On November 17th, Somerville alumna Freshta Karim (2016, MPP Public Policy) made an impassioned plea to the UN Security Council to take steps to end the cycle of violence in her home country.
Ms Karim laid bare the huge sense of loss experienced by every Afghan family after decades of conflict, including her own. During powerful address to Open Briefing on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, delivered remotely from Oxford,
“Every afghan family, including my own, have lost at least one family member to the decades of never ending war. Our graveyards are a proof of that, and our lands a witness to the amount of human blood that has been spilled,” she told the Security Council.
A bold call for reconciliation formed the heart of her speech to the gathered representatives.
“In the silence of the graveyards, looking at the graves of soldiers of the former government soldiers, of Taliban soldiers, of young women and children, I came to a stark and clear realisation that no one is an enemy; and no human should be killed anymore for this war – or any other war.
“We need to make the effort to see the human in others, hear their suffering and their stories…Today I start this journey by declaring that no one is an enemy.”
Noting the exclusionary power structures of the Taliban, Freshta also called on the United Nations to work with all parties on the creation of a political structure to enable coexistence and end the cycle of war that Afghanistan has been trapped in and prevent further loss of life.
“Without [intervention], we are just having a pause to this war, not an end to it”, she added.
Ms Karim attended the session as a representative of Afghan civil society in her role as Director of Charmaghz Mobile Libraries. The non-profit organisation provides mobile library services to children in Kabul.
“Our childhood, like millions of other Afghan children, was lost before we could even live it,” reads the group’s website.
“The pain brings us together to make a difference in other children’s lives.”
If you would like to support Charmaghz Mobile Libraries, visit https://bit.ly/3lRJ4N9
22.8 million people in Afghanistan currently do not have enough food. To support the World Food Programme’s Afghanistan emergency appeal, visit https://www.wfp.org/emergencies/afghanistan-emergency
Freshta addressed the session remotely from Oxford