Written by Neghena Hamid.
As I woke up for suhoor on Wednesday morning, I scrolled through my newsfeed. Post after post from my Afghan friends and family on the bombing in Wazir-Akbar Khan, Kabul, filled my account. The suicide blast had affected hundreds of people during morning rush hour in the diplomatic district, leaving more than 460 injured, with the three main hospitals packed with victims. The truck apparently was carrying waste as it was driving near Zanbaq Square, a heavily populated area in the center of the city when it exploded. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack and no other group has taken ownership for one of the deadliest incidents in Kabul since the early 2000s.
Immediately I checked up on my friends in Kabul and my Afghan friends here at home. One friend lost her cousin in the bombing. One friend had their windows and doors completely knocked down because of the impact. Another’s father was a few meters away from a bad fate that luckily just damaged the building and yet another knew people who were killed. It hit home. This was the city of my parents. This was the city of my friends. My people were mourning. Afghans across the world were mourning. Yet, no one was mourning with us, for us, besides, us.
With each attack, each bombing in the motherland, I begin to realize how cheap Afghan blood is. Cheap to the eyes of the imperialist powers that stripped the country of its resources and stability. Cheap to the eyes of insurgent groups who carry out attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, killing more than 100 and injuring more than 400 this Wednesday. But most importantly, cheap to the eyes of the Muslim community that, for decades, turned a blind eye on the Afghanistan even when wars and invasions led us to be one of the biggest refugee crises in the world.
As an Afghan American, I am sick of asking the masjid to add Afghanistan in their duas. As an Afghan American, I feel hurt when we sympathize and fight for refugees and the oppressed, but can’t count on anyone to sympathize and fight for us. I can count the number of non-Afghans voicing their outrage on the Kabul attacks on only one hand. The same people who speak aloud about the lack of media attention on Muslim lives are also the same people who stayed silent. This is not enough. The Muslim community can do better.
A bombing in Syria or a murder in Palestine causes outrage, as it should — we should all be outraged when innocent blood is being spilled. It leads to protests, it makes its way to the Friday sermons and it’s the inspiration behind Muslim Student Association events of the semester. Yet, while my family and friends have endured the same exact thing in Afghanistan at the hands of the United States, Pakistan, Iran, and from insurgent groups, it is not considered worthy of attention. It is not worthy of anyone’s time. It is not worthy of a dua in the masjid. It is just not worthy. I am sick of reminding people we are also part of the Ummah. The Muslim community can do better.
We claim to be one Ummah, an Ummah that has each other’s back, an Ummah that apparently calls out racism when they see it, an Ummah that supports one another — but I don’t see it. Are they silent because we aren’t Muslim enough? Are they silent because our language is not the language of the Qur’an? Are they silent because we aren’t Arab or South Asian? Are they silent because we are simply not worth it? Because there are bigger causes to fight? Because certain countries take precedence, and this has been going on for way too long for anyone to care? Are they silent because Western powers claimed Afghanistan is a safe country for refugees to return to? Are they silent because they feel like my people are a burden to their homeland when they seek refugee?
You may be silent, but your silence speaks volumes. I hear you loud and clear.