On Tuesday, Lucca, a 12-year-old German shepherd, received the prestigious Dickin Medal, the highest military decoration awarded for valor in the UK. She’s the first American K9 to receive it. While serving, she led over 400 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and found over 40 explosives. She lost her leg when an IED detonated as she was searching for weapons. Thank you for your sacrifice, Lucca.
A look at the Kung Fu women of Kabul, chipping away at gender norms!
These women and girls are fighting to become Afghanistan’s Shaolin martial art ambassadors!
Kung fu is empowering a group of 10 powerful Hazara women and girls. They are practising “wushu” kung fu on a hilltop in the west of Kabul. They are preparing for the day that Afghanistan can send its women’s wushu team to an international tournament.
Mahrokh, literally “moon-face”. A Persian name chiefly for girls. The moon is associated as one of the highest levels of beauty in Persian culture. To be named this is to be called the silent beauty of a full moon on a clear night.
Refugees are by definition the most vulnerable people among us. Families don’t choose to sacrifice everything they have and leave their homes unless their homes become like the mouth of a shark. Scapegoating people who are fleeing for their lives is an inhumanity that no person with a heart should be able to defend.
Gay Afghans can be deported to their home country, where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo” and they must pretend to be straight, under new British government guidelines for handling asylum applications.
The new guidance for a country where not a single citizen lives an openly gay life has been denounced by human rights groups as a violation of international law, and criticised by the Home Office’s own Afghanistan unit.
“The Home Office’s approach seems to be to tell asylum seekers, ‘Pretend you’re straight, move to Kabul and best of luck,’” said Heather Barr, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Living a life where you are forced to lie every day about a key part of your identity, and live in constant fear of being found out and harassed, prosecuted or attacked, is exactly the kind of persecution asylum laws are supposed to prevent.”
The document, dated last month, clearly lays out the multiple risks to LGBT Afghans from their own families, from Afghan laws, and from Taliban insurgents who consider homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
Two Indo-Greek silver coins with profiles of Alexander
Bactria (present-day Afghanistan), 1st-2nd century
After Alexander of Macedon succeeded in conquering Egypt and Persia in 331 BC, his ambition to rule the known world led him further east across Bactria in Afghanistan, through the Hindu Kush mountain pass, and into India. There he succeeded in defeating all the local kings of the region until his men, on the brink of mutiny, insisted that they return to Greece. Alexander left governors in charge of his territories, and after his death in 323 BC, his governors became independent kings, establishing Hellenistic cities and a Greek cultural base in the region, which lasted for almost 200 years.