FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

#Enough! We can respond to the tears of Kunduz refugee, Abdul Fatah

Kabul, Afghanistan.

We live in a World at War, and as fellow human beings, what can we do for refugees like 45-year-old Abdul Fatah, who has been crying lately, who doesn’t have a home in his own home?

World at War is the title of a report UNHCR released in June 2015, in which António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, describes the refugee crises in Europe and worldwide as “an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required is now clearly dwarfing anything seen before.”

But for those of us who are distant from War and not ‘in the same boat’, being part of the ‘response required’ seems just as ‘out-of-reach’.

So, please follow this story for a while.

Ali, one of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, is 17 years old.  On October 6th, 2015, he would have liked to plan for school, as usual, the next day. He wanted to feel affirmed by his teachers and peers. He wanted to know that his mother in Bamiyan was fine for another day.

But, in Kabul, the news from Kunduz was worrying him, and the all-night blasts and whistles of bombs and gunfire a few nights before had made him think, “Perhaps, I should pack up and return to Bamiyan.”

Yet, on the 7th of October 2015, the anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan 14 years ago, Ali and the Afghan Peace Volunteers decided instead to meet with members of five Afghan families who had fled the war in Kunduz.  Together, they listened to and extended small gifts to these families.

Abdul Fatah told his refugee story. “My tears fall every day & I can’t bring myself to eat. I eat this little bread & the bread seems to eat me up. My heart is there and in Kunduz and here…”

The gifts were meant to help the Kunduz families endure their first weeks as Internally Displaced Persons in Kabul.

And the act of giving to others in need gave Ali, me, and the Afghan Peace Volunteers a chance to experience empathy, an emotion often repressed when people just need to survive.

We learned to do something small and different from 14 years of the ‘same, old’ method of war, and exploitation.

The photos and reflections below describe our time with the Kunduz families….

Abdul Fatah

Abdul Fatah, a refugee from Kunduz, in Kabul

Refugees.

Since when did the meaning of this word change to ‘opportunists’, ‘illegal immigrants’?

“I am from Kunduz,”

said Fatah, his eyes a reservoir,

his family desperate.

 

It never crossed his mind what some may mistakenly think of him.

“He, that Asiatic-looking man with the beard,

is probably a lazy bum

who wants to snatch away jobs & homes from people in Kabul.”

 

He echoed, to our disgust,

“Our children are being killed”,

the same ‘disgust’ that Doctors Without Borders had for the U.S. gunship

that bombed 12 of their staff and 10 of their patients

to their fiery deaths.

 

How would we feel if we saw our hospitalized mother burning in her bed,

and heard from General so-and-so that

it was ‘collateral damage’ ( ‘just too bad’ ),

or ‘a request from the Afghan authorities’ ( ‘it’s not our fault’ ),

or a ‘mistake’ ( ‘okay, we did it, but we’ll compensate you, okay?’ )?

 

“My tears come,” Fatah states,

“and I can’t bear to eat any bread,

because my son is in danger,

some relatives are still in Kunduz,

and you know,

no one…”,

his head shivers, his fingers cupped in the direction of his heart,

“No one cares a damn.”

 

A man, strong, with bullet wound scars in his thigh and head

from 6 wars, he says,

breaks down,

lifting his neck scarf to wipe his eyes,

the reservoir that’s drying up………..Read more in a photo essay here

Abdul Fatah Cries

Abdul Fatah cries

Ali with Rana

Ali, one of the Afghan Peace Volunteers who assisted the five Kunduz families, including the toddler named Rana in the photo

 

More articles by:

Dr Hakim, ( Dr. Teck Young Wee ) is a medical doctor from Singapore who has done humanitarian and social enterprise work in Afghanistan for the past 10 years, including being a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, an inter-ethnic group of young Afghans dedicated to building non-violent alternatives to war. He is the 2012 recipient of the International Pfeffer Peace Prize.

December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail