In response to this article by the Washington Post about visas being denied for the all female Afghan Robotics team I received this letter:
Dear Afghan Women’s Robotics Team,
You have already won! You have received worldwide attention for your nation’s plight. You are some of Afghanistan’s brightest young women, and you will go on to do great things for your nation. You have already showed the world your abilities.
My own nation, my beloved United States of America, has been an unsteady friend to the Afghan people. We have tried to help you against your enemies and especially against terrorists, but we have been clumsy and we have hurt many Afghans along the way. You understand that our leaders do not always represent our people. Many Americans strongly support Afghan independence. We pray for peace, stability, and eventual prosperity for Afghanistan.
I visited Afghanistan one summer almost forty years ago. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. I remember the Afghan people I met as friendly, generous, and welcoming to a foreigner who did not know their language and customs. Please forgive our current failure, remain faithful, and come to visit us when times change for the better. I hope my country will be as welcoming to you someday. That will be the trip of a lifetime for each of you as well.
Best wishes, and may the peace of God be with you,
Sterling, Virginia, USA