View Full Version : Addiction takes hold in the poppy fields of Afghanistan

06-23-07, 10:17 AM
By Terri Judd in Lashkar Gah

Published: 22 June 2007

A peaceful garden lies behind a high gate amid the bustle of Lashkar Gah's dusty streets, its walls decorated with Hogarthesque images proclaiming the evils of drug addiction.

A colourful illustration of a poppy field portrays a desperate addict, clad in rags and feeding his habit as an old woman bends in pain to harvest the crop. Children fight near a man with a gun. Above, is a blissfully contrasting image of happy, well-fed youngsters playing by a wheat field - Gin Lane and Beer Street for modern Afghanistan.

In the surrounding rooms men of all ages lie on bare mattresses enduring the aches and shivers of withdrawal, with only a whirring fan to combat the heat.
Afghanistan is notorious for feeding the world's heroin habit but it has an insidious and increasingly wide-spread problem itself.

Dr Rozat ullah Zia, who runs Helmand's only dedicated drug rehabilitation clinic and outpatient programme, estimates that 5 per cent of the population of the province - now said to be the world's largest producer of opium - are addicts.

He believes as many as 70,000 Helmand residents are hooked. His patients range from policemen to five-year-old children, and he has almost 1,000 registered on his books. Most are still awaiting treatment.

In an area where mother's rub opium on babies' gums or put it in tea to ease common complaints, the figure appears almost conservative. Old women store opium under their beds until it dries and appreciates in value, a form of saving. "Sometimes you see whole families who are all addicted," Dr Zia said. "In Helmand you can buy it from every person."

Pulling out a tiny sachet of heroin, he said it could be bought for anything from 50 to 200 Afghanis (50p to £2) - up to double the daily wage for a labourer - with addicts smoking as many as 10 packets a day.

Injecting the drugwas still fairly rare, he said, but with the boom in poppy growing, Dr Zia fears the situation is spiralling out of control.

"I met a woman who helped with the harvest for the first time. She tasted it on her hand and is now an addict. There is raised addiction linked to production.

"The problem gets worse day by day. Years ago, you would go to a village of 25 families and one would be addicted. Now in every 10 or 12 families you will find an addict."

In the past year, the clinic has treated 230 male inpatients and 300 mostly female outpatients, but up to six new addicts arrive each day.

Dost Mohammad said he had been an opium addict since the age of eight, when his brother-in-law gave him the drug while he was living as a refugee in Iran. Married at 15 when he returned to Afghanistan, he has a wife and five children but no job.

Asked how he fed his habit, he candidly held up an invisible rifle: "I took from people on motorcycles and in cars. At the time I just thought it was work because I got money but now I think it was very bad."

In the next room, Said Omar, an ancient-looking farmer from Garmsir, admitted he has been an addict for 16 years. He would like to see an Afghanistan free of drugs but admitted that he grows "poppy" himself. He began growing it after he developed a habit. He wants to grow wheat after he has received his treatment" an interpreter translated. "But he has not seen any way to grow anything else that will make him enough money to feed his children.

Sial Mohammed, 27, from Jalalabad, travelled for days via Kabul and Kandahar to reach the clinic. Unlike the other two, he is a heroin addict. "I was very poor and there was no work so I fell into bad company and started taking heroin," he said. "My family found out and rejected me."

The Wadan Clinic can treat 20 male inpatients at a time, but Dr Zia's team has helped hundreds of women through outreach programmes. They represent about a fifth of his patients.

In the five years since the fall of the Taliban regime, land under cultivation for poppy has grown from 8,000 to 165,000 hectares. Across the country 6,000 tonnes of opium is harvested annually - up from 3,400 in 2002. Last year production in Helmand rose 169 per cent and it is predicted to continue to spiral.

It is a fallacy, Dr Zia explained, that the people of Helmand do not understand the dangers of drug addiction, and many sufferers are ostracised. Nevertheless, there needs to be greater awareness, so he runs educational programmes. Pictures and slogans in the clinic warn of the perils of opium. "Drugs will probably not kill you but they will probably kill your mother," reads one.

The British-funded project claims to have a 70 per cent success rate, using a process of social and spiritual counselling followed by strict after-care. In a deeply religious society, the Koran features heavily. The clinic also involves families, insisting this has much to do with its success rate.

In the garden outside, Allah Uddin, 30, clung to the four-year-old son, Iqbal, he had not been allowed to see throughout the initial detox period. His brother, Allah Khan, watched. "He was jobless and we were waiting for opium to destroy his life," he explained. "We are much happier now." "Ideas are changing," added Dr Zia. "People know we are growing poppy and now we are destroying our own young generation."

