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Post 9/11, young Afghans tasted peace. Now, Hadia Essazada is in exile.

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Post 9/11, young Afghans tasted peace. Now, Hadia Essazada is in exile.

When the Taliban fell after 9/11, Afghanistan entered a period of hope. For Essazada, it feels as if the Taliban have won again.

Hadia Essazada (Photograph by Farrah Skeiky; mural photograph: Wasim Mirzaie)

This profile is part of a series called ‘Living in the shadow of 9/11,’ which looks at how the worlds of five extraordinary people changed, twenty years later.

Two decades ago, as a five-year-old in Mazar-e-Sharif, the future was a universe of possibilities for Hadia Essazada. There were no Taliban, apart from the stories she heard from her family. For a child, she recalls, the shadowy group of bearded religious extremists didn’t seem real; they were like monsters in a nightmare world that existed in her parents’ imagination.

For her, the world was very different: there was school to go to and friends to play with, though the landscape around her was still pockmarked with the remnants of war. But that was changing, too. The constant rumbling of construction equipment in her city hinted at the smooth roads to come, like glistening rivers cutting through the shiny new buildings that seemed to appear every day, almost out of nowhere.

“Childhood was kind of magical,” Essazada, 25, recalls. “I grew up after 9/11; I went to school after 9/11; I graduated from university after 9/11. I got a job and started being active in my society.”

Essazada belongs to Afghanistan’s post-9/11 generation, a cohort of educated young people who have come of age since the fall of the Taliban regime. It was a period of hope, when tens of thousands of young people went back to school, when money poured into the country and new universities opened; people like Essazada—bright and determined—were finally given the opportunity to shine. Today, those same people are fleeing Afghanistan.

MORE: After 9/11, Brennan Basnicki is living his father’s legacy  

Essazada is particularly vulnerable. After graduating from a private university in 2018 with a degree in business management and accounting, she developed a love for debating and in March 2019 was nominated secretary-general of the Pamir International Model United Nations (PIMUN) at a ceremony at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul. With the help of foreign embassies, including Canada’s, she was elevated as a prominent activist for women’s rights in Afghanistan, travelling throughout Europe with PIMUN and speaking out against the Taliban on social media.

In November 2020, Essazada began receiving threatening phone calls from a man claiming to be a representative of the Taliban. He told her to put on a headscarf and stop speaking against the group. The pattern was familiar. Essazada had already lost two friends to a rash of targeted killings sweeping through the activist community. On Christmas Eve last year, she arrived in Washington, travelling on a visa she had received through her work for PIMUN. She travelled to a Canada-U.S. border crossing to meet up with two Afghan friends who had said they would help her claim asylum in Canada.

Her attempt failed due to the Safe Third Country Agreement. Now at an undisclosed location in the U.S., with an ankle bracelet and 24-hour surveillance through her cellphone, Essazada finds herself in the same situation millions of Afghans were in during the 1980s and 1990s—in exile and uncertain of what the future holds. History has come full circle. Afghan women tasted independence in the 1960s and 1970s before the Soviet invasion pushed them to the margins and the Taliban’s victory in the 1990s pushed them deep into the shadows.

MORE: An incomplete mission: For Chris Nobrega, no wars were won after 9/11

They struggled their way back after the fall of the Taliban regime, but now it feels as if the Taliban have won again.

“The war in Afghanistan was always about us,” Essazada says, “about the next generation that would rebuild our country. The U.S., and Europe and Canada went there to fight for us. Now, the U.S. and European countries and Canada are all gone. The Taliban are still there and they are killing us. They’re silencing us and forcing us to leave the country. So who do you think won this war?”

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RHOSLC Recap: Mary Calls Out Lisa for “Belittling” Her, Jennie Yells at Mary, Plus Angie and Lisa Make Amends

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RHOSLC Recap: Mary Calls Out Lisa for Belittling Her as Jennie Yells at Mary, Plus Angie and Lisa Make Amends After Caterer Drama

On this episode of The Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City, Whitney is organizing a snow tubing trip, which simply translates to everyone fighting, and Jennie continues to deal with pressure regarding a growing family.

Henry and I share a love of fast food.” Lisa explains that since she is an adult now, she believes she can demonstrate her leadership by carting her child around to drive-thrus and stuffing him with cake pops right after school pickup. She listens intently to Henry talk about his fractured friendships and offers up advice/a meetup for them to heal their friendship. Well, watching Lisa shell out help about a situation so close to home for her is incredibly ironic.

