The essays below have been submitted by Afghan women and girls. Most of the articles have been lightly edited to assist with English grammar by Alliance volunteers, but the ideas, thoughts, and sentiments are all directly from the Afghan authors. At the request of the authors, many of the authors’ names have been changed to protect their identity.

Dreaming of a Bright Future for Afghanistan

By Afsana

Because of 3 decades of war in Afghanistan most people left school and emigrated to other countries and now also there are some people who don’t consider the happiness of Afghans and they try to ruin Afghanistan. They prevent us from making progress and rebuilding Afghanistan.

The person with a family full of hope will make sure he gets a good education so that he can have a happy life himself and serve his people and his country. But that person could be killed at any moment.

In these circumstances Afghanistan can never get better. But fortunately Afghans never accept failure but get on with their lives despite difficulty.

Many young people are joining Afghan forces to defend their country.
By the help of Merciful Allah they will bring peace and security soon. Nowadays most Afghans are trying to get an education so I think after several years most people will be educated if the educational level of a country is high it will have positive changes in a country. The educated persons will have their own factories and we won’t need to import everything from other countries.

We will have mineralogists to exploit the minerals and then we will have a good economy and we won’t need to receive financial help from other countries.

We will have enough doctors and people won’t need to travel to foreign countries for treatment. To have a bright future you need to have good ideas. If we make our ideas come true we can make a good future for all Afghan.

I look forward to the day when Afghanistan is at peace and people no longer have sadness and family problems.

The air won’t be polluted by bomb smoke and people will have a good place to live for all Afghans.

This is my dream for my country now my dream for my own life.

I will marry when my parents chose a person for me and I would like to have two children, a boy and a girl. We will live in Kandahar province. I would not like to live in an apartment. It would be too boring because it doesn’t have a yard, trees or grass.

I would like to live in house with a big yard which has some trees, a vegetable garden and a flower bed.

I will wear Afghani dress and I will have a beauty parlour where I will work.
If we want to go somewhere on holiday I will suggest Iran for its shrines.

 

Human Beauty

By Shabnam

First of all I would like to ask who is a human and when can a human be beautiful or become beautiful? Well, a human is someone who has humanity and knows who they are. And if someone has a strong feeling about humanity or thinks about what humanity really is, would it be easy to find the answer?

The beauty of a human belongs to his/her thinking and feeling about others. A human is beautiful when he/she has beautiful thinking about other people in society and sees everything in a beautiful way and always has positive thought about the things which happened in the society.

The beauty of the human is also related to the beauty of the world because if we see the world is so nice it can show us how beautiful human are. Humans’ inner beauty can bring more outer beauty to the world.

Thinking in a beautiful way makes someone so beautiful because to think beautiful itself have beauty and give beauty to the human and if the human is so beautiful the society and also that world in which the human is living on that get beauty, but, unlucky as we know and it is common in every society of this world that all people just think about the beauty of the face, think that how nice someone is, how rich someone is and think that that person wears beautiful clothes. They think that these things describe the beauty of a human but; these are just some superficial things. The only thing by which we can remove these things from the society is that to show practically that who are beautiful, the ones who think beautiful or the ones who have beautiful style and the ones who are beautiful. Is a society in which there are people who are beautiful on the inside more advanced or is the society on which there are people who are rich and the people who have nice faces more advanced? Clearly your answer would be the society where there are the people who think beautiful.
I have mentioned here the three things that shows the human beauty, but these are just my idea may be you have different ideas about that, well here are that three things:
• Thinking in a beautiful way.
• Education.
• Good behaviors.

The first one is thinking in a beautiful way as I described it before.
The second one is education, well it is common and everyone knows that education is the thing which makes a human and teaches the human humanity. It shows humans what good and bad is and what is the difference between good and bad, right or wrong and what is the right way and what is the wrong way and we can summarise by saying it teaches the human what is the right hand and what is the left hand, so if we say shortly it is the thing which tells us how to make our life good how to know the things which are related to human life and teaches a human that how he/she can take benefits from the things which are made for them. Education is that thing which shows us who has created us and shows us who Allah is so when we learn all these things itself describe that what is humanity and who is human.

The third thing that tells us about the humanity and human is the good behavior of a person, I have to summarise by saying that if we behave well, a person with good behavior is beautiful. In my idea these were the three key things that are important.

