That’s such a tricky word, but also such an important one. My guess is that many people who went to Afghanistan either as diplomats or soldiers or aid workers or journalists, all cared about the people and making the situation better. It’s what drives so many of us, and certainly me. The tricky part is that everything is complicated in life, and nothing more so than trying to change a culture.
Despite being convinced that everyone wants and needs basic human rights, it was an awakening to come face to face with a place (one of many in the world and not the first) that doesn’t afford women the same natural rights and basic values that we take for granted. The situation may not be perfect here, but Afghanistan still has a long way to catch up.
That was part of the reason I went to write about the situation and see if in my own way I could help. I was not alone, and I think that many of us left disillusioned because life is never simple and change takes decades.
When we look back on the NATO-ISAF years of involvement in Afghanistan, we will continue asking a whole raft of questions, including can you actually make viable changes in such a short period of time. For the most part politicians had short term agendas that did not factor into the very long term equation.