Afghanistan and opium

Oh my goodness…just read this story. Just after I got over the idea of the tragedy of adults in Muslim/Arab countries doing drugs on a more widespread scale, here is an article about parents in the alleged Muslim world feeding their kids opium, so that a mother can have “time to tend to the housework and care for her other” children. It is absolutely horrific how people feeding their own children opium can be so blase about it. How can they not know this is going to cause long-term damage? They have to know its harmful; why else would they deny knowing where they got it from?

Although the area is renowned for its cultivation of opium, Bolde’s brother-in-law Abdul Karim pleads ignorance when asked where the drugs given to Kheyamadin come from.
Feeding small children opium is a practice which stems back centuries in Afghanistan […]
“Whenever babies cry, we feed them opium, it’s usual, just to make them calm and quiet. If you give it too often you get bad side effects like vomiting,” says Abdul, a 46-year-old farmer who seems oblivious to the fact that feeding children opium could cause long-term harm.

And its apparently an age-old practice. Another case of culture triumphing over knowledge and good sense. 😥 May Allah protect us all from all that is harmful and unIslamic, Ameen!

In other Afghanistan/drug-related news: the Afghan economy must be booming, what with the opium crop hitting record highs.  (Pun not intended.) They drug themselves, is it any wonder they are going to push it to the rest of the world? This is absolutely ridiculous!

Advertisements

About Digital Nomad

Professional blog-hopper
This entry was posted in In the News, World. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Afghanistan and opium

  1. Si1entear says:

    Salaam,

    The issue of the parent feeding the child a drug to ease his/her pressures is not something restricted to Afghanistan unfortunately. It occurs to a much lesser extent even in western countries as well as places such as Afghanistan’s neighbours, Pakistan. The issue here is a question of education and understanding.

    “It is absolutely horrific how people feeding their own children opium can be so blase about it” – The drug business in Afghanistan is THE economy. Also, it is similar to asking a parent that earns a living out of pornographic media of a kind, “how can you be so blase about your children partaking in the pornography? (whether it be viewing/creating)” When ones livelihood and their countries whole economy is built around a certain industry such as drugs for e.g., it is difficult not to become so “blase” about it – it is much easier to become desensitised to it.

    “How can they not know this is going to cause long-term damage?” – Let me just say that even to this day, there are mothers that continue to smoke when pregnant and/or in the presence of their new born child!

    “They drug themselves, is it any wonder they are going to push it to the rest of the world? This is absolutely ridiculous!” – This goes back to the point. The whole countries economy is based around the opium trade! “They” do not “push” it on the world.

    First of all there is an argument for supply and demand and why the “rest of the world”, or in this scenario European/American governments have such poor legislation on drugs “at home” to protect citizens welfare. Secondly there are issues around being able to LIVE and earn a living in an environment where ones country has been torn apart, an arid environment where it is more feasible and possible to grow opium crops then it is to grow tomatoes or wheat! Farmers can only make a FRACRTION from non-opium crops then they can from what some may class as “traditional” crops.

    Without the “donor nations” putting in the investment that was promised when the country was attacked and resultantly occupied – helping to establish other sustainable forms of earning a living – then farmers in Afghanistan have little choice in what crop they can plant.

    There are many others issues around this also, such as insurgents/Taliban now trying to manipulate the situation further to push forward their military efforts in Afghanistan.

    Nothing is ever black and white or clear cut as it may first appear and where drugs is concerned in Asia, you will also find that the US governments/CIA have never been too far away – feel free to investigate their involvements in the region.

    The issue of drugs is always a complex subject. In the case of Afghanistan and Afghan families & drugs issues, it is even more so.

    Thanks for the article sis

  2. Thank you brother for that very comprehensive response! 🙂 There are many areas in which I think you are spot on about: a)opium trade being the economic backbone of Afghanistan; b)certainly, the demand for the crop maintains and increase the momentum of its supply; c)certainly, there are a staggering number of women part-taking in all kinds of negative practices while pregnant and/or nursing, and they are generally quite well-informed as to how harmful this is. This latter fact, however, also illustrates the fact that some people simply do not care about the damage they levy upon their children.

    Insofar as these women do not know that feeding their babies opium is a “bad thing,” that theory really does not hold much water. First of all, if they know to not cop to knowing where they obtained the item from, then they are acknowledging its “badness.” If they cannot tell an adult where they obtained a substance, then that substance must be very bad, and anything that is bad for an adult, is even worse for a child. These are not stupid people. They know what they are doing–they may not know how bad, but they know it is bad. Secondly, as an infant, I used to cry and bother my mother for absolutely no reason. A relative of mine suggested giving me “a little bit of this white powder” so my mom can work in peace. My mother had no idea what this was, and took the bag of stuff and put it away. When another relative came home, she asked him what this was, and he flipped out and said, “I hope you did not give this to her, its probably opium!” These two relatives were both of the same age group, and both knew it was bad, neither knew how bad–one simply did not care about the badness factor. And I was naive enough to think such traditions were a way of the past.