As I said before if someone has nice thinking that person is so beautiful, so we can say that the human beauty needs nice thinking and those things that some people say that to be rich or to be beautiful describes the beauty of the humans and humanity but if we think deeply Allah likes the people who has inner beauty not outer beauty.

 

The Pediatric Ward at Mirwais Hospital in Kandahar

By Tohfa

Let me tell you about the improvements of the situation in Kandahar during the last seven years, for example we will talk about the pediatric ward in Mirwais hospital. Seven years ago the pediatric ward had the capacity of twenty patients and there were just ordinary rooms with no specialized equipments, not even oxygen concentrators were available. There was no I.C.U in the ward, which are very important, nor was there a nursery ward for babies under one month old with specialized equipments like incubators, special warmers, and phototherapy lights.
At that time there was no separate infectious disease ward to isolate special diseases like measles, whooping cough, typhoid fever, meningitis and diarrheal disease. The mortality rate was high: more than 10%.

Now the pediatric ward has expanded from 20 beds to 80 beds. There is a well-equipped I.C.U which has very advanced equipment, like pulse oximeters, cardiac monitors, ventilators, nebulizers and electric shock machines.

There is a very good nursery available which has the capacity of accommodating 15 patients at one time and there is a separate room for mothers with advanced equipment, like incubators, phototherapy machines, bilirubinometers, hemoglobinometers and facilities for exchange transfusion.

A separate isolation section is available for infectious diseases which has the capacity of 10 beds in 5 separate rooms. There is a therapeutic feeding unit for severe malnutrition patients. Thanks to the use of advanced equipment and modern facilities the mortality rate has decreased to 5%.

 

An 18 year old student describes her impression of the Afghan Canadian Community Center in Kandahar

The center is such a social place to learn and know about the English language and culture. Most of the students do not have much experience with English before coming to the center. It is a little difficult when a student takes the admission test for the class. At first everyone feels nervous because we have not met before. But when we see how the students and teachers behave we feel more relaxed. They behave as our own brothers and sisters. So I say it is like being in my own house.

 

My Story

By Zulhijja.

In the name of Allah. My name is Zulhijja. I am from Afghanistan. I live in Kandahar province. I was born in 1992 in Kandahar city. Kandahar is a very good city. People are very kind and help and work with each other. It has a lot of mountains and gardens and it is very beautiful because there are a lot of trees and good weather.

My favourite foods are vegetables and fruits like strawberries, bananas, apples, watermelon. My hobbies are tailoring, sewing, studying and reading magazines.

I love my family. I have 5 sisters and 1 brother. They are all kind and educated people.

In my family when I was small girl I was a very noisy girl.
My whole family loved me. I liked to play with dangerous things. Sometimes I enjoyed myself.

When I was very small, about 7 or 8 years old, my sister was always busy tailoring and one day when she was doing other work and not watching me, I cut my left hand with scissors while I was trying to cut clothes. My mum told me it was a very dangerous time. I went to hospital and for 2 months my hand was very bad and I couldn’t do anything with my hand.

I was very noisy until I was 12 years old. My mum told me, “When you were a small girl, you were very kind and very dangerous.”

We had a house in Karachi. I can’t remember it. In 2001 we migrated to Pakistan. We didn’t have a comfortable life until 2003. My father was a businessman and he could not improve himself because he didn’t have enough money to run his business.

I have one brother. All of the money was spent on his education so we didn’t have money for anything else. After that we came back to Kandahar and now we are all very happy with our lives.

I want to get more education and get more things in my life. I want to be a journalist so I plan to go to journalism school in Kabul but I don’t know when that will be possible.

 

An 18 year old student describes her impression of the Afghan Canadian Community Center in Kandahar.

The center is such a social place to learn and know about the English language and culture. Most of the students do not have much experience with English before coming to the center. It is a little difficult when a student takes the admission test for the class. At first everyone feels nervous because we have not met before. But when we see how the students and teachers behave we feel more relaxed. They behave as our own brothers and sisters. So I say it is like being in my own house.

 

My Childhood

By Narges

In the name of the Almighty Allah. My name is Narges and I am 28 years old. I was born in 1983 in Kandahar Province. I want to tell you about my childhood. I went to my mother to tell me about my childhood. She said I was a quiet and pretty girl. For this reason, they always called me Shaima. Shaima means “like the moon.”

