Turn on the News and all I hear about are rocket attacks and explosions in Afghanistan, the Delta variant creating havoc in many parts of the nation and the world, raging wildfires in California, and hurricane Ida lashing its fury on Louisiana. It is depressing to say the least!
I am not very knowledgeable about the actual history of the Taliban, other than the fact that they were in power two decades ago and have now come back, after successfully overthrowing the Afghani government in a surprisingly short period of time. I also know that women were oppressed in the name of religion during their earlier regime and that the American military has had a strong presence there since 2001. I wanted to know a bit more and found this article: Who are the Taliban and how did they take control of Afghanistan so swiftly?
The initial news and images coming out of Afghanistan were so disturbing, especially those of educated women destroying their certificates and closing down businesses fearing the Taliban, people thronging to the airport to somehow escape from their lost homeland, and worst of all, men holding on to the the wheels and landing gears of planes, knowing fully well the consequences, and eventually falling to their deaths. I can’t imagine the height of desperation that could’ve driven them to do so… At the cost of sounding selfish, I thank my lucky stars for not having any family or friends in that situation. The explosions and deaths of American soldiers and numerous innocent civilians has only added to the already pitiful condition of the people there. I did realize one thing though, that while we are seeing the disastrous side of the fall of Afghanistan, there are folks who are welcoming the Taliban. For instance, we know a really sweet Afghani man whom Mr. P texted yesterday to find out how he was doing and if he had family in his home country. His reply surprised me. He was happy that the Taliban had come back to power and said, “they are honest… we have been slaves for 20 years. I am glad they got rid of masters and puppets.” The Taliban have also claimed that they have changed and will now allow women to pursue education and hold respectable positions in the society. We’ll have to wait and watch how much of that is true though.
We have been in this country for almost 16 years and it’s only for the past 5-6 years that we’ve been witnessing these severe wild fires. Every year, since 2018 or so, these fires have only been increasing in number and worsening in severity. Add on a lack of rains and severe drought, and it looks like these fires will be an annual feature of our lives. And people still say climate change is FAKE! The devastation some of these fires have caused is terrible, with cities getting completely wiped out… with nothing left but charred structures and ashes! The fires in Northern CA have been spreading wildly for months now, and the smoke and haze from them have reached all the way to places like Boston and New Jersey in the far east. Our area was free of fires until last night, but today morning we woke up to news of one in the neighboring county. Though we are not in the path of the fire, many had posted photos of the smoke, visible from parts of our city. One can only hope that the fire is contained soon.
And then there is the Delta variant… imagine being in the hospital with Covid and coming back home to find your spouse dead of the same disease. Also imagine losing two sons to Covid, within 12 hours, possibly because they were not vaccinated and thousands of children forced to quarantine due to outbreaks in their schools. At this point, it looks like we are heading for a grim Fall, especially with such brilliant anti-vaxxers spread around the nation.
These are the types of stories that are headlining now a days… and how much ever I try to not listen to or read the news, there’s no escaping it. So what do I do when I feel bogged down by all the grave happenings around the world? I go looking for little joys that help me stay afloat — taking long walks, listening to favorite songs, photographing nature, admiring the pretty flowers blossoming in our garden, cooking something yummy, talking to loved ones (even if there’s nothing new to say everyday), reaching out and helping people (even a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on can make a big difference), keeping the brain occupied with meaningful things like work and positive thoughts, and not giving it a chance to dwell on sad, negative happenings.
How do you cope with the happenings of the world? Do let me know if you have any unique ways of staying positive. Until I write again, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive (just don’t test positive)!