Home PodcastInayet Wadee Nadima Noor on her South African tour

Nadima Noor on her South African tour

by Salaamedia Intern

South Africa – For the next two weeks Nadima Noor, Afghan-Canadian aid worker, will be touring the country. The purpose of her visit is to transmit the positive, correct information about Afghanistan and combat the false narrative being pushed. With first-hand knowledge and experience about Afghanistan, the programmes will be hugely beneficial to all who wish to know the true Afghanistan.

There are many notions about Afghanistan. From it being a backward country to one of the poorest countries in the world, Noor sat down with senior presenter at Salaamedia, Inayet Wadee, to have an open conversation about what Afghanistan is truly like. Noor immediately set the record straight, Afghanistan is not a poor country but one that has been broken by decades of fighting and harsh treatment.

“I always tell everyone that can we correct the narrative? The Afghanistan people and the country are broken. It’s not a poor country. How do you create an expectation expect of individual that you confine, repress, and beat down and justify all that in the name of race, religion and terrorism and then expect them to stand straight and have a smile and welcome you to their home when you have broken it in the first place?”

Inayeet Wadee: For 42 years Afghanistan has been at war. Repeatedly defeating its invaders, which is why it gained the name the Graveyard of Empires. For 42 years people have known nothing but pain and heartache as a result of lies and betrayal. Why do you think that is?

Nadima Noor: I don’t even understand the meaning of war anymore. Afghanistan is not at war. It’s a group of people who want to come to the country and take over the resources. That’s how I’m looking at it. It’s okay, you’re more than welcome to come but come with honour, come with respect, come with a presentation that will benefit both countries. I invite all of you in the mining section, recreational section, education section, health section but come with dignity. Come with honour. Don’t come to me and justify through terrorism and challenging values that we hold so dearly because they are somehow not aligned with you. Don’t try to change us. Come help us build the country like many countries have been built but it will be done based on the condition and the rules and the regulation of my country and my people.”


IW: The foreign powers have always played games with the Afghan people, but they never truly understood who the Afghan people are. Many great personalities of Afghanistan have been lost to history. Perhaps you can give us an insight into who the Afghan people really are.

Noor: When I came to Afghanistan, one thing I learned about the people of Afghanistan that I had to remember, that my mother tried to instil in me, is forgiveness, understanding, empathy, patience, and you never plan everything. You just have faith because of everything that has happened in Afghanistan for so many years people don’t plan 10 years. They say okay I have five sons. Two will probably die. Three will be okay but the fact that they have that gratitude and acceptance in life. How many countries can go through what they’re still going through in 2022 and are still having a positive attitude? Still wake up in the morning, they put a nice smile on, and they wake up even if they’re begging or going to the business office and say we’re going to be okay. That kind of attitude takes a lot of pain, a lot of practice to have. The people of Afghanistan are very giving. I as an Afghan woman will give you my heart but if you cut me and you do me wrong, then there’s going to be eye for an eye.”


IW: A few days we actually spoke about 9/11 and what it meant. For someone like you, from Afghanistan which was basically first in the firing line after the events of 9/11, what did it actually mean to you? 

Noor: For me, I’m just trying to understand what 9/11 has to do with my people. Say there is a bad guy in Afghanistan, that’s not a way to conduct an investigation. I’m not going to bombard South Africa because I’m looking for someone. I’m going to conduct a professional, respectful, and orderly approach. Why am I going to start killing your villagers and destroy what you worked so hard for? How is that okay? Now 21 years later everyone has left. What about the widows, the orphans? What are you going to do for them? You destroyed my roads and yes there was progress but the amount of death that has taken place, who is going to answer for that … I want those answers, I want to know. I also want to move forward. We forgive, we forget, we love forward but now how are we moving forward? How can you come to my country, kill all these people, and then decide to not only leave but then also block what belongs to the people? The whole world is watching this and then my people are considered the bad people. There’s a game that’s being played and it needs to stop. There are lives that are at stake and there are innocent children that are dying. 

SMread: Afghanistan assets must be returned to help them recover


IW: There are many questions that are yet to be answered about 9/11. What dominated the headlines after was the treatment of women in Afghanistan. If we look at the invasion of Iraq, the same can be seen. Women are used as a means to justify their actions.

Noor: Well, they’re still being used and all these women around, I just listen to their speeches from their warm homes and the comfort of their nice spaces and I’m thinking there’s women like myself that I have organisations that are in Afghanistan. Why are you not directly engaging with me to get these women involved in trade. Their businesses have been put on hold. I have over 100 women that do crafts, the clothes I’m wearing, why are you not supporting them? Us using their product and us supporting them has nothing to do with the sanctions. Why are you not taking an individual stance? If we women in 2022 claim that we are our own voices and we’re strong, then come unite with me for the women. Let men do their own thing, let the politicians do their own thing but let us take the responsibility for helping … I feel the Afghanistan women are being used to justify what they want to do.


IW: What we are seeing after 9/11 is how Afghan society was actually broken down. It is not that they lack care for women or the community, but the society was broken down. What can be done to get this broken society back to itself?

Noor: We need healing, we need nurturing, we need unconditional care, we need to be told we’re going to be okay. We suddenly have a new government and even if this new government tries, it will always be blacklisted to the world. Afghanistan is the safest in the world right now. They went to every home and checked every home and took illegal weapons. They found girls that were kidnapped, they found doctors that were taken for ransom and there was no mention of it in the news. It has never been done in 45 years in Afghanistan. I can go anywhere in the middle of the night to anyone’s home and be relaxed … If we truly want Afghanistan to prosper, if we truly want to take accountability for the damage we’ve done, if we want to correct it, we have to look at things from a place of effort and I know there’s effort taking place.


Noor will be having her programmes in Tzaneen, Polokwane, Benoni, Middleburg, Nelspruit, Roshnee, Pretoria and Johannesburg. A virtual meeting will be held for those who are unable to attend these programmes.

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