I come on at the 43 min. mark.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I wrote last week about the assault on property rights by the comprehensive land use plans currently being developed around the nation, with identical goals and terms based on environmental protection, land preservation, conservation easements, and other elements found in Agenda 21, a document signed by 179 countries in 1992. http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/61542
Home Owners Associations (HOAs) and Condo Associations are also coming after your property rights. While you acquiesced to certain terms in a Deed of Declaration when you moved into a certain subdivision, you did not envision the power that HOAs would try to gain over the use of your home, the property surrounding it, or your condo.
Virginia lawmakers are currently under fire for House Bill 791 that, they say, “Curbs powers of homeowners associations.” Those who reject the bill say that it does “the exact opposite and could even lead to homeowners losing their electricity for infractions.”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/4/virginia-lawmakers-bicker-over-hoa-bill-george-orw/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS
Sen. Chap Peterson (D-Fairfax) told Watchdog.org that “Somewhere George Orwell is rolling over in his grave. What we’re doing here is saying that a homeowner association, even if it doesn’t have power stated in [its] charter, will be allowed to exercise additional powers.” Peterson, an attorney, said that the fine print of the bill allows HOAs to fine homeowners $50 per day for simple things such as leaving out toys or hanging Christmas lights.
Sen. Chap Peterson said that HB 791, passed by the Senate 31-9, would overturn the “traditional Virginia law stating that HOAs only held that power conferred by their authorizing document, i.e. the Deed of Declaration.” This limitation is almost gone, replaced by HOA Boards and Condo Boards that can levy fines and penalties against homeowners even if that power is not stated in the original documents. “These boards now have the power which is not even held by City Councils or County Boards, i.e. the power to assess and collect fines (and assert a lien against property) even without a court order.” https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152305071561255&set=vb.698576254&type=theater
Delegate Jim LeMunyon (R-Chantilly), the co-sponsor of the alleged HOA-friendly bill, said in a letter sent to a constituent that “The origin of the bill is a conversation with a woman I met knocking on doors last fall. She is in her 60s and wants to retire with the equity in her town home. Unfortunately some neighbors have left their town homes in disrepair, reducing the value of her home – and trampling on her property rights – by tens of thousands of dollars. And her HOA is virtually powerless to do anything about it because of the conflicting court cases.”
Democrats and Republicans in northern Virginia are objecting to HB 791, “a bill giving draconian extra-legal powers to homeowner associations.” Critics call it “an end-run around property rights.http://fairfaxfreecitizen.com/2014/03/04/commentary/post/democrat-tea-party-hammer-homeowner-condo-bill-kenric-ward/
If this bill passes, HOAs have the right to “suspend a unit owner’s right to use facilities or services… for nonpayment of assessments” and to “assess charges against any unit owner for any violation” or regulations committed by their visitors, unless expressly prohibited by written contract.
Anybody who owns a home in an HOA-controlled subdivision can understand the frustration with the Board of Directors who is often composed of power hungry volunteers who like to control other people’s lives in an asinine manner. HOA power grab goes beyond the directive to keep grass mowed and property in decent repair.
HOAs tell owners when to power-wash driveways, decks, fences, paint, cut down trees because of squirrels, replace dull sconces, change the color scheme of the mail boxes each year, which side of the house to install TV antennas on, whether you can have a deck, a patio, pending their approval of the builder’s plan, a storage shed, a vegetable garden, a flower garden, fly the American flag, have Christmas or Easter decorations, etc. The HOA directives can be hundreds of pages long.
My friend’s HOA has made her life a living hell. She was told to replace her expensive fence although two contractors said that it did not need replacing and it was in much better condition than most fences in the community. They backed down. One of her neighbors was fined $900 for not switching a sconce and post lamplight from brass to “shiny” brass. Another neighbor did not finish on time his forced staining of his deck, resulting in a fine that continued to add up. Some homeowners were fined because the mail boxes were not identical. And the list of “infractions” seems endless. The residents who complain about the abuse of power are treated extra rudely, unfairly, with disdain, and prejudice.
