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The Shia-Sunni Conflict: Discrimination at the Heart of my Afghanistan’s Suffering

It was a morning of July 2003; everyone was at their daily chores. The students were in school, and I was in my Physics class. Suddenly, a harsh sound of explosion scratched our mind into a grisly mind. For a moment, I thought that there was no more the golden coin in the sky of my life’s universe. Unexpectedly, the door of the class opened harshly, some soldiers entered. They shouted to move fast and go to home.
We could only see the soldiers on the land and the dust around us. I heard some girls crying. The ambulances’ sounds signaled us that something had happened with people. “Go home in running, and do not stop” the teacher told us. The school gate was opened, they were ordering to step out of school, “do not shout, do not stop, and go home directly without watching around you,” they uttered.
I started walking as fast as I could toward my home, abruptly I reached to the main street; I found myself among the chaos, on the blood stains, inside the dusts, near to the ambulances’ sounds, and face to face to the men with the machineguns. I remembered that we were told not to cross the subway. On the street, a man was being dragged down toward dustbin by many other men. I think, I knew that the man was going to be beheaded on the dustbin. Thus, after seeing that helpless man, I remained breathless. My little heart was trampled with the screams around me. And my little mind was completely under the shadows of the day, when I was born, 8 March 1990. I stood for a while; my eyes might be in search of something terrifying like wounded people or a dead body.

Abruptly, a man grabbed me from behind and told me that not to go home from that street. But, I started running toward home from that street, it was near and straight to my home’s gate, I knew it. I could see only the home’s gate’s picture in front of my eyes, I was thinking of opening the gate and entering home. In the life of migration the only gate was my target, and I was on the way to reach to the gate. The gate was opened by a soldier; I was breathing but truly dead from inside. In a few hours, at home, my brothers arrived from school, which was located in the same area. They also had to cross the road. My elder brother was terrified as he saw a man’s head in the dustbin. Still, I enlighten myself that it was not the man’s head, whom I saw alive being dragged by those men.
Though, I did not understand the situation in near-death experience of the violation, I learned it in the next day on TVs, in newspapers, and at school. I came to know that the previous incident of violence was a severe revenge war between the two armrests of Islam, the Shia and Sunni. On that day, the explosion happened in the Shia people’s big mosque, which was completely destroyed by a bomb from the terrorist groups. And it killed more than 50 men on Friday morning. Later, in the same day the youngsters of the Shia group started killing those opposite side. They burnt Madrassa, beheaded their teachers, and they did not let go anything peacefully or under any negotiation.

Most recently in 2011, the article, “A year of suffering for Pakistan's Shias,” which was published by BBC on 6th December of 2011, talked about the miserable state of Afghan Shias in Quetta, Pakistan. As it writes that hundreds people, who belong to Shia minority community, have been killed in Pakistan in 2011 (BBC), which are an Afghan minor group’s depressed condition even in their refuge place. In the same day, another article was released by BBC on, “Why have Afghanistan's Shias been targeted now?,” (BBC) which talks about the deadly attack on the Shia’s shrine in Kabul on the Ashura day. Also, the Kabulpress organization wrote that, the “Bloody attacks on Hazaras killed over 50 in Kabul and Mazar i Sharif!” which is about the same incident of Ashura day in Kabul and Mazar i Sharif. In this article, they have also published the letter from “Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,” the terrorist group, where they have declared their way of Jihad by abolishing Shias-Hazaras as calling them “Kefir” infidels (kabulpress.org). This shows the very rooted hatred for people from centuries, which is a kind of belief heritage given by their ancestors. Still, to this day, we are facing this Shia-Sunni conflict and discrimination all over my country and in the refuge place.

My personal experiences from childhood and the facts about this ongoing conflict within Islam are not isolated issues; the attack on Hazara-Shias of Quetta and Ashura’s attack in Kabul. The cause of this conflict had been started centuries before for the facial differences, as outsider. As this conflict has carried out other negative consequences particularly the wide spread basic Human Rights’ violation in forms of torture and discrimination and people’s displacement all over country. My research and experience lead me to believe that the inter-religious conflict of Afghans has been the major cause of other violence in Afghanistan. We should address the Shia-Sunni conflict in Afghanistan in an international level as the core of other violations and problems in Afghanistan, which also includes violence against women.

