incident at the airport that has been nagging me eversince

the other day when i was at the airport to pick up my luggage -which arrived a week after i did, yes, i will never, ever travel via pamir airways again- i witnessed this incident that has been bothering me ever since. for some reason a police man was enraged at a civilian and he was shouting at him some harsh insults. that was when i was entering the airport and the incident was taking place at the gate. then, on the way out, i saw them again. this time there were some people gathered around the scene and standing by as the police continued to berate the person, who was obviously a rural dweller coming from the provinces, and then he started slapping him on the back of his head. the man’s hat dropped to the ground and he bent to pick it. the police man kicked him in the rear while he was still down. i don’t know how it all started or what the man’s fault was. but one thing is clear -the afghan police is not known for its professionalism and treatment of civilians, and so i will not be surprised if it was just because the cop had a bad day and he had found an easy prey to pick on in the person of the common villager who was ostensibly here to welcome and greet one of his relatives coming home from working in the gulf states. i was too glad having finally laid hands on my suitcases after an entire week and nearly having given up on finding them. so i passed by and got in the car. later that day, the image was still in my head. and still bothering me. the image of the villager’s hat -and his dignity- falling to the ground, of his humiliation, and of the conduct of the policeman. this is when i thought i should have done something about it instead of just passing by. i wish i had turned around, faced the police man, and said to him:
“please stop. please stop insulting and humiliating and hitting this person. i do not know what you think you are up to, but if you think you are establishing law and order by doing what you are doing now, then you are wrong. what do you think the villager will take back to the people in his hometown once he goes back? what will be his most vivid memory of his time in kabul? and of the central government that you represent? suppose he is a villager from a rural area in helmand, or badakhshan, or bamiyan -what message are you sending the people in his village? please stop this right now. if he deserves to be punished, if he is a threat to public safety, hand the punishment to him in dignity. take him into custody, and then have him tried. but what you are doing is neither professional, nor humane, nor helping the security. do not take the law into your own hands. you are here to…”
i wish i could have said this to him. i hope this takes it off my chest. because this has been nagging at me for quite some time. and now i have to go. ciao.

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~ by safrang on March 31, 2008.

One Response to “incident at the airport that has been nagging me eversince”

  1. Oh Safrang, I’ve seen this sort of thing too. It’s a almost a hierarchy isn’t it? Expat Afghans looking down on the local city dwellers, city dwellers looking down on the villagers and of course, the chain of disdain goes both ways.

    And yet we’re all Afghan.

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