If HB 791 passes in Virginia, instead of curbing the out-of-control power of HOAs and Condo Boards, it will give them almost unlimited power over private property, homes, and condos.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Humans have always desired to own a piece of land that could be passed on to their heirs. Once they acquired property for homestead or farming, men labored on their land under the assumption that it was theirs to keep in perpetuity.
If you ask the government, land belongs to the proprietor as long as the required taxes are paid in full each year and the government does not confiscate the property through eminent domain or deem it environmentally endangered and in need of protection. If you ask progressives, land belongs equally to everyone and nobody should be allowed to “own” anything, it should be communal property.
The painful lesson in communal property (communism) at Jamestown has been forgotten or never learned. When people worked the land together, some worked harder and some were lazier, yet everyone ate the same. The entire settlement almost starved to death. The following year, when the communal property was divided into individual parcels, everyone prospered.
Humans understood then that individual freedom and cooperation on smaller scale are much more successful than domination by a few in an exclusively government-run society.
The idea of Sustainable Development that emerged in 1987 from a conference by the World Commission on Environment and Development, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, seemed innocuous. It was defined as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” It sounded lofty except for the nagging questions: who decides what the needs are, how are they going to parcel out the needs, how are they going to implement them, and who will police the decision-makers?
This call to Sustainable Development became the blueprint of a myriad of rules and regulations incorporated in the 1992 document called Agenda 21 signed by 179 nations at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This 40-chapter document addresses every aspect of human life, not the least of which is property.
According to Henry Lamb, Bill Clinton’s creation of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (Executive Order #12852, June 29, 1993) “was responsible for instilling sustainable development consciousness throughout every agency of the federal government,” using enormous grant powers. These “vision” and “challenge” grants were given to state and local governments, to NGOs such as the American Planning Association, Sierra Club, and to HUD, DOE, and EPA to develop and implement community plans around the nation.
County-wide or region-wide plans by the years 2020, 2025, or 2030, contain 129 “visions” included in eight categories. These visions were developed at the first Glades County, Florida visioning meeting in February 2, 2006. They are eerily similar to the recommendations in the Agenda 21 document and in any sustainable development pamphlets. (Henry Lamb, Sustainable Development or Sustainable Freedom? pp. 5-6)
- Preserve natural environment
- Save/improve the wetlands
- Restrict development in sensitive areas
- Sustainable agriculture and farming
- Comprehensive resource preservation
- Never compromise wetlands or wildlife
- Preservation of scenic views
- Designation of scenic highways
- Development should be clustered
- Rural village concept
- Smart growth planned developments
- Increase density, increase walkability
- Impact fees that limit mobile homes
- Zoning should encourage infill
- More codes to be enforced
- Conservation easements on agricultural land
- Sidewalks, bike paths, and walking paths
- Multi-use trails and corridors that are landscaped
Villages, towns, and cities developed as the result of the wishes of the people in a free market. Then local zoning ordinances were developed based on existing land use, initiated by the land owners who, from time to time changed the zoning designations. Such changes were only made by locally elected officials, balancing the wishes of the landowners with the rights of other constituents.
The “comprehensive planning” required by sustainable development in Agenda 21 is initiated by a coalition of international organizations such as ICLEI (International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives) who decide in their “visioning consensus” how and where everyone should live.
ICLEI infiltrated over 600 county and local governments in the U.S. who became members of this organization that recently changed its name to ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA to avoid the stigma of an international organization meddling in American zoning affairs. http://www.icleiusa.org/
The top-down unelected government develops comprehensive master plans that form “urban boundary zones.” Municipal services such as water, sewer, fire, and police protection are not provided beyond these zones. The comprehensive master plan serves the purpose to create “sustainable communities,” the vision of the globalists who created Agenda 21.
