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Zakia Ahmadzai was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. During the war, she fled her homeland and became a refugee, finally resettling in the United States. For the past twenty years, she has worked with the homeless population and Afghan refugees in the Washington DC area. She has also been part of a punk collective that raises funds for grassroots and non-profit organizations by putting together all ages punk shows. She fosters dogs and is a huge animal lover. 

Disappearances of the Sons (The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan-1979-1989)

Zakia Ahmadzai

They were the fortunate, who escaped in large caravans and buses

holding each other, hiding under thick blankets until they reached

safety in Pakistan.

They were the unfortunate, who were left behind.

Young men who were taken out of their classrooms

grabbed by the scruff of their necks by the soldiers.

Mothers who looked for their sons' faces among the

dead—every night, on the state tv, photographs of

raw-boned boys, stark, filled with fear

as they waited for their last breath. Their faces were

magnified again and again

on the small black and white screen.

Names, living or dead, were written outside the

muddy prison walls. Rows of families stood together

hoping their loved ones were still alive.

The hot sun shone on them—dry unbearable heat.

They prayed together for a miracle. If not today,

maybe tomorrow their boys would smile back at them.

For some grieving families the time to leave their sons behind

had come.

They said their goodbyes:

Goodbye to blue rivers.

Goodbye to fresh milk and honey.

Goodbye to sharp night-scent of jasmine trees.