Monthly Archives: March 2015

My Super Annoyed and Angry Letter to Snapchat

Snapchat didn’t acknowledge Persian New Year on their story. Not cool! Here’s what I wrote:

Hi Snapchat,

I use you everyday. I love you. I love watching the little tid-bits of my friends lives, seeing artwork, food, scenery, and anything else they like to post. I also really enjoy when you guys post stories from The World Cup, Diwali, Hanukkah, Xmas. But I was pretty disappointed – actually, scratch that – royally pissed the f*ck off to see that the Persian New Year was not acknowledged at all. Sure, I saw a couple fire-jumping ceremonies on the “LA Life” story, but no cute Nowruz graphic, let alone a story. I mean you guys had one about Indian Kite Day for Christ’s sake. Not hating on that at all, but I’m sure SOMEONE on your board is well aware of how widely celebrated Nowruz is. In case I’m wrong, here are some facts, taken from a Harvard informational PDF on the holiday:

“People all over the world celebrate Nowruz, but it originated in the geographical area called Persia in the Middle East and Central Asia. The distinct culture based on the language, food, music and leisure activities that developed among the many people and ethnic groups who lived in this area is known as Persian. Nowruz became a popular celebration among the communities that grew from these Persian influenced cultural areas. While the physical region called Persia no longer exists, the traditions of Nowruz are strong among people in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Canada and the United States.

Nowruz is a holiday that is celebrated by people from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds. For the Parsi community, however, Nowruz is very special and is known as their spiritual New Year.” – http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/files/NowruzCurriculumText.pdf

Now I’ve added the populations of some of the above-mentioned countries and it looks like theres over 300 million people in the Middle East/Central Asia alone who celebrate Nowruz. Now add in the literally millions of Persians and Afghans who live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago…. and it seems pretty silly that “LA Life” was given leverage over a holiday that is celebrated by a huge chunk of the world.

I really hope this complete neglect of an entire culture of peoples has nothing to do with the recent heat Iran has gotten in the media. I really, REALLY hope this was not the case, but the skeptic in me literally could not think of another reason.

So Snapchat, I’ll keep using you. But you let down a lotta people. Hope to see a Nowruz acknowledgement next year – for the diversification, acceptance, and message of love and solidarity across all peoples.

-Madinah Wardak Noorai, Afghan-American, Los Angeles

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#WCW Palestinian Rap Artist Shadia Mansour

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British Palestinian MC Shadia Mansour exercises non-violent protest against Israeli occupation through her music. Shadia’s lyrics are raw and powerful, not only challenging Israel, but calling for Hamas and Fatah to stop fighting amongst each other. Born to Christian parents, Mansour travelled to Palestine as a child, and has taken on a “musical intifada” against the occupation, conservatism, and the oppression of women. She has collaborated with Juice Rosado of Public Enemy, M-1, Lowkey, and has been featured in Rolling Stones. She has refused to perform to gender-separated audiences. The following is one of my faves:

 

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Dreams

Another Look At Afghanistan

 

Sometimes I dream

of my nieces in Afghanistan

running through poppy fields

And I imagine

they are laughing

And I imagine

they are happy

And I imagine

they are not afraid

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Farkhunda, And the Defeat of Hope for Afghanistan

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“Afghan women carry the weight of mountains on our backs. These orphans, these widows, these burqas stained with blood – its embedded in our history. We are made of this. We are made of blood, sweat, and tears. The soil we come from is the home to roots that have given life to women of fire. Our homeland burns – but we collect the ashes.” – Fara Arefi

This past week, news about the mob killing of Farkhunda has shaken the Afghan community to its core. Farkhunda was beaten, thrown off a roof, run over by a car, and finally burned by dozens of men who claim she burned verses of the Qur’an. She was 27 and studying to be a religious teacher. She had taught over 30 children how to read the Qur’an.

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Afghan women’s rights activists carry Farkhunda’s coffin, a break in Afghan tradition where men usually carry coffins.

 

An interior ministry official in charge of the case has stated that there was no evidence at all implying her guilt:

“Farkhunda was totally innocent,” Gen Mohammad Zahir told reporters. He said 13 people, including eight police officers, had been arrested.

