The Courageous Voters of Afghanistan

In the face of threats of violence by the Taliban, ordinary Afghans are risking life and limb to cast their votes in upcoming elections. However flawed, ineffectual, and corrupt the system may be, for most of the country’s beleaguered citizens–who have endured decades of successive warfare, strife, and theocracy–it is the least bad option available–and worth dying for. As Al Jazeera reports:

Awrang Zib Zierak, a 38-year-old labourer in Afghanistan‘s capital city of Kabul, has decided to vote despite concerns about transparency and security.

For Zierak, an election with risks of fraud and security threats is better than no election at all. He believes voting is his right.

“Because of the lack of resources, constant threats from the Taliban and insincerity of our politicians, a fair chance is never given to a sincere person who wants to do some good for the country.

“But we must change the situation ourselves. If we don’t go out and express what we want, we will always be under a forced regime or a foreign invasion,” he told Al Jazeera.

Since campaigning kicked off on September 28, hundreds of banners and posters featuring the candidates have been hanging across the capital and surrounding cities, highlighting their mottos and slogans.

The parliamentary polls were originally set to be held in early 2015 following presidential elections but were delayed to July 7, 2018 and were then pushed to October 20 due to security fears and reforms in voter registration.

Despite his understandable cynicism towards Afghan politics, and the very real and horrific existential threat that hangs over anyone who dares vote, Zierak likely spoke for many fellow citizens when he told Al Jazeera why he was willing to go to the polls: “I want to make sure I have played a role in any kind of development in this country.”

 

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