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Removing the dark curtain out of the beautiful face of Afghanistan. :)

Hi everyone,
Finally my third assignment is here to have your valuable comments on it and become a perfect one. Especially, I need your comments on which parts to omit so that the word choice would become 700 as it is almost 900 words now. :( Please help me how to concise it. :D

Best of luck for you all!

A general question: “When you think of Afghanistan, what first comes to your mind?”
And of course interestingly, and surprisingly a ‘general answer’: “War”
“Uff! Okay, so tell me what else comes to your mind beside WAR?”
“Hm! Suffering, death, women wearing long, big burqas and who are not allowed to do anything, ill children, and Yeah Taliban.”
“Thanks a lot dear friend, so tell me one last thing, how had you expected me to be the first time you saw me here at AUW (Asian University for Women)?”
“Well, frankly, I thought you will also wear long big burqa and the only thing I can see in you is your two eyes……”
Above was the dialogue of one friend of mine, but similarly almost all other friends (who are in fact from various countries) have given me the same answer.
I strongly believe that media has a great influence on our daily thoughts and daily way of living. And so does it have had a great influence on the ideas shaped about Afghanistan in every individual’s mind. Media, besides accomplishing its own responsibility: reaching the news to everyone in each corner of the world has also made Afghanistan as a ‘nightmare’ for everyone. The quotation below from a news website (whose name I don’t want to mention) can show you a ‘nightmare’ just right at the moment of your reading this article.
“When you think Afghanistan Imagine : Where 20 years of war has totally crippled the economy, and you must try to somehow survive day-by-day by scrounging enough food to feed your children. Where people do not have the facilities to receive an education. Where people do not have the facilities to receive treatment at hospitals. Where, on average, men die at 40 years of age and women at 43. Where hundreds of thousands of people are maimed, disabled, or blind because of war and land mines. Where you face a high chance of becoming blind or crippled because of the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, causing vitamin deficiency. If you are blind or crippled, no one can help you because those that are not blind or crippled need help as well.”
When I read this, I found myself screaming inside me and wishing to see the founder of this site and just tell him/her, “couldn’t you just use the word ‘some’ at least? Or hadn’t you thought that by thinking of the country in that way, you just already killed the entire Afghanistan?”
Even if you try to Google about Afghanistan, the list of the options which will appear in your Google search bar are firstly: Afghanistan war, news, weather, map, casualties and so on. What most of the people might get from searching in this site would be that Afghanistan is country with no positive things at all, but just negative, negative and negative.
I heard from a friend of mine that once her cousin who has lived in America since her childhood called to my friend’s dad and told that they will never come to Afghanistan. After asking what the reason was behind their decision, they told that they had heard from a news that people take out girls from taxis on the streets and take them away in Afghanistan. If it is possible, then are me and the rest of my Afghan fellows in AUW taken away from taxis and are sent to AUW?
The story of this girl reminds of me of the magical, impactful words of Mr. Hans Rosling, the director of the Gapminder Foundation, who said why we should still be afraid of Afghanistan and think of it as a place of War when we already know that at least normal life is going on there. This is in fact the truth which is clear but is ignored by us, humans of the world. I am an Afghan and I know that I have lived there normal; I had a normal life there; and still I am here to be a first hand evidence to all.
In fact, I don’t want to be critical of media; it is indeed important and had many positive impacts on the modern improvements of Afghanistan, but what it already did for outsiders is just it made them be afraid of Afghanistan as they are from Taliban. Please, don’t relate Afghans with Taliban, they are not the same.
An only website that provides us with ‘good’ news about Afghanistan is the “Good Afghan News” website, which has the slogan, “Afghan News That Will Make You Happy.” This is how we can change Afghanistan: encouraging Afghan migrants around the world through making them hear about the positive side besides mentioning about the negative news. In fact, I don’t ignore the fact that Afghanistan has passed war, and it is a bit insecure these days, but I also don’t want to ignore and miss the fact of the rich culture, kind people, unity, hospitality, its diverse fruits, its beautiful weather, the respect that people have to each other and most importantly, the continuous fast improvements in each corner of it. Therefore, why should media still take the negative side, why should it still show Afghanistan as a phantom which in deed I prefer to call it a kosher place which has attracted some devil eyes. This way of showing Afghanistan should be changed!

Comments

HARMONY's picture

Hi Mursal

I understand why you can't reduce your Op-Ed to less than 700!

I can no cut it down for you but I can give you simple clues to help you.

First try and remove thing seen or experience by yourself and focus on what you want us to understand. If I guessed well you want to show how darker and badly Afghanistan is painted around the world and you propose encouragement and reconstruction.

I trust you can sum you interview and the post you got on that website. You can also rewrite the decison of your friend's cousin in america in about 30 words instead of the 67.

I learnt from my midwife and learning material that the Op-Ed is opened to the world while the frontline is related to your personal experience.
Don't know if you will get the difference but I hope I got it myself.

All the best in your work to give a brighter image to your dearest country.

Trust your HOPES, not your fears... Harmony

sapnashahani's picture

Great job!

Hi Mursal,
You bring up a very important point - that the media needs to reflect on happy stories in order to inspire people to change things.

Maybe you could cut out the para that starts "I heard from a friend of mine that once her cousin who has lived in America..." since you have already established people's perception of Afghanistan in the beginning... Just suggesting this since you need to cut down the number of words, which is a tough task, I know :)
Keep up your good work!
Sapna.

Mursal Hamraz's picture

Great help!

Dear friends, thanks a lot for you both. I am finally done with my assignment by the help of my midwife, and by the help of your valuable suggestions and comments.
I have sort of managed to cut some parts and make it a bit shorter than what it was.
so thanks a lot!

best of luck for us all!

Mursal

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