Afghanistan: A life lost to the war
January 8, 2022
The story of a brave father and his pursuit of hope
"Suddenly we lost everything in one week. You cannot imagine that. All your accomplishments, achieved through hardship and difficulty, all the dreams and hard work spent on a better future for your children, were suddenly gone, in the space of a week. Usually when people lose something, they ease their frustration by accepting that there is a logical reason for the suffering they are going through. But this time I can't find a logical explanation. Why have I lost 20 years of achievements without a plausible reason? Why did Afghanistan suddenly change like this, without a real motive for it? I finally came to realize that the answer is simple.
This is real politics working. There is no such thing as good politics.
I was working in Afghanistan with a lot of difficulties and facing many challenges, but I always thought that everything would, one day, be okay. But when we lost everything in that week, I lost all my hope for the future. Nothing will change. I don’t know, but from my point of view, nothing will change in Afghanistan.
That is not a good place for human beings to be living right now.
When you ask any person in Afghanistan about this matter, they'll say that all they hope for, is peace, and a good future for all the people in their country. They hope for a safe place where the younger generation - especially the children - can normally and easily go to school to actually learn something, and can simply walk outside,
freely and without any concern.
I can tell you that this is not something easy to achieve. Since 2015, I have faced many challenges, especially the challenge of being threatened and the challenge of not feeling safe. In Afghanistan, I could not allow my kids to go outside and play, because I would receive a lot of assassination and kidnap threats. You cannot imagine how hard it is having your daughter imprisoned at home, without having the permission to simply see the outside of her house, because of the fear of these threats.
Even myself, I would go to, and come back from, my work with a lot of difficulty because of this.
There is no longer a big concern that my kid cannot go to school because she is a girl. My hope is that finally peace will come. But I am not optimistic about it, because I see something now that I have seen in the past already:
the help from other countries has stopped.
For the people in Afghanistan, security is not even a priority right now, all they want is something to fill their stomachs. We don't know if there will be the possibility to find food after a month or two, because of the rising prices and the growing unemployment. There is no money. The banks are closed.
People were being killed because of them and now they will starve because of them.
So no, I don't wish to go back. Because for me, Afghanistan now is like hell. I don’t wish to go back because of my kid. [Shows young girl]. Because of her. She needs to get an education, she needs to go to school, and now, outside of Afghanistan, she is happy. Now she comes home from school and asks “Can I go outside to ride my bike?”, that question was a hard one when we lived in Afghanistan. I would always say no, without any explanation. She would always ask “Why? Why can’t I go outside and play? What is the reason?”, and I could not tell her the real reason. And now, for the first time in her life, I can finally say "Yes, you can go outside and ride your bike".
This is a feeling I cannot explain.
The situation in Afghanistan, as it is right now, would not be a good one for my daughter and for my family. I do hope that we can solve our problems here in Belgium because, as you know, being a refugee brings a lot of problems. For example, the problem of language, the difficulty in finding a house or to even get a job. Yet, when I ask my wife and children if they are happy, they tell me and show me that they truly are.
That eases the situation. The problems do not seem so difficult, simply because we finally feel safe.
Thank you for providing me the opportunity to tell my story."