Just days before the Taliban captured Kabul, Kamila Geethi shared her heartbreak—and an urgent plea. Now safe in Europe, she wants you to heed her words.
“My sisters, I urge you to remember Afghanistan. I urge you to talk about the crisis in my homeland, to play a role in making a difference in the lives of Afghan people. ”
Today is another dry, hot day in Kabul, like all the days when I must leave my home for the office. I prepare myself for the worst and leave my heart behind at home for the safety of my sister. As usual, the roads are crowded. I see fewer children on the roads going to school due to COVID-19, though men and boys, women and girls go about their usual routines. It has been a long time since I have seen genuine happiness on the faces of my people. Their eyes are full of nerves; signs of disappointments and helplessness show on their faces.
I am in a taxi, but my mind is with the people of Malistan, where the Taliban is accused of unlawful killings of civilians. Girls have fled their homes to find safety, having had to leave their beautiful village due to the ongoing conflict. I can’t imagine how painful it is to live the rest of your life with the traumas of war.
I open my eyes and find myself at the door of the office. I’ve promised myself I will work hard today in order to do something useful for the people of my country. From behind my office desk, I find that my mind wanders. I walk around the village I was born in. Life is too difficult there, the weather harsh, the mountainous village makes it hard for children and relatives to meet often.
My cousins also worry about the ongoing conflict in our hometown. They worry that if the district falls under control of armed opposition groups they will no longer be able to go to school, singing as they leave the house for the classroom. These armed groups have set restrictions on women’s movements: Girls can no longer go to school; women cannot work outside the home.
Everyday seems like a battle. My mind and heart are with the people who are displaced, who live on roads, in parks and camps. Women and girls are most vulnerable, and their dignity is in danger. They don’t have access to clean water or even shelter.
How can the world be such a horrific place to live? Or maybe this is only Afghanistan. I feel so angry when I remember I was born on this piece of land that is hated by all, whose people are themselves the victims, while the world sees us as terrorists. I can’t breathe when I remember that as an Afghan child, you never can dream about a luxurious life, about a happy ending. I find I am nervous when I am in a group of my foreigner friends and I am asked to talk about my country, to introduce my people and my homeland.
As I try to write this, I think — how can I write when my hands are shaking to take up a pen and think about the days we are living in? I am scared of what to say, of how you will feel about it. I am writing this with my eyes full of tears and my heart aching. The world has turned its back to us; the world has forgotten about us; they no longer care about Afghan lives.
My sisters, I urge you to remember Afghanistan. I urge you to talk about the crisis in my homeland, to play a role in making a difference in the lives of Afghan people.
I trust in you, please stand with me. Please know and shout to the world that our lives matter.
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