What do the war torn children of Afghanistan have in common with a popular American band?
Guns for Hands. Afghan kids know all too well this phenomena;they experience it everyday.In
every school,on every corner,in every house there are guns for hands.What the American band
21 Pilots had in mind when they composed a song called guns for hands i have yet to
discover,but do to its playful nature i am sure it wasn’t intended for this landlocked supposed
God forsaken country.
Or was it?
When i moved to Kabul,Afghanistan in February of 2016 to teach mostly girls the guitar,girls
who were suicide bomb attack survivors,who knew intimately the dark modalities of poverty and
war.I began to search for songs that i felt spoke of their condition.Among them were Sting’s
Fragile,Coldplay’s Don’t Panic and a song called Guns for Hands by a band from America called
21 Pilots.Both metaphorically and literally this song speaks volumes about the state of violence
in our world but most assuredly this resonates in Afghanistan a country at war for the past 37
years.When the kids first heard I’m trying,i’m trying to sleep…but i can’t, but i can’t cause you all
have guns for hands…they smiled with a knowingness that said this is about us.And then when
they began singing it,a most exuberant shout of joy emanated from their glee filled spirits.In the
second verse about there being hope out the window they began to see this hope.Such is the
power of a song.After working on the song for a few weeks these absolute beginners to both the
guitar and music had an idea for the end-a chant-put down your guns,raise your hands…it was
their first contact into the idea that perhaps through music,peace was possible.You see music
for these Miraculous Love Kids as they are called has become a true force of healing and
hope.A hope that might be on a tightrope but a hope that they can now see nonetheless.
What music has done for me and i’m sure the members of 21 Pilots i wish for these Miraculous
Love Kids.I wish for them the immaculate adventure that ensues when you have the chance to
express yourself in song-in soul-in life.And maybe just maybe when enough of us are filled with
this spirit we will “Put down our guns and raise our hands.”