Afghanistan has always been a war torn country. Growing up, I was always afraid to tell people about my heritage because of the 9/11 attacks. At the same time, I couldn’t lie either because it felt morally wrong. As soon as I would say, “I am Afghan,” there was a lot of questions being asked of me. For most, I was the first Afghani they ever met. My name always started a conversation about my heritage too. As I grew older, I wasn’t bothered by curious people. It’s refreshing that others want to learn about my background and culture. There was a lot of ignorance. Many don’t realize the difference between a religion and a culture. Many made a lot of assumptions about me. I have been asked so many times “Why isn’t your head and face covered” or “You have such light skin…aren’t Afghani’s dark?” I was never offended by these comments. I just got use to them. I was offended when a customer at the restaurants said, “You’re Muslim? I don’t like Muslim people.” Mind you, I had been serving this couple for years and I still serve them with a smile on my face.
My personal identity with my culture has changed during different stages of my life. I have never really embraced my Afghani side because I never fit in. I was born in America and I grew up in America. My parents came to America as refugees in the 80s when Russia invaded. I have never been to Afghanistan. If I ever went to Afghanistan, they would probably call me American. It’s interesting because American doesn’t think I fit in either. So I belong no where, and that is fine with me. I belong to God.
Afghanistan was on the new this week more than usual. One customer said to me once, “You’re people are always on the news.” The news of the Taliban taking over wasn’t new for me. My parent’s have a ton of family living in Afghanistan. They had told my parents that it has been getting bad weeks ago. Afghanis are use to being at war though. Peace is rare. When Biden pulled the plug and took all American troops out, he caused catastrophe. I understand that it isn’t America’s responsibility but who invaded who here? This goes back to the Bush administration.
At the same time, I feel frustrated with Afghanistan because they can’t get their act together but who am I to say anything? I don’t live there and I don’t know how it is. The government has always been corrupt. There is lack of resources and knowledge.
I feel most for the women and girls. I am hoping the Taliban hold their end of bargain. They promised to allow women and girls to attend school, have jobs and participate in the government. We will se though if the Taliban are being honest or just trying to shut the world up.
As a Muslim, I want to say that Islam advocates for women’s rights, so don’t judge the entire religion based on a certain group of people.
I felt very grateful this weekend to be living where I am. America might have it’s issues but it is still a blessing to so many including me. I could have been one of those girls in Afghanistan. I could have had a completely different life.
As I lay in bed, exhausted from a long day of teaching fourth graders and serving, I thank God for good health and safety. I was serving a table tonight and they were ordering their food. My fingers ached from the heavy plates and my mind was drained. I thought to myself, how much longer can I do this? I don’t want to anymore. I am tired. Today was a twelve hour work day for me. I stopped and thought of the women in Afghanistan. At least I have jobs to be tired from.
I do believe that women all over the world experience troubles because of their gender. Even in America, women have their troubles.
After a long time, I felt connected to Afghanistan. Actually, I think I connected to the people of Afghanistan not because they are Afghanis. I felt connected to them as humans. The images were treacherous. The civilians falling from the plane was horrible.
My family out has been told, by the Taliban, to stay indoors for safety. They are allowed to go to work and school when it’s safe.
I pray for Afghanistan. I pray for peace. I pray for the girls.
Thank you for everyone who reached out to me. It means a lot.
I’m tired. Goodnight. Thankful for my bed.