Growing pains

* Total poppy production in Afghanistan increased by 49 per cent in 2006.
* The country accounts for about 90 per cent of the global opium supply.

* Since 2001, the area under poppy cultivation has risen from 8,000 hectares (less than 20,000 acres) to 165,000 hectares.

* A winter survey suggests that opium cultivation in Afghanistan this year may be as high as the record harvest last year.

* The high sale price of the opium is the main reason for poppy cultivation. For one hectare of opium poppy, farmers can earn nearly 10 times as much as a cereal crop.

* Out of Afghanistan's total opium production, 21 per cent is trafficked northwards through central Asia.


06-23-07, 10:20 AM

By Curt Maynard

If you’re white and live in modern America today you’re well aware of the double standard that exists in the reporting of the news. The most recent example of this double standard was the Duke Lacrosse rape fable and its associated coverage in the media.

There was not a single newspaper, news magazine, tabloid, that didn’t cover it extensively. There was not a single network news program that didn’t splash it across their screen ten thousand times during those months that Mike Nifong was still able to keep the majority of facts under wraps. There wasn’t a single radio program that didn’t broadcast every false accusation and innuendo intimately tied to the case. In the end, what did the case amount to? Hooey that’s what.

Do you remember Don Imus’ “nappy headed hoes” comment? Couldn’t we safely say that it too received an incredible amount of news coverage? Didn’t all the talking heads appropriately denounce Don? Wasn’t Don forced to make a nationally televised apology to America’s black community via a face to face with Al Sharpton? In the end wasn’t Don fired?

One of those on the leading edge of the Imus bashing crusade was a black Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Miami Herald named Leonard Pitts. In an article dated April 13, 2007 and entitled “Firing of Imus Removes Leader of Sorry Band,”[1] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftn1) Pitts self righteously questioned whether or not crack cocaine hadn’t been added to the nation’s drinking water, as if Imus’ comment was affirmation that everyone in the country was crazy.

Pitts then noted a very important fact associated with the Imus case; and one I intend to expand on a bit below, Pitts wrote “And then there's radio shock jock Don Imus who, as even polar bears must know by now, last week leveled racist and sexist insults against the Rutgers University women's basketball team, most of whom are black.”

In the above sentence Pitts himself confirms what everyone else knows, that the Imus case received an unbelievable amount of media attention, so much attention in fact, that Pitts himself doubts whether there are any “polar bears” unfamiliar with the case. By noting this, and doing so in newspapers across the nation, as Pitts is a syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize winning Leonard Pitts has assigned himself the role of our moral anchor, he’s preaching to us what a racist statement is or isn’t.

To reinforce his self assigned role as our moral compass, Pitts then writes that it was “beyond pathetic that two grown men [Imus and his producer] would use the reach and power afforded them as members of the media to mock the looks of a bunch of college girls” and that it was “fitting that Imus' slur has angered and energized the African-American community.”

Bear Pitts’ words in mind, because I’m going to use them below to expose a virulent and pernicious form of racism that exists in our society today that clearly reveals an obvious double standard and receives an undeserved sort of amnesty with the added caveat that whites aren’t allowed to comment on it, or at least not without being labeled a “white supremacist.” I myself can comment on this phenomenon because I’m a politically correct apostate and have given up on the religion of political correctness, and I can tell you with certainty that I find the freedom refreshing and more importantly, productive. Call me a racist if you like, I don't care.

The only thing important about Pitts’ above comments is to shine the light of scrutiny on our Pulitzer Prize winner, to show that he indeed condemned Imus for calling a group of black females basketball players “nappy headed hoes.” Pitts’ is an expert at defining what a racist is you see, he’s our moral compass because the Miami Herald gives him a platform and because the mainstream media says he is.

He’s above racism, or at least being accused of it, even when he is. In a recent article entitlted “Oppressed Whites, Give Me a Break,” about a black on white crime that happened in Knoxville TN last January (http://pcapostate.blogspot.com/2007/03/angry-whites-plan-knoxville-rally.html)[2] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftn2) that is so horrific it’s difficult to detail, but involved the kidnapping of a young white couple, by four blacks, including a black female, and their subsequent rape [of the male as well], torture, mutilation and murder, Leonard Pitts’ clearly told white America that he couldn’t give a damn about their growing awareness of the reality of black on white crime or their concern with it.

