The news today that the U.S. government dropped a bomb on Afghanistan in the Nangarhar Province on the border with Pakistan —a 22,000-lb GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), or "mother of all bombs”— is, in a word, frightening. I instantly thought of the untold numbers of civilians and troops easily put in harm's way by that many tons of detonating explosives.
It was hard not to think of the young Afghan-American siblings I'd only just met on the mountain two days ago, who'd expressed such a positive outlook about their typical American lives despite the heightened Islamophobia fomented by the current political administration's ongoing efforts to have a Muslim travel ban instated. Sahar, 14, Bilqis, 17, and their older brother, Aman, 22, are of Afghan descent but were born in the U.S. and in fact live about ten minutes from Stone Mountain, which they grew up climbing as a family.
Nowadays the two sisters climb it more often than their older brothers (another brother was not with them). Sahar is almost fifteen, and Bilqis will graduate from high school soon and works part-time at a restaurant, while Aman competes playing video games professionally for a living, mainly the FIFA soccer game. I wondered just how their family talks about such news around the dinner table; after all, their parents hail from Afghanistan, where they also still have relatives, and yet, here they all live in the country that dropped such a devastating bomb.