“My father was a refugee, and he fled Afghanistan in 1997 after the Taliban came to power. He didn’t see any future for our family. He was a government official, so it was dangerous for him to stay. I was two years old when he fled.
Arriving in Denmark, he was placed in a refugee camp for 18 months, after which my mom, my siblings and I came to live with him.
When I look at my father, I get the sense that he might not be completely happy. There is a certain pride connected to where you come from. Maybe you can have a better life, a higher standard of living in another country, but the pride that you feel in your own country, you cannot replace.
The sad part is that when powerful countries go in and destabilize developing countries, it leads to human tragedies – people are forced to leave their homes, families, and friends. To this day, my parents are sad. Sad about watching their home country being ripped to pieces yet again.
Peace in the Afghan hearts
I grew up in Denmark and went to school until my family decided to move back to Afghanistan between 2009 and 2018. I returned to Denmark to study Global Studies. Currently, I’m doing my master’s degree.
My mom and siblings have been living in Afghanistan ever since – they just came to Denmark with the last Danish evacuating flight from Afghanistan. With the government collapsing and the Taliban taking over, they couldn’t stay. With the news of the Taliban taking one province after another, I was living in constant fear until my family arrived safely in Denmark.
I still have friends and relatives living in Afghanistan, and their safety is on my mind every day. What is their future going to look like?
I’m afraid of what is going to happen to the people in my home country. My main concern is that they won’t allow women to attend school and maintain their jobs. I’m afraid that women won’t experience any type of development, educationally or economically. When I think about the women of Afghanistan right now, I can’t imagine how they must be feeling not being able to pursue their dreams. They are barely even allowed to dream anymore. How will they continue their lives?
But I have hope. We have so many open-minded men. Some people might have another idea of Afghan men – that they oppress women. But especially the new generation of men wants to see change in the country – starting with themselves.
I hope to see my home country as it was, with peace in the streets, in the parks, and in the hearts of my people. I hope that the Afghans get the opportunity to experience the world with a peaceful heart. My hope is that a good government will rise again.
I want people to know that the Afghans haven’t only experienced dark days. They can pursue any dream if they just have a little peace in their lives. The Afghan people are not weak because of what they have been through – what they are going through. They are more than what they are experiencing right now. For me to be Afghan – now more than ever – I find a lot of pride in. We are very brave-hearted people.
Whatever I am today or whatever I am becoming, I am both connected to my people and still Danish at the same time. I’m human in a lot of ways.”
(Shabana wants to stay anonymous).
Afghanistan-born Giso has found her calling as a mentor for young minority women in the IT industry. Today, her cultural background is a useful tool in her work towards the digital empowerment of refugee and migrant women in the workspace.
Sara published her first poetry collection earlier in 2021. It tells the stories of her upbringing between two cultures, seeking her Palestinian roots, and trying to understand her cultural identity through a generational perspective.