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2 million friends


Love letters from Kabul – on deeper emotions

“Love letters from Kabul – on deeper emotions”

A fairer life for all



Dear friends and fellow human beings,

10th August ,2013 ( Gregorian calendar )

 19th Asad, 1392 ( Afghan calendar )


From Abdulhai


I liked the movie ‘Billy Elliot’.


Billy was asked by a lady on the selection committee for admission into the London Royal Ballet School, “What does it feel like when you’re dancing?”


“Dunno. It sort of feels good. I sort of stiffen up but once it gets going, then, I forget everything and….

I sort of disappear.

I sort of disappear…I can feel a change in my whole body, like this fire in my body, just there, flying, like a bird, like electricity. Yeh,….like electricity.”


I’m not a dancer, but I think that when Billy danced, he could ‘disappear’ into a ‘free’ world.


He could be himself.


That was how I felt when some of the Afghan Peace Volunteers and I were dancing on a ledge of a hill in Paghman. 

Watch me dancing in the video clip “Expressing dreams in Afghanistan.”


We danced, without a plan, and I forgot my worries for a while….


I hoped for love to remain fresh, like the wild mountain tulips we saw.


But people eventually part, don’t they?  Friends don’t remain friends forever.


The Afghan Peace Volunteer community I live in has recently been through an emotional ‘earthquake’: one of us had attempted suicide, a bomb had exploded near our house, there were tiring arguments and accusations over small matters.

And expectations that didn’t match.

Farhad and Mustafa, while so happy in the video clip, have unhappily left our community.


During one of the arguments, Hakim lost his temper at Ali and I. Hakim had looked so distraught that I tried reaching out to him afterwards.


But when I approached him, he asked me to go away, saying, “I really need some space on my own for now.”


I went to lie down, but couldn’t sleep. My feelings kept me awake.


From Samia


If my family lived on our own, we would invite Hakim, Kathy and their friends over for meals again and again.


But people talk, and we ‘eat many worries’ from the talk.


I wish to walk over more often to see friends at the Afghan Peace Volunteer community, and to study with them, but I can’t, and I feel sad about it.


The problem with life is that people are ‘watching’.


Doing my homework at the Afghan Peace Community home


From Hakim



I’ve a problem with anger, and mixed with that is impatience.


When I think that I, and not ‘the other’, am right, I raise my voice, and I hurt ‘the other’, like Ali and Abdulhai.


In Afghanistan, anger creeps like ‘lava’ below many interactions.


“That official asked for 500 Afghanis as ‘shirni’ ( ‘candy’ ) money!”

“Like everyone else, he is lying.”

“Have we run out of flour for bread?”

“There’s smelly trash everywhere.”


As if that’s not enough, bombs and killings continue to metastasize anger.


The Afghan Peace Volunteers speak with labourers in Kabul

who are angry with corruption and unemployment in Afghanistan


Sometimes the anger becomes fury.


Stéphane Hessel, a French diplomat, a survivor of Buchenwald, and water-board torture, one of the writers for the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a strong proponent of nonviolent action, wrote ‘Indignezvous’ at 93 years of age, two years before he died in February of 2013. In the booklet, he asked that we ‘network’ to channel our ‘anger’:

The worst attitude is indifference, saying “I cannot do anything, I’m doing my job.”

By having this, you lose one of the components which is essential in humans…: the faculty of outrage and its consequence – commitment.

We can already identify two major challenges: 1.The huge gap between the very poor and very rich and which continues to grow. This is an innovation of the twentieth and twenty first century. The very poor in the world today earn just two dollars per day. We cannot let that gap widen further. This statement alone should generate commitment.2. Human rights and the state of the planet.

“We call today to a real peaceful insurrection against the means of mass communication that do not offer a horizon for our youth, mass consumption, the contempt for the weakest, and culture, generalized amnesia and excessive competition of all against all. To those who will make the twenty-first century, we say with our affection: TO CREATE IS TO RESIST. TO RESIST IS TO CREATE. “


Samia, come as often as you can.


Ali and Abdulhai, dancing, hard conversations, sharing meals and disappointments, I now can’t live without you. I’m working out my faculty of outrage and its consequence - commitment.



Abdulhai, Samia and Hakim


NB Dr Jake Donaldson, who danced with us in the video clip “Expressing Dreams in Afghanistan”, will be on Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ forum on the 11th of August 2013 at 2 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time / 11 a.m. Pacific Time ) 

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