Ganj - The Scariest Little Corner of the World

Posted by M ws On Friday, October 19, 2012 1 comments
Sometimes, we take things for granted. Even our nationhood. Whilst I have many friends who have migrated (mostly for the sake of their children's education), a significant number confirm that minus the worrying points, Malaysia is still a wonderful country - at least for the moment. This morning, I came across this wonderful article written by Luke Mogelson in The New York Times.

The Scariest Little Corner of the World  - Written by Luke Mogelson, Edited by Joe Lovell


On the southern outskirts of the city Zaranj, where the last derelict shanties meet an endless, vacant country — beige desert and beige sky, whipped together into a single coalescing haze by the accurately named Wind of 120 Days — there is a place called Ganj: a kind of way station for Afghan migrants trying to reach Iran.

Every day except Friday, a little before 2 in the afternoon, hundreds of them gather. Squatting along a metal fence, Hazaras, Tajiks, Pashtuns, Uzbeks and Baluchis from all corners of the country watch the local drivers move through a fleet of dilapidated pickups — raising hoods, inspecting dipsticks. A few hope to continue on to Turkey, Greece and ultimately Western Europe.

Most harbor humbler dreams: of living illegally in Iran, of becoming bricklayers, construction laborers, factory workers or farmhands. When one of the drivers announces he is ready to go, as many as 20 migrants pile into the back. The leaf springs flex; the bumper nearly kisses the ground. Arms and legs spill over the sides. Finally, apprehension gives way to expectation, and a few men laugh and wave goodbye.

Two days before I first visited Ganj, early this September, one such pickup, speeding south through the desert toward the lawless border region of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, struck a freshly planted land mine that killed the two smugglers in its cab and sent airborne its human cargo like firewood or fruit. My interpreter and I happened to be walking by the provincial hospital, in downtown Zaranj, shortly after the victims were admitted.

At the front gate, a young orderly viciously punched a man trying to enter the premises on his motorcycle. With his feet firmly planted on the ground, the man on the motorcycle revved his engine, spinning the back tire in place and churning up a thick cloud of dust even as the orderly continued to assail his head and face. The man on the motorcycle, it turned out, was a relative of one of the dead smugglers, and in his grief, he appeared almost to welcome the blows.

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1 comments to Ganj - The Scariest Little Corner of the World

  1. says:

    light MWS,

    Thanks for sharing sharing a most interesting article on the condition of humanity in other parts of the one place we called home.

    No more nonsense from me this time. Just a thought that runs through my mind while contemplating the article and its significance to a statement that you wrote at the beginning, and which i had heard my friends and some family members said of the same.

    "[...] a significant number confirm that minus the worrying points, Malaysia is still a wonderful country - at least for the moment." Yes, we have a wonderful country compared to some of the scarier places that exist in this world. And we should be grateful for that. Why stir up so many issues that could probably make things worse, they said.

    It is not that we should not be ungrateful for the many good and wonderful things we have now. i am grateful for that. The point is, we should not take these wonderful things for granted and think they will last forever.

    So what if the country turns for the worse. Life goes on and we still have to live it. They said all these and more. Ya, life goes on perhaps. But is there only our life that is important to us, our own self? What about the lives of our loved ones, our spouse, our children, our family or maybe our friends too?

    Life is a struggle. For what i am not quite sure. For life to go on perhaps. For those who came after us perhaps. i'm learning each day.

    To say that we have a wonderful country when compared to some other worse place in this world, and with that, imply that we should just let things be makes a travesty of life itself. Not doing anything is the same as saying we're here only for ourselves, to treat the world as if it is our own playground.

    Humans share the world with many other living beings. To think that human destiny is tied to our lives is to think the world will always be here for us. It is a folly to think the earth, and nature is not life itself and something that will lasts forever for us to rule and conquer always. By our action, or inaction, we are all making this world a desolate place devoid of soul when it is our soul and yearning for life that give 'life' to this world.

    If i lived alone without my 'children', family, and friends, what meaning will i placed on the concept called 'life'? If we go on with our current thinking, the desolation of the earth will certainly become the destiny of the human race.

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