A return to some democracy in Afghanistan

Recently, many Afghan women could be seen lining the streets to afghan votervote for Kami Kharzis successor in the national election there. This is amazing. Under the previous Taliban rule, females were forbidden from working, studying, and voting was unthinking.

The voting period was full of peace. No bombs or violence went off. This came in the face of Taliban threat of violent reprisal. They had warned of violence in order to derail the process.

There were a lot of people lining up to vote during the course of the day. Just fewer than six and a half thousand voting areas were setup. The tallying of votes also began and is a long process. It is due to be complete on the 24th of April.

One of the major responsibilities of the incumbent is to take up the fight against the Taliban. This is to take place minus US military assistance on the ground. Their other major task is going to be securing the national economy as international aid continues to go down.

Outside polling stations women could be seen with their children. They had colored stains on their finger. This indicated that they had already participated.

They were resolute and demanded ongoing resistance to Taliban threats to destabilize the process. Simply, they ignored any warnings that had been issued by the opposition. They did all of this even in the face of the threat that there could have been suicide attacks. For Afghans, voting is a form of resistance against the despotic and oppressive force of the Taliban.

What was most notable about this election was the extent of female participation. They were lining the streets to vote. There were even women on the election campaign teams.

President Obama of the USA was quoted as saying that the elections mean the first time in Afghanistan’s history that democracy is taking place. He went on to say that it was a sign of the Afghans beginning to stand up as a nation that won’t require the support of the US in the future. He also said that the elections are critical to the survival of democracy there.

Despite the celebratory sentiment throughout the country, there is concern over how the vote counting process will go over the coming months. In the last election in 2009, the process was corrupted by vote rigging.

If there isn’t a clear 50% plus winner by end April another election will be called in May.

No military incursions occurred during the Election Day. However, organizers claimed that there weren’t enough voting slips available. Some people actually were not able to vote because of this.

Karzai also gave a speech. He said that the voting of the Afghan population meant that the country had taken strides toward a more cohesive, thriving society. He acknowledged the citizens, military, police and everyone involved in making it happen.

It was claimed that the total participation could hit the 7 million mark. However, it was noted that this is an estimate and it is unknown what it will eventually amount to. Remember, in ’09 these estimates were wrong.

There were roughly over 13 million individuals who were allowed to vote if they wanted to. This comes to over half the population. This is more than the last election when over 30% voted.

Many have said that there are no clear takers in this election. It’s unsure who will win. In the last election, the runner up was the then foreign minister.

Some claimed that the Taliban instructed its men to attack polling booths and basically anyone involved in them. Despite this no one reported such incursions.

Brazil military conduct sweeps of the poor areas in world cup cleanup

brazil clean upMany military men have been moving their way through Rio’s dangerous poor areas in order to make the place more secure for hosting tourists to the world cup.

This is the most recent effort to push drug kingpins from the area. The main focus right now is the Mare slum. This slum has long been a hive of activity for the local drug dealers. It has become one of Rio’s more violent spots and it is concerning that it is situated so close to the international airport there.

Mare shanty town contains over 129,000 inhabitants. There is to be 7 soccer games held in and around that area during the world cup this year. It is more than feasible that many thousands of soccer followers could be moving around that same area to see their games.

Realising  this the crack operations group of the military entered the Mare slum recently on the 30th of March 2014. Specifically, this included over two and a half thousand military men, sailors, and army policemen. Then at six in the morning on that day, they moved in to secure the mission objectives.

The main aim of the operation, according to people involved, was to secure the area for the world cup.

It is only a couple months now until the host nation’s national team of Brazil take on the Croats in the tournament opening match. It’s to be held on the 12th of June.

People living in the area kept living on as usual while the armed force came in. Every so often they would take a peak at what was going on before returning to their business.

They were mindful not to get involved in any way shape or form. This would be dangerous and attract the attention of the drug kings. Some did, however, give comment to the media. The sentiment there was mostly that they hoped for long term change in the area. There was some concern about what it might be like there after the cup finishes. Some were clear that they believed that it would just return to the same as it always has been after the football finishes.