Jennie and her husband, Duy, are out on a date, but they haven’t really talked much since the sister-wife conversation. Luckily, it was oyster night, so despite being mad at Duy, Jennie accepted the chance to talk to him about his desire to have more children… and possibly a sister wife. Duy explains that HE felt hurt when Jennie walked away from him. He further goes on about how common polygamy is in their culture, but Jennie thinks it is so weird that he is even entertaining this. Duy states an example of a patient of his that has five wives and 40 (yes, 40) kids. Jennie stands firm and reminds Duy of their religion, but she tears up thinking about sharing her gem of a husband with someone else (even though she really wasn’t sure about him from the neck up…).

Duy, stone-faced, tells Jennie she is his best friend and decides he doesn’t wanna lose her. TOOK YOU THIS LONG to figure that out?! Imagine being the waiter in this scenario? Watching these two having their waterworks, discussing these heavy-duty topics… Jennie suggests that for Duy to heal over the loss of their daughter, he should seek some professional help. Jennie tells Duy it’s not fair that he may not get help, but she understands that he may not want to admit he is weak or vulnerable and then look like a failure.

One question: Is Seth high? What kind of greeting is that when he meets up with Meredith for a date, and what is with the horny schtick? He’s all fun and games, talking about loosening Meredith up, if ya know what I mean… but Meredith steers the convo back to business. They discuss the new place they are looking to build, and all Seth wants is to “motorboat mother nature…” He just cares about the cleavage, er, the view.

Seth asks Meredith what her expectations are, and she explains that since going to therapy, things have been good, but she has hopes of Seth taking on some of the responsibility of the children as well. She claims that she is exhausted and stressed, and he offers to “jump on stress grenades all day” for Meredith… “naked.” Cringe.

It’s the first anniversary of the new location of Heather’s Beauty Lab… and it’s the first birthday for ALL of the Beauty Lab babies. All of Heather’s employees had kids at the exact same time, so why not hold a party? Whitney and Angie arrive to celebrate for a “mom’s night out” (WHY would they *choose* to spend their free time with other peoples’ children?!), and when Jen gets there, Whitney begins to spill the tea.

She tells the women about her odd interaction at the restaurant with Lisa. Whitney believes that Lisa set up a trap at the dinner, hoping to exonerate Lisa of any wrongdoing regarding the catering scandal. As Jen listens, she feels like that’s not even Lisa’s style to do something like that. You know it’s bad when JEN is the voice of reason. Whitney explains that Lisa is still blaming the whole thing on Angie, and Angie is having a hard time believing her long-time friend Lisa would let something like this get in the way. And then Angie falls over drunk and pukes, so there’s that.

It’s the snow tubing day, and Mary rolls up to the lot in a party bus. She needed to be comfortable, so she provided the transportation for the group. Lisa feels as though it’s kind of annoying that Whitney invited Angie, but Lisa has decided to be SUPER mature about it and just pretend like Angie is invisible.

Somehow, a scuffle breaks out between Mary and Lisa on the ride to tubing. Mary is annoyed that Lisa questioned her knowledge of information and blurts out, “Everything you say I have to Google it? If I say something, it’s fact.” Oh, and now the Lisa and Mary beef begins. Kind of out of left field that Mary becomes so hot and bothered.

After they arrive at the destination, Lisa attempts to smooth things over, but Mary is not having it. She is offended that Lisa questioned her intelligence and even goes as far as yelling, “Why, cuz I’m Black?” Lisa apologizes profusely, and Jennie jumps in, fired up, screaming about moving on and dropping it with some curse words sprinkled in there too. Mary tells Jennie to get her language right, but Jennie chooses to bite back at Mary. “Don’t tell me what to say or do. You ain’t my mom.” Jennie is misdirecting her anger — she is frustrated with her dumba*s husband and is just taking it out on Mary.

While everyone (sans Mary) appears to be having a good time, Whitney and Angie attempt to scare the women in Sasquatch costumes, but it’s really just a lame effort of spicing up the boring outing. A competition is called to tube down the hill in teams and the losers have to wear wigs at lunch. I feel like Jen should maybe go orange… Her wig doesn’t look half bad.

During lunch, Mary stews and Jen asks if things are now good between Lisa and Mary. Mary calls it a misunderstanding, and Lisa is tired of everyone thinking the worst of her and her intentions. When the Mary/Lisa issue gets squashed, Angie feels like it’s her turn to jump in the ring.