I walked in to the living room to see my mother in tears, watching the video of her death. My sisters, aunts and cousins chattered about the incident all weekend during our Nowruz festivities. We are literally addicted to this story. Some are in shell-shock, some are outraged, and me? I just cry, randomly, throughout the day and when I least expect it. There are dozens of videos circulating on the web showing her brutal and violent death. The cowards behind the cameras should have been arrested as well.

In a situation like this, what else can you do but mourn? Why are Afghan women’s lives so disposable? What was their crime? This has weighed so heavily on me. It terrifies me. How can I ever go back home? What if something like that happens to me? It was so easy to twist what Farkhunda did. A misunderstanding led to a mob of misogynistic, blood-thirsty men, so willing, so ready, so HAPPY to take away a life. After viewing the video, I know what I saw. I saw the demise of our people. I saw the end of hope in Afghanistan.

I was raised with the belief that Afghan men were lion-hearted protectors. That women should be protected like a pearl within the oyster. That Pashtunwali, that our history as the Graveyard of Empires, that our valiant strength in fighting invaders gave our men compassion, and a sense of duty. Afghans carry a sense of pride and dignity for fiercely defending our homeland, but for what? To murder innocent women? To create a spectacle of death? To help feed stereotypes? I now see how false this narrative was.

Pashtunwali was completely broken in this incident. The code that brought all Afghans together was neglected. What happened to zan, zar and zameen? The tenets of fiercely protecting our women? Of seeking revenge and justice for those that hurt them? What happened to Nanawatay, or mercy?

Experts can debate for hours on why this happened. Sure, a lack of education, sure, no government accountability, sure, the American occupation. The failure to address a misogynistic society. A nation suffering from PTSD. A number of factors has led Afghanistan to broil at a breaking point where the people are now turning against one another. Helena Malikyar, an Afghan historian and political analyst writing for Al Jazeera stated,

“What killed Farkhunda was the failure in adequately addressing several fundamental issues, including the culture of violence, a variety of frustrations and post-traumatic problems, a qualitatively inadequate education system, an unchecked religious establishment and an extremely weak rule of law.”

And I completely agree with her statement. But it’s hard to care about all that right now. We just want justice for Farkhunda.

Farkhunda had a dream to become a hafiz, a religious scholar. She cherished and loved The Book. She memorized its verses, she applied them in her life. When someone passed, Farkhunda didn’t cry, she prayed. Al-Kitab was her life. Her dreams and aspirations were woven into the centuries old Arabic calligraphy on every page. The call to prayer brought her serenity. The mosque was her sanctuary. Her name meant “jubilant”. Who knew her name would become synonymous with the plight of Afghan women. Who knew Farkhunda’s unwavering love for Islam would be turned against her in her death. Who knew the mob-attack would begin outside of the mosque she loved. Who knew, in her last moments, she would be called a kafir (non-believer), instead of a shaheed (martyr). Farkhunda, our last shred of hope for our Watan. Farkhunda, who was beaten by men and buried by women. Farkhunda, who lived and died in submission.

Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon Him) said :

“Take my advice with regard to women : Act kindly towards women , for they were created from a rib, and the most crooked part of a rib is its uppermost . If you attempt to straighten it ; you will break it, and if you leave it alone it will remain crooked ; so act kindly toward women.”

Saadi-e-Shirazi:

“The children of Adam are limbs of each other. Having been created of one essence. When the calamity of time afflicts one limb, the other limbs cannot remain at rest. If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others, you are not worthy to be called by the name of ‘man’.”

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The Annoying Nowruz Question

Nowrozetan Mobarak! Akhtar de Mobaraksha! Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again, the Spring Equinox, when all former members of the Zoroastrian Empire celebrate the festival of Nowruz, or “New Day”. This holiday is celebrated by Iranians, Afghans, Tajiks, Kashmiris, Turkmens, Azeris, Uzbeks, Kurds, Turks, Albanians, Uyghurs, and all other ethnicities influenced by the Persian Empire. It is a public holiday in Georgia and was added to the Canadian calendar in 2009.

It’s also the time of year when Afghans (and I’m sure other non-Iranian groups) get asked the question, “Oh, you celebrate that too?” I can understand the confusion. The word “Persian” in popular culture usually is synonymous with “Iranian”, and so, if you’re not Iranian, then why celebrate a Persian new year?

