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Mourning Orlando’s Loss from Kabul

Mourners holding candles
Afghans light candles during a protest over the death of a woman, 27, who was beaten to death by a mob, in Kabul on March 27, 2015. © Parwiz Sabawoon/Getty

The senseless killings in Orlando on Sunday are a brutal reminder of the shared challenge we—I mean all citizens of the world—face in confronting violence and intolerance. Here in Kabul, it felt so shocking, so sad, and so personal to see the weekend’s victims in Orlando targeted because of their supposed difference. We know how difficult it is to be “different” in this part of the world; people are persecuted, attacked, and isolated because of this difference.

I understand people in Orlando and elsewhere in the United States will be angry and afraid after the weekend’s attacks. The situations in Afghanistan and the United States are clearly very different, but the emotions are universal.

I, too, fear for the lives of my loved ones. With every suicide attack and explosion in Kabul, I frantically pick up the phone to call my family. At every traffic jam, I worry about a suicide attack. Despite all of this, I want to live in Afghanistan. I believe in my country and my people. This is our country, and only we can change its destiny.

In the aftermath of the Orlando attacks, it is my wish that the American people can respond with resilience, patience, and hope. Fear and anger will only leave you feeling empty and exhausted. Nothing more. It leads to despair and defeat. 

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