When I was three years old the Taliban attacked our country and there was a bad situation in Afghanistan. Therefore, we immigrated to Iran. At that time we had nothing and we had to start a new life. My father and brothers tried a lot to make a comfortable life for us.

Before I went to school I was a witty child who liked to tease people. I played tricks on the people in the neighborhood with my friend. For example, we rang a doorbell of our neighbors and we skipped off, but we couldn’t escape. When they opened the door we told them that their neighbors were having a party and they invited you. When they went to their neighbor’s house, they knew that we tricked them. After that they came to complain about us to our parents.

I went to school when I was six years old and I found some new friends. When I passed the first grade, my father bought a nice bicycle for me. I have been keeping it with me until now.

 

Security of Afghanistan

By Robina

Security means freedom, defense of our territory, and security means to keep our nation from enemies. As we know, fighting is going on for 30 years in Afghanistan, which has brought many disasters to our country, such as killing, injuring, destruction and joblessness. These entire problems have influenced the life of poor Afghans.

There are many widows and handicapped people in our country who don’t have any ability in their family to solve their economical problems, so it has caused to increase the number of robberies and beggars in our country.

In fact, if we compare the current circumstances with the previous situation, we will understand that current conditions are too bad because in the past there was security or tranquility and there was no corruption and there weren’t kidnappings, killing, robbery, suicide attacks, and bomb blasts in the country, unfortunately there were no schools and centers for people but they had rules and laws for every legal and illegal work. For example: If a person killed someone the Taliban would kill the killer.

But in the current situation we have schools, centers and universities, but unfortunately there is no security. The people don’t have peace and unity between themselves. Everywhere there are suicide attacks and bomb blasts. The enemies of the country can do anything they want because they are not afraid of the government.

Today we have people in parliament but they aren’t working for the people, they just do the work that have benefits for themselves, Also, many people of Afghanistan are uneducated, they are ignorant, they don’t know about human rights, so the current situation is understandable. The enemies of our country pay money to the jobless people of our community to kill people by firing and exploding mines, however the people are obliged to do any illegal thing even selling their kids to get money to improve their economical condition.

I hope that the day will come that our people will stay together and there will be job opportunities. Also the most important part of the country is security, so I hope that they will train good police to keep good security to prevent all these problems, because without security it’s difficult for progress and development of our country.

 

Shiite Afghan Women Rise Up From Silence

By Zakia Shefayee

One year ago, on April 15, 2009, a cloudy day, the hearts of Afghan women in Kabul were full of foreboding. The women who had risen from the ashes of Talibani injustice, planned to gather in front of a mosque and Madrasa(seminary) that supported the discriminating Shiite Personal Status Law. Everything was arranged. The Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Police were informed and the women had a sanctioned letter from them. The women planned to have a calm demonstration to protest against a dogmatic and misogynic law which would affect women’s rights. It drizzled. Women were gathering gradually under the rain. The situation did not seem normal. During the previous days and nights, Mohseni, the owner of Madrasa, had broadcast on TV some negative propaganda against the amendment of the Shiite Personal Status Law. A group of male scholars and some females were inside the Madrasa. They seemed so exasperated. Women had placards with these sentences: “We need law but a democratic law”; “The law should respect human dignity” “Equality is our right”.

The intolerant scholars shouted and insulted the female demonstrators. A protesting woman described how “Mohseni and his fans produced much negative propaganda. The simple people believed him. Even my sister was among them and told me “You are a heathen and you are against Islam.” But I only want the rights of women, and that is not against Islam. The intolerant men spat on faces of the female demonstrators and addressed them as western prostitutes! However the Police intervened and prevented more violence.

It was reported that women who wanted to join the demonstration were stopped by another group of scholars in the west of Kabul. Also a private school in the west of Kabul was attacked by wrathful people. During a sermon at the mosque, a mullah proclaimed, “Some people who have been heathenized are going to demonstrate against Islam and they intend to pay your women and girls to join them. The demonstration is led from this school. You should stop them and do not allow your women to go out tomorrow.” They broke the windows of the school and wanted to enter the school by violence. The police came and stopped the attack. The school children were afraid of attack. They left the school but I don’t know what they think about this kind of Islam (Islam with violence).

