Home » Big Canoe Expert Series

Big Canoe Expert Series

“Big Canoe Expert Series” Speaker Describes Afghanistan Life


She took an extended leave of absence from World Bank to return to her home country to assess what is working and what isn’t since President Bush ordered the “Shock and Awe” incursion following 9-11. Omira said that most people called it an invasion–she calls it liberation. At that time, Afghanistan had been controlled for years by the Taliban, which she said catapulted the country back to the Stone Age. While there, she was constantly working in active combat zones, so she learned how to use and carried an AK47 beneath her clothing. She relates that on one occasion she was nearly killed when an Afghan policeman mistook her for a terrorist, until she shouted out in Farsi “No, I’m one of you!”

She describes Afghanistan as an extremely poor country that has endured thirty years of war, major earthquakes, droughts and floods that killed thousands, and more recently a mostly illiterate population that is still experiencing the unspeakable brutality of the Taliban and ISIS. Omira pointed out that there is very little health care in the country, and due to untreated diseases and malnutrition, the current average lifespan is age only 46! Forty percent of the people have been displaced, and most of the population is traumatized with PTSD “including me,” she admits.

“What the Afghans want and need above all else is security,” Omira emphasized. “For decades the country has had no rule of law whatsoever under a series of greedy, corrupt warlords. It is so important for the U.S. and other troops to remain for now, because they bring trust and security, until the Afghan military can build up enough money and resources to prevail.” She believes that “…with U.S support, Afghanistan has a chance of moving from a ‘failed state’ to simply a poor country


Omira summed up her analysis by displaying on the screen what she says is her favorite quote:
“Development without security is unachievable–Security without development is meaningless”

The “Big Canoe Expert Series” is an extension of the “Big Canoe Knowledge Series,” which supports life-long learning and offers compelling monthly presentations by dynamic speakers on literary, artistic, international, national and regional topics of interest and significance. Other Knowledge Series programs include “Great Decisions” facilitated discussion groups, and “Ted Talks” video presentations followed by discussion. For more information about Big Canoe’s Knowledge Series programs, please email margovallone(at)tds(dotted)net, or call 770-608-9150.