Our Journey to Smile

Afghan peace needs a Human Face : Abdulai the Afghan human person speaks‎

the afghan human face of abdulai

Abdulai the Afghan human person speaks

Afghan peace needs a human face.

Watch Abdulai the Afghan human person speak


Good morning, Abdulai. Good morning.

Abdulai, do you know your date of birth?

No, I don’t know.

Where do you live?

In Afghanistan, Bamiyan

What do you do?

I’m a student, a farmer and a shopkeeper.

What do you wish for in your life?

I wish for…truth and love.

Do you think you can find love and truth in your life?

I don’t know.

The Afghan human face of Abdulai speaks.

Afghan boy Abdulai and dignity

Afghan boy Abdulai and dignity

An Afghan human face that grows.

An Afghan human face that grieves.

An Afghan human face that forgives.

An Afghan human face that is kind.

An Afghan human face that struggles.

Do we think of the ordinary Afghan person as peace-loving?

We probably don’t. Why would we?

We don’t know any Afghan citizen living in his/her own home in Afghanistan and we cannot even remotely relate to a genuine Afghan public face of peace.

Mainstream media isn’t interested in the concerns and wishes of the Afghan majority because the majority is ‘ordinarily boring’ and ‘ordinary people’ don’t sell.

So, if 13 year old Abdulai wishes for ordinary love, joy or peace, or if he grieves over ordinary life and death, he might as well be a fictional character. After all, the only Afghan characters we hear of nowadays are ‘terrorists’.

But Abdulai is all flesh-and-blood next to me. Even then, if his wishes or his life gets snuffed out in this ‘dismantle-the-safe-havens-of-Afghanistan war’, it needn’t affect us. Because WE are ‘safe’.

It certainly didn’t affect the 91 US Senate members who voted ‘yes’ (against the 5 ‘no-s’) to a US$106 billion emergency spending bill to expand the war in Afghanistan and to continue the war in Iraq.

This unwilling de-humanization of others and the willful de-personalization of individuals finds ‘democratic sanction’ whenever fellow humans vote for war. The vote to kill.

How can Abdulai understand why people would vote to get rid of another human person? And oh, so much money.

Wage war with Afghans, Palestinians etc……destroy them, kill them in the unbelievable name of ‘democracy, religion or private security’.

In this way, the world’s public spaces have been filled with a grievous culture of hate and disappointment, leaving the ordinary and majority voices of peace in a vacuum. Unheard and un-regarded. Dead sound waves.

We choose to forget that even the most difficult persons, including the supposedly ‘difficult’, ‘wrong’, and ‘evil’ millions in Afghanistan, are born in places and circumstances not by their own conscientious vote. Abdulai certainly didn’t vote to send those planes into the New York Twin Towers.

So, I start today to bring you individual Afghan human faces of peace.

And I pray, not to God but to you, that the private space within your heart and the human soul embracing your mind, would give ordinary Afghans the Public Space and the Human Face which they and our world so desperately needs.

Or we could remain in the vacuum. And keep voting for ourselves.

I’ll begin with Abdulai.


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