Deadly bombings have become routine in Afghanistan. Life goes on, no matter how hard, no matter how brutal. But we are tired, and we dream of peace.
By Zahra Ghulami
Deadly bombings have become a normal part of life in Kabul. Life goes on here, no matter how hard, how brutal. People have no choice but to live.
On the day of the bombing last Wednesday, I was still at home, a bit late for work. The sound was so loud that I thought the explosion had occurred in Darualaman road, near our home.
I shouted “Entehari” (explosion) out loud. My father and sister rushed in from other rooms. We looked at each other nervously, fear in our eyes. Every time there is an explosion, we exchange these looks. In our eyes, we are saying, “Whose turn will it be next? When will it be my turn? How many more innocent people will be killed and wounded?”
The victims are not just numbers but people with families.
I quickly checked the news to see where the blast had occurred — at Zanbaq Square, in the diplomatic area near the presidential palace. It is one of the crowded areas of Kabul, especially in the mornings. Knowing how far the square is from my home, I realized just how big the explosion had been.
I left home for my office. “Don’t go,” I heard my father say to me. “We can’t stop living,” I replied.
In the taxi, people were talking about how big the explosion was. Everyone in Kabul, not just me, believed the explosion had occurred nearby.
My mind was full of unanswered questions. How many innocent people were killed and wounded? How long will this continue? When would it be my turn?
We are tired, and we want peace.
I tried to call friends and relatives who might have been at or near the blast site. This is the first thing people do after an explosion: call family and friends to make sure their loved ones are safe. As usual, communications were down because so many people were calling.
My life is most stressful whenever there is an explosion in Kabul, when I think of the victims who had left their house that morning, never to see their families again. I think of the children of Afghanistan who are growing up amid these horrific realities. I consider the number of terrorist attacks I have survived. One, two, three, more. How many more?
The danger is so near to you that you live with it every day. We hope it will end one day, but we feel hope slipping away. Nothing seems to improve in this forgotten, frozen land. It is so sad to think that these deadly terrorist attacks have become routine.
Nothing can adequately describe the extreme violence of last week’s terrorist attack — so many lives lost and so many families devastated. The trauma persists within each of us long after each terrorist attack, and nothing can keep us from remembering.
Hours later, some of my colleagues and I left the office for Wazi Akbar Khan Hospital to donate blood — the least we could do. Seeing hundreds of people converging to donate blood was something we should be proud of. These people proved that humanity is still alive despite the harsh, inhumane conditions.
They all had one message: We are tired, and we want peace. I don’t know if that is too ambitious a wish. Peace! A dream word for Afghan people.
Zahra Ghulami was born in Bamyan province in Afghanistan. Her family fled the country to escape the civil war soon after her birth, seeking asylum in Iran. She returned to Afghanistan in 2005 at the age of 14 and completed high school in Kabul. She later won merit-based scholarships to study International Relations in Mongolia and in Germany. She now lives in Kabul where she is an active member of civil society, working for policy reform and human rights.