September 17, 2021
By: Patrick Terrien
I am a patriot. I understand why so many from around the world seek to be here, literally risk death to be on this soil. And I believe in our democracy as the best system for the greatest number of people. For this democracy, for this country, to function effectively, peacefully, and fairly, each of us must actively participate and engage in it.
I am also a person. A person who shares this country, this world, this earth, this air, with others. We are connected in a shared humanity, by virtue of solely being a person. What we do matters to others, and others’ actions impact us. When looking at the consequences of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, we can hold both truths, being a patriot and being a person at the same time. We have the opportunity to take action as engaged and empathetic citizens on behalf of the many Afghan refugees seeking safe haven.
As patriots, we can applaud our service members who valiantly risked their lives to maintain peace in Afghanistan; we can engage as citizens and demand that our administration and other elected officials do what is needed; and at the same time, we can demonstrate our humanity, we can be a person, too. We can eagerly welcome Afghan refugees into our community by volunteering and donating; we can recognize the trauma that these refugees most certainly experienced in a land riddled with extremism and hardship; and we can aid those left behind in Afghanistan, 1/3 of whom don’t know if they will have a meal each day according to the U.N.
The Columbus Council on World Affairs is dedicated to creating an educated and engaged community that understands how global events impact our lives. As both patriots and people, we are compelled to join the voices of many organizations advocating for a human response to this crisis. The culture, rights, and prosperity of the Afghan people are now in critical condition, and we have a chance to demonstrate that Columbus is a city that is welcoming and inclusive.
Let us pause for a moment from the exhaustion and drama of other news, to see this opportunity to engage, to transcend politics, and once again be a patriot and a person.
Patrick M. Terrien
President & CEO
Resources to get involved:
Contact your elected officials
Help locally by supporting refugee resettlement agencies/service providers
Help globally by supporting organizations serving those affected by war & conflict
Educate yourself about Afghanistan and Afghan culture