Blog Archives: September 2016

To Touch a Colourful Afghanistan

Visually impaired student, Sonia, read her article about peace: “Everyone wishes for peace to come to all of Afghanistan.” Last year, on the 21st of September, the International Day of Peace, the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Borderfree Street Kids reached out to 100 Afghan labourers, cooking and serving them a meal. To follow-up, microloans were given to five of the labourers to start their own small street businesses. This year, the Afghan Peace Volunteers and Borderfree Street Kids reached out to the visually impaired and blind students at Rayaab (Rehabilitation Services for the Blind Afghanistan ). They brought MP3 players as gifts to 50 visually impaired students. The students will use the MP3 players to listen to recorded school lessons and educational programs. Rayaab is an Afghan non-governmental organization run by Mr Mahdi Salami and his wife Banafsha, who are themselves visually impaired. The Afghan Peace Volunteers and Rayaab began […]

Kabul River and Standing Rock Sioux

Kabul River and Standing Rock Sioux Zekerullah sometimes worries about the water crisis in his country   Government officials and business people today routinely negotiate, “We’d like to extract the oil.” Or gas, or such and such a mineral. Water? “Oh don’t worry, we’ll see to that too….” But they’re not angels, and their bottom line is profit, so, Nature and human beings have a problem having enough to drink, and to survive, not just along Kabul River, but also along the Missouri and Mississippi of the Standing Rock Sioux. They craft the ‘legal’ rules of the industry, and embellish their plans with ‘democracy, or development, or rights’. They enjoy impunity, unless, together, we speak up, and ‘vandalize’ the ‘norms’, beginning with the habits of our minds.   Our 27-meter-deep well dried up recently   With the groundwater level across the world dropping, we had expected the well of our […]

An Afghan Outing and River Heals Us

This was not a typical festive ‘first world’ outing, as its need and idea arose not from leisure, but from trauma. Recently, Hadisa was broken after an ‘endless’ night of crouching nervously in the dark of her University dormitory, while bomb blasts and gunshots were ending precious lives only a hair’s breath away. Nemat, in a safe space which softened Hadisa’s distress, remembered looking at a heavily-breathing comatose father in a bare Afghan government hospital ward with no monitoring devices. I was well aware of Nemat’s questions over his own undiagnosed lower limb weakness and limp, when he asked me in resigned desperation, “Do you think I should transfer him to another hospital?” Ali, listening to and comforting Hadisa, had also just lost a loved one too, his older brother, Sultan. Sultan was killed by at least four bullets.  The Afghan Peace Volunteer community agreed unanimously, “Let’s go for a […]

Beyond Afghan and Human Ethnicities

Watch Shy Bismillah Finds Friends from 34 Afghan Provinces   From top left clockwise: Pashtun – Barath, Tajik – Malik, Uzbek – Habib, Hazara – Nemat, Afghans – All, Human Family Members – All “1948?” Habib remarked at how long it had taken for the human family to agree in writing that “all human beings ( including himself, Barath, Malik, Habib and Nemat ) are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. This ability to see beyond ‘my tribe’ was not practiced by those who killed Habib’s father, nor by any of us who has the impression that “They are an inherently bad, immoral, lazy, silly and troublesome people.” Awakening to a DNA consciousness, I can look beyond ‘me’ and ‘they’ to ‘we’. If they are bad, we are bad too. From left to right : Uzbek, Pashtun, Hazara and Tajik classmates of a government school in Kabul We […]