When we talk about any momentous efforts or serious events in our history, we afterward think about them in terms of legacy. That would certainly be true of military missions.
On the weekend, in Ottawa and elsewhere in the country, Canadians honoured veterans of the 12-year war in Afghanistan, in which this country played a large role. Part of the focus was, naturally, the personal sacrifice, considering 158 soldiers from Canada died in the struggle toward improving life for the average Afghan citizen.
Locally, and with the theme of legacy in mind, Pictou County hosted a visitor last week with a strong connection and strong feelings about Afghanistan, its people and what was accomplished in the time before Canada’s troops finally came home this past year.
Mellissa Fung, a journalist and author who was on assignment for CBC, gave the keynote address in New Glasgow for the Evening in Support of Afghan Women and Girls. It was an event put on by the Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan.
Although much was accomplished in the country where relatively few children, especially girls, were allowed to attend school, Fung said, there is still work to be done. Far more girls, women and others are receiving education now, but Fung urged this country to remain involved to help that pattern continue.
They need support, like for example that provided by the non-profit Women for Women in Afghanistan to see that teachers are trained to carry on the education effort.
Critics over the years during Canada’s involvement in this epic military struggle offered the view that the war would prove unwinnable, that the Taliban would gravitate back to their traditional strongholds. That forecast is showing its validity.
The one opportunity to show lasting change in this country is what Fung and Women for Women are calling for – the continued help from Canada and other nations involved to see that those personal rights fought for at such a cost are maintained.