Peace: the distant, hopeful dream of every Afghan
Zarghona Darya is young peace activist in Kabul. She is part of a diverse group of people who campaign for peace. She was seven years old when the Taliban killed her father.
In her early days at the University of Kabul, Zarghona read All Men are Brothers, a collection of writings by Mahatma Ghandi, the famous Indian activist for peace and civil rights. Gandhi’s philosophy of peace and nonviolence inspired Zarghona to join with other students to promote these values.
After seven years of working with Afghan Peace Volunteers, Zarghona is now a well-known figure among peace activists. She and her co-volunteers are working with street children to teach them about the principle of nonviolence. Zarghona remembers that in early days of the organization, the children who were coming to the center would fight and argue with each other. After several sessions, however, she noticed many positive changes in their behavior.
“Peace comes from the grass roots of society and works its way up, not the other way around,” says Zarghona. She wants to remove the divisions between the various ethnic groups in the country, so that all members of society can live together in peace and harmony as members of the Afghan family. This is what she calls ‘Border Free’, a phrase which has become the slogan of her youth organization -the Afghan Peace Volunteers.
Zarghona believes in the power of art and culture to promote nonviolence and harmony in society. Her organization invites young people of different ethnicities to their centre, to learn and practice the traditional dance called ‘Aten’. Guitar lessons are also taught there.
Encouraging men and women to live alongside each other in peaceful harmony is also important for a nonviolent society, according to Zarghona. Her organization invites boys and girls to participate in a weekly cycling event to set an example of peaceful coexistence.