Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Friday, September 13, 2002

Good story about a fertilizer factory near Mazar-i-Sharif that has been in continuoous operation since 1973.

``In the beginning, everything was new, everything worked well,'' Padshah said. ``They taught us how to operate the machines, and when the Russians left, we showed we could stand on our own.''

When the Taliban seized power in much of the north in the late 1990s, the Islamic militia placed one of their religious leaders in charge and barred the 200 female employees from working. They have since returned.

Another of the new management's first actions was to affix a sign to the wall of the main factory floor that read ``God is great. We always appreciate Him because he made us.'' There are no plans to take it down.

But the Taliban tried to impose their authority by forcing out many skilled employees, including engineer Ghulam Ali Jawshan. He took jobs in the provincial departments of agriculture and construction, and spent time in Pakistan.

Jawshan, who got a job at the factory when it opened, was back at his old desk as Taliban power eroded under U.S. bombing and the advance of anti-Taliban northern alliance forces.

He said Kode Barq has survived for so long because workers guarded the place themselves and always kept the machines running. They even stuck around when the buildings swayed in earthquakes over the years.

``The factory is like a home,'' he said. ``We take care of it.''

< email | 9/13/2002 12:11:00 PM | link

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