A Heavy Heart | Afghanistan, Haiti and an Environmental Crisis

Opening Photograph: Courtesy of Defense One/Reuters

You know when a series of things happen which makes you want to wake up and get told it was all a dream. I think that is where I am.

In all honesty I was just going to write this week off but then I thought, the most cathartic thing to do is to put my feelings down, to take them out of the shambles that is my brain so you, on the other end of this process, can digest them and quite possibly relate to them.


Photograph by Ralph Teddy depicting the damage from the earthquake via the Guardian Article.

This week has been emotionally draining for all of us. The news, once again, has provided us with an insight into the terrors outside our little bubble. A massive earthquake and storm has hit Haiti. The earthquake killed 1, 419 people and injured over 6,000. Meanwhile, Afghanistan has been taken over by the Taliban yet again as American troops vacate the country. Thus putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk, especially women. To add to the chaos, raging wild fires have formed across the globe as France, Turkey and Jerusalem are dealing with the effects of an environmental crisis.

And through all of this all I can feel is immensely helpless. We’ve got environmental issues that keep getting ignored and thus we have very little we can do about it because to ensure large change those in power need to agree to it (while simultaneously putting our futures above money). Then we have the horrendous activities going on in Afghanistan that American and British troops have tried to qualm for the last 20 years which ended up going straight back to where they started in a matter of a week. And why was that you may ask? Well those in power yet again made a damaging decision which seriously affects the lives of thousands of people.

Not only are these issues terrible, they also concern the same communities which seem to continually have to put up with other peoples misjudgements. A fact which only adds to the sense of uselessness. All we can do is watch (to an extent) and hope that eventually people make the right decision.

President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Personally, I see a common denominator amongst all of this – a severe lack of accountability from those who hold A LOT of power. I can’t help but think what would happen if that person was different; if they held different morals, opinions and priorities. I often think it is strange that one person has the power to make such a decision on behalf of so many. It baffles me that what millions of people don’t want, still manages to happen. And in doing so it manages to destroy thousands of lives. I guess what really, really irks me is that people manage to dissociate themselves with the fact there are actual people having to deal with these disasters. It’s easy to see a number from your comfy bedroom and go ‘Well that is really sad but I don’t see it or connect to it’ or in the case of those in power ‘the bigger picture is our priority here.’

But just one minute into reading the horrendous stories from those living through it, you quickly realise that there are people in serious pain and suffering for things we can’t control but in a sense created. Should they not be the priority?

Resources

If you want to see the troubled history of Afghanistan from the 1800’s to now I’d recommend checking out this article which gives a brief timeline of events.

For an insight into both Afghanistan and Haiti check out these TikTok’s.

@guardianaustralia

The group are expected to proclaim a new Islamic Emirate of #Afghanistan in the coming days. 📸Getty/AP/AFP/Reuters #usarmy #joebiden #auspol #🇦🇫

♬ original sound – Guardian Australia
@cbsthismorning

Days after devastating quake, Haitians are coming together and feeding neighbors who have lost everything. #haiti #news #earthquake

♬ original sound – CBS This Morning

If you want to financially aid those suffering through the crisis, here are some links to reputable charities doing important work.

The HALO Trust – Helps to remove threats to the Afghan people and those helping the humanitarian crisis by removing landmines, unexploded bombs and improvised devices. Check them out here.

Global Giving Afghanistan Emergency Fund – working with their partners on the ground to support and give relief to those enduring the Taliban rule. All proceeds will be given to vetted non profits in Afghanistan. Check them out here.

UNICEF Protect the Children – Thousands of Afghan kids are being killed or injured in the past week and therefore UNICEF are striving to protect those in danger and provide food, water, and medical supplies. Check it out here.

British Red Cross – Helping those in Haiti, many who are left without a home. Find out more here.

Action Aid UK – The Organisation has worked in Haiti since 1996, It’s important that a community already feeling the effects of Covid-19, political instability and food insecurity get the aid they need to come out of this disastrous event. Find out more here.


Social media burnout is something I’ve come to know quite well, especially alongside the feeling of guilt and remorse when it comes to world issues over the past year. It seems that each time something happens, I reside to writing about it but at the same time I know that does little to change the world we inhabit. I feel guilty for feeling heavy with the weight of the world because really what do I have to worry about. I guess what I am trying to say is that I wish there was more we could do, more we could do to feel apart of the issues so we can remedy them. Like in an argument for example, I want to be the mediator where I can defuse the situation. I think coming to grips with the fact that the most we can do is donate and share is hard to deal with because the images are so harrowing and the facts aren’t getting any better. But if we all did those two things then at least those who can make changes (i.e those aforementioned ones in power) should feel the pressure to do something about it.

The more we write, the more we talk and share, the more we donate, the more those who can implement change can feel the need to make a decision which can positively impact the people at the helm of these disasters.

So yes, a simple blog post is not going to change the world or change my heavy heart. But it will keep the conversation going; those in Haiti need your speech so they can get some relief and help, those in Afghanistan need your words so help can be given and the Taliban can be stopped, those in France, Turkey and Jerusalem need your thoughts so climate change for once can be considered as a series issue with actionable change.

So yes, if you can’t donate and are feeling extremely lost for what to do, TALK ABOUT IT.

It may not seem like a lot, but if those issues continue to be at the centre of our thoughts then the conversation will not die. It will not become yesterdays news.

That is the important part.

Sending lots of love to every single one of you.

Sophie x

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