As a hopeless romantic, unrelenting optimist, and generally positive person, the past few weeks have not been good for my worldview. I look around myself and look for the good in human beings. I fuel myself by believing in hope when many people are easily drawn into cynicism and by the relative sadness that surrounds us daily. Take your pick: climate change, all the houseless around me, the pandemic. But I refuse.
I refuse to be a cynic. I fight against nihilism. Being a pessimist is easy. Believing in humanity takes work. On most days, you just ignore the nay-sayers with a decent amount of tunnel vision.
Then, there’s Afghanistan: a humanitarian disaster in the making, internal displacement, a conflict that challenges your notion of “this can’t get any worse, right?” Not to mention, that we’re in the middle of a fucking pandemic.
In Afghanistan, at least it’s easy to quantify evil. The Taliban is evil. They commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. They don’t believe in the rights of women and they’re a vile movement aimed at oppressing everyday Afghans. You recognize it, you name it, you label it. Easy.
Then I read about the letter, written to the European Commission by representatives of Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Greece, Germany, and the Netherlands—where I was born and spent the first formative fourteen years of my life. In the letter, they warn the commission against halting the deportation of Afghan refugees despite the current situation. This year alone, 270,000 Afghans have been displaced. “More women and children were killed and wounded in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 than in the first six months of any year since records began in 2009,” according to a United Nations report.
None of this, matters to these 6 countries, all members of the European Union. Deportations of Afghan refugees must continue, they say. “We would like to highlight the need to perform returns…. stopping returns sends the wrong signals and is likely to motivate even more Afghan citizens to leave their home for the EU.” Now, if you thought that was the worst part of the letter, take a look at the second to last paragraph.
This is the EU’s priority when it comes to the plight of Afghans. The utmost priority is to deport Afghans back to a warzone and using a weak and unstable central government that is unable to beat the Taliban to do so.
Sometimes, evil is easily spotted. I spot it every day on my Twitter feed when I see what the Taliban is doing to my people. I see it when ISIS targets a maternity ward in a Hazara neighborhood.
Sometimes, evil is a bit harder to detect. It’s layered on letterhead with fancy logos and flowery, bureaucratic language. Evil, though, is evil.
This letter, is in fact, evil as well. Call ‘em like you see ‘em,
Also trying to remain optimistic but it's getting really tough