Apologizing for the U.S. in Afghanistan

Apologizing for the U.S. in Afghanistan

"What's your country?" the Afghanistani men asked me. We were all waiting in line at the visa office in Delhi, India, last week. I said, "I'm afraid to tell you." I told them how I cried when I found out that the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, and that I marched 12 miles to Medford with a peace sign. I told them to let their people know that millions of U.S. citizens feel the way I do, but that we're in the minority and our government won't do what we want.

One Afghanistani, who knew English well, said, "Seventeen of my family members have been killed by U.S. soldiers. The soldiers kill children and women." I said I knew, from watching films. He said the U.S. is getting even more aggressive twoard Afghanistan. "Why do they hurt us?" he asked. "We are a poor country. We have no oil." We both agreed that the U.S. wants to control Afghanistan in order to gain better access to oil regions.

I told him that I'm very disappointed in Obama for his aggressive policy against Afghanistan. "My government lies to the U.S. citizens," I said. "It says it's attacking Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc., to help the people in those countries. Most citizens believe the lies, or they don't want to think about them too much. But I see through the lies. The U.S. attacks other nations only for oil, power and money." He said the Afghanistanis don't believe those U.S. lies, either.

These Afghanistani men showed no hostility toward me. But I felt overwhelmed with sorrow for what the U.S. government is doing to them in my name. I made the only gesture that could adequately convey my feelings. I bowed down, and touched their feet, apologizing for my government.

The men quickly protested and raised me up from the ground to their level. One man said, "You are a kind man." (He obviously meant, "You are a kind person.") I told the men, "The Afghanistani people are my brothers and sisters, just like the U.S. people are. I want your country to have its freedom, not to be a slave of the U.S. government. I want my government to leave your country alone."

While I'm traveling in India, I meet people from Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, too. I tell them, "I love your people. I only want to give them love. I only want peace."

Ambuja Rosen

Ashlander traveling in India