Worried that if war does not kill them, climate change will, about 100 young Afghans on Friday marched to protest climate change. They were guarded by troops atop an armored personnel carrier and on foot, rifles at the ready.
Protesters risked a march through the center of the capital, Kabul, despite nearly daily attacks by insurgents, to participate in a global strike against climate change.
Although it resembles a city under siege in most parts, Kabul is also among the worst polluted cities in the world.
Fardeen Barakzai, one of the organizers and the head of a local climate action group called Oxygen, said that Afghanistan’s youth want to do their part in the fight against global warming and want to be counted among those who heeded teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future Movement.
“The goal is that we should have the same voice, like the other countries that are working for climate,” said Barakzai as he slapped posters on a motorcycle rickshaw outfitted with a loudspeaker to make sure Kabul residents understood their message.
“We know war can kill a group of people, but climate can kill everyone,” he said.
Kabul has been shattered by four decades of war and decaying infrastructure, despite billions of dollars in international aid that came into Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001.
However, the Afghan Ministry of Public Health says that more than 3,000 people die each year of pollution-induced illnesses in Kabul and more than 70 percent of patients in hospitals are suffering from respiratory-related illnesses. Most of these can be traced to the air pollution that is particularly bad during the dry winters.
“Away from the glare of publicity, Afghans — and in particular Kabul’s 6 million residents — are wrestling with another silent but deadly killer: air pollution,” said the UN Environment Program in a report released earlier this year.
The report quoted the Afghan National Environment Protection Agency as saying: “With an increase in air pollution, we are seeing a new generation whose growth is stunted.”
Barakzai, who says he is 23 years old “according to stories my mother tells me,” said climate change poses the greatest challenge.
“We aren’t afraid from the war, we are more afraid from the climate change, that is why we want to give our whole energy to go against climate change,” he said.
Watching from the street as the protesters marched passed waving their “stopping pollution is the best solution” posters, an elderly Hajji Abdul Razak Wahabzada said the marchers made him proud. He said he admires their bravery while marching down the street in Kabul, but also that as young people they have the education and knowledge to consider the effect of climate change.
“They are our young generation and they are not thinking about the gun. They are not thinking about war, they are thinking about making our country better,” he said.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle