There are few writers who have the ability to rock us to our core. There are even fewer who make us realize how flawed the power system is in the human world. Khaled Hosseini did both. Through his works, ‘The Kite Runner’, ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ and more recently, ‘Sea Prayer’, we learn how people in different phases of their life were affected by the danger, turmoil and political instability in Afghanistan. The western world knows little of the hardships that are inflicted upon countries that it very conveniently labels “third world countries” and “terrorist regions”.
These stories and protagonists are fictional, yet, the instability and strife that the Afghan people were going through is very real. Through the eyes of these protagonists, children and adults alike are both enthralled and saddened by the way individuals are forced to deal with change and hostility. They do not choose such a fate, rather, it is thrust upon them. Sudden changes in the political landscape, war and destruction, loss of life, and migration pulled apart families and loved ones. Those who survived knew they could not mourn their family members too long and so with a heavy heart, got back on their feet and did everything they could to survive. Even if it meant tolerating a neglectful and abusive husband in silence. Even if it meant sacrificing your own dreams. Even if it meant acclimatizing to a completely alien culture. Even if it meant shoving past other women to give birth in the filthy maternity ward just so your child would have a chance to live.
Afghanistan is one of the bravest nations of the world. The people are still struggling with the aftermath of destruction inflicted on them years ago, however, they are slowly but surely standing up back on their own two feet. They look towards the future with hope and determination. Look no further than the Afghanistan cricket team, which has emerged as an inspiration for others and are a source of comfort for their team members, each with bravery and heart-warming enthusiasm gleaming in his eyes.
Before you judge a person or a group, think about what they must have experienced in their lives. It’s easy to dehumanize and put a label on people whom you don’t know and have never been acquainted with the things they have faced. Distance between human beings makes stereotyping easier and kindles the fire for prejudice and hatred. Always try to keep an open mind with empathy in your heart. If you truly wish to understand a country, a culture, a religion or a set of ideas etc , do so by directly interacting with people from that particular group. If you can’t have a conversation with them, read what they’ve written, listen to what they said on the news, think about that thought-provoking article they published. In a world full of fake information being churned out every minute, use multiple sources. Ask yourself: What do I know and what is it that I have yet to learn?