(A letter from Suraya Sadeed, born in Afghanistan, now an American citizen.
Her foundation, Help the Afghan Children, Inc. Vienna, Virginia, has raised medical and food aid worth millions of dollars, which she has personally delivered to the desperately needy inside Afghanistan and to refugee camps in Pakistan. She returned from Afghanistan recently.)
Sept. 15, 2001
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
It has been five agonizing days. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the thousands who lost their lives last Tuesday. I love this country and I feel the pain as much as any one.
I can hardly see the screen of my computer from crying as I am writing - I am crying behind the closed doors of my office, because I cannot cry outside. Why? I was born in Afghanistan.
The fear that I have had for years has been realized. I knew that Afghanistan would have to pay for having Osama Bin Laden as its unwanted "guest." The fact that Osama bin Laden is in Afghanistan has nothing to do with the Afghan people themselves. He is not an Afghan and, he is not supported by Afghans. He came by force and will only leave by force. Did the Afghan people invite him? No. Can they remove him? No.
Afghans are terrorized themselves. For the past nine years, I have
traveled 17 times to Afghanistan to deliver humanitarian aid. I have seen the unspeakable pain and agony of millions who are in constant fear, living a powerless shackled existence where even learning and showing a woman's face in public is now outlawed. Afghans did not elect their government, they have no voice.
For too long ours has been a forgotten nation--one that paid a heavy price by fighting a war for freedom against the invading Soviet Union, which benefited the United States and the world - a war that helped bring the end of the cold war.
Our small nation sacrificed over one million lives, had 5 million refugees, two million widows, over one million orphans, over 500,000 amputees.
Afghanistan is a country in enormous pain and is drowning in her sorrows.
A nation that has sought freedom and civility for decades, now has received the title of "Terrorist nation". I hope the U.S. Government and American people realize that the people of Afghanistan have been terrorized themselves and kept hostage for years.
The foreigners who finance and support the operations of bin Laden have now fled the Capital city of Kabul leaving behind terrified Afghans who look to the skies in fear, and brace themselves for more war.
Let us hope that the United States Government and the American people distinguish between the victims of terror, the Afghan people themselves, and the perpetrators of these unspeakable acts.
On behalf of millions of Afghans I express my sincere sympathy and hope that the families of the victims find solace in knowing that we share their pain and stand by them in such times of distress and agony.
Ms. Suraya Sadeed
Help the Afghan Children, Inc.
703-848-0407 or email@example.com)