Our Journey to Smile

Laith Mushtaq of Al Jazeera writes a note of encouragement to Our Journey to Smile ‎
April 14, 2009, 9:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Laith filmed this family attempting to flee Fallujah – ten minutes later they were dead

Our Journey to Smile’s 10/3/2009 post Will humanity forget, constantly, constantly? ( see below, after letters ) featured Laith Mushstaq’s article on Al Jazeera titled ‘Fallujah never leaves my mind’.

Below is Laith’s letter to Our Journey to Smile and others who gave feedback to his article, as well as Our Journey to Smile’s thanks to Laith.

Dear all ( including Our Journey to Smile )

Thank you very much for your reactions to the article about Fallujah.

Al Jazeera’s website team has forwarded your feedback to me and it is amazing to see how many people from all over the world have written, from Afghanistan over Switzerland to America. Some of you even took the time to translate the article into their languages and published it on other websites. Feel free to use it in whatever way you think is good, so that it may reach as many readers as possible.

Your words mean a lot to me – especially the reactions from those of you who come from the United States. Thank you. Your letters prove that our shared humanity goes much deeper than culture or religion. In the end, we all feel what it right or wrong, no matter where we grew up.

Many of you have suggested that a film should be done out of all the footage that I shot in Fallujah. I have thought about this for a long time and maybe it will work out. The story you read is also just a tiny part of a very long interview about the Iraq war – hopefully we will be able to share the rest of it on day.

Kind regards to all of you


Humanity’s barriers of sights and sound

Dear Laith and friends,

Thanks for using your skills to WIDEN the shared humanity that may be sitting anxiously un-nurtured in Mankind’s day-to-day efforts!

We in Afghanistan often move around wondering deeply in our conscience:

What is truth? Where is compassion? Is peace possible? ( We had a 3 month Peace Workshop last year at Bamiyan University through which some students concluded that peace is NOT possible… )

Perhaps these questions are meant NOT to be answered, in order to keep us humble and give us empathy.

Laith, go for your Fallujah film!

Do stay in touch and join us on the 21st of September 2009 at the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan if your schedule allows you.

Please take 2 minutes and 11 seconds J to see some Afghan youth ask questions about Obama’s US$83 billion request for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We don’t expect many to see and hear our ordinary Afghan voices and views, but you probably know too well already such barriers of sight and sound.

Afghans ask ”Where is humanity in Obama’s 83 billion+ American war?‎”


Many,many thanks and much peace!

Our Journey to Smile

Our Journey to Smile’s Post on 10/3/2009

Will we forget, constantly, constantly?

Or will we forever brush the discomfort aside because that corpse was not our mother’s or our child’s?

Or will we join Laith Mushtaq in saying, “Fallujah ( in-humane, senseless death ) never leaves my mind.”

Don’t we realize what ANY ‘army does on the ground’ and if we do, what do we choose to do or say about such a realization?

Dear Laith,

Thanks for your work and your article, because media, like everything else, should help us understand ourselves.

We, Afghan youth, understand those images that never leave your mind. We have to learn to cope somehow and we need to be strong.

And to hope that human civilization can change. If it doesn’t چه کنیم؟” What can we do? “


Our Journey to Smile



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