FORT SMITH, Ark. – As people around the world react to the crisis in Afghanistan, there are some who feel a deeper pain. For Afghan Americans, the tragedy unfolding hits much closer to home.
Mohammed Rasoully is a 2nd-year med student at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. The best advice he can give is to focus on the Afghan people instead of the politics of the crisis.
It’s something he and his family are already doing; his sister founded a nonprofit called Wise Afghanistan geared towards offering Afghan women and children medical care. He and his siblings are active parts of the foundation.
Now, those are the people he’s thinking about as he watched this tragedy unfold.
As images out of Afghanistan play on loop, Rasoully’s shock is echoed across the globe. But the med student’s connection to the crisis is personal.
“I’m actually ethnically Afghan,” Rasoully said, “but my parents were born there.”
Rasoully’s parents fled the country in the 1980’s after the arrival of Soviet troops. They raised Mohammed and his siblings with a strong sense of Afghan culture, and a respect for the nation they left behind.
“Being a diaspora Afghan, you feel this strong connection to Afghanistan,” Rasoully explained.
Now, when watching the country’s collapse Rasoully can only remember his last visit in 2014 – and the determination of a people set on surviving.
As the tragedy unfolding becomes a heated topic of debate, Rasoully asks that Americans instead focus on the people; putting aside our political differences to advocate for our fellow humans, those in desperate need of help.
“I would love to see us as Americans see them as humans and not just some sort of project we had,” Rasoully said.
“I just want to see them not be in such fear and to have some sort of security.”
While Rasoully studies ways to care for others at ARCOM, he asks that people do some studying of their own and advocate for a nation in need of help.
“Educate yourself about the situation,” asks Rasoully. “It’s not just a right vs. left situation.”
He says if you want to help, the best thing to do is to spread awareness and to speak with Afghans directly.
He also recommends reaching out to your representatives to see what can be done to support refugees and offer aid.