Speeding into the brilliant Colorado bluebird day my heart lurched as I emerged from the Eisenhower Tunnel. I was home after an exciting trip to drop my daughter at her new college abode. Normally I am overjoyed to see the Ten Mile Range and the start of the Gore Range from that vantage point. Today however I was breathless with the realization that a seemingly normal trip that so many of us here in the United States take is not necessarily so for many women beyond the borders of our nation.
To me, this is what freedom is about, the ability to take a carefree trip, two women together, out into the beautiful world in order to better ourselves and the places we live. The freedom of movement without constraints, I will forever cherish this right as I watch the people of Afghanistan lose this, along with so many other basic rights in the crisis that is now unfolding in their country.
Ironically, I received a message when I arrived home about a letter written from a brave girl (we wish to keep her safe and not divulge her name or location) in Afghanistan that I wish to share along with a suggested way to help.
A Letter From Afghanistan
I am one of the girls athletes of Afghanistan. I am a mountaineer who has aspirations to be a successful girl in the future. I have goals that I planned that one day would become reality. All this changed in one day and my world became dark. My dreams are lost with the arrival of the Taliban. I am still 17 years old, it is too early to die in my heart.
I and all the girls of my country want our country to be liberated from the Taliban.
I am from the Hazara people. The Taliban are a fanatical and oppressive group that never gives women and girls the right to freedom. They are especially cruel to the Hazara. They are the same as they have been for the last 20 years. Every day and every night our ears are filled with bullets fired by the Taliban.
I know that the Taliban will never give me and the girl athletes the right to work. One of my friends is a music artist. My other friend is a member of the bicycle racing team. We are all at home with the same talents and we are afraid to go out. We will all perish.
My parents do not allow me to leave the house because my parents have terrible memories of the Taliban. They do not want me to witness their cruelty like their parents did. Afghans who leave their homes and want to go to work or school do not come home because they may be killed. This is a very painful thing for me
The girls’ team of mountaineering athletes in Afghanistan is under threat. We are all terrified by what happened at Kabul Airport. My friends who were about to leave the country were so happy, but that happiness did last long because they were killed in the most horrible way possible.
I feel sorry for the loss of our lives because of the foreign forces that came to oust us, and we call on the international global community, the United States and humanitarian organizations to help me and not to leave us alone in danger and threat, because we are.
We do not want our life to end here. We do not want to give up.
All humans may not understand my words, but they feel them. Like a foreign song you listen to, you realize how happy or sad it is.
I want nothing more to be free. I want to be a successful leader. I have many dreams.
Do not forget the people of Afghanistan. Do not forget about the brave girls who climb mountains.
~A Brave Girl
If you can, please help Ascend a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a registered charity in Afghanistan and Norway. Ascend is a Kabul-based NGO that helps Afghan young women climb to their potential, all the while sending a greater message to the country: women deserve rights, respect, and power.
Today they are raising funds to help to evacuate their girls, and are asking for the global community for support. This fundraiser is now dedicated entirely to Ascends emergency evacuation and resettlement efforts, and to provide continuing support to young women who remain in Afghanistan. If you cannot give please share, it is vital.
Thank you for reading and let freedom ring for all. Blessings to all of you.