Everything seems chaotic. What happened and why? What is the reason for all this violence? I could not understand. As a Muslim, I have learned that “what logic commands, the Sharia commands too”. I could never accept logically some of the provisions of this law, and I am sure many people agree with me. How could I believe discrimination against women should be in the frame of law? I could not believe that the clergy, who claim they are referencing the Sharia, are being rational.

However that rainy day was a good start for the Afghan women to break their silence. Some of provisions were amended or eliminated. Although the changes were not fully satisfying, the fundamentalist and dogmatic clergy learned that they could no longer chain women with unfair rules. I know some of women in the world, especially in the countries with a common culture and religion with Afghanistan, have been fighting for changes to achieve their civil rights for many years. I think that in order to have a developed and peaceful country we must move forward and have equal rights and opportunity.

 

Judge Mahfuza’s Story

The war started in our county when I joined school. At that time, the security situation was getting worse by the day. When I finished school, I could not continue my higher education due to economic problems, and I started work with the Ministry of Higher Education. Later on, I joined non-governmental organizations such as ASHINA (street’s children), as a teacher, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Then, the Taliban captured our country. The girls’ schools were closed. Women and girls were not allowed to leave their homes. Women had to wear burqas when they went out, men were forced to have long beards and were sent to jail for not praying. They slashed the women when they appeared in public, we were not allowed to use vehicles without Mahram (man), nor did they allow private courses for women. They established a Ministry of Virtue to check on people in the cities who did not obey their rules, they did not allow the people to watch TV or listen to the radio.

Taking these problems into consideration, a number of women did not want to be silent. We felt responsibility and started to teach girls privately and confidentially in our homes so that we could save the girls from illiteracy, despite the constraints and threats. Women were only allowed to work in the health sector and women’s bakeries, which were implemented with the World Food Program as monitor and supervisor.

At that time, the computer was a new phenomenon in Afghanistan: 99 % of the people had no idea about computers, but people were very interested to learn both computers and English. At that time, I was the only woman that knew four computer programs, and so I opened a private computer course for women.

Some organizations were informed about my activities they requested that I cooperate with them and teach computers to women. I accepted. We started the program in one of the female hospital compounds (Rabia Balkhi). Most of the students were doctors and nurses. The Taliban were informed about our activity and tried to capture us. We were informed by one of the hospital workers and escaped through the rear door of the hospital. However, we were committed to our work and continued our activity in a different place. Again Taliban were informed and consequently, we moved the course to my personal residence. The Taliban chased us and entered my home to check whether we were teaching or not. I pretended that we were a big family. We hid the computers or spilled water on them to show they were not working. We were afraid. Students pretended that they were family members and busied themselves with housework. At one point, the Taliban put one of my students in jail for taking my course.

Some of the women in my courses were judges, lawyers and human rights workers and they are working for human rights organizations today.

When the Taliban collapsed, I was able to continue my higher education in law school and I worked part time with Afghan Women Judges Association. After graduation, I worked with Global Rights, a human rights organization, and attended the Judiciary Stage course, working as a judge in Kabul Primary courts. Besides that, I am now working as Director of Justice For All, which was established by judges and lawyers with the following objectives:

1. To strengthen the rule of law by ensuring that justice is upheld at all times.
2. To document the main sources of legal conflict in Afghanistan and propose legal solutions that institutionalize public legal systems and promote the law as the principal avenue for conflict resolution.
3. To provide free legal aid, legal advice and representation to those who need such services, especially the indigent who are most often deprived of access to justice.
4. To increase public awareness of the law and especially on women’s and children’s rights.
5. To cooperate with the justice sector and other relevant agencies in the country to promote justice and the rule of law in Afghan society.

Judge Mahfuza Folad

 

Letter from Afghanistan

To have a peer look on over all, the situation in Afghanistan is worsening day by day specially in term of security. However during past five years some achievements has been made in different aspects, but still the situation remains fragile and effects the Afghan lives particularly women.

Security remains as a big challenge towards development, and harmfully affects women life. Women cannot gather and move freely with fear of mistreatment. They have to consider limitations in each aspect of their life and their activities.

