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(en) France: "Courant ALternatif" No.144: Afghanistan - first lessons in Western democracy (fr)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 14 Dec 2004 12:04:52 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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Surprise, surprise. On 4th November last, Hamid Karzai was declared - hands up
- following the first "free" elections since the invasion of the country by the
forces of the anti-Bin Laden coalition (Americans, Europeans - including French
troops). The closeness of President Karzai to the Bush family obviously did not
have any influence on the outcome of the elections which took place on 9th
October. Nor did his old position as adviser to the American oil company
Unocal. The 18 candidates will all have benefitted from the assistance of Awaz,
a production company set up in Kabul and subsidized by the UN for making video
and audio election advertisements; that is to say, the last word in the
political communication as regards civilized democracy. Images, sounds,
political marketing, hollow promises and slogans, the Afghans will quickly
learn the basic rules of democratic debate.

Of course, the scandalmongers tried to tarnish the civilizing work of the West
by expressing some doubts on the validity of the poll, such as for example a
significantly higher number of voters than the demography of the country would
indicate possible. The very significant number of potential voters translated
on the ground into delirious figures. So, the province of Panjsher accounted
for 200% of registered voters, Jalalabad 140%. There is no way to make it
possible to prevent a person from being registered under several identities.
The election campaign will also have been marked by massive vote-buying with
money changing hands, bags of rice, clothing, etc. In this little game, Karzai
has obviously profited from financial resources which are much greater than
those of the other candidates.

Of those, fourteen also complained of fraud because of a supposed problem with
the ink used to prove a voter had voted and which in some cases was not
indelible, making it possible for some to vote several times. But things
quickly returned to order with promises of ministerial posts in the future
government. Rachid Dostom and other candidates who had also complained were
also received by the American ambassador. They withdrew their complaint. Dostom
is one of the last warlords in Afghanistan. Based in the North-west of the
country, he is the law and order in the area. The area's capital, Shibergan, is
his kingdom. Dostom is suspected of many war crimes. According to one of
Karzai's advisers, "the Americans gave it to him on a plate: you maintain your
rights over your province and you withdraw your complaint. If not, we will
withdraw your power".

In short, so confident were they of a Karzai victory in the first round, the UN
(which sponsored the electoral process) had not even made provision for the
financing of a possible second round.

We must impose democracy and civilization in the countries of the axis of evil,
they said... Well, it's started well for Afghanistan.

Article from "Courant Alternatif" N°.144, December 2004

Translation by FdCA International Relations

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