It is not a coincidence that “every county’s comprehensive master plan contains the same elements, the same goals, the same processes,” spelled out in Agenda 21. Citizens participate in local visioning meetings and consensus-building stakeholder meetings under the false promise and understanding that they do have input in their communities. In reality, the decisions have been made for them in advance.
Henry Lamb said, “Such comprehensive land use plans adopted by government gives the government, not the owner, the superior right to decide how the land may be used.” Elected officials were convinced by “the promoters of sustainable development that private property rights are not as important as the proposed benefits of sustainable development, individual freedom is not as important.” (p. 23)
The first lawsuit filed on October 15, 2013 against Agenda 21 promoters is the lawsuit against the comprehensive plan called Plan Bay Area. The legal challenge was launched by the Post Sustainability Institute/Democrats Against UN Agenda 21 and Freedom Advocates, spearheaded by Michael Shaw and Rosa Koire. http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/lawsuit-against-a21.html
Alleged violations include:
- Plan Bay Area violates voter-approved urban growth boundary ordinances, “nullifying these boundaries by restricting development to very small locations in just some cities”
- Plan Bay Area “violates the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by taking property rights without just compensation”
- Plan Bay Area “violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause” (Priority Development Areas land owners will receive permits 80 times more than owners outside of the PDA)
- Plan Bay Area “permanently strips all development rights from rural properties in the nine county Bay Area, effectively taking conservation easements on all rural lands without paying for them”
- Plan Bay Area “restricts development rights within the Priority Development Areas,” limiting construction to mixed-use, high density Smart Growth development.“Plan Maryland” is a statewide blueprint of land use that maintains 400,000 acres as agricultural or forest land and spares it from development in the next 20 years. Governor O’Malley’s executive order allows development only in “approved” growth areas along the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Homes on two-acre plots with septic system were deemed urban sprawl. Homes built within city limits on half-acre plots in range of sewer hookups were not deemed urban sprawl. I discussed this comprehensive land use plan in my best seller book, U.N. Agenda 21: Environmental Piracy. http://www.amazon.com/U-N-Agenda-21-Environmental-Piracy/dp/0615716474/ref=sr_1_1/181-0010595-4429868?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393867105&sr=1-1&keywords=UN+Agenda+21%3A+Environmental+Piracy
The comprehensive plan for Baldwin County, Alabama, called Horizon 2025, was rejected by the Baldwin County Commission as a “massive land grab.” Additionally, Gov. Robert Bentley signed a law forbidding policies connected to Agenda 21, barring any private property confiscation without due process. This decision drew strong criticism from the Smart Growth proponents who used psychological “projection” to paint Americans who are discovering the truth about Agenda 21 as right-wingers who see “smart” environmental planning as an “Agenda of Fear.”
In the fishing community of King Cove Alaska, an 11-mile gravel trail connecting the Aleut community to a life-saving airport has been denied by the Department of Interior Secretary Jewell because the road would jeopardize the waterfowl. “The people of King Cove want a small road through what was their backyard,” using less than 1 percent of the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge. But giving up refuge land would be a bad precedent. “I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” said Sec. Jewell.
Residents of Riverton, Wyoming (pop. 10,000) found out in horror one day that the EPA had given their town to an Indian reservation. Their deeds of trust could be tossed unless the Indian reservation recognized them. The EPA declared Riverton part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, nullifying a 1905 law passed by Congress. http://freepatriot.org/2014/01/08/epa-takes-entire-town-away-wyoming-gives-indians-disenfranchises-american-citizens/
A WWII veteran in New York is fighting local government attempts to confiscate his grocery store via eminent domain in order to open a municipality-owned market.
Some local governments confiscated land under eminent domain in order to preserve it. Most famous is the seizure of 572 acres in Telluride. The owner wanted to develop the land along the San Miguel River. The town set the land aside as open space. The confiscation by the state Supreme Court was upheld on grounds that overcrowded mountain towns need to preserve their recreational and natural assets.
