To Touch A Colourful Afghanistan – Seeing With The Heart

Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK
April 2017 Newsletter
Seeing With The Heart 
‘The essential is invisible; it’s with the heart we see’
Antoine de St Exupery ‘The Little Prince’

 In 2012 I was part of the first VCNVUK delegation to the APV home in Kabul. I think it was Kathy Kelly who suggested that I find out about visual impairment in Afghanistan as I myself am visually impaired. I wrote to Hakim before our visit and an APV found out about the school, Rayab, run by Benafsha and her husband, Mehdi. Our delegation visited the school and were warmly welcomed by staff and students.Over the past five years I have kept in touch with Mehdi and Benafsha. As well as being able to send them a small, regular amount of money for their projects, it has been a pleasure to receive up to date news of their on going work. I was delighted to learn about the APV involvement in the school and find Hakim’s piece really inspiring.Since visiting Afghanistan I have also visited Russia several times. On two of these visits I visited projects for blind people and a school for visually impaired and blind children. In Russia I spoke about Rayab to the children in the school.

It seems to me that in visiting Afghanistan and Russia one gift I have to offer is my own visual impairment. It is not always a disability but can be a way of creating links.
 The 2012 visit to Kabul still lives in my mind and heart. I have not returned, not because I don’t want to but because I don’t need to in order to stay connected to my Afghan friends. The combination of my age and disability seem to be indications that such a visit would now be impractical. I have written at greater length about the experience of visual impairment in Afghanistan on my blog in a piece from January 2013 called ‘From Cowley Road to Kabul 4: V.I.P. in Afghanistan’
Susan Clarkson

To Touch A Colourful Afghanistan

by Dr Hakim (in Kabul)

With regards to human hope in Afghanistan, most of the world is blind.We don’t see Sonia’s daily effort to live meaningfully, as mainstream media have replaced our eyes and is just as obsessed with war as politicians are, as if war is attractive.We overlook the resilience Nature demonstrates despite what international militarists are doing to her and to people, plain people, Afghans, Syrians, Yemenis, or ‘the others’ on different killing lists.We don’t even hear what’s obvious,“We are human beings.”Not objects, not targets.

For Banafsha, a sound is a colour,

touch is colour,

understanding is colour.

A bullet isn’t a colour….

“Bombs frighten me,”

Hadisa, a volunteer teacher, said at our meeting.

The watchman of another school for the visually impaired was killed

by extremists who entered via the yard of the blind,

into the American University Hadisa studies at,

to wreck havoc,

drowning in a failed tit-for-tat war,

shoot, anger, shoot, revenge.

All that was achieved

was a bloody red…. 

Read more

photos by Dr Hakim’

Mother of all bombs’ (Massive Ordance Air Blast) Last week the U.S. dropped a 21,500 pound bomb on Achin district, Nangarhar Province, the biggest (non nuclear) bomb in the U.S. military arsenal.

Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, the U.S. is one of the richest – the MOAB cost $170,000Trump has not confirmed whether he personally authorised the mission, instead stating that he has given his military “total authorisation”.The war with Afghanistan is now in its 15th year.Little information is know about how many people were killed, the U.S. are claiming 96 IS militants, however it is unclear how this figure originated.The MOAB is designed for maximum destruction, exploding a few feet above the ground, sending a wave of fire and blasts for hundreds of yards, flattening trees, collapsing cave entrances, killing and demoralising those within the impact zone.There is already speculation that the bomb was dropped in order to test its capability.Civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria have dramatically spiked since Trump took power.

Dr Hakim & Basir Bita (Afghan Peace Volunteers) on Democracy Now! with Kathy Kelly talking about the largest (non-nuclear) bomb dropped on Afghanistan last week

Watch the full interview

Tune in for Global Days of Listening TOMORROW
Friday 21st April 2-5pm GMT
Live discussion with the Afghan Peace Volunteers (and friends)