It was bad enough to see the General goose stepping, as the President inspected the guard of honor, what was even more funny was when he realised he was on the wrong side of the President and had to break step trot behind and commence the goose stepping again.
In yet another complete failure of democracy. President Karzai was today inaugarated for his second 5 year term. In any flourishing democracy the inaugaration ceremony is a time when the people can share the moment, cast your mind back to the scenes in Washington in January, when President Obama took the oath of office.
Today in Kabul, under a crisp winter sun, you could hear the leaves fall to the footpath. The solution to any potential problem here is to close the city and ban cars, to prevent suicide and or car bombs. The ceremony was such a controlled event that even TV cameras were not permitted into the Palace, and as such we were herded into the old Radio Television studios built in the classic Soviet style of the 1950’s. the walls adorned with old black and white pictures from what looked like the 50’s and 60’s.
Technically it was a nightmare, but the staff there did there best with old equipment then told us about there new facility which was a state of the art gift from a foreign country. Why we could not use the new facility is still a mystery. The quality of audio reminded me of watching television with a deaf aunty, whose solution is to turn the sound up fully when there is no sound then to have it tear your ears apart when something actually does happen.
The guests can best be described as a b grade status of nations, the only other leader there was from Pakistan, whilst most of the nations involved in fighting the war here were represented by their Foreign Ministers. The Inaugaration speech was written for the West and the first clapping from the audience came after 13 minutes when Karzai promised a crackdown on corruption, but everyone here knows that words are cheap. Corruption is far more profitable.
As far as an end to the war and foreign troops, five years from now will become the mantra, as the President pledged that Afghanis will take control of all of the nations security by then. As he spoke a car bomb went off in a Southern Province killing two US service members.
As left we tried to gauge the mood on the streets, using the most ineffective method known to poll, known as Vox pops only to be told by the first person we asked as to whether he had watched the ceremony
“No, we had no electricity, I hope to be able to see it later tonight”.
In a city that was empty of life, apart from Army and Police on every corner, an historic day has passed and yet failed at the same time. But it was nice to listen to the leaves fall and rustle along the footpath for a change.