This won’t come out right.

I don’t like writing about things from an emotionally heightened state, often when I try it just doesn’t come out right.  Some people can write in a way that causes others to rally, or empathize, or sympathize, or something, but not I.  When I try to write moving content, inevitably it falls short, and it’s CTRL+A delete for me!

I’m not generally moved by a sense of right and wrong, or a sense of morality, I’m not generally moved by politics, or virtue, or duty.  When I’m moved, it’s generally by people, the stories of people, the lives of people, the experiences of real people in real situations.  

On August 30, 2021, I was moved.  The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has more depth than I can personally comprehend, but what I do understand is that the lives of Afghan people, especially women and girls can no longer be the same.  The Taliban is no friend to women and no friend to freedom.  Especially, and from my point of view most tragically, the freedom of education.  On August 30, 2021 any progressive footing established in Afghanistan was immediately shut down.  On that day, Women and girls with an eye for progress, especially those who experienced the light of hope were forced into darkness.

I wanted to help, I still want to help, but with limited resources I had no idea where to start or what to do.  So, I began asking questions, I started conversations, I started listening, in essence I started learning.

I looked within the climbing community to see where and how we could get involved.  There’s a nonprofit called Ascend Athletics that has been working in Afghanistan for years.  Their mission was to engage in a high impact leadership program through climbing in order to help Afghan women reach their potential.  On August 30, 2021, that mission ended.  Since then, the mission of Ascend Athletics has been to secure visas wherever possible to save Afghan women.  As visas are secured, money needs to be raised for flights, and housing, and clothing, and everything else a family would need to start their life over in a foreign land.  They are doing amazing work, but like most nonprofits they can’t do it alone.  They need help and resources.

Their site can be found Here.  The documentary film Ascending Afghanistan: Women Rising, by Pablo Durana captures the work that Ascend Athletics is doing.  It’s violent, and moving, heartwarming, and heartbreaking, but very much worthy of your time.  theDIHEDRAL is currently attempting to raise money for the Afghan women of Ascend who have lost nearly everything, hopefully we can do a good job, but if not, then hopefully we can at least help raise awareness.

If you would like to donate, we have a link on our Instagram page, or you can make a contribution right on the Ascend Athletics website.

If you’re like me and have limited monetary resources but still want to help, there are other ways.  You can share links to nonprofits like Ascend Athletics, you can hold fundraisers to spread awareness, and raise money, and just as important you can share your time.

I was lucky enough to speak with Afghan Climber, and motivational speaker Mariam Shareefy1 a few weeks ago.  I asked her what someone with minimal funds and connections could do to help, and her response was beautiful.  She simply said, “talk to people”.

Mariam is absolutely right.  Imagine being a refugee.  Someone who had to give up the only life they’ve even known in the hopes that starting over with nothing in a foreign country may be better.  Imagine arriving in a foreign land, not sure if you’ll be accepted, not knowing how your kids are going to be treated, not knowing how you’ll pay for your next meal, or where you’ll be able to lay your head, not knowing the language, and not having any friends or family around.  In addition to all of this is the knowledge that you’ll probably never see your family, friends, or homeland ever again.  

Who cares if you don’t have money or resources to help?  Talk to people.  Consider someone who has travelled halfway across the world with nothing but uncertainty, imagine how it would feel for someone to simply ask “how is your morning”.  With tools like Zoom, and Webex, and Google Workspace, holding a monthly chat with someone or a small group just to help them practice speaking a new language could be a life changing opportunity.  Sharing stories about different cultures, finding similarities in unlikely places, these types of things have value for all parties.

People escaping Afghanistan need help, and I’m not asking you to help, I know people do what they can within their means to help how they see fit, and I know people are moved in different directions by different causes.  We at theDIHEDRAL normally only reach out regarding the environment.  But watching the intentional destruction of an entire people and an entire culture at the hands of some thugs has moved me to say something and try to do something.  I am not asking you to help, but if you are moved by any of this, maybe you’ll have the chance to say something or do something as well.