Life in Kabul is not more than to walk in long dark tunnel with no end and no green light for bright future. Women are still suffering from violence, abuse, rape, homelessness, joblessness, kidnapping, and suicide bomb attacks. Moreover only a minority of women have access to higher education. Although some measures have been taken in the past five years from government side and CSOs to pave the opportunity through different programs and activities for women, yet, it is not adequate to overcome challenges and induce a positive aftermath.

For instance, violence against women constantly has been a big issue in the recent years in Afghanistan, to overcome this big challenge government and CSOs designed and implemented different program and activities including awareness workshops, legal consultations, safe homes, shelters, but the data shows from 2002 up to now violence has been increased.

Passing EVAW law from the government of Afghanistan, itself is a great success and a big achievement for the CSOs at the moment, but passing bills is not enough and effective unless to implement. We have well written on women rights in Afghan constitution, but all these rights are confined within piece of paper, and very rarely have been put in practice. In order to bring a positive change in women life the law needs to be implemented.

Furthermore, lack of access to health services and education also remain as challenges towards women life. The number of girls who are going to school is less than half of the boys going to school even in some provinces like Zabul the ratio is %3 / %97. The reason behind this issue is poverty, security challenges and shortage of female schools.

What we expect from international community and donor agencies is to invest for long term programs that pave the way for women and girls to have access to education. And make sure they have access to health services, justice, and help women economically through establishing factories, and serving them with job opportunities in different arenas.

Leeda Yaqoobi

 

My Trip to India

I left for India on Friday, March 20, 2009 at 9:45 in the morning Afghanistan time. We arrived there in 45 minutes, arriving at 12:00 p.m. Indian time in Delhi international Airport by a plane.

I was there in India for CEDAW Shadow report writing training. The training was organized by IWRAW and AWSDC. I was there as an observer and also to gain knowledge about the Shadow report writing. The training was from 21 to 25 March. It means we stayed in India from 20 to 26 March and we left there early in the morning.

First time we came out of the airport it was nice to see India. There was a big difference between India and Afghanistan, so I was jealous for my country that why not all these things in Afghanistan. New Delhi was clean. They have a big university there. They used canalization to carry the water down the sides of the streets. It had lots of green and trees. The streets are made from asphalt. In Kabul, there are lots of dust and lots of traffic, where people have to put their hand to their mouth. Then I saw a lot of poor people there sleeping on the streets which made me sad, and then I thought that we have the similar problem in our country. I can say that overall I liked it when I got there first and when I left the city for the airport. I then realized I should come back to India with family soon for a visit.

A lot of funny things happened in India because I was there with a lot of young girls and they all were very funny. In fact in each shop we went we had fun with them. The young girls would ask “How much” in Farsi, which is similar to Arabic. The cashier was not able to reply in Farsi, and when they were asking “where are you from”, then we were saying we are from Arabic countries. The Director of the NGO used some words of the Koran which made them think we were from an Arabic country. Then we ran into the man that was actually a Muslim and we felt ashamed.

The thing that surprised me about India was the food, because any food there was very spicy, even MacDonald burgers were so very spicy to eat. The shocking thing was that they were using a kind of stick (incense) and burning it to generate a good smell in shops, street and homes.

Yeah, I 100% want to go back to India to see the Taj Mahal and also to go shopping, but not alone this time, I want to go there with mom and my family.

by a woman from Kabul

 

Instability in Peshawar

The main purpose of my article is to discuss instability in Peshawar. There are three main causes of instability in Peshawar: power shortages, economics and terrorism crises.

The first cause of instability in Peshawar is power shortages. People suffer difficulties due to this crisis. In one day, some districts lose power for anywhere from six to ten hours, so it creates problems not only for the students but also for the factory workers and for the housewives. People can’t do any work without electricity. In some houses the electronic things burn out when the electricity suddenly turns off; this is one of the main sources of instability in Peshawar.

The second cause of instability in Peshawar is the economic crisis. People can’t afford to buy things for their families because of high prices, especially flour. It is very difficult for a poor person to buy 1Kg of flour for his family because he earns 100roupes in a day and the price of 1Kgr flour is 35roupes. How can they buy 1Kgr flour or other things for their children?

Terrorism is the third cause of instability in Peshawar. Bomb blast, kidnappings, gun fire—these are the things which happen twice a week in Peshawar. No one feel safe in this area because of these crises.

