that their father would bring something to eat. But when they see him empty-handed they desperately wait for the next day.
Originally published on June 24, 2014
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