DON’T PANIC (a Kind of Zen State of Being)

In Afghanistan there is much to be alarmed about.There is chronic poverty,incessant war,suicide
bomb attacks with frequent regularity,there are children begging in the middle of maniacally
dangerous streets,there are land mines,drug addicts,kidnappers,mayhem manufacturers and
other creepy crazies of the oozing,festering underbelly.

There is also a growing group of girls who play guitar and are part of a collective called The
Miraculous Love Kids/Girl with a Guitar.This sisterhood of song has begun to make sense of the
world and learn about life through the sonic lens of music.Don’t Panic by the English Rock band
Coldplay is one of the songs that has moved them so.It’s Haiku like repeating verses form a
mantra that speaks to the state of affairs that these young survivors of suicide attacks,poverty
and other social catastrophes have endured.To them the song simply put means that no matter
what happens “We Live in a Beautiful World” and in spite of so much unrest and uncertainty,
“Don’t Panic”.In this they discovered a kind of zen state of being.

One day they translated the chorus of “We Live in a Beautiful World” into their native tongue of
Dari and like that new resonances emerged.Resonances of belonging to a world that had
previously forsaken them.

Prior to Don’t Panic the kids had never heard of these Hooligan’s of Hope called
Coldplay.Indeed they had never heard of any western musical artists.So a whole new world was
being introduced to them through the deep soul gaze of music.

Mursal is one of the top Girl with a Guitar members.I met her in March 2014 17 months after she
survived a suicide bombing attack near a CIA substation (the intended target) that killed her
sisters Parwana and Khorshid.She was living in squalid conditions upon a hill in the district of
Shuda on the outskirts of Kabul.There was something about this girl that stood out.In spite of
everything she had gone through there was an inner strength and curiosity. A presence that
moved me deeply.I had come to Kabul to meet her family and offer my help.I had no idea that
this would evolve into me moving to Kabul to become their teacher/mentor/student but such is
the power of love and music.

In a world full of cynicism,narcissism,corruption,greed,violence and desperation,it is refreshing
that bands like Coldplay can inspire a legion of kids to go into the convulsion of the world and be
bold,to help create a new reality and whirl in joy,beauty and hope and to sing for the first time
those great songs of the human heart.