March 22nd, 2010
12:43 PM ET

It's a new year in Afghanistan

Editor’s Note: Nasim Fekrat started the Afghan Lord blog in 2004 in Afghanistan, where he grew up. He is now a student at Dickinson College in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Nasim Fekrat.

This year, the Nowruz festival holds even more significance and importance in the lives of Afghans since the United Nation’s General Assembly recognized March 21 as International Day of Nowruz.

Nowruz, banned under Taliban rule, begins on the day of the vernal equinox (the first day of spring) and marks the beginning of the new year. Every year, three days before Nowruz, tens of thousands of people travel to the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e Sharif to watch the elaborate ceremony.

Nowruz is celebrated for two weeks throughout Afghanistan. People wear new clothes, refurbish their house, paint the buildings and henna their hands. Young girls go with their mothers to holy shrines and pray to have a good future, a good life and a good husband and be fortunate while the boys have an eye on their parents to decide who is fair and suitable for him.

One of most famous of Nowruz traditions among Afghans is to forget and forgive mistakes of one another and start the New Year with new hopes and new goals. During the first three days of the year, families and relatives meet and visit each other’s houses. These are parts of Afghan traditions that date back centuries. FULL POST

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Filed under: Life and Culture • Your View
January 6th, 2010
09:43 AM ET

The profiling issue from an Afghan traveling to the U.S.

Editor’s Note: Nasim Fekrat started the Afghan Lord blog in 2004 in Afghanistan, where he grew up. He is now a student at Dickinson College in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Nasim Fekrat.

After the unsuccessful terror attack on an American jetliner by suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, a 23 year-old Nigerian, security at international airports is getting tighter. In the days after the incident, President Obama vowed to “disrupt and dismantle” every possible threat against the U.S. and ordered enhanced screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. These measures are smart, but they increase the concerns for those travelers who might be suspected by their nationality or religion.

Last week, a viewer called into CNN, to say that anyone who has a Muslim name should not be allowed to fly into the U.S. I have been profiled just because I am coming from Afghanistan, have a Muslim name and identify myself as an Afghan. I personally believe that judging travelers on their ethnicity and religion is not fair. Psychologically, it is disturbing and annoying to be interrogated just because of your nationality. Instead, the security should be reformed and new technology should be developed and used to determine who is actually dangerous. FULL POST

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Filed under: Your View
December 1st, 2009
08:05 PM ET

Afghan student in U.S.: 'Finish the job' but not so hastily

Editor’s Note: Nasim Fekrat started blogging in 2004 in Afghanistan, where he grew up. On the Afghan Lord blog, he aims to show a complete picture of Afghanistan – not only its problems but also the culture, art, music and life of the country. He is now a student at  Dickinson College in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The opinions expressed in this guest blog are solely those of Nasim Fekrat.

After a long debate over increasing troops in Afghanistan, finally, President Obama said that he has decided to send around 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan. Now, deploying 30,000 troops to Afghanistan is a good idea but I’m doubtful that this will work as a long-term strategy to “finish the job.” A long-term strategy to mitigate the violence and end the war in Afghanistan is to train and equip the Afghan National Army. FULL POST

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Filed under: Decision: Afghanistan • Your View