Andy and Ceil Barrie may lose 10 acres near Breckenridge, Colorado because they ride an ATV on a 1.2-mile mining road from their 3-bedroom home in a subdivision to the 10 acres they purchased surrounding a hundred year old cabin in the middle of the White River National Forest. Summit County is using eminent domain to preserve open space instead of the usual economic development. (Becket Adams)
In 2012 the EPA threatened Lois Alt, a chicken farmer from West Virginia, with $37,500 fine every time it rained on or near her property. The fine, mandated under the Clean Water Act, was levied because “storm water near her farm would come in contact with dust, feathers, and manure before entering a local waterway.” High levels of nitrogen were found in the chicken waste which could also threaten the water supply.
Property rights can be taken away under the guise of protecting the environment. American Policy Center identified cases of such abuse.
- Mud puddles become wetlands that must be protected
- Improving land by planting trees, bushes, filling a ditch with dirt, or building a fence can result in arrest and fine of the property owner under the Clean Water Act
- Building on one’s land can be blocked
- If the area is deemed wetland, the owner can no longer use it or sell it
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a bill, the Defense of Environment and Property Act of 2013 (S 890), which would attempt to reign in the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, agencies of our federal government that infringe on Americans’ private property. The bill is in the Committee on Environment and Public Works. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s890/text
In Virginia, the House passed SB 578 on February 26, 2014. The Senate bill, sponsored by Senator Obenshain, had already passed unanimously, entitling landowners to compensatory damages and reasonable attorney fees when successfully challenging a local land use decision based on an “unconstitutional condition.”
“When property owners run up against City Hall, it doesn’t always seem like a fair fight,” said Obenshain. “No matter what the merits of a property rights challenge, any property owner at odds with local government feels like David taking on Goliath.”
Once the governor signs it, SB 578 will discourage localities from abusing their authority by imposing unconstitutional restrictions on the property owner’s ability to use his/her land.
Once the governor signs it, SB 578 will discourage localities from abusing their authority by imposing unconstitutional restrictions on the property owner’s ability to use his/her land.
Private property must be guarded as priceless freedom. Land owners should reject the sustainable development idea that only government can protect nature, air, soil, water, open spaces, and the poor. All societies run by totalitarian governments have severe environmental degradation, little or no private property and misuse of resources, a chasm between the haves and have-nots, and no hope for the future of individual citizens.
Friday, February 28, 2014
“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
- Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace
Another co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, a Canadian ecologist who was a member from 1971-1986, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now.” He said that environmental groups use “faulty computer models and scare tactics in promoting claims man-made gases are heating up the planet.”
“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.” (Patrick Moore)
A UN report in September 2013 said that global surface temperatures have not increased for the past 15 years. http://www.thegwpf.org/global-temperature-standstill-30-years-climate-scientist-predicts/
David Frame, climate modeler at Oxford University once said, “The [computer] models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful.” What do these often faulty computer models provide? They provide power, control, and a whole lot of cash, Green cash, via the fear constantly drilled in people’s minds that anthropogenic global warming and climate change are something that we humans are responsible for and, if we pay a lot of carbon taxes, engage in carbon swaps, and line the pockets of crony capitalists with grants for expensive and job-killing renewable energy projects, Mother Earth will be safe, the planet will be clean, humans will suffer, and animals will reign supreme.
Reality does not seem to fit the environmentalist dogma. Princeton physics professor William Happer said, “It is important to distinguish between what the climate is actually doing and what computer models predict.” It is also important to make the distinction between climate and weather.
During the 20th century, Sir James Lovelock, in his “Revenge of Gaia,” said, “By the end of this century climate change will reduce the human population to a few breeding pairs surviving near the Arctic.” This Malthusian prediction is laughable except for the fact that people like him have cost humanity trillions of wasted money, unnecessary suffering, fear, delusion, and forced redistribution of wealth. Millionaires and billionaires were created by this hoax and they are still reaping the benefits of an irrational fear created by irresponsible lies and indoctrination from academia and the MSM.
