Beyond Reason by John Alderdice

For some years I have been warning publicly that we are heading into a third global conflict, and this, at times, led me to feel quite down about the prospects for humanity. This third global conflict is not simply a rerun of the disasters of the twentieth century, for before 1945, however terrible a war was and however many people died, the world would repair itself and in time the population of the world could be restored. With the threat of nuclear war and the reality of climate change, humankind has brought about the very real danger of our own demise.

A World Not Good Enough by Abdel Aziz Al Bawab

The demand for Palestinian erasure arises from a larger socio-historical structure, present mentally as a blueprint that maps out people’s presupposed positions in the world. Positions imposed historically through violence and valued differentially according to colonial logics. This map is unconsciously pulled upon to be reproduced externally, in an injurious gesture echoing the original colonial trauma that birthed the world attempting to be reproduced.

Pages in the Park by Josephine Wright

[…]I had been photographing rain within the hearts and throats of flowers when I saw the pages on the wet bench that overlooked the West Side Highway and beyond to the racing waters of the Hudson. Looking more closely, I recognized the pages as the play Antigone. The two pages on top, 206 and 229, upside down from each other, were not consecutive. Had the reader taken the chunk of the book containing missing pages 207–228 because they had particular significance? Or was the intent to highlight these two remaining pages in the hope that a passerby would pause to read them. To alert them—me?…

Building Connection and Resilience by Carole Geithner

I have been honored to be a group facilitator in the Writing for Friendship program serving young women from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and fourteen other nationalities represented among the students attending the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. […] We breathe in the relative calm of our collective pause, and we share moments of beauty or experiences of kindness we observed over the previous week. And then I invite them to write, to give words to their strengths, their stories, their dreams.

Midnight Mission by Robert Frey

We’d have looked a motley crew, if it hadn’t been so dark. Five of us were on a midnight mission, a small band in dark clothing, struggling up a black hillside a few miles outside Rifle, Colorado. For every dusty yard gained, we slid back a step or two, trudging past broken boulders and scattered sagebrush in our climb up the mountain. No flashlights, since we were planning a criminal act. We tried to be quiet in case there was a guard. The nearest ranchers were in bed, miles away.

Reader Response: Shegofa Shahbaz

I am writing this email to tell you about our meeting yesterday with IPA subcommittee at the U.N. We talked about women’s situation in Afghanistan and they talked about my writing which is published in ROOM 6.23. They mentioned that my writing in ROOM 6.23 helped them. They also said that they will have programs for women in Afghanistan and we will work together on that….

Reader Response: Martha Bragin

Early on February 10, 2002, I sat in a large, crowded room in Kabul, Afghanistan. With coats pulled tight against the icy blasts from broken windows, representatives of the Afghan Interim Authority’s Ministry of Education prepared a plan to open Afghanistan’s schools at the traditional start time, Nowruz, the New Year….

Letter to the United Nations by Shegofa Shahbaz

I am writing this letter on behalf of all Afghan girls. I am Shegofa Shahbaz. I am twenty years old. I grew up among the dust and smoke of explosions, gunshots, fire, war, and sad stories. I grew up with fear. Fear of an explosion inside our classroom, fear of not seeing my family again, fear of losing my friends, and fear of losing my dreams. Beside all those sad stories in my life, I had a hope for a better future, but when the Taliban took the control of Afghanistan, my dreams were destroyed.

What We Left Behind by Libby Bachhuber

My mind keeps returning to an image of myself sitting in my chair at the office—my therapist chair—in March 2023. Only the dim winter sun and the murmur of passing cars filtered in through the window on my left. Inside, the air purifier hummed. The couch across from me had been left empty when my patient stood to leave a few minutes before. I had closed the door behind her, then moved to my desk to retrieve my phone. Anticipating an unscheduled hour, I’d returned to my chair and lit up the screen, searching without thinking.