My impression of Slovenia – duties I carried out in Slovenia

30 May 2012

Better to say earth-heaven not Slovenia, it might be very interesting for you to know that, Although this is my first trip to Europe but I had heard lots about European countries but not about Slovenia, the very peaceful and cultural part of Europe. I found it very rich in terms of green nature, proper infrastructures, appropriate rules and principles to all social facilities, and more disciplined people. I arrived to this beautiful & peaceful part of the earth on 16th May 2012, and the next day started my work with the very cooperative colleagues in Sloga NGDO, based in Ljubljana.

Getting to know about how NGOs are working and carrying out several projects, attending events, meeting different people of the society, from the NGOs and the government, talking to the press and media are the tasks I can name which has been carried out by me during my stay in Ljubljana (May 16 to May 31).

On the 18th May, I attended the event “celebrating Africa’s day” which was held in international Center for promotion of Enterprise.The same day, I had an interview with a reporter from Slovenia press Agency (STA) and it was the first interview I had in Slovenia. One of the challenging questions I faced was, ”if you were Karzai what would you do that he could’ or didn’t do it”. Although I insisted that I don’t want to be Karzai but the reporter wanted me to answer this policy-need question at that moment, so I told him: first I would change my cabinet and measured people around me not only by tribe or ethnic group but more by knowledge and capacity, and would select people in my cabinet who would be more capable and committed. Another response which I would give and I haven’t given him that day is, decentralization of the power in Afghanistan’s government. As I mentioned this question shall be answered more carefully and more critically. I hope next time I might face such questions I will be more prepared.

The next day I visited Mr. Ralf Čeplak who visited Herat in 2011 and is one of the hardworking employees of the ethno graphic museum of Slovenia. He introduced me to the respected Museum director and the respected staff of the museum. In the afternoon I attended an event in the University of Ljubljana which was about “The one hundred years of Chinese Music”. The second day, Mr. Čeplak showed me the permanent exhibitions existing in the Museum and the temporary ones which were available.

On the 22nd May I was invited to a news program in National TV of Slovenia. I expected to have a long interview about Afghanistan but they had their planned program and I had only 4 to 5 minutes to answer the questions of that program’s announcer. I hope you watched it, either through the TV or website. After the program they suggested if I can attend in another program by the name of Globus which will be filmed on end of June. This program is also focusing on international situation, I interestedly accepted, hope it works.

On the 23rd May I attended an event on sustainable development (Rio+20) held by Solga and several respected delegates of NGO and government of Slovenia attended. It was very helpful to be updated by the people who were in the panel and the questions raised by the participants, although I always prefer to talk less and do more but sometimes it is needed to have debates to clarify the ambiguities. On the other hand in such debates you will know about various abilities of the people, governmental institutions and NGOs.

On the 25th May I had a meeting with representatives of Defense Ministry (Mr. Srečko Zajc), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Andrej Dernovšček), and Higher Education, Science and Technology Ministry (Mag. Milena Štimec). In this meeting different issues about Afghanistan were discussed and the very important issue was the assistance approach of Slovenia to Afghanistan. I completely disagreed with this approach and tried to explain my opinion that aid doesn’t mean only military and army, although the core problem in Afghanistan is security. But it is not told that all and every country should and must have military presence in Afghanistan and on the other hand it is not logical to implement civil projects through military bases and forces. Among the responses from the respected representative of Defense ministry the very logical answer I found was that Slovenia has the mandate to take part in sending soldiers to Afghanistan through the NATO framework. But even at the very first point some countries, for instance like Slovenia, who could help Afghanistan in another way than only security, had to tell the world that we will not send soldiers but we will assist Afghanistan in education or any other sector which Afghan society needs. Another point, good that you have now sent your soldiers to Afghanistan but why do you want to implement the projects for civilians through military bases/Forces!? It is absolutely wasting of money and it shall not reach to the real needy people! I highly requested the respected representatives to share the idea with the superiors in the ministry about the policy and approach of assisting Afghanistan. If the assisting budget is going to be spent in Afghanistan through military bases, most of the money will not be reached to civilians and thus civilians will forever remain dependent. Most projects by military are too short because the base existing in the area wants to depict the result of the project. However they might not think that it is not a durable and sustainable program. Meanwhile if the money is spent by an existing civil NGO in the region it will have more impact and will be sustainable, since the Civil NGOs are always in the region and are closely working with the people. Here I shall mention that there are NGOs who also waste the money with their exaggerating salaries for themselves and their employees, for buying too many bullet proof cars, for maintaining too much security and so on… Which it is simply wasting the assistance of the world to Afghans. At the end of the meeting I was very happy to hear that the respected representatives of the ministries promised that there will be a huge change in the way of helping Afghanistan after 2014, since after the Chicago meeting all the world countries promised such. I hope so.

Zabiwollah Monib