Centuries ago, the violation against the minority groups in Afghanistan for differences in their facial look, who were named to be outsiders, began. It gradually increased hatred among people. Finally, in 1980s, the negative consequences of the ethnic discrimination with the rise of Mujahidin were evident all over country. These negative consequences for minority groups were violation of their Human Rights; such as a torturous life of slavery, war criminals, genocidal and other offenses against their human dignity. Still, the facial appearance has a very crucial part in this hatred. These are the cause of these ongoing conflicts of the twenty first century. This conflict could be ended, as father usually says, “In 1970s, in a short period but prosper era Daoud Khan, when Afghans lived in harmony and equality.” In 1978, our first president was assassinated by the arrival of the Soviet Union, and Communism in Afghanistan. The Mujahedeen got active in Afghanistan to fight against Red Armies of Russia, but they also started eradicating harmony among societies, as representing a particular group for holding the central power in the country.

One of these negative consequences is that the ethnic discrimination started all over the country. Afghans defined themselves belonging to the specific Mujahidin leaders, areas, religious’ sects, and even the facial appearance. Therefore, abruptly, the minority group of Hazara was observed as Shia sect, and the majority of Pashtun and Tajik was Sunni sect. This was the start of a newly born discrimination as ethnicity. A Hazara man could be arrested, abused, or killed by a Pashtun man for entering their lane, or contrariwise. We were living in a Pashtun surrounding; indeed, our shared land in the neighborhood of other ethnics was no longer the same for we have different eyes, nose, forehead, and hairs. The newly born children were named and related to a specific ethnicity, language, sects, and their facial look. Firstly, people, particularly children, were identified by their almond framed or not almond sharpened eyes. Father knew that we had almond eyes. We were from minorities. And we were going to die.

Another negative consequence of the Shia-Sunni conflict within Afghans caused forced exile for the parents since people were killed every day. The past memories of my parents always sheer in my mind that one of those freezing mid nights of bombing, our closely neighbors’ houses was burnt to ashes and their kids, youngsters, and old members lost breathe dressed in blood. In a glance from dark night to the morning light, our house’s surrounding areas turned to an ancient desert with dusts, dried land, and ghostly appearance. My father could not stay longer in the middle of the desert with a pregnant wife, the two sons, and myself. Father wanted a refuge, where none of his child could be disturbed from the wounded history by the nation of a country. Father could only think of a place out of Kabul city, since everywhere in city was led by different militias. We moved to the east side of my county to Ghazni Province. My life’s memories started from this voyage, as I still remember the fear of sounds. As a child, in a glance, I found fear of life from the fracture sounds of the bus. The sounds were mixed with shooting and screaming as it was passing by our bus, which is still ghostly throbbing in my ears. The horrible sounds of shooting, blasting, and screaming of men members were very horrified, as they were stopping our buses and looking for any militia. I could only hear my father’s words, “Close your eyes and sleep.”

The same negative circumstances did not allow my family to live in Ghazni longer; since father had bigger dreams for us. We were displaced once more from our own country. Thus, we left the cold, violent, and unknown places of my Afghanistan to flee to Quetta, Pakistan, where my father, like many other Afghans, chose to settle. As I grown-up, I got to listen to the news about different Human Rights’ violations in Afghanistan; particularly women’s oppression. Besides, I was a listener to my parents’ good stories on belonging to a minor ethnic group, my great grandparents lived in peace with all the other ethnics in neighborhood for decades. They shared the fruits of their trees, the green vegetables of their gardens, the holy celebrations’ feasts, and isolated breaking communications all the time. It continued till my mother came as bride to my grandparents’ family. My mother usually says that Zarghoona, one of the neighbors’ adult daughters, used to pass baskets of walnuts through the wall between their yards and my mother used to give them back the baskets of fresh blackberries from our yard. Alongside the news and my parents’ stories, I became a critical observer of the bitter realities in my country and Pakistan. I came to know that later the barter of fruits usually used to take place secretly, since the men didn’t allow their women to communicate with other ethnicities’ women. If they would catch them talking, they would suspect them for being disloyal to their own group and beat them [sometime] to death. I believe that it was the time, when the Afghan women’s attitudes changed toward their neighborhood friends. As they lost their sense of communities, their rights to communicate freely were violated too.

