By Dr Hakim

31st July 2017

Before this year’s fasting month of Ramadan in Kabul, Kathy Kelly wrote to ask if I would consider a trip to Yemen, to give witness to what the United Nations called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

I had been wondering with a heavy heart why, according to Washington Post, ‘no one is paying attention’. This is the case for many other crises, including the crises the Afghan Peace Volunteers and I are experiencing in Afghanistan.

Has ‘news’ dehumanized death?

I needed to pause deliberately to process my emotions over yet another man-made crisis.

I asked the Afghan Peace Volunteers ( APVs ) if they wished to be in solidarity with Yemenis. It is the custom at Eid for Muslim families to set aside ‘alms’ for those who need help.

“Why not use the collection instead to help the many fellow Afghans who are hungry or malnourished?” the APVs asked themselves. A consensual decision was made to have an Eid-e-Fitr collection for Yemenis…

At Eid, they held an event and collected 3250 Afghanis ( about US$48 ).

For me, their act of compassion is another small demonstration of how the poorest people find the strength to care for others. They have found the strength to ‘feel’ for others.


Again and again I’ve caught it from these youth:

care for ‘the other’,

though they too have so little.

They give me a vision of the unseen masses,

whose compassion is carried

in the quiet folds of resold discarded clothes,

and the fellowship of simple meals,

a spirit which is dignified and uplifting.

“We’re human too, so we can understand,”

Zarghuna offered.

Ali, whose brother was killed a year ago,

also added his family’s contribution.

It makes me want to look deeper

at how love is nursed within fragile lives,

right in the cauldron of war.

Yemen Hunger

A child in Yemen

I can touch the tenderness which guides

their unassuming conversations,

the deliberations,

the commitment.

“Yemenis are dying from hunger,”

said Barat, “We wanted to help…

perhaps we can save one person.”

The statistics are ‘shocking’,

the lack of government responses even more so.

Perhaps it would not have been so,

 if we each personally knew at least one Yemeni or one South Sudanese,

one Somali or one Nigerian,

one Iraqi or one Afghan.

Perhaps it would not have been so,

if we had a super-personal social revolution

rather than just a ‘super-connected’ social media,

instead of drought-making, poverty-making and war-making.

APVs gathered for Eid e Fitr Event

The Afghan Peace Volunteers gathered for the Eid-e-Fitr event, where they collected Eid gifts for Yemenis

So here’s a tiny gift from land-locked Afghans,

just US$48,

but we hope it will buy some time

for one or more starving Yemenis.

We hope that this will change us in Kabul,

as we seek meaning and purpose

larger than our individual selves.

We dream that, along with uncountable fellow members of the human family,

our empathy and feelings for one another will grow.

We hope this will release momentous smiles

and microscopic actions.

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Technorati Tags: Afghan War, Tags: Afghan Peace Volunteers, Yemen, Yemen cholera, Yemen humanitarian crisis, Yemen hunger, Yemen starvation, Yemen War