What is little known is that Afghans share not only an ancient culture with Iranians, but also the language of Farsi. Simultaneously, this means that much of Afghanistan followed Zoroastrianism, the first monotheistic faith of the Persian Empire. Nowruz marks the beginning of Spring, and so, all former members of the Persian Empire celebrate on this day.

It is even believed that Zoroaster, the founder of the faith, was born and died in Afghanistan. Zoroaster spoke “Old Avestan”, a language native to Afghanistan. In essence, Nowruz is a very Afghan holiday. Afghans also continue to speak Dari, the ancient form of modern-day Iranian Farsi. Dari was the Middle Persian court language of the Sassanids, and is still spoken in Zoroastrian temples, and many old Persian poets wrote in this form.

I point out all these historical nuances because it gets pretty annoying when Afghanistan’s cultural practices and traditions are cited as being “adopted” from other cultures, when in essence, we’re kinda the OG’s of those cultures. So no, Nowruz was not “adopted” or “inherited” by Afghans. Nowruz is Afghan. Even today, the biggest recorded Nowruz gathering is in Afghanistan, in the province of Mazar e Sharif, where 200,000 people show up for Jahenda Bala, at the Hazrat e Ali shrine.

So, Nowruz Mobarak, to all those who celebrate, and continue the tradition of our people, once united under the Persian Empire, and under Zoroastrianism. It is beautiful that this holiday survived the Islamic conquest, and serves to unite us once again, regardless of faith, language, or nationality.

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jashne-nawroz-kabulNowruz in Afghanistan

Below are some Afghan Nowruz traditions:

 

  • Guli Surkh festival: The Guli Surkh festival which literally means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulip flowers) is the principal festival for Nowroz. It is celebrated in Mazar-e Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plains and over the hills surrounding the city. People from all over the country travel to Mazari Sharif to attend the Nawroz festivals. Various activities and customs are performed during the Guli Surkh festival, including the Jahenda Bala event and Buzkashi games.
  • Jahenda Bālā : Jahenda Bala is celebrated on the first day of the New Year (i.e. Nawroz), and is attended by high-ranking government officials such as the Vice-President, Ministers, and Provincial Governors. It is a specific religious ceremony performed in the Blue Mosque of Mazar that is believed to be the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. The ceremony is performed by raising a special banner whose color configuration resembles Derafsh Kaviani. This is the biggest recorded Nowroz gathering where up to 200,000 people from all over Afghanistan get together in Mazar central park around blue mosque to celebrate the banner raising (Jahenda Bālā ) ceremony.
  • Buzkashi: Along with other customs and celebrations, normally a Buzkashi tournament is held during the Guli Surkh festival in Mazaris Sharif, Kabul, and other northern cities of Afghanistan.
  • Haft Mēwa : In Afghanistan, people prepare Haft Mēwa (literally translates as Seven Fruits) instead of Haft Sinwhich is common in Iran. Haft Mewa is like a fruit salad made from 7 different dried fruits, served in their own syrup.
  • Samanak: It is a special type of sweet dish made from germinated wheat, and is normally cooked or prepared on the eve of Nawroz or a few days before the Nawroz. Women take a special party for it during the night, and cook it from late in the evening till the daylight, singing a special song: Samanak dar Josh o mā Kafcha zanem – Dochtaran* dar Khwāb o mā Dafcha zanem (* Dochter mains 1 daughter 2 young Lady or girl)
  • Special cuisines: People cook special types of dishes for Nowroz, especially on the eve of Nowroz. Normally they cook Sabzi Chalaw, a dish made from rice and spinach , separately. Moreover, the bakeries prepare a special type of cookie, called Kulcha-e Nowrozī, which is only baked for Nowroz. Another dish which is prepared mostly for the Nowroz days is Māhī wa Jelabī (Fried Fish and Jelabi) and it is the most often meal in picnics. In Afghanistan, it is a common custom among the affianced families that the fiancé’s family give presents to or prepare special dishes for the fiancée’s family on special occasions such as in the two Eids.
  • Sightseeing to Cercis fields: The citizens of Kabul go to Istalif, Charikar, or other green places around where the Cercis flowers grow. They go for picnic with their families during the first 2 weeks of New Year.
  • Jashn-e Dehqān: Jashn-e Dehqan means The Festival of Farmers. It is celebrated in the first day of year, in which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural productions. In recent years, this activity is being performed only in Kabul and other major cities, in which the mayor and other high governmental personalities participate for watching and observing.
  • Kampirak: Like “Haji Nowruz” in Iran, he is an old bearded man wearing colorful clothes with a long hat and rosary who symbolizes beneficence and the power of nature yielding the forces of winter. He and his retinue pass village by village distributing gathered charities among people and do his shows like reciting poems. The tradition is observed in central provinces specially Bamyan and Daykundi.

