I have received many letters, emails and messages of support from people around the world, after they read The Lightless Sky. I wanted to share this one from a friend and fellow humanitarian Madi, who is supporting and helping refugees in the Greek islands camps.
Gulwali, brother, I have been meaning to message you for ages to thank you sincerely for putting forth such a beautiful book.
I have basically turned into the Bible salesman equivalent for this book and I urge everyone to read it because I think it is so beautifully written, but also because it is such a powerful catalyst for giving people a new perspective and understanding of this situation.
From a personal standpoint, I have worked in humanitarian hotspots for four years but primarily with Syrians. I knew some Afghan families here and there, but it wasn’t until I met Ruhi and the brothers that I truly came to experience and love the culture. I was quickly absorbed into the Afghan community in Chios because one, I look very Hazara, and two, I LOVE bolani. The brothers promptly nicknamed me “Bola” and they made sure I was never short on delicious Afghan food. They taught me their songs and dances and I am so thankful to have learned so much from them.
People are so quick to tell me about the beautiful parts of the life they left behind. I heard stories of the beautiful nature in Afghanistan, the colorful kites, the busy market places, the kebab and stews and rice dishes and desserts… I fell in love with a place I have never seen. And I fell in love with the Afghan community for its diversity but also its uniform pride for the country and its people.
At the time, I did not understand the journey they made. Especially for my beloved brothers- the single men who were forced from home (not as young as you- I still have a hard time comprehending that) and were abused and neglected and to this day still face unspeakable hurdles in their journey to safety.
Without a doubt, your book made me a better sister to them and for that I am thankful.
Being the bridge between the community I grew up in (very wealthy, very white, very rigid in their mindset) and the community of people who have become my chosen family in camps all over the world is one of the greatest honors of my life. I have learned so much about resilience and compassion, grace and determination, and about life and how to live it by becoming close with displaced people and hearing their inspiring stories. Prior to reading The Lightless Sky it was distressing to be the middle man between such different realities because I could never find a way to accurately bring those stories home to help give context to my friends and family about the world my eyes had been opened to. I strongly believe that my job is to be a conscientious witness. I try not to tell stories that do not belong to me. To have such a vivid and powerful narrative straight from the source available on Amazon and delivered right to their door is a blessing!
Since reading the book, there have been noticeable changes in the way my community in the US understands the work I do and who I work with. This is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. Sharing your story has changed more lives than I am sure you ever imagined ❤️
I am a huge admirer of your dedication to using your story and experience to magnify the overall narrative of refugees and emphasize a change. The reason I started my organization was to try to promote a paradigm shift in the way we view these crises, talk about them, and the way we intervene. It is really challenging to stay on track with this because so many people and organizations are set in their ways of seeing beneficiaries as helpless people who need our pity when really, we just need to create a world of peace and understanding where no one is forced to flee in the first place. It would certainly be much cheaper than building refugee camps!
Thank you for your support of the brothers campaign and of Ruhi. She is such a bold and fearless sister working with her has been some of the funnest times of my life and we’d love to have you along on The Brothers Campaign in any way you’d see fit!
Best wishes and sincere thanks,
I am sharing this with her permission and if you guys would like to support her work and org, here is the link: https://www.in-sightcollaborative.org/
I also read your book while I was overseas volunteering at Skaramagas in Athens last July-August, 2019. I’ve recommended your book to many friends and family since then. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing your experience. It had a big impact on me.
Senior Program Assistant, Inclusive Peace Processes
United States Institute of Peace
Making Peace Possible
Tel: (202) 429-4197
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