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banner Monday, 21 January, 2002, 17:15 GMT
The dispossessed: Your comments
I thought Taghi Amirani's Correspondent documentary last night was excellent. One of the very few programs I have seen about the Afghan war that tried to reach for some sort of truth. Superb.
Steven Long

What a spellbinding program that was! What a dignified people!
John Braga

Excellent portrayal of Afghan misery from the eyes and mouth of people that are suffering themselves. The main important feature for me was the message that this is a so called clean up operation by the Americans for a mess created by them and their allies Pakistan and Gulf States. So do the Americans really mean to put their past right in Afghanistan or is it just a show for the home electorate and all will be the same once it's not hot news anymore?
Farshad, UK

I really enjoyed your film. It has shown the viewer, those who wants to see, some other facts in Afghanistan. I noticed in your film, you were confused about why the people change their side so easily. Are you really confused? Usually the majority of those against the change, in any changing society, have to change their side, don't they? After all, they have families and responsibilities. And if you are working in one government it does not mean that you are evil, if the government change. I am not talking about the killers and secret services and those who tortured the people. I am talking about ordinary people.

I was deeply impressed by the courage and compassion of your film. It was extremely heartening to see the people of Afghanistan, including the Taleban, presented as human beings. The suffering of the Afghan people is a terrible tragedy. On January 9, the Guardian reported that 100 refugees were dying every day at Maslakh refugee camp, west of Herat. Subsequently, on January 9, the Guardian reported that starving and dying villagers in Bonavash were eating grass in a desperate attempt to survive. Yet there have been literally no reports on any of this on the BBC or ITN News so far this year. I noticed in the invitation to submit questions to you that the BBC talked of the war in the simple past tense, even though bombing is continuing. Apart from your film, there has been very little coverage of the suffering of the Afghan people - a tiny percentage of that afforded to the US victims of 11 September.
David Edwards, England

I watched your report on the plight of Afghanistan's refugees, with some dismay, their seemingly forlorn hope for a settled life; and a fear that this can never be achieved while the forces of reaction continue to threaten strife in that unhappy country.
David (London Cabby)

It seems that about 3500 Afghan civilians have been killed, but what is the estimated total number of Afghan casualties? We get family photographs when an American soldier is killed but apparently the killed Afghans are not even counted.
Tom Berney, Scotland

I have just watched the BBC airing of the refugee camp documentary while visiting here in the UK. I must admit that what I saw was nothing more than insulting upon my being as an American citizen. Watching this documentary I found myself feeling quiet anger against the BBC for even having the nerve to air such a "programme". You speak of human misery and plight that the refugee's have to succumb to. Has EVERYONE working upon that documentary and the people responsible at the BBC for airing it forgotten September 11th. Have they also forgotten that these people not only kill others that they do not like for their views, but also their own people? What this documentary showed was yet another reassurance of the fact that this NEEDED to happen. The people are severely illiterate and need to be educated enough to stop blaming everyone else for their own country's problems. The documentary should have consisted also of the reasoning behind the treatment of their women and ! those who oppose their beliefs. What truly brought them to this human misery. I am ashamed of the BBC and yet though I am American, I don't stand alone in that thought. I think the BBC is out of touch with the victims' and need to start documenting the reality of what brought them to where they are now.
Dana, USA

I found Taghi Amirani's documentary on Afghanistan most fascinating. One thing that comes to my mind is that, given that the Taleban were by and large an internationally outlaw regime that was engaged in gross human rights abuses in Afghanistan, couldn't the international community have intervened in Afghanistan earlier? Did it have to take one atrocity (September 11 events) to bring about the end of another atrocity (Taleban regime). Is there a lesson to be learned from Afghanistan in that respect? Reza Maheri.
Reza Maheri

Taghi Amirani's programme on the Makaki camp in Western Afghanistan was very moving. It was the first time I saw Afghani women's faces on the media as the radio has been my main source of information in the last few months. It also made me feel the only memorial for the thousands who've been killed since 11th September would be for all the nations of the world to work together to give back to the people of Afghanistan all that they've lost in the last 25 years. What struck me most was the dignity and spirit of the people, especially the women, in the camps.
Lalita Murty

Having been a visiting Consultant (pre Taleban) to the Kabul/Kandahar areas, we found your programme an excellent portrayal of the great difficulties all classes of the people are experiencing.

Thank you so much for Taghi Amirani's programme last night. I'm at a loss for words to describe it's impact.

I thought the programme was excellent. The human story came across very well. Just ordinary families trying to live ordinary lives. Knowing some of the real families and their lives, it becomes a lot harder to accept dropping bombs is the right course of action. To put it crudely we are blowing these people to pieces to make life safer for ourselves.
Chris Leaver, UK

This haunting programme went a long way towards balancing the standard reporting on Afghanistan.
Patrick M.F. Wogan

"The dispossessed" was so very compelling. To see the human side of this dreadful conflict and realise that these things could happen to anybody living in the wrong place at the wrong time. All the people, regardless of their background or political affiliation, came across as such ordinary, decent people, merely wanting to survive in a no-win situation.
Judith Bell, England

Not a question...just a comment. On watching it, the words 'Silent Dignity' came to mind. It was refreshing to see things from another perspective. Not the war, nor the politics...just the consequences. Very informative.
Clifford Okoro, UK

Thank you for bringing these people to us. I was so struck by their faces and the stories of their lives. Your film gave an idea of the soul of the country and its sadness but also of the strength and beauty of its people. It breaks my heart to see what these people are enduring, they have suffered so long and we must help them, feed them and help rebuild their homes and their country.
Polly Farquharson

Thank you so much for the programme. It was such a relief to have information about the ordinary people and how they were coping - even if it was distressing, so many smashed lives of people just wanting to make a "normal" life for their families.
Liz Rose

Your excellent film illuminated for us just how tight knit is the web of inter- Afghani relationships which, given the recent history of the country, is so poignant a part of its tragedy. We hope however that in the future these same relationships can be made into a positive building block for the country, and one which can play their part in ensuring that the next 25 years is infinitely better for the people than the last 25 have been.
Shahla and John Patterson

Thank you for making a film which shows how we are really all the same all over the world. The Afghan families you featured deserved so much better.
Sue Riddlestone, UK

Congratulations! What a fascinating documentary! The first I have seen that actually spoke to the refugees. Mr Sattar feels that no-one cares. Please tell him there really are people who care so much!
Dawn Andrews, England

Thank you so much for your programme, and thank you for saying that you were as confused as we were. I know it is difficult to work out these "national" problems when we are dealing with tribal/religious loyalties, however, films like yours help us Westerners understand some of the complexities of this situation. I feel that is very important that Afghanistan is not forgotten again, so please tell me what ordinary people, like myself, can do to help you maintain the flow of information to the West.
Andrew Stewart

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