Since my familiarity with the world of change and dreams, I also utter I have a dream like Mr. Luther King. I have a dream for a day when Pashtun, Hazara, and Tajik Afghans hold each other’s hands and build our untied Afghanistan by establishing a better and just government, which can hold my people’ harmony through a real democracy and liberty all over my country. Religious and ethnic discrimination is a widespread and serious problem for Afghanistan and now for the United States, since both are struggling to eliminate the Taliban. Therefore, indeed, I, as an Afghan citizen, believe that finding solution for eliminating inner conflict can solve this issue of terrorism and other issues in Afghanistan particularly violation against women. Afghans need a space where they can learn about each other, where we can clean up Afghan people’s mind from discrimination, ignorance, and disrespecting each other’s rights, beliefs, and freedom. Thus the International Communities should give my Afghans a way of education about learning and accepting each other’s beliefs rather than carrying the set-up mentality on belonging to Shia-Hazara or Sunni-Pashtuns for centuries. I also believe that if we solve this problem of discrimination in Afghanistan, other problems such as women’s oppression will solve themselves.

This article is part of a writing assignment for Voices of Our Future a program of World Pulse that provides rigorous new media and citizen journalism training for grassroots women leaders. World Pulse lifts and unites the voices of women from some of the most unheard regions of the world.

Comments

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Friends;

My experience of this discrimination and its consequence as our displacement brings many other stories of Afghan youths, who suffered from this discrimination on both sides; Shias and Sunnis. This is becoming a larger problem, which is currently tormenting Afghan people in Asia, and gradually, it might be in an international level.
It was my first time, I got the chance to write about this part of my life. I did write it because I really want to change the situation in my country for women, children, and men. I have bigger dreams for my free Afghanistan, where no child can have fear of being discriminated from whom she or he has been descended.
To be honest, when I squint my eyes at the scenic city of Kabul, I no longer can see the smoothly painted roads and streets with the crimson pomegranates, women with books, absorbing yellow apricots, men with smile on their faces, and the orphic mulberries on their green trees in my grandparents’ stories of Kabul city in 1940s and 60s.
To the extent that I read, hear, and see this situation, my broader mind gets narrower and for a while as my world looks separated from peace, harmony, and justice. I see myself in a small dark cage with the thick and big bars of the standing males, who are holding guns and asking me to stop breathing. It is a fear for all Afghan youths, as these gunmen are eliminating our hope, future, and dreams for Afghanistan. I believe that I will not step aside or defer my dreams. And I believe that we, Afghan youths, are not going to postpone our bigger dreams.
Thanks for this voice,
Best regards,
Parwana Fayyaz

nasreenamina's picture

This kind of problems, for

This kind of problems, for religious matters inside a single community are sad and shaming: Sad, because there is an amount of lived damaged or lost and shaming, since every muslim know very well what is the factor that makes the real difference between us and that is Piety: This problem between shias and sunnis is the most terrible sample about the lack of piety.

Those who encourage the fights among brothers and sister belonging to the same religion, I am sure they wouldn't put themselves in the line, risking their lives to receive a ball gun, to be wounded or lost an arm or a leg in a bomb blast.
As you say very clear, it has become an international problem, not only because this political-religious problem affect the balance in all the world, is especially because this conflict has been exported to muslims community abroad.

Here in Argentina, shias are not allowed to concur to sunnis mosques, and they spent so much time talking bad about each other. I wonder whose the mosquees belongs? and when the political sight became more important that the espiritual sight? If we believe there's only one God, who sent a Prophet with a message to only one Humankind, If we keep stuck to this truth, differences have no sense. Is new generations of muslims who are in charge to Ocuppy Islam and change the situation for good to make humanity focus in what really matters which is the building of Peace.

One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion

Follow me @DivinaFeminista

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Nasreen:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I, personally, do not take a religious conflict as a shame or sadness for the society. Because religion is about taking and holding a path toward life. It teaches some lessons on individual freedom, choice, and rights. This is what I have come to learn about religion. I hope, it does not confuse you. :) But the problem and conflicts of humans always existed. Indeed, it is changeable as far as we spread our wings toward falling for flying as Rumi says. So, our wings is our education, network, hard work, hopes, and voices.The existing challenges, which block our path, are those" falling" and breaking the boundaries is the "flying" part.

