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October 29, 2013 > Bay Area Afghans hold community memorial

Bay Area Afghans hold community memorial

Submitted By Aisha Wahab

On October 12, 2013, the Afghan Community of Northern California held a memorial at Lake Elizabeth in Fremont. Over 500 individuals came to mourn the confirmed loss of the roughly 5,000 innocent individuals that were kidnapped, tortured, and killed by the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan in 1978-1979.

The Netherlands National ProsecutorÕs Office and National Police made the 30-year-old Death List public. Individuals confirmed on the list were men, women, and some children that included different ethnicities of the Afghan Community. Khedamat Amiat Daulati or KhAD, the government organization modeled after the K.G.B. of the Soviet Union, were responsible for these kidnappings and mass murders similar to those of Joseph Stalin. Sadly, this is just one of the lists that have been released with the names of those killed. Previously, lists of over 12,000 people have been published with speculation of thousands of other unknown victims.

Dozens of volunteers wore green armbands and women wore a small scarf over their heads or around their necks out of cultural respect, while everyone wore a green ribbon in honor of those lost in 35 years of war. Artwork by local artists and photos of victims were displayed and a board set up for attendees to write their thoughts.

An organizer of the event stated, ÒThis Memorial is to offer the community some closure.Ó Fremont is home to a very large population of the Afghan diaspora. ÒMany young Afghan Americans want peace after 35 years of war, to come together and mobilize for a positive change. Similar to the victims of the Holocaust, we must stand up against these atrocities so that it shall never happen again. But first, we must heal.Ó

Rona Popal, Executive Director of the Afghan Coalition, said, ÒWe are the lucky ones, and we must remember what happened, and what could happen. We seek justice for the fallen.Ó

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