Featured Storyteller

AFGHANISTAN: Don’t Forget About Afghanistan; Our Lives Matter

Kamila Geethi
Posted September 2, 2021 from Afghanistan

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.

Editor's Note: This story is part one in a series. Read part two here and part three here.

“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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Comments 17

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Kay Link
Sep 02
Sep 02

Kamila, so many of us have been holding you in our hearts these past few weeks. Your words have brought tears to my eyes, and I have found myself thinking often for what is going on in Afghanistan. We know the people of Afghanistan are so much more than the conflict there - it is not your country or your people's fault. I am sorry for what you and your family have gone through. Sending you much love and support - standing with you.

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 02
Sep 02

Dear Kamila,
What a tremendous joy to find your message here, and to know that you are alive and safe. So many thousands of women have been gathering, sending love to you sisters in Afghanistan, and speaking out with what news we were getting. We will never forget, we will continue to speak out. Dear sister, how amazing it is to be able to get your message here. We will continue to speak out as loudly as possible to get all of this violence stopped in all of its forms. The news you are able to send is so important. Let us know if we can help by sending your news on.
Take good care dear sister, and please stay close in touch as you can. Know that globally, women in so many countries are speaking out as powerfully as we can about what is being done to women and girls in your country. What a joy to have news from you.

Jessica Robinson
Sep 02
Sep 02

Kamila, you and the Afgan women have not been forgotten. We are with you just hoping you can feel the love, strength and courage we are sending you. Your words are powerful and brave. Please trust there is a lot of support working to help and assist in the best ways they can. I feel your anger, despair and heartbreak. Please know you are not alone. Sending you energy and love.

Jill Langhus
Sep 03
Sep 03

Hi Kamila,

I'm glad to hear you're safe and well. I hear your plea loud and clear. Thanks so much for sharing your powerful words and warning. We are in solidarity with you.

SanPatagonia
Sep 03
Sep 03

Dearest Kamila, your voice is so strong and necessary these days. I'm glad to know you're safe and well.
We won't forget. You'll never walk alone.
Standing by you, your country and the people who make it deeply rich, resilient and precious to all of us.
San

girlpower Dide
Sep 03
Sep 03

Kamila, We will not forget our sisters in Afghanistan. Your lives do matter. America is taking in thousands of your people as I write this, my father who lives in Sparta WI near the army base where they will reside until they are sent to their new homes. It's such a shame that the Taliban released a statement for "women and girls to stay home since their soldiers haven't been trained to respect women." Oh, my such rubbish. Stay strong and keep us posted. Women in your country should stand up against such comments.

Colleen Abdoulah
Sep 03
Sep 03

I am so very grateful you are safe! It was a bright light of gratitude and hope when I heard you were able to get out and I am proud of the WP team for all they did to accompany you with the process. You and our sisters of Afghanistan are not forgotten and cannot be - our souls and hearts are all connected. Thank you for your courage and inspiration. Much love and blessings to you

Beth Lacey
Sep 04
Sep 04

I have been sharing your story with many people. You are not forgotten. We are all so tremendously relieved you are safe.

Bella-G
Sep 05
Sep 05

Dearest Kamila:
Thank you for the courage to share your history and hopes with us. It is through your voice and others that we will know the reality on the ground. Afghanistan and its people have been in my thoughts and prayers for two decades now. Know that you and your countrywomen and men are not forgotten. May each one of you know without a doubt that your lives matter.

Sumera Reshi
Sep 06
Sep 06

Kamila you are in our prayers.

Kika Katchunga
Sep 06
Sep 06

Hello my sister Kamila

We are from the Heart with you my sister, it is really horrible what is happening there in your country; i'm very sorry for what happened to you i pray to God help you, let these things end
may peace reign
Thank you so much for sharing

Adriana Leigh G.
Sep 06
Sep 06

Kamila, I am here with you right here, right now, and just shared your story with my global network. I am sending you strength and courage to keep accessing that power you already have, and have shared with us here. Although I cannot be with you physically, your voice echoes out and is being shared with people from around the world - you are heard, you are powerful, you are not alone.
Take care of your body, heart and mind dear.
Love and power to you from Montreal, Canada,
Adriana

Taffy
Sep 06
Sep 06

this is a terrible nightmare to survive in ,my heart felt sympathies to you and your home town. i am going to pray for you and your hometown .I pray that soon you all be able to walk around freely ,without having to be of looking over your shoulders on a daily basis. Women and Girls deserve to be empowered ,they deserve the right to have the power of veto. Be able to speak up

Mata from California

Kamila,

I am so glad to hear that you are safe and able to share your story. We will not forget our sisters in Afghanistan. Your lives do matter. It's very important that we know what is happening there now so we can share your story - All my love to you and your family and all the people of Afghanistan.

gayle kimball
Sep 10
Sep 10

I'm writing a book about young feminist activists and would appreciate your suggestion of an Afghan young woman, perhaps one of those leading the marches. Thanks, gkimball at csuchico dot edu

katieogrady
Sep 10
Sep 10

Wow, this is a powerful, well-crafted piece of writing. I hope you can enter into some more non-fiction writing competitions, not only because of your incredible writing prowess, but because you have important words to share that can inform everyday people on the complicated terror and conflict in Afghanistan, especially for Afghan women and girls. You may even want to start sending some of your writing to news sources and media because you are such a strong writer. As well, and more importantly, we are all sending you strength and hope. You have so much to live for and enjoy once this dark period is over. You are always free in how you choose to think and focus, imagine and respond. In the words of Holocaust concentration camp survivor, Viktor Frankl, "Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation."

Safari
yesterday
yesterday

Hi kamila,
We should find a window to say suchkind of painfull stories...keep going. So many good comments too...

Also as an Afghan I have worked with Americans for aproximately 17 years, but now that is their turn to help me, i get no single reply for my emails where i was asked to get help... This is more painfull than what Talibans are doing...