Throughout the histories that I have read and understand on civilizations from 2000 BC till now [2012 AD], it has always been about human's gaining power, ruling the people, and defining goodness and badness. These caused the current problems, conflicts, and foreign interventions in communities and countries. These problems and conflicts, which later become great games of politics and war for decades in countries, have taken different shapes in different societies. In Afghanistan, it started in this way, ethnic discrimination. I believe that the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is because the people are lack of knowledge on confidence and believe in Islam. I believe that Islam is about heart's purity, peace, and protection of our wisdom and heart from bad emotions, which is called "Jihad".
That is why still Islam can be seen in some countries as it was during Prophet Mohammad 'pbuh".
I have heart and believe that in some of the countries, where people of different beliefs, creed, and religions live, Islam has been as a real religion that is supposed to be. Because Islam is about tolerance and giving people space for decisions on latest lessons on wisdom for humans by Allah's mercy, my own definition of Islam.
For example, Bangladesh is a country, which has stepped back far beyond violence about 40 years before. On this land, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Baha'is, Buddhists, even non believers enjoy their daily real life of humanity. The love of this people for their conjoined land of harmony, Bangladesh, on language in common, Bengali, and one identity, Bangladeshi, always spark from this land toward sky and Allah's mercy. Here, different sects of Islam; such as Sunni, Shia, Ahmadia, Sufism, and other unknown believers and interpreters within Islam live in peace with each other.
I have a Sunni man praying in Shia mosque, which can be something very rare for me as an Afghan. Here people love each other simply because they have something in common, a country.
Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

Nusrat Ara's picture

This conflict is a shame for

This conflict is a shame for all of the Muslims of the world. I fail to understand why we are hell bent on killing each other while as our religion teaches tolerance.

Nusrat

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Nusrat:

Thanks for your note. I think, it should not make us to be ashamed or get this conflict as a shame for all Muslims. I have seen good Muslims around me, who are living and holding each other's hands without knowing each other's sect. In my Afghanistan, I believe that very soon my people also can get a sense of their belonging to on land and history. Afghans have been, intentionally, forced to be so focused with one set-up idea of belonging to Shia or Sunni sect. Therefore they have forgotten about other aspects of life. I believe as soon as International Communities use other ways of aiding Afghans or any other nations to communicate, there will not be any conflict between Shia and Sunni in Afghanistan. Enshallah.

Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

Jan K Askin's picture

Dear Parwana, Thank you for

Dear Parwana,

Thank you for this enlightening article informed by personal experience. Your term "belief heritage" seems to capture the underlying reasons for much discord in, not only the Middle East, but around the world. We read about it in the other Module 2 assignments online on World Pulse.

You use an effective image: that of diverse peoples holding each others hands. What a powerful image! My dream, shared with you, is that people of faith around the world will finally understand that there is one God/Allah/Supreme Being, but many administrations. May people under these many administrations see their common humanity and hold each others' hands.

Jan

Jan Askin

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Jan

Thank you so much for your comment. Our everyday life is shaped and designed by ideas, concepts, and theories, which I call "belief heritage." Humans have been learning from those who lived before us. And we are still learning every time from one another, when we are together. These cultures around the world are held by us as heritage from our generations. However, I admire those who bring and think about changes, combined and compare with cultures, and make them as new cultures. These changes are possible in a society of intellectuals and thinkers. In a world where people live in poverty, war, and lack of education, change comes after decades of distractions, decades of investigations, and a huge lost of generation. But change is possible, this is what I am hoping for all the people around the world to accept change by falling and flying and let go of the past again as falling and flying.
Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Powerful

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Parwana. I can't even begin to comprehend the incredible violence you were exposed to at such a young age--I am sure this on-going conflict has affected every aspect of your life. I would encourage you to read your fellow correspondent, Mirette's, piece on movements to bridge religious gaps between minority and majority religions in Egypt. I wonder if there are any programs currently operating in Afghanistan which are trying to address this intolerance?

Again, thank you very much for sharing your story!

Keep up the great work,

Rachael

"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Rachael:

Thank you so much for your note. There have been hundreds of Afghan child growing up in this situation till now. I consider myself lucky one to be physically far away from violence by studying networking and International Relations extraordinary people of the world. I am lucky and fortunate one. I did read Mirette's piece, it is wonderful to see my fellow talking about people of completely different religions coming together for a "unified community" fpr writing Egypt's new history. I believe that if harmony is possible within different religions of a country, it does exist within sects of a religion in a community. I am personally working for rebuilding Afghanistan through by my own people of different sects, ethnicity, and language.
Best regards
Parwana Fayyaz

Mary Ann M's picture

I am honored to hear your story.