Mariam Shareefy is 100% correct.  So even though things may not come out right, at the very least we should be talking.  People need help, and in this case, for this particular climber, staying silent just wasn’t an option2.  

Even if it came out all wrong, I’m staying away from the delete key, because sometimes it doesn’t matter how you say something, sometimes what matters is that something was said.


  1. Mariam Shareefy is as brave and brilliant a person as I have ever met. Her stories and life are captivating and moving examples of inner strength and courage. Here are a couple links in case you want to learn more.
  2. Unironically, posts like this will cause us to lose readers, and that is unfortunate because it seems like the piece is having the opposite effect of the goal.  So, to all of you who have read this one and continue to read and support us, THANK YOU!

37 Replies to “This won’t come out right.”

  1. I think it came out beautifully!!! Very moving and with depth of heart. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been following and supporting a non.profit that focuses on rescuing children from trafficking and they had a hand in the civilian rescue shortly after the military left. Devastating blow to that country. And a terrible blemish on the reputation of ours.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I shared it on my site. I think it actually woke me up as a dream. I don’t claim to have any type of clairvoyant skills, but it was an odd deal. I work at a College, just a maintenance man, but they have womans soccer, basketball, softball, track, volleyball teams. I’ll see if I can get this emailed to some of the coaches. There are often foriegn students at our schools.
    War is hell, especially for the innocent.
    I’m older than the mountains you scale, but I took a Nols course in 1992 and spent 28 days learning to climb in the Winds Rivers mountains range in Wyoming, USA. Life altering experience. Have a great day.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Kevin, this is such a nice note to read. Thank you for helping us out. That course you took sounds like the best time. I’ve never been to Wyoming, but you have just given me a great reason to go! Thank you!


  3. Thank you for sharing both your thoughts, and your research in how we can help. This is powerful.

    Respect and love for your written word that says exactly what needs to be said. Donna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Just got back from the fundraiser, and we raised around 400 dollars today, not a bad afternoon. I’m looking forward to reading your post Martha, I am already sure it’s going to be great!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post! It makes my heart happy to know the climbing community is trying to help in this endeavor, but I am also not surprised! I look forward to finding the documentary! We have been taking in a lot of Afghan refugees in my area and the community has been working as one to organize and distribute what they need. One person is often a part of multiple communities, I think many people do not realize their potential to influence others in so many ways. I think that is evident by your post and the comments of other people here. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for this comment, sometimes it’s hard to notice all the work people are doing to help, but it really is uplifting to see so many people trying to make a difference in other people’s lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It came out right and is very moving. The tragedy for women is almost unbearable. Thank you for promoting the cause and reaching out for support.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Just watched the documentary Ascending Afghanistan & am even more thankful you didn’t hit the delete button. Thank you for this post & for all the trickle down (UP) it created.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Remember to be thankful for all the places that are not Afghanistan, and all the people in the world that are not Taliban.
    Remember that this is not the first gross injustice against humankind by others of our own species.
    Remember all the emigrants and immigrants that have fled their homes on a one-way trip to a foreign shore.
    Do whatever you can to help today, but bring with you the baggages of yesteryears.
    Speak the names of evil-doers and hold them up to the light: Vlad the Impaler, Ivan the Terrible, Cromwell, Hitler, BinLaden.
    Only by carrying high these banners of shame can we hope for a someday without hatred and injustice.

    Pray for peace.


    Liked by 3 people

  8. I love your heart and share your concern. You stated this need in a powerful, personal, and moving way. Thank you for reminding us of this situation and these women.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You are right to be “moved” and there are two other things to do to counter the terror in the souls of evil humans: We open our arms in welcome to those seeking refuge; we pray.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Plot twist – this came out right.

    I have been working with some different non-profits and volunteers to help with the Afghan situation – particularly with helping the most vulnerable escape. It is important – it is vital. And even just sharing good links helps!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Before the covid pandemic began I was taking courses and one of our assignments had to do with things going on in Afghanistan and the women there and we had to write in response our thoughts, what we gathered from what we read and the impact on their lives, and so on.

    It is really barbaric, inhumane.

    Your message came across very clear.

    Liked by 1 person

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