 

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#WCW Rachel Corrie, Symbol of Palestinian Resistance

This week, on March 16th, 2003, 23 year old American activist Rachel Corrie stood between an Israeli armored bulldozer and the home of a Palestinian pharmacist.

Witnesses say Rachel kneeled to prevent the armored vehicle from razing the home.

An ISM activist using the name “Richard”, saying he had witnessed Corrie’s death, told Haaretz:

There’s no way he didn’t see her, since she was practically looking into the cabin. At one stage, he turned around toward the building. The bulldozer kept moving, and she slipped and fell off the plow. But the bulldozer kept moving, the shovel above her. I guess it was about 10 or 15 meters that it dragged her and for some reason didn’t stop. We shouted like crazy to the operator through loudspeakers that he should stop, but he just kept going and didn’t lift the shovel. Then it stopped and backed up. We ran to Rachel. She was still breathing

She was crushed to death.
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Rachel became and continues to be a symbol of Palestinian resistance. The Israeli military stated the bulldozer operator, an immigrant from Russia, could not see Rachel. Her family has challenged Israel’s version of events in an Israeli court, symbolically suing for ONE U.S. DOLLAR.
The court cleared the government of all wrongdoing in the “regrettable accident”.
This month, the Israeli court upheld that decision.
Human Rights Watch called the decision “dangerous” with “disturbing implications”.
The anniversary of her death this week comes with the re-election of PM Netanyahu, who promised the world in an interview earlier that an independent Palestinian state would never be established under his leadership, against the official stance of the United States and the United Nations for a two-state solution. However, although Israel is supposedly the only democracy in the Middle East, 4.5 million Palestinians under its control cannot vote. Can a state that ignores the rights of non-Jews be a democracy?
Netanyahu deliberately undermined Israel’s democratic and human rights principles by allowing open-ended discrimination against Israeli Arabs in jobs, housing, funding for schools, infrastructure and the overall economic development of predominantly Arab villages and towns.
On the Palestinian front, he systematically pursued the expansion of settlements, expropriated increasing swaths of Palestinian land, enforced a brutal occupation regime and simply exploited Palestinian cooperation on security matters only to serve his own narrow interests. To make matters worse, he waged two wars against Hamas at extraordinary human and material cost, especially on the Palestinian side.
Moreover, his discriminatory policy toward the Palestinians and the continued occupation gave rise to increasing anti-Semitism around the world, making Israel appear ever more as a pariah state with no scruples about human rights violations, defying both the international community and Israel’s own moral principles on which the state was built.
Tragically, Netanyahu has caused immense damage to relations with the United States, the most indispensable supporter of Israel on all fronts — militarily, economically and politically — without which Israel as we know it could not possibly survive.

-Alon Ben Meir, NYU Center for Global Affairs

The best strategy at this point for Palestine is to appeal to the international forum, since peace negotiations or an independent Palestinian state are out of the question. And the Palestinian Authority has done just that. In recent years, it turned to international forums to put pressure on Israel. It has won admission to a number of U.N. bodies, official recognition from a host of Western governments, and may even try to take Israel to the International Criminal Court over its construction of settlements in the West Bank, which is considered a violation of international law. Especially after this past summers attack on Gaza, the world is beginning to sympathize with the Palestinian cause. And Netanyahu’s recent move of speaking to Congress without consent of the President, and accusing Iran of a pretend nuke program that he lied about 20 years ago, did not help much. Worldwide, Jews are saying Bibi does not represent them.

Israel is on a road of isolation, and Netanyahu, as the destructive leader he is, is the best person to take them there.

Inshallah both Israel and Palestine will be on the road to peace, as Rachel Corrie envisioned.

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Learn From History

First,
you push on our territories where you have no business to be, where you have promised not to go.

Secondly,
your intrusion provokes resentment, and resentment means resistance.

Thirdly,
you instantly cry out that the people are rebellious and they act as a rebellion.

