Skip to comments.Afghanistan’s “Little Messi” forced to abandon home after death threats
Posted on 12/06/2018 1:11:14 PM PST by neverevergiveup
Murtaza Ahmadi went viral in 2016 after pictures of him emerged wearing a makeshift Lionel Messi shirt fashioned out of a plastic bag. The Afghan boys humble tribute to his Barcelona idol touched the hearts of many, including, it seems, Messi himself. Murtaza would receive a package from the player via UNICEF, which included a real signed shirt, and he later even met his hero in a friendly played in Qatar.
But those moments of joy have been replaced by dark times.
The seven-year-old has been forced to flee his home after receiving death threats. His family say his fame has made him a target. Local strongmen were calling and saying, You have become rich, pay the money you have received from Messi or we will take your son, his mother, Shafiqa, told AFP.
[They] said if they capture him, they will cut him into pieces, his mother continued.
Murtazas family abandoned their home in the Ghazni province in November, along with hundreds others, as the Taliban launched an attack into the previously safe area. Now, Murtaza, along with many others in a similar situation, are struggling to get by in Kabul. The family reports they were unable to carry any belongings, and lost the prized shirt in the process. They consider the idea of returning home at this point impossible.
At night we would sometimes see unknown men, watching and checking our house, and then the calls, his mother continued. During the days, we wouldnt dare let him outside home to play with other children.
Sports were rarely tolerated during the Talibans reign between 1996 and 2001.
As for little Murtaza, he says he misses his ball and shirt the most.
I want them back so I can play, he told AFP.
I miss Messi, he continued. When I meet him, I will say, Salaam and How are you? Then he will reply saying thank you and be safe, and I will go with him to the pitch where he will play and I will watch him.
Met him in a what?
Poison the Afghan wells. Defoliate the crops.
Dynamite every bridge, dam, and power plant.
"...You have become rich. Pay the money you have received from [Lionel Messi] or we will kidnap your son..."
"...met him in a what?..."
A ‘friendly’ is a soccer game played outside of any specific league or competition. It's kind of an ‘exhibition match’. Barcelona played one in Qatar, and Messi arranged to have this child attend. He walked out onto the field with him, hand in hand.
Sorry. Tune-up games.
Afghanistan is similar to Guatemala another lawless place, except they’re about 30 times larger on the map.
I have met some folks from Afghanistan who have assimilated.
Individually, they can be fantastic workers and are wise to the motivations of most people.
Collectively, I don’t see any hope for that country unless they decide on their own to remove the current deciders and start over. But any real change will fail until THEY DECIDE as a majority that THEY, not us, want to change.
The Russians learned that lesson before we went there.
We need to be OUT of that country. I used to feel very differently about it. I have a feeling the Chinese will take out place in that country after we finally get out, but for an Embassy. There are many valuable minerals in that land, just waiting to be mined.
Is the tourism industry going big in Afghanistan ?
For a while, in Lebanon there was "combat tourism". People would go to experience a low level of combat and survive to tell the tale...
Afghanistan: a universally understood word for sh*thole.
“Poison the Afghan wells. Defoliate the crops.
Dynamite every bridge, dam, and power plant.
The Russians already did.
They systematically destroyed the irrigation infrastructure of the country, which relies on irrigation from snow melt more than rainfall for crops. They de-forested the Nation from over 30% to around 3% - a lot of which had been wild stands of fruit and nut trees from ancient orchards. They also did their damnedest with carpet bombing, massed artillery and and tank assaults to destroy every bridge, dam, and power plant. They say we prepared to fight WWIII with the Soviets, but the Afghans did it.
Before the Russians invaded, they had an extremist communist dictatorship (the Khalq) trying to do radical things like stamp out religion and family structures (and summarily executing tens of thousands). After the Russians left they had seven years of Mad Max-style civil war among local warlords, fighting each other with heavy artillery in the cities. Then they had the Pakistani-sponsored Taliban.
Millions of people fled the country, especially those with education, skills or money. Many aspects of civil society stopped functioning. A generation missed out on getting formally educated. Predatory violence was almost the only economic opportunity for young men. Cultural norms harshened to something more akin to having been raised by wolves, than the cohesive traditional village/tribal culture of Afghanistan that kept young men in line. A big proportion of the population has been a witness to, perpetrator of, or victim of brutal violence.
Since the American liberation, the great bulk of the society has made education their first priority. There were few schools or good teachers, so the capability had to grow, but over the last ten years, the kids have been in school pretty steadily. In 2014 they elected the former president of their most prestigious university to be the Nation’s President (Ashraf Ghani). He has really improved the quality of the Government there (generally more competent and less corrupt). He is up for re-election next year.
The security situation is still a mess though, because the neighbors still interfere and support bad actors, and the streets are still full of hardened thugs with a bad case of PTSD and a drug problem (Afghanistan produces like 90% of the world’s heroin, which makes it kind of a narco-state).
It is probably going to take a generation and some good economic development, before this violent thug culture really moderates.
This goes beyond Afghanistan. It’s about human capacity to hate.
And now, we owe little Murtaza a new life...somewhere safe...with his family...and lots of toys...and lifetime medical care...forever...
Funny, you also perfectly described urban America.
Wouldn't that be about the same as going on an 'African Safari' ?
People need some excitement in their life. Hunting and fighting have been parts of the human existence forever.
Maybe we need some of that.
Capitalism serves as a partial substitute.
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