An assault on a school to block the peace process and to perpetuate the terror. An attack to the right that every child or adolescent should have: to grow, think, reason, and to understand. A homage to the grimmest fanaticism, a bitter enemy of freedom. At present, Afghanistan is reckoning with a blow to a system of public education for women that is delicate in itself. A reality that is hated by radical groups, that lever precisely on ignorance and illiteracy to secure their control over the weakest strata of the population. In the province of Herat, a populous city of the homonymous province in the west, dozens of girls between 12 and 16 years of age, as well as some teachers have been hospitalized with symptoms of poisoning. The substance that was used is unknown and the hand of the perpetrator is anonymous. Certain is only the victims’ fear and that of their families. Their intoxication was confirmed by the spokesman of the hospital, Mohammad Shafiq Sherzai, who told the media that on Monday morning alone, 116 pupils and teachers of a female institute in the district of Jabril came to the emergency room with nausea, stomach ache, dizziness, and, in some cases, fainting.
The phenomenon has repeated for years in several provinces of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Never claimed, it is attributed to the Islamic fundamentalist movements that oppose with all their forces the education of girls and young women. Poisoning occurs via contaminated water and food intended for the schools or by dispersion of toxic gases in the air. In other cases, to discourage lessons, are positioned and made to explode rudimentary devices that damage the building. One of the teachers, Hasina, has witnessed to the press agency Pajhwok: “I was inside a house and at a certain point I felt a strong bad smell. I am not able to tell what happened afterwards. When I opened my eyes again, I was at the hospital”. Bibi Gul, a mother, told me that her 2 girls, 12 and 14-year old, were attending the school in Jabril. “They called to tell me what happened. I rushed to the hospital and found the youngest in stable conditions, whereas the other one was more worrying”. The doctors made clinical tests and took blood samples in order to determine the cause of poisoning. But, as it already happened in the past, the research will hardly provide concrete answers.
At the moment, however, it seems that none of those hospitalized is in danger of death. The spokesperson of the hospital has announced in the evening that 50% of the girls and teachers that were hospitalized have already left the hospital, whereas the others will stay there overnight. In the month of June 2015 alone, the Afghan media have reported three cases of students poisoning. On June 6 in a school situated in the district of Panjab, the central province of Bamiyan. On June 13, still in Herat City, were hospitalised of female students from the Istiqlal Lyceum, while on June 22, 30 young women from the Band-i-Kosa school in the district of Waras, again in the province of Bamiyan, have ended up at the hospital with dizziness, tears, headache, and vomiting. And, however, threats and attacks do not seem to suppress the desire for literacy of the young Afghan women. Education is still the most deadly weapon against fundamentalism and intolerance. And in Herat they are sure of this: nobody will be able to poison their desire for freedom.