Parwana,

Thank you so much for starting this dialogue. I love the additional thoughts you have included in your responses to the comments. You mention the tolerance for differences in Bangladesh and it makes me wonder what makes this possible? What can we learn from them that would make a difference?

You speak of “eliminating the inner conflict” being a key to see change occur. Is this “inner conflict” the conflict you speak of in your paper—that inner conflict within your country between different groups? Or is it the inner conflict within each of us when confronted with someone or something different than we are?

I believe they may be both. For some, those who believe differently threaten their own internal beliefs. For others, it threatens their power over those who believe or think differently. For some, it threatens their sense of self-esteem or self-worth to have others think differently. And there are many other similar thoughts that could apply.

I have found for me that the first step in living and working together with people is to agree to disagree. That is, where we can find agreement that is wonderful. But where we can not find agreement in beliefs is to accept the other person’s right to believe differently. The next step is what actions are acceptable toward those of different beliefs? Too many resort to violence to enforce their beliefs on others. All of this is of course tied to your “belief heritage” concept.

Many Blessings,
Mary Ann

parwana fayyaz's picture

Thanks dear Mary:

Thank you so much for your note and questions. You have asked lots of tough questions also complicated one. I am a believer; thus, it might be difficult for me to answer all of your question correctly, but they are thoughtful, I think. My answers are all based on my two years of experiences and knowledge in my second undergraduate program in an international educational sphere with students of different beliefs. So please correct me if I am wrong according to your interpretation in answering the question.

I have included Bangladesh as an example for those who think that people of different sects, religions, or beliefs can not live together. It does exist in human being's nature to agree to one another regardless of thinking that he or she might give up. But it never happens. I understand that for most of people around the world their religions or beliefs have become their very fundamental identity, which is out of my explanation since I have not studied about it. Indeed, I also believe that "the tolerance for differences" is possible, as long as we accept and understand that there is no differences between you and I, he or she, they or us religiously. We should accept that there is only one law for living, and that is letting others and they live peacefully so that you and we can live in peace.
I do not know what can we learn from Bangladesh for making a difference because there are also some discrimination. But from my this small world what I learn is to respect others, so that I can be respected accordingly both as a human and a religious woman.

Right, when I wrote about “eliminating the inner conflict,” I pointed out the ethnic discrimination in Afghanistan. I consider other conflicts; such as the Taliban's extremism and the American war of Afghanistan on Terrorism are the problems that can be solved by eradicating the conflict within Afghans on ethnicity. And it is possible since only Afghans can deal and erase terrorism in Afghanistan, as it had done many times in its history.

I also believe that your believe might be correct that, "they may be both," and the way you talked about different believers' "differently threaten" ways to "their own internal beliefs," "power," "self-esteem," or "self-worth." I agree with you, but I want to consider these believes as something like personal secret within you or I, rather than a way of identifying oneself.
In this era, people should strive for harmony and contribution to the world's peace rather than striving for identification to gain power or apply their powerful belief or thoughts on people. I might be wrong in this case, but this is what I have learnt and want to convey to the world's greatest human beings, who contribute to harmony and mutual respect.

You said very well that, "living and working together with people is to agree to disagree. That is, where we can find agreement that is wonderful." But we should stop agreeing or disagreeing in beliefs. When I say "belief," it is something that has been given to someone, who has strongly accepted it. This is what I call it "belief." And I personally do not want anyone to agree or disagree about my belief. My belief is within me, and for everyone it should be the same.
I think the second step is to let individuals investigate by themselves for choosing their beliefs rather than being killed or tortured for what they are or do. This action has been taken as we have Human Rights, which is simply applicable on every humans regardless of their religion or belief. And I believe in Human Rights.

Best regards
Parwana Fayyaz

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Mary:

I am sorry for the long reply as well, I am on the process of learning how to be concise. Thanks

Parwana, Thank you for clarifying your meaning of Belief as I better understand your thoughts now. So many of us use the word belief to apply to many different positions that we hold rather than a deeply internal belief that you speak of here.