The FBI and Department of Justice’s statistics (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm)[3] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftn3) clearly show that approximately 4% of the American population commits more than 50% of the homicides annually in America and that 4% represents black males between the ages of 12 and 60. His exact words [and this is important as he is a Pulitzer Prize winner after all and thus should be intimately familiar with sentence construction and context] were “I have four words for them [so-called white supremacists] and any other white Americans who feel themselves similarly victimized… Cry me a river.”

When a Pulitzer Prize winner adds the inclusive “AND” and then tags “any other white Americans that feel themselves similarly victimized” along with it, he is including exactly that, any other white Americans. So, what Pitts is really saying is that he cries a river for the family of Stella [9-years-old] and Ruby [4 years-old] Harvey (http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0106/0302_harvey_killers_in_house1.html)[4] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftn4) who had their young throats slit by two blacks in a crime 99% of America never heard about that happened back in 2006 in Richmond Virginia. Like the Channon Christian and Chris Newsom murder it too received absolutely no national news coverage. Pitts is also telling the families of Jason Befort, Heather Miller, Aaron Sandler, Bradley Heyka and Linda Walenta (http://www.amren.com/0208issue/0208issue.html)[5] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftn5), all horribly raped and murdered by two black brothers from Wichita Kansas in another “hush crime” that he “cries them a river” as well.

You won’t hear Pitts mention Lindsey Bruce (http://www.dispatch.com/dispatch/contentbe/dispatch/2007/03/10/20070310-C3-00.html), a black man that raped and beheaded a 5 year old white girl named Emily Rimel, or Lanny Perry Barnes (http://www.11alive.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=85214), a black man that intentionally ran over a white family in a McDonald’s parking lot, killing their 2-year old daughter with a smile on his face, and then backing up and running them over again, but if he were to cite these crimes, he’d do his best to deny that they were racially motivated and he’d “cry us a river” or possibly label us “white supremacists” if we demurred in any way from his oh so wise conclusions.

Yep, our Pultizer Prize winning journalist clearly told white America that he couldn’t give a damn about our concerns and for that Pitts, like Don Imus before him should be held responsible and fired from his lucrative position at the Miami Herald.

The Herald however has come out defending Pitts, they’d like you and I to believe that Pitts’ only critics are in the “white supremacist” movement, which is a joke and more to the point, highly illusory and deceptive. The Herald does not have a leg to stand on, the fact of the matter is they are attempting to bury what Pitts said as quickly as possible, but the facts are already out there, it’s only a matter of time before the Herald concludes that Pitts has become more of a liability than an asset.

Rather than email and/or call the Miami Herald, I suggest that readers call and/or write to their local papers and demand that they stop publishing any of Pitts columns. Send them a copy of what Pitts wrote and explain to them you’re tiring of the obvious double standard that the media engages in. Tell them you are sickened by the hypocrisy of a man that condemns the so-called racism of whites but gives black racism a pass.

Considering the above, is it not at least “pathetic,” not to mention highly irresponsible for Leonard Pitts to “use the reach and power afforded [to him] as [a] member of the media” to chastize white America and to tell them that he’ll cry them a river in respect to their concerns? I’m using Pitts own words here, just as he described Imus’ comments. Why is it perfecetly “fitting that Imus' slur… angered and energized the African-American community,” but somehow not okay that whites are angered by the highly provocative and inflammatory words of Leonard Pitts? Are you beginning to see the real double standard at work here? Are you?

I don’t know about you reader, but I’ve had enough of this hypocrisy and I’m not going to take it any more. This kind of double standard and the media’s unwillingness to cover black on white crime has gotten to the point where it can no longer be tolerated. Wake up America, you’re being taken for a ride. In respect to Leonard Pitts and the Miami Herald’s attempts to elicit sympathy from Americans by suggesting that Pitts is being harrassed by so-called white supremacists, and their concern that it might lead to someone harming him, I say…. “cry me a river.”

[1] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftnref1) http://www.miamiherald.com/285/story/72285.html (http://www.miamiherald.com/285/story/72285.html)
[2] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftnref2) http://pcapostate.blogspot.com/2007/03/angry-whites-plan-knoxville-rally.html (http://pcapostate.blogspot.com/2007/03/angry-whites-plan-knoxville-rally.html)
[3] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftnref3) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/race.htm)
[4] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftnref4) http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0106/0302_harvey_killers_in_house1.html (http://www.crimelibrary.com/news/original/0106/0302_harvey_killers_in_house1.html)
[5] (http://www2.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=23420898#_ftnref5) http://www.amren.com/0208issue/0208issue.html (http://www.amren.com/0208issue/0208issue.html)