For those of us who are from Afghanistan, we know loving Afghanistan is different than loving someplace else. I never thought I could hate it though. I know how strong of a word hate is, but there have been two times that I hated it. When Farkhunda was murdered, and when Jamshid Zafar was killed in last weeks terrorist attack at the American University of Kabul.
Jamshid came into my sisters home already with a smile on. I still remember meeting him in her hallway, blushing and speaking in between stutters. Jamshid must have been nervous, but outside of the initial superficial hello’s and how are you’s, I knew right then how easy he could be loved, and how eager he was to love in return.
I was always so impressed by how much he loved Afghanistan. Born in the early 90’s, he grew up in an environment that I was saved from. His stories were supposed to be my stories as well, but my parents fled, and his parents stayed.
I think that’s what impressed me the most. That despite growing up in war, Jamshid believed in Afghanistan’s potential. In my case, I grew up miles away, safe in my home – it was easy for me to believe. But Jamshid came to age in the eye of the storm, during the Taliban, and during the American invasion. And he still believed.
He worked tirelessly to perfect his already fluent English. He greeted every family member of mine with kindness and open-arms. He played with my sisters children like they were his own siblings back home. He followed me around and asked me about pop-culture like an eager little brother. And he always ended every sentence with a smile.
And now he’s gone. Another victim of Afghanistan. Another name in a list. Another bruise on the heart of Afghanistan. Just sitting at school, wanting to learn. Wanting to help in the fight to save our nation.
Our nation. Right now I don’t even want to claim Afghanistan as my own. My heart feels tired. My heart feels helpless. How long can we love a place that burns in rage? How long are we supposed to persevere, and fight through it? Jamshid was my hope for Afghanistan, and now he’s gone.
I am so disappointed. My heart is broken into pieces. I wish I could hug Jammy one more time. I wish I kept in touch with him more. I miss the boy who was my little brother, who painted my room and came with me to In-N-Out, who played with my nephews and spoke politics with my parents, who loved my sister like she was his own mother.
I’m tired and I want to rest, but because Jamshid believed in a free Afghanistan, I can’t let his death be in vain. Those of us who lost him knew how much he believed. We have to believe too, for his sake. We have to believe that every Afghan in our motherland has the right to self-determine. That children have the right to wake up to birds and not bombs. That every mother who births an Afghan does not do so just to bury them after. We will create a free Afghanistan. Insurgents and terrorists are cowards and will receive their punishment for selfishly taking away our children. But Jamshid believed in a free Afghanistan. Jamshid loved Afghanistan from the bottom of his heart and with the fire from his soul. Because we love Jamshid, we will continue the fight with him in spirit. Jamshid fought his whole life, he fought more diligently than 12,000 soldiers. With pride and with him in mind, body, and soul, we will continue where he left off, and he will remain in our hearts until we meet him again.