Fourthly,
you send a force to stamp out the rebellion.

And fifthly,
having spread bloodshed, confusion and anarchy, you declare with hands uplifted to the Heavens, that moral reason forced you to stay.

For, if you were to leave, their territory would be left in a condition that no civilized power could conquer.

– The Nation

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Remembering The Kurdish Genocide

On this day in 1988, more than 5,000 Kurdish civilians were ethnically cleansed in the Al-Anfal Campaign, championed by Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people. Estimates from 7,000-10,000 were injured in the Halabja chemical attacks. It was, and still remains, to be the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-pupulated area in history. Assyrians, Shabaks, Iraqi Turkmens, Yazidis, and Jews were also targeted. Sweden, Norway, and the UK officially recognize this tragic event as a genocide. The Anfal campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, settlement destruction, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical warfare. The following was taken from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s UK Page:

 

 
Halabja

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE KURDISH GENOCIDE

Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were executed during a systematic attempt to exterminate the Kurdish population in Iraq in the Anfal operations in the late 1980s. They were tied together and shot so they fell into mass graves. Their towns and villages were attacked by chemical weapons, and many women and children were sent to camps  where they lived in appalling conditions. Men and boys of ‘battle age’ were targeted and executed en masse. The campaign takes its name from Suratal-Anfal in the Qur’an. Al Anfal literally means the spoils (of war) and was used to describe the military campaign of extermination and looting commanded by Ali Hassan al-Majid. The Ba’athists misused what the Qur’an says. Anfal  in the Qur’an does not refer to genocide, but the word was used as a code name by the former Iraqi Ba’athist regime for the systematic attacks against the Kurdish population. The campaign also targeted the villages of minority communities including Christians.

But the Kurdish genocide began decades before the Anfal and has claimed countless victims. The genocide perpetrated over decades began with the arabisation of villages around Kirkuk in 1963. It involved the deportation and disappearances of Faylee Kurds in the 1970s-80s, the murder of 8,000 male Barzanis in 1983, the use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, most notably against Halabja, and finally the Anfal campaign of 1988. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people perished, families were torn apart, many still live with severe health problems. At the same time, 4,500 villages were razed to the ground between 1976 and 1988 undermining the potential of Iraqi Kurdistan’s agricultural resources and destroying Kurdistan’s rural way of life and heritage.
WHAT DOES ‘ANFAL’ MEAN

The term al-Anfal is the name given to a succession of attacks against the Kurdish population in Iraq during a specific period. These attacks were named  “al-Anfal” by Saddam Hussein and his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (known as ‘Chemical Ali’),  who used this term to describe the carefully planned and orchestrated eight-staged genocidal campaign between February 23rd and September 6th 1988. In Kurdish society, the word Anfal has come to represent the entire genocide over decades.

THE KURDISH GENOCIDE: THE FACTS

  • An estimated 1million people in Iraq have ‘disappeared’ since the 1960s, all presumed murdered or missing.
  • Human Rights Watch reported in its 1993 comprehensive report on Anfal in Iraq that at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds are estimated to have been killed at the hands of the Ba’ath regime.  However, since then, several sources have stated that as many as 182,000 or even more people were killed in that operation
  • Gendercide: Throughout the Kurdish Anfal, men and boys of ‘battle age’ were rounded up and ‘disappeared’ en masse. Most of these men and boys were captured, transported to mass graves and shot in mass executions. Of the total victims of Anfal, an estimated 70% were men, approximately aged 15 to 50.
  • Thousands of women and children also vanished. Unlike the men, however, they were taken from specific areas as opposed to throughout the region. Evidence also shows that many were taken to internment camps where they were executed or died from deprivation.
  • During the 1980s, the Kurdish population was attacked with chemical weapons, killing thousands of men, women and children indiscriminately.
  • During the Anfal, 90% of Kurdish villages and more than 20 small towns and cities were completely destroyed.

