By Maria Hayat
Remember the maternity ward attack? May 12th 2020. Three gunmen stormed into a maternity clinic in Dasht-e-Barchi, a predominately Shia neighbourhood. Maternity. Clinic. Nurses, mothers and newborns were ruthlessly shot and killed. At least 24 deaths. Those who survived continue to suffer from the trauma meanwhile the younger survivors like baby Amina, recently had a successful surgery completed by Dr Najeebullah Bina after being shot three times in her legs within the first two hours of her life and losing her mother. Why are our hospitals being attacked? Why are medical staff, mothers and newborns being killed? Even those newly entering their cradles are being seen as a threat and are being mercilessly attacked.
Remember Benyamin? 21st October 2020. The viral tweet of the young boy, perhaps the age of 7 or 8, stood in front of TOLOnews on the day that his father was killed by the Taliban in Nimroz, pleading to President Ghani bring peace as he vows himself to get his revenge by killing the Taliban. “He [Ghani] must see my heartbreak” Benyamin cried as he broke into tears. No child should be begging their President for peace to the extent where they want to take it upon themselves. No child deserves to experience this trauma. No child deserves this. Yet, our children experience these traumas every day. Like Benyamin, there are hundreds of other children who lose their mothers and fathers in these barbaric attacks in matters of moments such as their parent fighting for our homeland on the front lines, leaving them as the breadwinners of their families.
Remember the Education centre attack? 24th October 2020. The Kawsar-e-Danish Educational Centre massacre took place once again in the in Dasht-e-Barchi neighbourhood where thousands of students attend, most of them being from a Hazara ethnic background. 42 killed and over 70 wounded. This orchestrated attack highlights for the second time that the Hazaras are a marginalised community. Maleka was one of the victims who passed away as she was preparing for her university entrance exam, just like the rest of the students who lost their lives. Their open textbooks covered in their blood. These students were the beacon of hope in their families, now gone. Their crime? Being from a particular ethnic background and having their pen as their weapon.
Remember the Kabul University attack? 2nd November 2020. Only a few days after the Kawsar-e-Danish Educational Centre, gunmen charged into our country’s largest and notable university, killing 22 students. All that was left behind was our martyred students alongside their books and pens. Our hopeful generation. Gone. Just like that. Among them, was a Public Policy student, Mohammed Rahid – who was also a motivational speaker. Mohammed Rahid left us beautiful videos behind, whereupon one of his recent short videos that circulated he tells us with his beautiful smile that “life is full of difficulties, pain, sadness, pressures, but regardless we should keep smiling. Life goes on and we should all live through it and not forget to keep smiles on our faces.” Their crime? Seeking knowledge and going to university, all bright and full of ambitions, yet seen as one of the biggest threats as they fought for their dreams.
Remember Yama Siawash? 7th November 2020. Targeted and killed only yesterday, the nation’s beloved journalist whom we all grew up watching on TOLOnews was taken away from us with two others. Remember Natasha Khalil? 26th June 2020. Returning with hopes and dreams to rebuild Afghanistan by joining the Human Rights Commission, Natasha and her driver Ahmad Jawid Folad were targeted and killed in a bomb attack. What are these individuals’ crimes? Serving their country.
That’s not all, remember Ghor, Takhar, Faryab, Zabul, Helmand? Deadly attacks, thousands of civilians being displaced, women losing their lives in a stampede over Pakistani visas, deadly attacks on our security forces, the list goes on. Where will be attacked next? How will it end? What are these people doing wrong? What’s condemning going to do? Our hospitals, roads, universities have all become unsafe. Afghans lost lives are becoming desensitised on a global scale. Condemnations have just become insignificant words. Our country mourns everyday… when will it end?