Your vision "people should strive for harmony and contribution to the world's peace rather than striving for identification" is quite powerful. So much that we see as harmful to others comes from that striving for identification or seeking power through force which then also identifies the self.

Your idea of each of us contributing to "harmony and mutual respect" causes me to ask myself, how might I support this concept personally and also spread this idea. And, what action can be taken to do this.

I have seen that true power comes not from force but from concern for others, acceptance of self while striving to continually grow, and contributing the unique gifts we each have to make a difference in the world.

Thank you for opening this discussion!

PS Long discussions are often valuable as well as those that are concise!

Many Blessings,
Mary Ann

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Mary:

Thank you so much for your reply, it is wonderful to meet women of thoughts through our writings. Great Rumi has said that "far beyond all the wrongdoing and righteous thoughts, there is a field, and I will wait and meet for you there," for me it is a message of hope. It is easy to interpret it in any way, but each of its way is a dream and so real in our imagination.
Bests and blessing,
Parwana Fayyaz
"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." Rumi

mrbeckbeck's picture

Wonderful vision

Parwana,
I think that your vision for a peaceful future, of a united Afghanistan, of a bridge between ethnic/religious groups, is wonderful, beautiful and most importantly POSSIBLE.
My heart goes out to you for this courageous essay, and for the healing of your country.
I loved the part where your mother and your neighbor secretly exchanged walnuts and blackberries. That example says so much about what is possible!
Thank you, keep pursuing your dreams!
Scott

Scott Beck
World Pulse Online Community Volunteer

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Scott;

Thank you so much for your wonderful note.
I have believed that writing, poetry, and literature are all based on imagination. This imagination has to have joy, courage, truth, justice, and bigger dreams. And to heal my country, we need this imagination for the New Afghanistan
Most of the people look so busy with their material world and the physical realities; thus, they have forgotten that ideas, conceptions, and theories can shape and design our lives. For most Afghans and the world, having that imagination for powerful manifestation of ideas and hope does not matter. I have believed in power of writing, which is strongly conjoined with our mind's images. I have made writing my path toward change for a possible Free Afghanistan.
Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

jadefrank's picture

For Afghanistan

Dearest Parwana,

I finally had the chance to read your story today and it has moved me in a way I was not prepared for. I was expecting to have an emotional response to your writing, as I always do when I read your stories, but this time you opened a window into your personal place of pain, and this vulnerability allowed me to feel more deeply the reality of life in Afghanistan and the urgency for - as you say - "eliminating inner conflict".

This is such a powerful piece and I commend you for the work you have done here. The extreme violence that you witnessed at such a young age breaks my heart. And I believe fully in the solutions you have outlined to ensure that children can grow up in an Afghanistan where bomb blasts, be-headings and hatred of neighbors is never known again.

I loved so many parts of your story, but some lines I found especially powerful, and I had to write them down to reference and think more deeply on later.

Father knew that we had almond eyes. We were from minorities. And we were going to die.

As they lost their sense of communities, their rights to communicate freely were violated too.

Afghans need a space where they can learn about each other, where we can clean up Afghan people’s mind from discrimination, ignorance, and disrespecting each other’s rights, beliefs, and freedom.

You have such a unique storytelling style and I am such a fan of you my sister - you are so young, yet so wise, and it gives me chills to think of what impact you will have overtime, as your wings continue to spread and your voice and leadership continue to rise, so that everyone around the globe can learn from you as I have today.

xoxo
Jade

parwana fayyaz's picture

For your words;

Dearest sister Jade,

I am so glad having your comments beside my other fellows' words on this piece. Thank you so much.

I know that I have always always written pieces with lots of emotions and imaginations through my words. However, this time, World Pulse has been teaching me other type of writing, which has helped me to combine my emotions, imagination, memories,and the new style of writing in a piece.
I have kept my emotions and tears for my poetry, as I took a Poetry class with a great professor of mine. I write poems when I want to talk with people's hearts on the surface of the earth. But now I am focusing on writing for change, talking to heads through my heart. I am taking actual actions through my words for change.
And I am happy that you got to read this piece too. Thanks.

