While tutoring at Pax, we tried something innovative so far as our class administration went. Instead of having one student per class, we decided to allow a tutor to take on two students in one class, and to encourage learning in one space. I was already working with Shabnam by the time Mahgul Kunary arrived to class. She was every bit as inspiring and enterprising as Shabnam was. Mahgul wants to pursue a career in the law and is on her way into University to do so. While we spent a lot of time working around the language and structuring an understanding of some of the more intricate issues of tenses, participles and figures of speech, we also made it a point to exchange a few ideas through debates, discussions and speech contests.
One class, I set the two girls thinking on what they see Afghanistan as, 50 years from now. I took the liberty of putting their notes down verbatim. Here’s the fun that unfolded:
Mahgul: “The world will progress, everything will depend on technology, global warming will be a big problem in the world, because it is already increasing now. After 50 years, the world will be in a bigger problem because of global warming, if it remains unsolved. When it comes to politics, we will have progress, improvement and intellectual people who will be in politics, and the world will be lead by these leaders. Because of these leaders, there will be more progress. Afghanistan, 50 years from now, will follow a path like the world. As we know, Afghanistan is not that much of a developed country now – but, we are growing and evolving. Technology will take us further. Before, we didn’t have technology – but now we have so much, in terms of technology, computer, mobile and internet. After 50 years, according to me, Afghanistan will promote too much in technology field. It is promoting, technology level is growing in Afghanistan. In 50 years, Afghanistan will progress greatly. After this, politics, we have many good and talented politicians. It will also improve a lot. Global warming will also affect Afghanistan if we don’t have a way to solve the issue. I heard some news on Facebook that after some years, Singapore will be under water, and some parts of Japan will be under water, because of the warmth. I think Global Warming will affect us too if we don’t do anything about it. There will be a lot of progress and improvement – everything is run by technology. Many people are working in technology. Before, we didn’t have mobile, computer and internet. But now, the world is being run by technology. In Afghanistan, about global warming – we won’t face too much, because we don’t have so much greenhouse gases and infrastructure development that is unsustainable. In the US, there will be a greater impact of climate change. In our country, I don’t think so. One of the biggest problems in Afghanistan is that many people are narrow-minded and think only about themselves. They don’t care about other people. We have big problems with politics. That’s why Afghanistan is not so progressive. I don’t agree with the fact that we can have women leaders. In our religion, we don’t have that much freedom for women to work with leaders.”
Shabnam: “Global warming will happen as it has started and the world will be well improved in terms of politics and technology. It will be improved. We don’t have so many issues that we will face global warming. I think Afghanistan should have a woman leader. Our religion doesn’t say that we shouldn’t have a woman leader. Khadija, the prophet’s wife, was a leader – she could be a leader, we can definitely have a woman leader. It is a very good project, and it is very important – they can give their ideas and their guidance. I feel that women leaders should definitely be there. Society is made up of women and men. It is important that we represent men and women equally. Our society should give respect to women – society is not made up of only men. Women are very important for society – if there are no women, there is no society. I feel that we should have women leaders.”
Mahgul didn’t agree: “Prophet’s wife, Khadija – it was before Islam. I fully agree that women should work with men, Islam does not reject it. But in our country – Prophet Mohammed PBUH said, women will face a lot of torment if they are made leaders – they will show themselves. Everyone is not correct, that narrow-minded people will not let women to go forward. People are not good.“
Shabnam didn’t agree with Mahgul: “A woman leader will bring change. Right now women are there in the parliament, and we have many women who are working right now – there have been a lot of leaders and women who are in education. Women have played great roles in society. Why can’t leaders be there, then?”
By Kirthi Jayakumar