* A Different Afghan Winter Photo Essay Series

Green

Permaculture: Being Vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings

Bamiyan Peace Park: Even the Stones will Speak

Equal

Genderless Bikes in Afghanistan

Afghan Street Kid Mehdi’s Disappearing Dream

Another hard reality about Afghan duvets

Nonviolent

Relationships can heal ‘terrorism’

Ending the war inside and outside us

For Omid, Mursal, Mehdi, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, this winter in Afghanistan was different from the usual.

“This is the Afghan story, that I’ve been a breadwinner since I was very little,” 19 year old Omid said with perceptible angst. It is a usual story for young Afghans to have prematurely lost one or two parents, and to have to pick themselves up again and again to face the world. “I’ve taken up different kinds of ‘jobs for the poor’ ( ‘gharibi kardum’).”

“But, it still doesn’t quite work out,” Omid looked down in pensive thought. I could only imagine how Omid had tried twice to smuggle himself to Europe, once running away from threatening gunshots.

“I’ve found a flicker of hope this winter, helping with the duvet project, and then learning about the climate, sun, water, soil and food through the permaculture design course.”

Omid Loads Duvets

Omid loads the duvets

15 year old Mehdi had signed up for the course too.

I wish he had stayed throughout the course with Nisar, another street kid, and 42 other Afghan youth. Mehdi told me shyly, “Teacher, I thought someone else had taken my place in the course.” My guess was that his father needed him to find some extra income for the family. It was to make ends meet that Mehdi had to stop schooling last year. Isn’t this especially hard for an industrious, considerate kid who dreams of being a doctor?

Mahdi's Wish

Mehdi dreams of becoming a doctor

Mursal is 13 or 14, and after two years in the Borderfree Street Kids School, she has discovered the activist within her, recently learning to ride the bicycle with the Borderfree Afghan Cycling Club. One day, she approached me and other volunteer teachers, saying, “I want to organize support for street vendors who are hit by the police with their batons.” My soul lit up, recognizing the struggle against such injustices which sparked the Tunisian revolution and ensuing Arab Spring.

Mursal Learns to Ride a Bike

Mursal is on the right, learning to ride freely on a bike

Witnessing the energy of these never-say-die stalwarts who are too young to be shouldering responsibilities which adults have shirked, I feel like I’m at the edge of a cliff.

All over the world, we’re grasping this reality: the political, military and economic elite are bringing ‘The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist’s doomsday’s clock of earth and humanity’ to three ‘minutes to midnight’.

That’s why more and more people are autonomously building another world. Like Omid, Mehdi, Mursal and the Afghan Peace Volunteers, they are saying, “#Enough! is #Enough!”

I’ve tried to tell these stories through *six photo essays. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did in putting them together.

They depict the #Enough! GENeration I’m privileged to be working with, tender human beings who wish to nurture Green, Equal and Nonviolent relationships.

They are sick and tired of war, and want to abolish it. They represent the fragile, better sides of our human nature. They are the 99%.

It excites me that they could change everything even if their group ceases to be, because they try to work with ‘root meanings’ and not ‘superficial terms’, and because they’re suggesting a way, and not a thing or a person that can be eliminated or imprisoned.

These green, equal and nonviolent relationships can change our politics, economy, environment and our understanding of safe and secure spaces. They have been changing me by laughing, crying, worrying, healing and shivering with me.

Their love is carrying me through the whole range of emotions which point me to a better world, to who I really am, a human, a fellow human being.

 

Permaculture: Being vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings

“Remember, your tears are only understood by your mother,”

Manizha delivered her lyrics like a river freed from our dams.

Who would have thought that permaculture lessons

could soften us to be vulnerable with each other

and with our bare, dry land?

We began to despise the million dollar blimps

which aren’t bothered that our plains are forest-less

nor that the sheep feed on trash in the river’s sewerage.

“Some Californians’ have an ecological footprint 600 times larger than yours…,” Rosemary said.

But it is you, hammered by war and its poisons,

who are expected to study this inequality,

and to help recover earth’s burnt and logged lungs.

It won’t be easy to tease the fruit from plastic and gas,

but it will help us to share food with all, and not just some.

“Smell and touch the soil,

see how tired it is,

understand its illness,

and our illnesses,

and learn to work with the contours of the land,

to clothe her,

to water her,

and not clog her arteries.”

Can we understand its seriousness?

We found that we could, in circles

seeking to be creative and compassionate.

We can grow,

and grieve that there were no snowflakes at all this winter.

We can plant more trees than we take down.

Surely, we must help one another end our addictions

to extraction and wanton destruction.

Yes, even we the new generation will fade away,

but until then, we can converse,

nurture regret-less good byes

and gather often

to celebrate community

and to be vulnerable with the seeds.

We’ll confess to the earth that we’re no longer afraid to care,

to unlearn and to learn,

and to stop being just wasteful consumers.

Awake!

Permaculture: Being vulnerable with one another and with the Earth’s Feelings

01 Manizha's feelings

“Remember, your tears are only understood by your mother,”

Manizha delivered her lyrics like a river freed from our dams.

02 bare, dry

Who would have thought that permaculture lessons

could soften us to be vulnerable with each other

and with our bare, dry land?

03 a surveillance blimp over Kabul

We began to despise the million dollar blimps

04 forestless Kabul outskirts

which aren’t bothered that our plains are forest-less

05 Kabul River tributary

nor that the sheep feed on trash in the river’s sewerage.

06 The small Afghan ecological footprint

“Some Californians’ have an ecological footprint 600 times larger than yours…,” Rosemary said.

07 we need to study our mistakes

But it is you, hammered by war and its poisons,

who are expected to study this inequality,

08 grow green green green

and to help recover earth’s burnt and logged lungs.

09 Afghan apples

It won’t be easy to tease the fruit from plastic and gas,

10 Sharing food with all

but it will help us to share food with all, and not just some.

11 Omid and Zek collect soil samples

“Smell and touch the soil,

12 Afghan soil is tired

see how tired it is,

understand its illness,

and our illnesses,

12

and learn to work with the contours of the land,

14 sheet mulching

to clothe her,

15 rain on contoured land

to water her,

16 clogged Kabul river

and not clog her arteries.”

17 let's reason and feel together

Can we understand its seriousness?

18 circles and communities

We found that we could, in circles

seeking to be creative and compassionate.

20 grafting

We can grow,

21 climate change

and grieve that there were no snowflakes at all this winter.

22 fuel

We can plant more trees than we take down.

23 drug addicts in Kabul

Surely, we must help one another end our addictions

24 burning coal

to extraction and wanton destruction.

25 generations

Yes, even we the new generation will fade away,

26 conversations

but until then, we can converse,

27 thank you

nurture regret-less good byes

28 the permaculture students

and gather often

29 celebration

to celebrate community

30 planting seedlings

and to be vulnerable with the seeds.

31 preparing the potato plot

We’ll confess to the earth that we’re no longer afraid to care,

32 don't plough,   rather rip the soil

to unlearn and to learn,

30

and to stop being just wasteful consumers.

33 awake arise

Awake!

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Technorati Tags: #Enough!, #Enough! GEN, Afghan peace, Afghan Peace Volunteers, Afghan War, Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute Australia, Borderfree Afghan Street & Vulnerable Kids School, Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre, climate change Afghanistan, global warming Afghanistan, inequality Afghanistan, permaculture, Rosemary Morrow