The monsters of poverty, with each passing day under the shadow of sinister Taliban rule, ripped the belly of the people more and more to make their bodies fatter and the stomachs of the poor Afghanistani people emptier and emptier.
Ms. Fatima (Alias) has been working, out of necessity and severe poverty, as a street vendor for months. She sits in the corner of the street, under the scorching sun, to find a bite of bread to feed her children.
“The Taliban does not pay attention,” Ms. Fatima says to VOC News, shouting her pain. “It has been three years since I haven’t received the disability allowance. So I reluctantly get out of the house and sell these blackberries I got from a gardener. He said he’d pay me three hundred Afghanis ($4 US Dollars). If I couldn’t sell, I’d have to take back the blackberries. And he’d say, You didn’t sell any, so there’s no money.”
Ever since the Taliban swept back to power, they have unleashed the monsters of poverty on the people of Afghanistan. They banned women from working. And therefore, the women, who lost their men in the war against the Taliban, are now forced to work as street vendors.
Ms. Fatima tells us more about her painful life: “This is the life I’m trying to live. I ask my compatriots, wherever they are in the country, to help. Don’t forget us. There’s no sale. Customers make fun of me. They ask about the price, then eat a few of them, and then they say, We have no money, Khala jan, dear auntie. People have no money to buy. I come here from dawn to dusk, and still there’s no business.”
Ms. Fatima says that her husband was an employee of the previous government, but now he is retired. But the Taliban do not pay his pension.
She adds, “My children are orphans. They are unlucky. I will not let them turn to begging. I myself am struggling. I used to bring pigeons and try to sell them. Sometimes I brought chickens. I have no choice but to find a scrap of bread for my children through Halal means. What else can I say to you, dear daughter? Should I shout at the world? Who should I shout at? You know, too, that nobody would hear my voice or my pain. This government is just looking for excuses to oppress women and ban them from society. Now that I’m an old woman, I have nothing else in life. I have to work. My husband is disabled; it’s been three years since he has not received his pension. If there was work, people wouldn’t migrate to Iran or Pakistan illegally. I call on the Taliban to please listen to our desperateness. I told the Taliban face-to-face. I’m not afraid of them. Let the world hear my pain. I have no choice but to sit in this corner and work.”
In these two years, we have witnessed that the retired employees protested many times, asking for their pension. But no serious attention has been paid by the Taliban.
Ms. Fatima openly shouts her pain: “I seriously ask the Taliban to pay the disabled people’s pension. It’s a shame for me to work on the street. I have lots of economic issues and have to pay the bills. I can’t manage them with 20 Afghanis (40 cents). I thank you too, my daughter, for narrating my story.”
Shahmama Daitabar and Mohammad Azar Azarman