I have gotten a unique way of storytelling style because you have such a unique eyes, heart, and mind for reading my pieces. I will always write for my unique fans, friends, and fellows. I truly loved your words that, "your wind3gs continue to spread and your voice and leadership continue to rise, so that everyone around the globe can learn from you as I have today." I am always here for spreading my wings of freedom for telling the stories of the unseen people of the earth, the Afghans.
Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

Sakina Roshan's picture

The same experience!

Almost every Afghan has the same experience.
I admire your courage and wish you all the best in future.

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Sakina Jan:

Dear sister,

I am truly happy to get your comment.
I also believe that "Almost every Afghan has the same experience," even more and extremely heard tearing stories. Even today, there are still Afghan children experiencing it in every corner of the country. Their stories are hidden with the curtains, which is named dignity and moral. There are many more stories in every closed doors and windows in Kabul, Ghazni, Helment, Mazar i Sharif, Qandahar, and every cities and villages. We should start recording stories for changing history. We have to combine individual stories for showing it the international levels. Because there is only one way for trying to change Afghanistan, and it is re-operating our precious poetry, rich literature, and untold histories of kings, queens, and Afghans victory.
Thanks,
Parwana Fayyaz
They fall, and falling, they are given wings. Rumi

Sakina Roshan's picture

I agree!

Dear parwana fayyaz

I agree with you in all terms. The real problem is not sharing them. Sharing is a problem because we lack educated people in our society. The day we get to increase the number of those who realize such kind of issue then we will share, correct and teach the coming generation to not to repeat the same mistake.
I am happy to read your views.
Write more and more.
One of your followers!!

Roshan

EllenWingard's picture

Peace weaver

Dearest Parwana, You are the true peacemaker reconciling opposites, bridging differences, opening blind eyes to see a bigger lens. You weave the strong tethers of reconciliation out of your deep soul knowing. From your wisdom a light is cast on what ignorance and blindness do to mens souls.. Yet always you retain dignity for your self and for the Afghan society. When I read your story last month and shared my response to it, I hadn't yet seen all of the waterfall of comments speaking so eloquently and your equally thoughtful responses. You describe all with such innocent yet wise eyes, you have lived through what no child or adult should ever witness with such courage. I can hear the protective embrace of your parents sheltering you from this horror and taking you away to a form of safety. The tender images of passing fruit provides the sweetest acts of generosity. Your reference to MLK on the holiday that you posted speaks to how we as humans have so far to go to achieve this vision. And now this vision lives in you and you are weaving a world of harmony that honors all those who you speak for you gave such a supreme sacrifice.

Every interaction with you Parwana is an experience of the dignified human heart reminding us all of what we tend to forget, that belief as you name it is a soul recognition of one's innate dignity and right to be. Thank you for always reminding us of the dignity to be. With love and care Ellen

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear Ms. Ellen:

Thank you so much for your wonderful words. There is no such greatness in humans rather than thinking and imagining the possible way of peace and hope. In peace and hope, there is real love, and that love comes from our education. This education comes from a group of women supporting and empowering each other. Today, on this field we are educating each other, which leads us toward wisdom. And then we step on the other field for actions for the unseen but predictable future of the world and humans. We all have to leave behind pieces of our responsibilities into words or actions that can be inspiration and admiration for the coming women of future.
Bests and blessing,
Parwana Fayyaz
"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." Rumi

MaDube's picture

Dear Parwana

Your story is very touching and painted a vivid picture in my mind of the consequences that the religious strife in your community has had on you, your family and your community. It points to one point though, the same thing that sparks any form of conflict-intolerance. The inability of every person to respect the beliefs, ideas and lifestyle of others. I wrote a very short piece on tolerance which you might want to share with others, that the things we destroy each other for, the differences we fail to tolerate, the so not noble struggles we fight could all come to naught if we realized that beneath our skins, colours, language, beliefs and everything else, we are all just skull. See http://madubesbrainpot.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/the-skull/

Best,

MaDube

parwana fayyaz's picture

Dear MaDube:

Thank you so much for sharing your piece on WordPress, It was so thoughtful. Thanks,
There are so many things in common in all humans, the very common thing is "fear," which is the result of "secrets" in every human's thoughts and feelings. And this is the fear that leads humans to "ethnic cleansing, religious wars, racism, homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia or other forms of intolerance." There should not be any fear, as you said "face our fears," in order to eradicate the world from different type of pollution.
Bests and blessing,
Parwana Fayyaz
"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." Rumi

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