Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Afghan Chronicles, September 11, 2013 Day 7

September 11, 2013 Day 7 Today is THAT day, you know the one I’m talking about—the day our world changed forever. I now it changed my world forever and the events of 9/11 is why I am here in Kabul this morning drinking tea and watching the sun rise over the city. 12 years ago at this time I was getting ready to go to my job at PS 42 on the Lower East Side. If you told me that 12 years later I would be working in Afghanistan, I probably wouldn’t believe it. But here I am, doing what I love. On that sunny Tuesday in September I saw 2,000 people killed before my eyes in one of the most unbelievable events in my lifetime. We mourn those innocent people as we should, but what about the thousands of Afghans who have been victims of terrorism for years? This is not to say that those people who died on 9/11 don’t deserve attention but when we talk about victims of terrorism, at least in the Western world, we forget about the innocent Afghans who have been subjected to bombings from all sides really, who live in fear everyday of another act of terrorism. I don’t forget them because they are my Afghan children and their families. Terrorism is a destructive force that seems to come from an irrational, narrow-minded and uneducated point of view. I am dedicated to fighting terrorism the only way I know—through education. As I watched the Twin Towers crumble before my eyes from a rooftop in Chinatown, I had a choice to make—to hate or to fight. I chose to fight, initially with a gun or airplane, but later when the emotions subsided, I chose education. For these past 12 years I’ve been educating Afghan students and opening up the world for them, giving them the critical thinking skills to make sense of the world around them and become free thinkers. Not only did 9/11 change America and our sense of safety and freedom, but also Afghanistan and its sense of tradition and adherence to ancient ways. 9/11 ripped the lid off of Afghanistan and exposed it to the world, bringing in all sorts of influences and ideas that may or may not have been so readily embraced by the local population. Yet it showed us one thing, Afghanistan needed to change and the youth of this country desparately needed educational opportunities. Education and rational thought are tools that I feel Afghans need to mold the future that they want. A more educated Afghanistan is the road for a successful future and that’s why I am here doing what I do. 2014 seems to be on everyone’s mind and something I talk about every day. Whatever does happen, Afghanistan will go on, and the hundreds of students I’ve helped educate and inspire will fight ot make their Watan the peaceful, productive country they all dream about.

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