“Love letters from Kabul – on safety”

A fairer life for all



Dear friends and fellow human beings,

15th March , 2013 ( Gregorian calendar )

25th Hut ,1391 ( Afghan calendar )

From Abdulhai

I feel safe with my mother and family, and with the few friends who care for me.

Everything needs to be safe, even the trees and the flowers. They need space to grow and bear fruit.

Here in Afghanistan, we don’t have that space.

Maybe someday, I will feel safe, when war and its silliness ends, and people can live together. But maybe not. Though we feel uncomfortable with armed persons, we ignore the discomfort. We still believe the fantasy that somehow, weapons make us safer.

Abdulhai and safe spaces

I sometimes wonder, “How did we human beings come to be like this?”

What happened?

We had a tree planting day in Kabul before I went back to Bamiyan for the Afghan New Year. As I was digging the ground with a pickaxe, I remembered working in the open mountain fields of Bamiyan and turned to Hakim to say, “Hakim, I can’t believe I’m going home tomorrow.”

From Samia

We seem to hear voices everywhere telling us, “You are stupid. You are weak students. You are poor. You were brought up badly.”

We can’t escape these voices. We are never safe.

Samia and being safe from the ‘voices’

Walina and Wajia and I felt this way again this week. We ‘ran’ to Hakim to complain, to sulk and to find some room to be ourselves.

Surely, there’ll be a limit to our patience.

I’m not sure if this world was meant for little girls.

From Hakim

Afghanistan is the worst country on earth for a child to be in, so how could we fantasize that the 50 NATO coalition countries have brought security for one of the poorest people on earth?

Who are we kidding?

The Geneva based UN Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report and recommendations to the U.S. government which said it “was ‘alarmed’ at reports of the deaths of hundreds of children from US attacks and air strikes in Afghanistan.”

The U.S. military strongly rejected this report as ‘categorically unfounded.’

To the U.S. military, I say this: it is shameful to argue with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child over the possible ‘deaths of hundreds of children’. You are disappointing little children. I suggest we try to find the children’s graves.

I suggest that this is not the ‘better world’ children long for.

When we heard that six-year old Toor Jan and seven-year old Odood had been killed while tending to their cattle and collecting firewood, we took our hearts of sorrow and rage to the streets of Kabul. We went with two cows, remembering that the two children were tending to their cattle on their last day.

We are those two children. ( Watch our protest at http://youtu.be/VW43_Y2qkWw ). We wanted to be human again.

Yes, I’m enraged by armed groups like the Taliban who knowingly or unknowingly kill children too.  But no, I don’t want to lose my rage. I want to preserve it.

Weapons and bombs do not embody any ‘virtue’ which we would wish Abdulhai or Samia to find solace in.

You may disagree or get angry with peace activists on the necessity of some wars, but please hear the children.

Hear their soft and clear voices. See the age-old messages they have on their faces – watch them imagine the future : “We are waging war against Afghan children.”

“We are waging war against Afghan children.”

Everything needs a safe space where people aren’t killing one another and then accusing one another of ‘categorically unfounded lies’.

Even the trees and the flowers are imagining that space.


Abdulhai, Samia and Hakim

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