Lisa states that unless Angie says she is sorry, there is nothing more to be said. Despite their history, Lisa is annoyed by the accusation her friend of 20 years made. Lisa calls it painful and explains that her feelings were hurt, but it may be time for Lisa to own her sh*t. When Whitney gets involved, Lisa loses it. She wants to be herself and asks everyone to get off her “f*cking back.”

Lisa is borderline out of breath after her rant, but she notices that her two “friends” (Jen and Meredith) are silent as she fights this battle alone. Lisa explains that her grandfather was gay and states that she fully supports the LGBTQ community, so the event was near and dear to her heart and she would have never done anything to sabotage it. She cries and Angie comes over for a hug. Things are settled.

But now… it’s Jennie’s turn. She asks Mary if THEY are good, and it’s almost like everyone is just taking turns “fighting” for screen time. Jennie explains that she is Asian and she got triggered by Mary telling her what to do since she grew up that way. Mary is told not to attack her if she doesn’t know her and Jennie gets emotional.  She tells the women that today is her daughter’s death anniversary, and she decides to share because she doesn’t want to go through crap with the ladies. In her confessional, Lisa states that she doesn’t know why Jennie shared that with the group since they are all “selfish b*tches” (where’s the lie thooo), but having Jennie open up like that certainly explains her behavior. Shots are called for, and it seems like all is well in SLC for now.

TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE EPISODE?

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Yiiikes! ‘Black Ink’ Star Sky Reportedly Got Into Mortifying Scuffle Outside Of Drake’s Birthday Party

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Yiiikes! ‘Black Ink’ Star Sky Reportedly Got Into Mortifying Scuffle Outside Of Drake’s Birthday Party

What is happening here???

Source: Prince Williams / Getty

Drake celebrated his 35th birthday over the weekend with a “Cocaine Cowboys” themed soiree that reportedly had its share of scuffles. According to an alleged witness from outside of the party, “Black Ink” star Sky Days seemingly got into a physical altercation with a woman on the street outside the venue.

The clip uploaded to Twitter is captioned ‘not them beating up Sky outside Drake’s party.’ The video shows Sky being scooped off the concrete by an unknown man as a woman turns towards Sky and says, “I literally went behind her and she pushed me.” Sky, surprisingly was pretty quiet in response, dusting herself off and walking away. The majority of the video is inaudible thereafter, but its pretty CLEAR some kind of intense altercation went on right before Sky was helped up from the pavement.

 

Maybe Drake had the ladies really excited to get inside his party??? Supposedly, the men were too according to witnesses. The viral clip of Sky being scooped off the floor was later uploaded to The Neighborhood Talk blog where reality star Meghan James also shared her experience in the comments, saying,

“I almost got in to 3 fights, and one was with a n*gga who pushed me. Don’t f*ckin push me bc I push back. Period.”

Welp! In related news, Sky seems to still be sharing her big personality on TikTok despite being off of reality TV, for now.

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Republicans and Democrats Sign Letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci Demanding to Know Why Beagles Used in Horrific Experiments

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Getty Images, White Coat Waste

24 lawmakers signed a letter to Dr. Anthony Fauci who approved grants to fund horrific experiments on adorable beagle puppies.

The White Coat Waste Project, a nonprofit organization, obtained documents and photos about the experiments on beagle puppies in Bethesda, Maryland in 2016 and Tunisia, Africa in 2018 and 2019.

In one photo released by the White Coat Waste Project, two drugged beagle puppies lay on a table with their heads trapped inside mesh cages.

The cages were filled with flesh-eating sand flies that ate the dogs alive.

The dogs’ vocal cords were cut so the laboratory staff could work in peace.

1635165819 34 Republicans and Democrats Sign Letter to Dr Anthony Fauci Demanding

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Purebred beagle puppies sell for $500 to $5,000 in the U.S.

The beagle puppies were used in research for anti-parasitic medications.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require drugs such as anti-parasitic medications to be tested on dogs.

Dr. Fauci is a clinical associate with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The NIAID, led by Fauci, reportedly spent $2 million on the beagle research project.

White Coat Waste told Changing America:

“Our investigators show that Fauci’s NIH division shipped part of a $375,800 grant to a lab in Tunisia to drug beagles and lock their heads in mesh cages filled with hungry sand flies so that the insects could eat them alive. They also locked beagles alone in cages in the desert overnight for nine consecutive nights to use them as bait to attract infectious sand flies.”

South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace wrote a letter to the NIH after learning of the investigation by the White Coat Waste Project.

Fifteen House Republicans and 9 House Democrats signed the letter asking Fauci to explain why beagle puppies were used in the heinous experiments.

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