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#WCW Sharbat Gula, Under Attack

In 1985, Steve McCurry captured an image that would be the symbol of the Afghan conflict and the refugee situation internationally. The “Afghan Girl,” whose name was later revealed as Sharbat Gula, or “flower-juice” in our native Pashto, became “the most recognizable photo in the world”, when it made the cover of National Geographic. Her piercing green eyes and torn red scarf became an iconic representation of what Afghans endured.
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And unfortunately, what Sharbat is still enduring. This February, it was revealed by Pakistani media that Sharbat and two men posing as her sons were found to have fraudulent documents, known in Pakistan as Computerized National Identity Cards, (CNIC). This document is needed if you want a quality life in Pakistan; from opening bank accounts, to purchasing cars, the card is absolutely mandatory for almost all substantial monetary transactions.

Obtaining one is an arduous process that can take months and even years.

So, sadly, Sharbat was made famous again, this time, in this photo released by Pakistani media from her CNIC documents.

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Pakistan has long been extremely hostile to the Afghan refugee population, described as the “largest protracted refugee situation globally” according to the UNHCR. Mind you, Sharbat has been living in a refugee camp in Peshawar since the time the image was taken.

The following has been taken from The Guardian:

Afghans can only buy property, open a bank account and be confident they will be able to remain indefinitely in a country that wants rid of its refugee population by having a CNIC, usually acquired with fake documents and bribes.

Afghans first began moving to Pakistan following the Soviet invasion of their country in 1979, and generations have grown up without ever having visited their ancestral homeland.

The refugee population continued to grow after the withdrawal of Russian troops in 1989 as Afghanistan descended into civil war.

Millions of Afghans have returned to their homeland since the international community uprooted the Taliban regime in 2001, but more than 2.5 million are thought to remain – the second largest refugee population in the world.

“We need them to leave Pakistan because we are badly suffering,” said Hamid-ul-Haq, an MP who represents Peshawar, the north-western city where many Afghans are settled. “All our streets, mosques, schools are overloaded because of them. It is time for them to leave Pakistan honourably.”

There have been several half-hearted attempts to force more of them to quit the country, including a threat to cancel their refugee status, but official deadlines have repeatedly been ignored or allowed to slip.

The government has also attempted to clear slums in Islamabad that are populated by Afghans.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) this week called on Pakistan to stop trying to coerce refugees to return.

“Pakistan’s government is tarnishing the country’s well-deserved reputation for hospitality toward refugees by tolerating the punitive and potentially unlawful coercive repatriation of Afghan refugees,” said HRW’s deputy Asia director, Phelim Kine.

Gulzar Khan, a politician and former commissioner for Afghan refugees, said Pakistan could not expect such a large number of people to leave overnight.

“The current Afghan government is in a very vulnerable situation both economically and politically. If roughly two millions refugees are pushed back the Afghan government will have a major crisis on its hands,” he said.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/25/afghan-refugee-1984-national-geographic-cover-embroiled-id-row

And so, Sharbat Gula will most likely be repatriated, back to the land she loved but could not stay, even though Peshawar for the past 6,000 years has been home to Pashtuns and Afghans alike. And this is the plight of refugees in Pakistan, the 68 year-old nation, that remains hostile to the people who have loved that same land since the beginning of time.

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1:40AM

It’s 1:40AM. Afghanistan is so far away.

Below is a video I watch regularly to remind me of the place I’ve never been that constantly tugs at my heart. I recommend watching it on full-screen. The cinematography is like nothing I have ever seen.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Here is a something I wrote in the 11th grade. This year in high school, Afghanistan was constantly on my mind. It still is today, but I felt much more pain and sorrow when remembering it. I remember feeling very helpless and guilty that year.

Some would think me silly

Because I want to leave all my freedom, all my comfort, my safety

Just to kiss your dirt

 

They would think me absentminded

Because I want to lay on your green grass

And get lost

In a sea of thoughts

Of the blood pumping through my body

 

Would they think I’m dumb?

Because I would rather sleep on your hard, broken earth

Than on my feathered bed, a million miles away

 

Others would think me crazy

To see my veiled head, my clear face

When all I want to do is hug your torn children

Bloodied by confusion and raped by turmoil

When instead, I can not have a worry in the world

 

You’d think me foolish

Because I cry for the pained people, when they cry to God to kill them now

I want to run through bazaars with my siblings,

I want to lay in the snow until I ache

 

I would shed one thousand tears

I would cut one million slits

I would drain the blood from my body

Just to see you smile

 

You are all around me,

In the mirror

In my food

In my clothing

In my ceremony

In the men I love

In the features of my face

In the souls I would die for

 

All I am missing

Is the air I breathe in

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