I am an Afghan woman.
My family fled the US-backed proxy war against the Soviet Union.
You have been told it is a civil war – we Afghans have killed each other but mainly on the bankroll of foreign governments who divide to conquer. The Afghanistan you see today has its roots in the British occupation of India, exacerbated by the USSR & USA. Regional powers like Pakistan, Iran, China and Gulf Arab states have all co-conspired with imperialists to reach their hands under my land for its resources. $3 trillion worth. Your pharmaceutical companies bet on us too; 80% of the world’s opium is Afghan-grown. Ironic you believe we are the ones dependent on you.
People from my region do not live in a post-colonial world; we exist within the legacies that empires leave behind. We come clawing to your shores where we are told we don’t belong. But we’re very familiar with you – we’ve seen the name of your countries everywhere; on the side of humvees, on the propaganda leaflets dropped from jets, in the mouths of women your soldiers raped.
Today you flood my DMs and say you care; is this what it took? 241,000 deaths? That’s the official number, but it’s hard to count bodies when they’re piles of flesh. Drug addiction up 300%? Babies born with deformities because of radiation from your [‘depleted-uranium’] bombs [and shells]? Our diaspora communities ravaged with trauma? My mother & father are living ghosts you’ve created; they don’t haunt you, but I bear witness to their pain every day. Or did you care when your veterans were dying on your streets from homelessness and drug addiction? No, you didn’t even care when it was your own blown to shreds on faraway soil.
You play the towers falling on 9/11 every year. My people do not have the luxury. My people are constant gardeners, planting flowers on top of mass graves. We have too many dates to grieve; your 9/11 is our 24/7. We exist within these systems that were meant to kill us, and while you sit in privilege, we fight amongst ourselves, our morale lowered each time, we grow closer to believing there is nothing left to salvage.
Look what you’ve done. I hope it haunts you.
– Madina Wardak is a mental health social worker of Afghan descent based in Los Angeles. She teaches on intergenerational trauma. [From a Facebook post]