This past week we made two separate trips to the Bazaar to visit our friends and business partners Jawid and Wasil. They were the first visits since the February 21st Koran burnings on Bagram Air Base. On both occasions we wanted to express our sincere sympathy for any offense that the event may have caused. Instead of simply accepting our apology, Wasil made it apparent that he blamed no one for the incident and he saw it as an isolated episode of miscommunication. While we certainly have had our own communication issues between Dari and English in the past, on that day it was clear that we were both speaking the same language.
In a country of over 24 million people, a few thousand protestors do not represent the sentiments of an entire country. Contrary to popular belief, a very small minority of Afghans actually protested the burnings of the Koran and those that did were simply misinformed. Yet, they were the ones that received the most media coverage for several news cycles. Meanwhile, the women of Afghanistan were hard at work as they always are, crafting their handmade scarfs. Their fortitude however, flew under the radar and received no attention. Perhaps it is true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease after all.
Two weeks have passed since the protests and it appears as though cooler heads have prevailed. Make no mistake about it, there is still enormous support for what the Coalition is trying to do in this country. Was the indiscriminate act of burning the Korans a step back? Yes, very much so. Yet, it was a great lesson learned and one that reminds us of the kind of care that is required to rebuild a country like Afghanistan. There is still much work to be done and we’re eager to be a part of the success story. We would urge the media to focus on the many “good news” stories as opposed to just the negatives.
We at Flying Scarfs do not believe in assigning blame to anyone. If anything, we grasp how strong of a connection we have made within the Parwan Province community and how beneficial our business is to providing stable jobs and a brighter future for its citizens. People like Wasil and Jawid had a far better perspective and understanding of what happened on February 21st than we originally gave them credit for. I believe there are more Wasil and Jawid’s in this country than we realize. We hope to continue to share this message to those back in the U.S. who support us.