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OPINION

Girls with Guitars

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Last week, an organization that used to provide guitar lessons to girls in Afghanistan released a music video featuring those girls. The video was shot prior to the withdrawal of U.S. forces last summer and the subsequent takeover of their country by the Taliban.

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Miraculous Love Kids, a 501(c)(3) program, is run by Lanny Cordola, an American guitarist, songwriter and producer.

The video opens with an introduction by a 16-year-old Afghan girl, who shows pictures that describe the terrible plight that the children of Afghanistan are enduring today: sleeping alone outside in the cold, sitting alone in the snow and huddled together for warmth in the street. As the photos flash onto the screen, the Afghan girl says, "Millions of freezing, starving, desperate children. Imagine this is your world. What would you do? What will you do? God help us all."

Later in the video, the girls are sitting outside, playing their guitars, singing and smiling; this was before the U.S. left their country. As a mother with two college-age children, this visual warms my heart -- then breaks it as I realize this image is no longer their reality.

This isn't the first time the group has been on camera. On May 18, 2021, three months before the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the subsequent fall of Afghanistan, ABC News' "Good Morning America" featured the Miraculous Love Kids. It's worth a watch. The girls talk about the program, which not only taught them how to play the guitar but placed them in school and ensured they did not wind up working on the streets. They had hope; they were smiling.

But once the Taliban assumed power, they shut down the program. Today, the lives of these young women and girls are much different.

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The song, "God Help us All," is aptly titled as God is the only hope for them, but God needs our help. The video also includes Tom Morello, Victoria Williams, Beth Hart, John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting), Julien Baker, Nandi Bushell, Serj Tankian (System of A Down), Cass McCombs, Aaron Lee Tasjan, William Dagsher, David Mansfield (Bob Dylan), Gary Griffin, Frank Locrasto and Nils Lofgren (Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young).

Cordola, who produced the song with Sarmad Ghafoor, a Pakistani musician, is now focusing his efforts on helping his former students. "It has been a hellish past six months trying to evacuate and relocate the girls and their families," he said. "Tom Morello's soul hymn perfectly encapsulates this feeling."

These girls now fear for their lives, and certainly cannot be found sitting outside, playing the guitar, singing and smiling in Afghanistan.

Ondrasik, who has been raising awareness of Afghanistan through his recent song, "Blood on My Hands," is fully behind this effort and working to increase awareness. "It was an honor to join Lanny Cordola and an all-star group of musicians to raise awareness for his Afghan music students by singing 'God Help us All'," Ondrasik told me.

The lyrics of the song are as follows:

"I stood among the faithful

And raised my banner high

Filled my breath with wonder

In the early morning sky

God Help Us All.

"In the tomb of silence

Walked with my head down

Another broken spirit in another broken-hearted town

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God Help Us All.

"We're going to get it right

God Help Us All.

You know we gotta get it right

God Help Us All.

"I've been aching all night

God Help Us All.

"So many they are suffering

So many cannot cope

So many in the margins with no future and no hope

God Help Us All.

"You know you gotta help us."

Less than eight months ago, President Joe Biden told the American people that the Taliban would not be able to rapidly take over Afghanistan once we pulled out our troops. Six months ago, we withdrew from Afghanistan -- and the country rapidly fell. We watched as throngs of desperate people rushed to get aboard a plane -- any plane, even moving ones -- at the Kabul airport. It's horrific what happened then and what is happening now. Our president bears responsibility for his decision, but we must bear the burden of helping those who were left behind by continuing to raise awareness and demand action about the problem. You can find out more at MiraculousLoveKids.org.

God help us all -- you gotta help them. Share on Facebook, tweet, donate money, email or call your representative to let them know you care. Let God help you help them.

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