Quds Day in Kabul

Quds Day in Kabul: It was a well-funded event to stage Iranian propaganda.

My op-ed Daily Outlook Afghanistan August 27

Yesterday a neighbor was asking me about the protesters and their demands on Friday in Kabul. He thought it was another of the unending protest rallies of parliamentary candidates. And to his utter surprise, I said it was a protest rally for Palestine, and that I had been to the demonstration. He was curious and asked about the “UAE flags” he had seen on some vehicles in the city. I explained that they call it “Quds Day”, and it was Palestinian flags, not UAE, to which my friend—who is also a Hasan Nasrullah fan, but surprisingly unaware of the so-called day of Quds—felt embarrassed.

Then he started questions about the demonstration. Who had organized? How many people were there? What they were talking about? How could a person like you, who always talk negative of the clerics, end up in their demonstration? I said, well, its not something new, but indeed the propaganda is getting louder.

They have named it “Quds Day”. I had to explain to my friend that I was passing by, and saw some folks holding up Khumaini and Hasan Nasrullah portraits with placards of slogans against Israel and the US. Then I crossed the security checks and went among the protesters.

It was quite luxurious demonstration. Firstly, I noticed the long line of buses decorated with photo-shopped portraits of Al-Aqsa mosque, Hasan Nasrullah and Palestinian flags. All the buses were from that route, which made it clear to me they were rented for this event. Participants, mostly aged men, who seemed to have been dragged from mosques by force to attend this rally, were sitting on chairs, in the middle of that square beside Shah Dushamshera mosque.

And most surprisingly, they were not more than 300 people in number. The time I arrived, a potato-head with a turban was addressing. I recognized, he is a known activist on the payroll of Tehran, who in the guise of a Mullah leads Friday prayers in a mosque, and runs a news agency propagating Iranian agenda in Afghanistan.

He was paying tributes to Khumaini for declaring the last Friday of Ramadan as Quds Day in order to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians who, as this potato-head was saying, are facing massacre and genocide at the hands of Israeli troops. Generally I don’t listen to such nonsense rhetoric, but since this so-called “Quds Day” had attracted my attention in recent days, I stood in the scorching heat and noticed some points in his speech; There was more praise for “the founder of Islamic revolution Khumaini” and “the leader of Islamic world Khaminai” than mention of the actual topic of Palestine-Israel conflict for which the day is observed.

He was talking about Shiite-Sunni unity, the American presence in Afghanistan and discussions about a strategic agreement, and peace with Taliban. When it came to Quds Day, the speaker, after each sentence, would ask the participants to chant “death to Israel”. I thought, these folks who stand up from their chairs on each slogan to raise fingers in high sentiments, most certainly have no idea where Quds is located on world map, why the Palestinian and Israelis are fighting for it, and what we have to do with Quds?

Then again I thought, never mind, when they raise hands in response to the potato-head’s call for a slogan, it explains the entire process. They follow propaganda. I was ‘impressed’ to know from his speech that “more than 30 small and big organizations were behind today’s event”. More surprising was the fact that there is a Quds Day Organizing Committee headed by Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, former Prime Minister and current Chief of Iqtedar Islami Party.

I didn’t know Engineer Ahmadzai and his Iqtedar Islami was also among the current gang of ‘Khumaini fans’. Then I thought, it was those 30 organizations, the Organizing Committee, stage decorated with chairs, rented buses and lunch, that could only bring few hundred people.

The dice of the stage was covered with the flag of Palestine. There was a huge portrait of Khumaini and Khaminai. Three slogans were very common on placards; “Death to Israel”, “Death to America”, “Death to puppets of the West”. The lead banner held by the protesters on frontline read; “if each Muslim of the world throw a bucket of water, Israel will be flooded and washed away”.

I could not bear the rant anymore when the speaker demanded the Government of Afghanistan to officially celebrate Quds Day and condemn the “occupation of the land of Quds”. What I concluded from the observation is that; it was a well-funded event to stage propaganda.

I bet those who were jumping on their chairs with each slogan do not know where the countries they were chanting against and in favor are located on world map, what is the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict as these people have been fed one-sided propaganda story according to the script from Tehran. Why on earth do these folks demonstrate Quds Day in Kabul when there are more than 20 Arab countries who do not give it a damn?

Don’t we have other issues to highlight? Why they see the atrocities of Israeli troops on ‘innocent’ Palestinians, but not the brutally of Iranian forces against thousands of Afghan refugees living in their detention centers? Why these propaganda-spreading potato-heads do not talk of the bloody Iranian game and support for the factional civil war during 90s in Central Afghanistan?

The folks were holding portraits of Hasan Nasrullah, yet these same people loathe Osama Bin Laden. But one should ask them the difference between Hasan Nasrullah and Mullah Omar or Bin Laden? They share the same ideology and tactic of terror to reach their agendas. Quds Day is nothing more than an Iranian propaganda to pursue their foreign policy agendas using the religious sentiments of masses.

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