If you’re an Afghan translator sheltering in a Kabul compound, life must seem pretty grim. The Taliban’s triumph has brought with it the restoration of sharia law – a throwback to when the movement ruled Afghanistan 20 years ago. The only difference between then and now seems to be their warriors’ concerted PR push, with journalists on the ground subject to ceaseless Taliban press conferences. If Madison Avenue did coups, perhaps.
But the night is darkest just before the dawn. And now, at last, hope is here: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have finally released a public statement. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex yesterday broke their silence on the situation to let long-suffering Afghans and other dispossessed peoples of the world know what they think about their plight. Their statement declares that Afghanistan’s fall has left the couple ‘speechless’ – something it demonstrates by continuing for another 200 words.
The couple’s globe-trotting grief tour manages to encompass the Haitian earthquake, the United Nations General Assembly, the coronavirus pandemic and even the forthcoming G20 jamboree in Rome. Where the international community failed, Harry and Meghan aim to succeed, with both decrying the ‘many layers of pain’ they both feel for Afghanistan.
The ‘speechless’ ‘heartbroken’ and ‘scared’ couple are now urging ‘those in positions of global influence to rapidly advance the humanitarian dialogues’ – something António Guterres and the UN have no doubt been trying already. Clearly Meghan has resigned herself to not giving another speech there.
Perhaps Harry, with his experience in Afghanistan, can lead the resistance in the Panjshir Valley while Meghan teaches women to read with her newly-released children’s book. After all, as the couple’s own statement says: ‘It’s easy to find ourselves feeling powerless, but we can put our values into action — together.’
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