*

I was in my apartment, it was late in the evening and I was probably cooking something for my dinner. (Thank you, America, for teaching me how to cook. I never had to do my own cooking at home.) CNN was on and the anchor was repeatedly announcing that President Obama was going to make "an important" announcement.

Finally came the big news: "The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden."

"Where?" I asked myself. "Where was Bin Laden killed? Where was he hiding? … Don't let it be Afghanistan."

Finally, word came that Bin Laden had been killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

"Thank goodness," I thought.

The TV showed people dancing on the streets in different cities in the United States. I wanted to go out and see whether the people were dancing on the streets in L.A. too, but got to talking with a couple of friends back home.

They were excited, and relieved that he wasn't killed in Afghanistan. But almost everyone agreed that it wasn't going to change anything there.

*

My return home presents many unknowns. U.S. freedoms that are envied by the rest of the world, such as speaking your mind, can get you killed in Afghanistan.

I still don't know what I can do to change that.

This summer, the funding ran out for a program for developing young journalists that meant a lot to me. I'd seen the potential in these kids who began calling themselves the "change makers." They were fearless. They talked of women's rights and the unknown communities of Afghanistan -- some living in caves, some living in mansions. They eagerly searched for ways to tell the stories no one else touched.

Now I'm not sure what will become of these wonderful, earnest minds, or the muckraking pieces I thought would help change our country for the better.

No one knows what will happen as the U.S. pulls out of Afghanistan. Will the Taliban run the country again?

But I still want to pursue what I call "peace journalism" in Afghanistan. Rather than running from bombing to bombing, writing almost entirely about sadness and destruction, peace journalism tells about the struggles and triumphs of a place. It tells of history, hope and happiness.

I can see peace journalism in my mind's eye. I must make it happen.

emal.haidary@gmail.com

Haidary was a reporter at The Times sponsored by the Daniel Pearl Foundation in partnership with the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships from April 6 through Aug. 26.