Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Public Reactions Against Martyrdom of Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan

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Public Reactions Against Martyrdom of  Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan

Who was Tetsu Nakamura? Originally, he was from Japan and he was born in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture in 1946.  He left his home in Japan in the 1980s to treat leprosy patients in Afghanistan and Pakistan. During that time, he also treated countless refugees in Pakistan who had fled the civil war in Afghanistan. In 1991, he opened a clinic in the province of Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan. He later found, however, that severe drought was killing more people than his clinics could save. He changed his mind as the hunger and thirst cannot be cured with medicine. Therefore, he started helping people with adapting old Japanese techniques that required little technology. He helped villagers displaced by drought build a network of canals that has transformed an area of nearly a million residents through the techniques he brought from his native Japan.
Initially, he tried to improve the situation by digging hundreds of wells for clean water, but soon realized that wasn’t the answer. So, he turned to building canals from existing water sources to irrigate arid regions. After facing difficulties in procuring equipment to dig the first canals, he drew inspiration from those built more than 200 years ago in his hometown in Japan. Over six years, with a work force drawn from drought-stricken villages, Dr. Nakamura helped build a main canal about 15 miles long. He continued the work even after militants abducted and killed one of his colleagues, Kazuya Ito. The smaller canals his team built spread across four districts. All in all, as report quoted, by the time of his murder his canals had improved the livelihood of nearly a million people, and irrigated nearly 60,000 acres of previously arid land.
His death event occurred last Wednesday when he was attacked by gunmen while driving to work in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar Province, in eastern Afghanistan. Five members of his organization’s staff were killed, but he was fatally wounded. Sadly, Dr. Nakamura died on the way to American military medical facilities based in Bagram.
Though Nakamura was from Japan but he was considered as Afghan resident. He learned to speak the local language Pashtu.  The people he helped called him “Uncle Murad.” The president of Afghanistan had also issued him Afghan honorary citizenship for his helpful services. Therefore, the death of Nakamura was severely condemned by Afghan people including: government officials, intellectuals and mass of the people. President Ashraf Ghani who in October awarded Dr. Nakamura honorary citizenship for his services, expressed “utmost grief and sorrow” and ordered his security agencies to find the perpetrators.
In Afghan society, the event was more highlighted in social media networks. Afghan face book users expressed deep condolence and sorrow saying shame on those who killed this great man. For example, Yosuf Joya wrote in his face-book the death of Nakamura is the death of humanity. I can say nothing, but still I know that his dreams are in the place and creating facilities for the vulnerable people in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan. He devoted all his personal convenience to bring happiness for Afghan people. May God bless You Dr. Nakamura! Naqi Mottaqi, another facebook user wrote,” Nakamura left his family and prosperous country to serve the war-torn Afghanistan, but we suffocated his voice, the voice of humanity honesty and justice. Shame on those that kill people under name of Afghan braveness and religion!
Out of so many face-book users, Hassan Panahi took a different position about the death of Nakamura. He said “we must not attribute his death to Afghan people and we need to discover the real enemy of this land. He was not killed by the noble people of Afghanistan including: Tajik, Hazara, Pashun and Uzbek. “Some of the face-book users expressed their condolence with adding certain suggestions to the government of Afghanistan. Firstly, we should name some important place or road in Kabul under name of Nakamura to commemorate his services in Afghanistan. Secondly, we should commemorate his work and services through school textbooks. This will also encourage Afghan children towards humanitarian and volunteer services. Thirdly, the government of Afghanistan should hold a great ceremony to honor his services and also send a message to all international friends that we are not thankless against honesty and humanity. There was also a suggestion requesting to establish an international prize such as noble prize under name of Nakamura.
By and large, Nakamura was not only a unique example of human and humanity, but also a true sign of friendship between Japan and Afghanistan. In fact, he did not die he is alive for ever in the heart of everyone in Afghanistan. Though the owner of this pen has never seen him before, when he heard the news of his death and services, he could not stop his tears rolling on his face. As Nakamura has proved his honesty and commitment to Afghan people, the government and people of Japan also have a high place in the heart of Afghan people. During the international conference about Afghanistan, it is said that a number of countries felt shy to announce their little amount of aid when compared to Japan. Nakamura believed that no need to carry weapon and no need to have armed body guard for life protection instead he encouraged others to have good behavior with people. In fact, he inspired the love and humanity from kind culture and peaceful policy of Japan. According to National law of Japan, the people of Japan are committed not to participate in any world power competition.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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