The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.

James Branch Cabell (1879-1958)—American author

A MAN WAS brought to a place by his brothers, who drove for many hours on unmarked roads to get him there. ey claimed the man was insane and a dan-ger to himself, with his behavior erratic and his emotions out of control. is man’s name may have been Saed or maybe it was Tarik. Nobody at the place even bothered to ask. e brothers paid a required sum of about $20 and just le the man there without looking back. Year aer year, hundreds of other Afghans bring their relatives and close friends who suer from severe psychological disturbances there as well. is place, at once a shrine and a hospital, applies an ancient treatment to mental illness. As far as the legends go, a person will be healed aer spending 40 days in one of the shrine’s 16 small concrete cells, eating a daily diet of bread, water, and black pepper. e healing is supposed to come from the grave of a renowned spiritual leader the locals refer to as pir, Mia Ali Sahib. Since the early 2000s, clinicians from the U.S. have been training Afghan psychiatrists and psychologists in the use of Western methods of diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders and providing Afghanis access to medications necessary to treat many severe emotional and behavioral symptoms. Yet scores of Afghans ignore or reject the clinical approach (Sie, 2012). ey do not seek help from professionals or pharmacists. Instead, they resort to faith and tradition. Many of them claim the healing was successful, while acknowledging there is no science behind it. e conditions within this shrine/hospital are harsh, inhumane, and prisonlike. Even so, they have been used for centuries. Who’s to judge? e U.S. arguably treats their mentally ill with even greater disdain. e mental health system and family members in the United States’ most industrialized cities frequently abandon their mentally ill family members to wander aimlessly in the streets until they, literally, end up in prison.