In our first episode for 2021 I would like to explore the idea of hope.
In 2015, a sense of despair swept throughout Afghanistan. The Obama administration’s surge to suppress and route the Taliban had ended long ago – and as the United States continued the long drawdown from the country, the Taliban were resurgent.
Now, young Afghan men and women who grew up with a sense that their country would forever be on upward path to something better – soon realized they could spend the rest of their lives, much as their parents did – in a land of ruin, wracked by civil war.
And so, they went, by the thousands first, then the tens of thousands, and finally in the hundreds of thousands. This was a journey that began by foot, car, bus, horse from Afghanistan, overland to Turkey and then over a perilous stretch water to Greece and on to mainland Europe.
This crisis would shape history for the next ten years and beyond. Faced with millions of desperate souls on the borders of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, ired on the side of compassion and opened her doors to this refugees – and in so doing, opened the door for the Far Right in Germany to finally rise up again from the ashes of World War 2 in the form of the Alternative for Germany or AfD.
Across the Atlantic, in the United States, businessman and Presidential aspirant Donald Trump would seize upon the crisis and use it to frighten Americans about a looming wave of Muslim migrants invading the United States if he would not be elected President. And, upon winning office would quickly impose a ban on Muslim migration and slash America’s longstanding commitment to taking in refugees.
However, the West saw it to many, including my interviewee – this moment in time represented a doorway to hope. To peace, to a chance to rebuild and continue a life that would otherwise sink back into war or be lost entirely.
It is my great honor to introduce THE EDITOR, my friend Mirwais Amiri – and to talk with him about the hard choices he had to make against this backdrop.