Those who promote the Science of the Green Scam are engaging in social science paraded as “consensus” science deemed “settled” by government bureaucrats and opinionated Hollywood stars. “Consensus” means that you and I agree on a particular issue and it is not necessarily a fact. Real scientists know that real science is not static, it is constantly revised, rigorously tested, retested to disprove the theory, and outside criticism is welcomed in order to augment the theory.
Dr. Charles Krauthammer calls the white-coated scientists who claim to know exactly what will happen 50 years from now “white-coated propagandists.” (The Myth of Settled Science, Washington Post, February 20, 2014)
People like Kari Norgaard who compared global warming skepticism to “racism,” believes that “cultural resistance” to man-made caused global warming “must be recognized and treated as an aberrant sociological behavior.” Dictators treated their critics in very gruesome ways.
Sandra Korn, a Harvard University student in Women’s Studies wrote that free speech threatens liberalism and must be destroyed, and professors with dissenting views fired. (Robby Soave, Daily Caller, February 23, 2014) “Let’s give up on academic freedom in favor of justice,” Korn wrote.
What are some of the results of the inflexible global warming/climate change dogma established by political advocacy? For starters, there is a deliberate corruption of climate science and of good research in general. Researchers/professors tailor their studies and grant-writing based on the expected results of those who are awarding the grants, and to ensure that the results confirm global warming.
Government establishments of Green environmental programs at every level, an outrageous display of power through regulatory agencies, have resulted in man-made disasters such as the drought caused by the water use policy in California’s Central Valley where saving a bait fish called the Delta smelt was more important than giving water to thousands of farmers that have produced $45 billion worth of food annually. House Bill 3964 that would have restored water to the area is still held in the Senate by Democrats who have no intention of passing it.
|Folsom Lake Dam|
Photo credit: KTVU, Channel 2
NASA released images of Folsom lake, north of Sacramento, showing the water level dropping 80% over the past two and half years. Can the unwise release of water in order to make room for potential flooding rain be a possible reason? How can the passing of a $687 million drought plan for immediate relief to drought-stricken communities redress the long-term Democrat water use policy? http://www.ktvu.com/s/californiadrought/
The federal government’s solution in California’s Central Valley is a “relief” package of $2 billion, including an insulting “summer meal plan” for those farmers put out of business by environmental activists. Adding to the potential food shortage, a real drought in South America has forced 142 Brazilian cities to ration water. Brazil is a leading exporter in a number of food categories thus affecting global food supply. The potential fear of starvation will certainly make people “behave.”
Science Czar Dr. John Holdren told reporters that “virtually all weather is being impacted by climate change and that droughts were getting more frequent, they’re getting longer and they’re getting dryer.”
Dr. Roy Spencer, former NASA scientist calls Dr. Holdren’s statement “pseudo-science.” Dr. Spencer said, “The idea that any of the weather we are seeing is in any significant way due to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions verges on irrationality.”
Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “the repository of the global warming hoax,” said Rush Limbaugh, found that “there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought.”
The journal Nature published a paper in 2012, Vol. 491, pp. 435-438 by J. Sheffield that found “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.” http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/nature11575.html
Dr. Spencer believes that weather is affected by energy imbalances “between the solar heated surface of the Earth and the atmosphere above it, and between different geographic regions. On a local basis, those imbalances can be tens or even hundreds of watts per square meter.”
The ocean and the atmosphere tend to reduce these imbalances of energy. The climate is affected by such energy imbalances. Dr. Spencer continued, “Our best estimate of how much the climate system has been perturbed from energy imbalance comes from the slow warming of the oceans, which, since the 1950s equates to a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance. Now, how exactly can a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance lead Holdren to state, ‘Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change?’ Well, all I can think of is that his statement is not based on science.”
EPA’s Director Gina McCarthy says that all U.S. goals on climate change “will not have an impact globally. You don’t make good, sustainable laws when you make them on unproven sciences.”
