It’s me calling out to you, the little girl who once was free, before she was forced to become a refugee. Even though I haven’t written in a while, I think about you constantly and I miss you so much. I miss how beautiful and alive and cosmopolitan you used to be. Those were the days when everyone was treated equally, when women walked the streets freely and happily. These was culture everywhere, music festivals, kids playing, women celebrating our traditions. I always remember your beautiful scenery, the green grass and the blue sky filled with colorful kites.
In those days, everyone had a home, a father and a mother, family. Oh beautiful, wounded Afghanistan: look at you now! You are beyond recognition. Attacked from all sides, yet still you stand your ground and that is reason enough to come back and fight. To become one unified nation, to once again and protect and defend all Afghani’s. When the Russia invaded you in 1979, we were totally caught off guard, obliviously minding our own business when we were attached by vicious beasts in the middle of the night. The sound of the bombs still echo in my ears, the terrified screams that came from every corner of the land, women, children and animals blown to smithereens while they were asleep. And for what? What did they want from us? We never invaded anyone and yet millions of us became desperate refugees and orphans, barely existing inside crowded, filthy, hot, smelly tents of the neighboring countries that agreed to take us in.
So many of us who could not flee died on street corners, in deserts. Our young girls were raped and beaten by the Russian military, impregnated and left to die. Why? Why? Why?
Meanwhile, a whole new war began, with Pakistani forces arriving to attack us in the name of God. A fresh round of heart ache we could never have imagined was to begin. Women were suddenly banned from work and education, now forced into marriages to warlords who were as old as their grandparents. Young boys were abused too, used as sex slaves and sold on the market. Our own people, separated by tribes and pressured to hate and segregate and the miserable deaths they suffered at the hands of the power hungry Taliban. They treated us like slaves. Those who did not die from illness in a foreign refugee tent became uncounted, forgotten, nameless, and invisible. No one even asked if they were dead or alive.
The vicious, ruthless and heartless Taliban, beheaded innocent people, banned anything that was enjoyable: no music, no make-up, no sports no holidays. Women became utterly powerless — beaten, burned, bought and sold, while hidden behind those heavy blue burkas. Countless children became orphans, because if they let go of their mothers hands while out, they could never find her again in the sea of blue burkas behind which their mothers were hidden. Women had no voice to look for a missing child, as they would be beaten for even being outside in the first place.
And if that wasn’t enough, Osama bin Laden was a sent in as a bogus holy man to play hide and seek in Afghanistan. What a perfect excuse then to send in another foreign army.
It still didn’t end there. The horrors of ISIS were next. They didn’t even need to be trained: many came straight from the army and marines, hidden behind black clothing, even though some forgot to hide their USARMY tattoos. Their brutality was boundless. The tortured and humiliated everyone who crossed their paths, innocent people trying to flee by whatever means, tortured and urinated on by these cowardly brutes. Schools mosques and weddings were bombed. These thugs desecrated my homeland and made refugees of hundreds of thousands of Afganis. How dare you!
Now these same innocent helpless are subject to another vicious attacker: the Corona virus. Shame on you! Shame on you for being such a coward and going after those who doesn’t even have a home to hide in, water to wash this brutal virus away! How dare you come after the wounded and beaten, already drowning in the pool of your own people’s blood. Afghanistan: you now have the blood of your own people on your hands.
My beloved country: I am so, so sorry that I left you, but I had to, to survive. Being a refugee was far from easy. Like so many others, I lost my family, my land, my heritage and my culture. We were all robbed of everything we ever had. But I am here now, to stand on the ground that has seen nothing but conflict and bloodshed for 40 years, non-stop!
How can poor refugee who have been stacked up inside crowded tents perform social distancing? Their blood, your blood and mine is all the same. We are all human. You are me and I am you. Afghanistan, let’s help our wounded land get back on its broken feet. It is time to open the exit doors.
(Photo: Getty Images)