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On Trump Eve, Afghans Living with War Are Really Worried About Their Relatives—in America

We’ve been on the wrong side of history before.

This Golden State is a podcast from veteran broadcast journalist Randy Shandobil. Click above to play.

San Francisco magazine and This Golden State podcast are collaborating on “The Resistance,” a portfolio devoted to the agitators, political leaders, and change agents who are fighting the incoming Trump administration on all fronts. San Francisco’s February issue will be devoted to the Resistance, with audio interviews conducted by veteran broadcast journalist Randy Shandobil, host of This Golden State. We’ll be posting Shandobil’s interviews online as they become available. 


Afghan immigrants
 are used to keeping tabs on their relatives back home. But as Donald Trump prepares to take office, even those loved ones living amid the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan are turning their attention to the political situation in the United States. “Even in Afghanistan, a lot of people were concerned about what’s going to happen to the immigrant community who live in the United States,” Rona Popal, executive director of Fremont’s Afghan Coalition, tells This Golden State’s Randy Shandobil. “Usually when we move to California or the U.S., we want to save our children from the war, destruction, and also bullying. That’s why we moved here. We thought we could have peace and solidarity with other people, because we believe in the United States, in the Constitution, in being free, in freedom of speech.”

And for Aisha Wahab, project director of the oral history nonprofit Little Kabul Stories, there are depressing, historical reasons to be wary—and to fight back against a Muslim registry, an idea Trump floated as a candidate. “One of the things about our history clearly shows that when we did this to the Japanese during World War II, we were on the wrong side of history. When we had the Chinese Exclusion Act, we were on the wrong side of history,” says Wahab. “Whether you’re talking about a Muslim registry or anything else, I think a lot of other people will say, ‘This is wrong.’”

For now, Popal is taking a measured approach: “Let’s wait and see what Trump is going to do.”

 
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