Dams release waters to flow “naturally” as demanded by environmental NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and the courts, even though such dam-emptying can cause severe water shortages and droughts in the process.
In spite of claims to the contrary, the Dust Bowl was not created by global warming, it was created by a combination of natural drought and agricultural practices.
No matter how we look at issues, global warming is a very profitable enterprise driven by environmental political advocacy. Some droughts in the U.S. are man-made, caused by Democrat-controlled water use policies. “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.” (Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment)
Thursday, February 27, 2014
With such expressive eyes, it is easy to imagine the modern version of Mona Lisa. You would not know by her confident demeanor and warm smile the gut-wrenching pain and sorrow she harbors in her heart.
Malalai was born and raised in Kabul at a time when life was relatively comfortable and free and girls were allowed to go school and attend the university. The town had parks, trees, vegetation, and had not been devastated by the Russian bombing raids, by the Taliban’s purposeful destruction of any remnant of history and culture, and by the fighting between the liberating American troops and the Taliban.
The Taliban was born as a resistance movement to free Afghanistan of Soviet troops, following the Soviet invasion in 1979. Aided by the United States and Pakistan, the Afghan Mujahedeen injured and killed many Russians. According to the New York Times, the Soviet Union lost 15,000 soldiers over a ten-year period.
Three years after the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, Afghani Mujahedeen led by Massoud took over the country and overthrew President Sayid Mohammed Najibullah who was backed by the Soviets.
The Taliban was one of the Mujahedeen factions fighting for power to fill the vacuum left by President Najibullah. The Taliban faction was composed of Sunni Muslim Pashtuns. Pashtuns are heavily concentrated in the North-West Frontier Province. The command center for the Mujahedeen fighters who were battling the Soviets was located in this province.
|Afghani woman in Kabul|
The draconian Taliban, who ordered windows painted black and women dressed in blue burkas, whipped women mercilessly if they happened to show any skin at all. Girls could no longer go to school. Music, art, painting, photography, and films were forbidden.
Mullah Mohammad Omar ordered the destruction of the two famous Buddhas of Bamiyan. They were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 in spite of vehement international protests and offers to save them from demolition.
The priceless sixth century statues were carved into the side of the Bamwam valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, 140 miles northwest of Kabul. Both statues were examples of Gandhara art and were built in 507 A.D. (the smaller one, 35 m tall) and 554 A.D (the larger one). The Taliban government declared these priceless statues “idols.” It is still painful to watch David Adams’ film, “Journey to the Ends of the Earth,” showing their obliteration.
Little remains of the beautiful Paghman Gardens, outside of Kabul, formerly decorated with a Roman style triumphant arch. People relaxed on weekends there, bringing their families for picnics; the dress code was European.
Malalai speaks with a soft but firm voice. The pain overcomes her from time to time and her eyes tear up. “The Taliban changed everything. If it was bad under the Russian occupation, the Taliban made it infinitely worse. Ladies could not get out of the house without men. The extended family had to live together for safety reasons and out of necessity. My sister Hamida was a widow with four kids during the Taliban rule. My brother was a professor at a local college but Taliban closed all colleges and my brother stayed home.”
The night our tragedy happened, the Taliban was sending men around, ordering people to board up their windows or paint them black to conceal light and the silhouettes of women inside the house. We could hear bombing again. We never knew who was bombing, they were bombing constantly. My mom heard a knock on the door at 10 p.m. My brother Nasir answered the door - it was one of my nieces asking him to go to their house. During the bombing raid, her mother, Hamida, was wounded and her 13-year old daughter Shkeeb had been killed by shrapnel.
Nasir bandaged Hamida the best he could to stave off the bleeding and drove her six hours to an open “hospital” and had to leave her there and return home. Hamida stayed in a coma for six months from the wounds received that night. My brother drove back to Kabul to take care of the funeral for our 13-year old niece. From the horrible shock, my father, Aslam, passed away that same night as well, probably from a heart attack or stroke.
