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From: x
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2001 5:07 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: Fwd: FW: Fwd: thoughts on afghanistan



From: x
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2001 9:31 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: FW: Fwd: thoughts on afghanistan

Subject: Fwd: thoughts on afghanistan


I was sent this by a friend and thought it was worth forwarding. If you agree,
pass it on.
x

-----Original Message-----
From:   x
Sent:   Friday, September 14, 2001 5:45 PM
To: All UTA
Subject:    FW: Please read and EDUCATE

Dear Friends and Family,

As an American, a New Yorker and an Afghan, I have struggled with many
feelings.  I have wondered what I can do to educate people about the
state of affairs in Afghanistan now and over the past 20 years.  The
Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979, it is September 2001
and my father's country has been destroyed day by day for over two
decades.  I am disgusted by the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.  For my
family, these have been household names for years prior to the tragedies
we witnessed on Tuesday.

My father has spent years trying to get people in the US government to
listen. And he has sat around our dinner table talking to his children
for hours on end about what was happening to his homeland.  Many of our
family's friends have listened as my Dad spoke passionately about the
hateful crimes the Taliban was committing against innocent Afghans all
in the name of Islam, an Islam that my family does not know, an Islam
that cannot be found in the pages of the Koran.

I beg you, as friends, to take the anger we all feel and try to learn
and spread knowledge.  We all want retaliation.  We want someone to pay
for the innocent people whose lives were taken away.  But, please,
please, please understand that Afghans like me and my family have never
supported the Taliban.  In fact, we have watched helplessly as these
cowards took the little bit of dignity the Afghans had left after the
Soviet war.

I went to work the other night and watched groups of friends, bright and
educated people, stop their conversations as I approached.  I have never
experienced anything like this.  My Dad recently grew a beard, but after
seeing images of bearded fundamentalists on TV, we have asked him to
shave it off to quell any possibility of attacks out of ignorance.  For
the first time in my life, I am afraid to tell people my ethnic
background.  My name is a liability.  My coloring makes me feel scared
when people look at me on the subway.  I find myself thankful that my
sisters and Mom have lighter coloring.

Please read the following letter.  We all feel helpless right now.  If
nothing else, please try to educate your friends.  Please do not
perpetuate hate.  Hatred brought down the World Trade Center.  Hate is
hate-there is no gray area.  Please forward the following letter to
everyone you know.  Take a moment to paste the letter into a new email,
add your own thought.

It is very possible that we will bomb Afghanistan in the coming days.
Maybe emails like this will not stop that from happening, but let's not
pretend that we do not know that those actions will kill innocent and
helpless people who have lived under the terror of the Taliban for
years.  We turned our backs for so long.  We have not written about
them, or if we have, we have not read those articles, we skipped past
them.  People did not know where Afghanistan was until three days ago.
How is that possible?  Bin Laden was behind the first WTC bombing, the
bombing of the Cole and the embassies in Africa-ask yourself, how did we
not pay attention?  Pay attention now.  Know what is going on in our
world.  All we have is hope, unity and the ability to open our eyes.
Open them.

With much love,
x





Dear Friends,
The following was sent to me by my friend Tamim Ansary.  Tamim is an
Afghani-American writer.  He is also one of the most brilliant people I
know in this life.  When he writes, I read.  When he talks, I listen.
Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in.
*  x


Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the
Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would
mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this
atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What
else can we do?"  Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing
whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am
from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've
never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who
will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.  I speak as one
who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind
that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York.  I
agree that something must be done about those monsters.  But the Taliban
and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan.  They're not even the  government of
Afghanistan.  The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics  who took
over Afghanistan in 1997.

Bin Laden is a political criminal with a  plan.  When you think Taliban,
think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think  Hitler. And when you think
"the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration
camps."   It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with
this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators.  They
would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and
clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their
country.  Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the
Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated,
suffering.

A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000
disabled orphans in Afghanistan-a country with no economy, no food.
There are millions of widows.  And the Taliban has been burying these
widows alive in mass graves.  The soil is littered with land mines, the
farms were all destroyed by the Soviets.  These are a few of the reasons
why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone
Age.  Trouble is, that's been done.  The Soviets took care of it
already.  Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering.  Level
their houses?  Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble?  Done.
Eradicate their hospitals?  Done.  Destroy their infrastructure?  Cut
them off from medicine and health care?  Too late.  Someone already did
all that.  New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.  Would
they at  least get the Taliban?  Not likely.

In today's Afghanistan, only the  Taliban eat, only they have the means
to move around.  They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get
some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't
even have wheelchairs.  But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs
wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific
thing.  Actually it would only be making common cause with the
Taliban-by raping once again the people they've been raping all this
time.  So what else is there?  What can be done, then?

Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin
Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having
the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of
having the belly to kill as many as needed.  Having the belly to
overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our
heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying.
And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through
Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout.  It's much bigger than that folks.
Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through
Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would
have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by?  You see
where I'm going.

We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.  And guess
what: that's Bin Laden's program.  That's exactly what he wants.  That's
why he did this.  Read his speeches and statements.  It's all right
there.  He really believes Islam would beat the west.  It might seem
ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and
the West, he's got a billion soldiers.  If the west wreaks a holocaust
in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose,
that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view.  He's probably wrong,
in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war
would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.
Who has the belly for that?  Bin Laden does.  Anyone else?

Tamim Ansary


Email Date:Sun, 16 Sep 2001 15:52:53 -0700 (PDT)

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Email Subject:Fwd: FW: Fwd: thoughts on afghanistan


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