My commitment to Afghanistan and democracy

Press Meeting

The first lady Rula Ghani recounted the social and humanitarian work for her country

Rimini, August 21st 2015 – At 1 p.m. in the hall B1 Eni, Rula Ghani, wife of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan presented at the Meeting her country and commitment to her people since she moved to Kabul. Introduced Roberto Fontolan, director of the International Center of CL and Emilia Guarnieri, president of the Meeting Foundation for friendship amongst peoples participated the encounter. Guarnieri has hoped for a society in which is possible to in harmony and friendship, which also are the main themes of the Meeting, because “Christians and Muslims have to learn to listen each other”. Fontolan then remembered that Bibi Gul, Afghan name of Ghani, was included by the international press among the hundred most influential women in the world for her commitment and volunteering, which takes place in Afghanistan, “a beautiful country, but harsh.”

Rula Ghani started her speech thanking the organizers of the Meeting for inviting her to this issue. She warned she was not a ‘philosopher’, but a person acting concretely. The first lady also greeted president’s Renzi wife, who was part of the copious audience.

“During the long civil war, Afghanistan was destroyed, but not the spirit of the people”. Ghani began her historical overview thanking Italy for its support to the development of her country. After the election victory in September of her husband Ashraf Ghani, humanitarian assistance for displaced persons has become a task the government had to take charge. In his inaugural speech, the husband asked Rula to deal with social issues and first of the displaced. Bibi Gul dedicated her time in listening to people (her motto is “be there to listen”) and, in particular, of women who lived in the province.

These her opened and shared their difficulties, their value was recognised. “When there is a problem – said the first lady – we listen to people, invite them to arrange and we support them”. The first lady was accompanied to the meeting by her consultant, who along with her has launched programs and initiatives, such as the construction of a cancer center in Kabul for the diagnosis (which would otherwise require expensive trips abroad) and to treat cancer. Rula finally concludes that by the end of the presidential term of five years wants to gain respect, especially for women, that a rigid male Afghan system tend to relegate to a role of inferiority. “We have to all be united and fight violence because we are all human beings and we must respect each other”.

Ghani expressed the wish to continue the encounter with questions from the audience, in a logic of listening each other. Answering different questions, while the public was clapping, Bibi Gul touched upon various themes. “We are not asked to build hope, it just has to rise again. Afghan people have a quality: never quit hoping. I would like my work to help it”. And talking about European immigration: “We are forgetting we are facing with human beings, souls, hopes. We have to treat these people humanely so that they do not lose hope”. As for religions, dialogue and development she noted that “Dialogue is possible only if there’s respect, which is more than tolerance. We need to relate to others as equals, to realize principles that determine other persons, that’s the only way to start a dialogue. How do we get to this? Just start!”

“What’s evil? I’m not s philosopher – answered Bibi Gul to a student’s question – but I know everyone includes good, I look for it”. Fontolan made a last question about the origin of her patient spiritual strength. “From my education, my family. When we were young we knew life would have been full of problematic situations, so we get ready to this. Fontolan remarked that in Western world we need a comparable sensibility to social problems, but it’s necessary to speak loud. Otherwise its voice wouldn’t be listened. The audience was standing clapping.

(D.P., Ant.C.)