The US kills the bad guys, UN helps run elections and money is tossed at economic ventures; however, the effort to transform Afghanistan is still on uncertain grounds. The investment in Afghanistan needs more of one critical ingredient: a free society. Democracy means little without the free society to nurture it. Economic ventures return most efficiently in a society disciplined by good work habits but also motivated by the notion that individuals and families do control their future. Killing the Taliban means little if their ideas remain pervasive in society.
It is now the same battle in many Arab societies as the "Arab Spring" winds its course. (Most Afghanis are Muslim but not Arab). Some who fought the dictator now find themselves with new repressive autocracies seeking their own takeover through the ballot-box. Some would-be autocrats contend that if they get 51% of vote, then it will be not only their leaders, their laws, their rules but to exclusion of others.
Revolution is an evolution. The US Constitution with the Bill of Rights was not adopted until the second decade after the American Colonies rose against the British Crown. Some even thought that appointing George Washington as a new King of America would be the natural, even Divinely intended resolution. The French Revolution was even more meandering in its course. Of course, the enslavement of African-Americans and the war against Native-Americans continued for well over a century after the American Declaration of Independence. The process still continues of course and although we document the elections and wars, it is the liberation of our minds that really tells the progress of America. Recall, that women were not afforded the vote in the US until less than a century earlier.
Afghanistan has its own course. Freedom to know and express will be the most telling indication. The role of women, from education to society to politics will be the most noticeable, in defining advancement. Knowledge, free societies and women are intertwined.
Supporters of free and prospering societies have a new weapon, (I could call it tool, but it has the same effect of winning even though it does not kill), and it is neither drone or a death ray. It is the Internet. It is great for educating young and old. It is also an efficient and non-intrusive way for persons to shop among the free marketplace of ideas even as their environment may still be dominated by outdated prejudice and custom. In fact, the Internet becomes a time travel machine – forward and back. The Afghanis can see what decades of war, Soviet occupation and Taliban totalitarianism have done to drive their society backwards. How Freedom Wins Free-Market Place of Ideas (Bosnia Precedent for Afghanistan)”
The Internet is not a commercial for an American type society. Rather it is an opportunity to gain a broader and closer perspective on many societies, from Indonesia to Italy, Albania to America. Each has its own pluses and negatives, but it provides the Afghanistan citizens of tomorrow and today with the opportunity to do some comparison shopping. Free societies cannot be imposed, they have to be learned. Even as we can kill the bad guys, it is most efficient to nurture the birth of free ideas. We can support elections but how to educate the voter? We can invest, but how to train and motivate the worker?
This is the challenge that Film Annex has accepted in helping build schools and connect more of Afghanistan, particularly its next generations, to the Internet. Film Annex/CEO Francesco Rulli has been engaged in the effort directly aimed to help in the education/empowerment of women/girls in Afghanistan. Building schools in Afghanistan to connecting them to the Internet - learn more about entrepreneur, Francesco Rulli at Afghan Development Project.
Also see our Interview with Film Annex “Why Education & Internet is Responsive to Society & Womens/Girls’ Needs” .