Nasir was going to bury my dad and my niece as soon as they got permission. The next day, he was painting the windows black as the Taliban had ordered, and a bombing raid started again. Mom said that my brother walked from the window towards her; he was pale, wobbly, and speechless; mom became concerned and asked what happened because he looked rather strange; he grabbed my mom and that is when she saw that a piece of shrapnel had pierced his heart. Blood was oozing from the hole. Nasir was 34 years old. My mom was with him all night. In the end, neighbors had to help bury all three family members, my niece, my dad, and my brother, in the mosque nearby because the cemeteries were too far.
After six months in a coma, my sister Hamida, her three remaining children, and my mom crossed into Pakistan where she underwent three operations. When she was stronger and could talk and walk, she was told of Nasir’s death and of our dad’s passing in 1993.
Hamida lives in Vancouver now. She was granted asylum in Canada during her stay in Pakistan when she was treated for her wounds. While in a Canadian hospital, as they were attempting to remove more shrapnel lodged in her body, Hamida found out that she had breast cancer. While undergoing chemotherapy, her only son, 24-years old, was killed by a drunk driver. Hamida is cancer free now and lives with her two remaining daughters.
Malalai was spared the gruesome details, she was already in the U.S. when she received the dreadful telegram one day. She came to the U.S. in 1986 as a 22-year old sponsored by another sister. The government had given her a travel visa to come to the U.S. to help her dad with a painful back surgery that had temporarily paralyzed him. He went back to his wife and family but Malalai stayed with her sister. She found the love of her life through a college classmate and got married here. She never went back because she would have been killed as a defector. She can go back now to visit but she does not feel safe.
During her life in Afghanistan, before the Taliban, women did not wear burkas, they wore western clothes. Even her mom, Kadjia, who is 85 years old wears only a head scarf. “We had a good life, we were happy with what we had. We dressed up like we do here, nothing different, we did not want to go back to the stone ages. We had nice homes, nice developments, people went on vacations, we had a normal life but the Taliban turned everything upside down.”
|Decorated Policharki Prison Cell in Kabul|
Malalai had two brothers who were jailed during the Russian occupation, 8 and 4 years respectively. Their crimes were political, fighting the Russians. The Mujahedeen released them and both immigrated to the U.S. in 1996.
During bombing raids Malalai’s family hid in the cellar, a dark and dank dungeon with no electricity where they could not stay a long time because sewer pipes ran everywhere and it was hard to breathe. Hospitals had been destroyed. The “hospital” where Hamida was taken was not even a hospital, it was someone’s home that was taking in wounded people. They did not have much medicine or medical treatment. People were cared for and bandaged but there were no doctors. “The bombing raids destroyed the hospitals and the Taliban did the rest, just like they did the Buddhas.”
Where did people get their food and medicine when they were under siege? They had a schedule to go stand in line and get food but sometimes came home empty-handed. No food aid from the west. Water came from wells, sometimes it was really polluted, and they had to boil it to cook with it or drink it. There was no running water or electricity except for 10 minutes intervals and everyone hurried to fill bottles, buckets, and any container available. It was a challenge to keep clean or wash clothes. “When I left in 1986, no electricity, nothing, we were cooking on the stove with charcoal. My brother Nasir invented a makeshift grill from an oil metal can and made a frame over the charcoal.”
Malalai’s youngest brother went back to Afghanistan for a very painful visit four years ago. The government found Hamida and asked her to come and disinter her daughter, her brother, and her father’s remains from the mosque and bury them into a cemetery. Sawyar, the 40-year old youngest brother went instead. He was very depressed, he would not talk about his visit for a long time. He was very quiet and did not want to socialize. He said, he was shocked, graveyards were everywhere, even by the airport. Every mile after mile had graves. It was worse than what he had seen 8-9 years before. And the Taliban is coming back.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
My two segments with Alan Butler on Liberty Express Radio. First segment, global citizenship. Second segment, Property rights. I come on in the second hour.