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Friday, 29 April 2016

Writing – research - displaced persons-1

Refugees from conflict have been in the news quite a while. Sadly, it is nothing new, though the scale and the destination of the refugees have altered over time.

While reading To the Frontier by Geoffrey Moorhouse (1984) I came across a number of passages relating to the thousands of Afghan refugees who fled across the border to Pakistan, long before 9/11 and its global repercussions.

Some were not fleeing actual conflict, but they were fleeing for their lives. Because they didn’t conform to an ideology. In this case, the ideology was Marxism, as espoused by the Soviet invaders and their acolytes.
I’m paraphrasing here, mostly:

This concerns a professor who happened to be a dean of literature and social sciences at the university in Kabul when the communist coup took place in April 1978. As time passed, the atmosphere became charged, with aggressive Marxists making life intolerable and work untenable.

When the Russians arrived at the end of 1979, it got worse. The professor became part of an intellectual underground… ‘holding on to certain verities whose validity had been tempered with time; truths which had remained proven after many different kinds of revolution in many lands.’ (p191)

One by one, members of his fellowship had been arrested. The news filtered back to the survivors that, one after the other, their old colleagues had been tortured, had died. The same fate would almost certainly have befallen him if one of his friends talked. His friend had been arrested on the information supplied by one of his own students. As it happened, his friend was tortured to make him implicate others but he stayed silent and died without betraying anyone.

Still, the net was closing in and one night soon after his friend’s death, in February 1980, the professor was visited by some mujahedeen who helped him escape.

The professor only took his reading glasses; everything else he left behind, including his wife and son, who were spirited out of the country three months later.

History can teach lessons, if people bother to heed history. Career, family, and even life – destroyed because you didn’t conform to an ideology. Now, whether that’s fascism, communism, Marxism, or even political correctness, it’s immoral.

Next example of displaced persons will be gleaned from Beyond the Oxus by Monica Whitlock.

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