Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Young Sayeed is symbol of hope in a war-torn nation

The little boy’s joy at receiving a prosthetic leg shows Afghans’ extraordinary resilience

Five year old Afghan Sayeed Rahman smiles after receiving a new prosthetic leg in Kabul, on 7 May 2019. Ruchi Kumar / The National
Five year old Afghan Sayeed Rahman smiles after receiving a new prosthetic leg in Kabul, on 7 May 2019. Ruchi Kumar / The National

On Monday, footage of a young Afghan boy dancing joyously at a Red Cross orthopaedic centre, after receiving a prosthetic leg, went viral, melting the hearts of social media users worldwide. Since then, five-year-old Sayeed Rehman has become a symbol of resilience in Afghanistan, where innocent civilians are paying the price of war on a daily basis. Just this year, 150 Afghan children have reportedly been killed by extremists and a further 432 injured. Their tragic stories regularly go unreported, yet they deserve to be told. In that vein, The National met Sayeed and his mother Raesa, who shared their life story. When he was only eight months old, the family was caught up in fighting between the Taliban and Afghan forces. As a result, Sayeed sustained injuries that led to his leg being amputated. Raesa supported her family of seven while working on a farm as her ailing husband was unable to do so. “I was mentally broken”, she told The National, recounting years of pain and suffering.

Their story is tragically not unusual. Like many Afghans, the Rehmans’ woes are the consequence of decades of war, which has torn the troubled nation apart. In February, peace talks between the Taliban and the US rekindled hope in the hearts of Afghans that the current cycle of violence could end, but the extremists have shown scant motivation to reach an agreement. It followed the cancellation of scheduled negotiations with the Afghan government last year, as the Taliban continued to wage its brutal campaign of bloodshed in Afghanistan.

On Wednesday, the group unleashed hell on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. A suicide attack on the US-funded NGO Counterpart International killed five and injured two dozen in Kabul while a blast in Lahore left nine dead. Ordinary Afghans affected by this endless violence deserve a second chance at life, and continued medical support is only part of the solution. But after years of hardship, young Sayeed’s exuberance, which moved people across the globe, proves that there is always reason to hope for a better tomorrow.

Updated: May 9, 2019 06:24 PM

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