    Insofar as the comparison with pornography, child or adult, I believe that in any Judeo-Christian-Islamic ethic, it is considered inexcusable. Nobody in their right minds, even in the United States or Europe, would consider it a morally acceptable alternative. And Islam teaches us to have sabr, if the only option is to do something completely haraam. Same goes for opium production. The people benefitting most from this crop (not the farmers, for sure!) certainly are not unaware of the harm and havoc it is creating for the rest of the world–they are the movers and shakers of the world, and did not get there by being uninformed. And to say that other countries have a role to play in which direction the economy is going is true–but at some point, Muslims are going to have to wake up and be proactive rather than reactive. There was a time in Afghanistan’s recent past when opium production hit an all time low, and it can happen again. It just depends on the level of conscience of the people in power. We can determine our own destinies, or hide behind the convenient excuses of “they need more education, they don’t have the resources, they are desperate.” All certainly true, but should be a catalyst for change, not an excuse to bury heads in the sand.

    And I don’t get the connection with the Taliban–what do they have to do with the price of poppy in Afghanistan right now? considering that the only good thing they did was to set fire to the poppy fields. http://opioids.com/afghanistan/index.html

    And everyone likes to blame the US/CIA for everything bad going on…but where is our own common sense, and the conscience of people in power? Lets focus on what we can change, and let everything else take care of itself. The Quran teaches us that “Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.” (Surah Ar-Ra’d, Ayah 11)

    Thank you brother, for giving me much to think about. I do appreciate the time you took to iterate the issue surrounding this topic. You did not change my mind with regards to this issue, and I doubt I changed yours, unless, of course, I actually made sense! 🙂

  3. si1entear says:

    Salaam…

    “Insofar as these women do not know that feeding their babies opium is a “bad thing,” that theory really does not hold much water. First of all, if they know to not cop to knowing where they obtained the item from, then they are acknowledging its “badness.” ”

    – I may be wrong in this comment but I feel that not “copping” to where the opium comes from, has more to do with hiding the opium “flow” and the distributors/ the “movers and shakers” as you put it, than anything else– but I could be wrong!

    “Muslims are going to have to wake up and be proactive rather than reactive”

    – I agree 100%

    “We can determine our own destinies, or hide behind the convenient excuses of “they need more education, they don’t have the resources, they are desperate.” All certainly true, but should be a catalyst for change, not an excuse to bury heads in the sand.”

    – I agree again (lol). I just find it difficult to lay judgement upon afghan people when I think to all that they are having to put with on a daily basis and HAVE had to confront for so many years, from the comfort and relative ease that I am afforded. I can’t argue with what you are saying but something inside me just can’t bring me to do it! I just don’t know what God has in store for us all. I think to what I would do in that environment and I have no answer. Especially when I make such a hard time of my present relatively much “easier” situation!

    And I don’t get the connection with the Taliban–what do they have to do with the price of poppy in Afghanistan right now?

    – There’s presently a “fight back” from the Taliban in the country and the opium trade is playing a significant role for example in terms of financing. It’s too late to go into but there’s probably a lot on this on the internet..

    “And everyone likes to blame the US/CIA for everything bad going on…but where is our own common sense, and the conscience of people in power?”

    I blame myself for my own actions and these are which I will be answerable to, on the last day– and this should be the case for everyone, I feel. As for the CIA/US, you cannot ignore the impact that their interference has in the region’s drugs trade. It’s a case of looking at the roots of these problems and in this case throughout the last 20+ years there has been continued negative intervention. As for the conscience of people in power – I have no answer! I despair at what goes on in this world in “our” name or for the “greater good”.

    I’d like to apologise for the above post btw. It was incoherent and it followed a discussion with a friend (in the “real world” – yes I do have the odd friend!) regards the suffering of the ummah. I couldn’t understand why he was so insensitive towards the suffering that Muslims are having to face in this world and I hate to say it but it made me feel angry!! – it perhaps effected how I answered your article.

    Anyway I’m waffling.

    “You did not change my mind with regards to this issue, and I doubt I changed yours, unless, of course, I actually made sense!”

    I’m not sure we’re in much disagreement, unless I’m mistaken..

    May Gods blessings be with you inshallah – thank you for the read.

    (I’ve just read through the above, it seems so much of a “mish-mash” I apologise for posting something so “wayward” lol – apologies 🙂 )

  4. Wa Alaykum Salam, Silentear,
    “I just find it difficult to lay judgement upon afghan people when I think to all that they are having to put with on a daily basis and HAVE had to confront for so many years, from the comfort and relative ease that I am afforded.”
    I agree with you completely–I had no intention to judge the Afghani people; it was more the cultural aspect of this issue that irritated me. May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala never put me in the position to be tested in the way of the mothers of these children, ameen! And may Allah forgive me for (unintentionally) passing judgement on them. 😦

    You have absolutely nothing to apologize for–you gave me much to think about, and I now understand a lot more with regards to this problem. I understand I portrayed it in a very Us vs Them manner (rather cocky, eh?). I did not take it in light of the sufferings of that nation as one of the reasons for the occurrence of this travesty. As a result of my own cultural baggage, I simply saw it as the continuing of another “tradition.” Hence, my irritated tone in my original post. Please forgive my shortness! And you are correct, we are much in agreement (how disappointing! 😛 )

    And whomever is lucky enough to have a patient person like yourself as a friend is a fortunate person indeed!

Comments are closed.