People went outside at night in the past but people can’t go outside in these days and they can’t do their work in safe environments.

In conclusion, I would like to say. That it is the duty of government of Pakistan to control the crises and they should take some important steps for their people. Then all the crises—if those are power shortages, economics or terrorisms—will be solved.

by a girl living in Peshawar

 

Nowroze (first day of the year) in Afghanistan

It is in the culture of Afghanistan that Afghans celebrate the first day of the year and call that day Nowroze (new day). On this day every one cheers and wears their new clothes. Everyone looks happy and goes on picnic or celebrates this day in their homes. Some people do good works and cheer because they believe that everything which they do on the first day of the year will happen to them all year long.

We have in our culture that on Nowroze people make Haft miwa (seven fruits) and drink and eat that on Nowroze. Also some people make Haft sin (seven S) which is a fruit or vegetable whose first letter is “S” so they put that on the table and the guests come and eat that. The very popular dish in Afghanistan that people cook that on Nowroze and that is Samanak (a kind of Afghan dish which is made of wheat). Women cook this dish at the time of night and they invite their relatives for Samanak. When they are cooking this dish, girls are signing its song, dancing, and walking around this dish, and in the morning they eat that and also they send a plate of Samanak to their neighbors.

On Nowroze, some people go the picnic of Gul sorkh (red flower), in Mazar Sharif (a province of Afghanistan), because there in the shrine of Hazrat Ali they hold up the banner, and people stand there and pray for Allah.

by Khoshbina Popal

 

Exercise

If you want to be a healthy person, you must exercise regularly, so I exercise every morning at my home. I walk up and down the stairs for five to seven minutes. After exercise, I take one glass of water with an apple.

It is better to exercise outside than at home because we can breathe fresh air in an open area. But I can’t go outside due to the dangerous security situation in Peshawar.

In the past it was safe to go outside because the security situation was better than it is now in Peshawar. I went outside for exercise in the morning. Sometimes we even went outside for a walk at night; we would talk and eat ice cream. Those days were very exciting for me and every person of this area.

But suddenly life changed in 2007 when Benazir Bhotto, the popular former prime minister of Pakistan, was killed on 27 Dec. 2007. People showed their anger and sadness. They protested all over the country and bomb blasts have increased, so it has become dangerous to go outside for exercise. Even now if we go outside we don’t feel safe.

But we still have hope that one day everything will return to its previous place. Everyone will feel safe to go outside and to exercise. Because two things are the most important things in a person’s life: health and peace, so if you want good health than exercise.

by a girl living in Peshawar

 

Fawzia’s Story

This is Fawzia an Afghan girl from Peshawar, Pakistan. I live with my brothers, sisters and stepmother. I have a very large family, I have 10 sisters and five brothers from two mothers. All my brothers and sisters are well educated. Four of my brothers and five of my sisters are living in different parts of world with their families and the rest of our family is living here in Peshawar, Pakistan. It is quite enjoyable living in a such a big family, first you never miss anyone else in your life, second you find lots experience and you find the best social manner because you see lots of differences in a big family. It has some negative points as well. As I grew up I have never had a single room for myself or, for example, my father couldn’t buy lots toys for us because if he bought for my younger sister I would cry, why not for me like this many more things.

I was born 12th May in Kabul Afghanistan, when I came into this world I had loads of wishes and hopes, but unfortunately none of my wishes and hope have come true.

First of all I was born in a country where there was fighting between each other. I don’t remember it, but I will tell you my own experience of life.

I do remember my childhood. My childhood wasn’t as enjoyable as you people have so do enjoy your childhood because it won’t come again. We passed our childhood in such a environment that people were not able to go for picnic or some other enjoyment, our enjoyment was to play with each other and to go market to buy groceries. As I remember my childhood it was very normal as I was very close to my sister who is older than me. We both enjoyed a lot, we were like ordinary kids we had fun, going to school, enjoy sports day. They all were for a very short time but we were in this kind of environment that there wasn’t a guarantee of peace for one minute of your life. All the nights and days there were sounds of rockets.

We hadn’t slept at night from the sounds of it and in day when we went to school in first period they gave us a holiday to go home because they couldn’t take responsibility of our life due to sounds of bombs and rockets. As always, in news we watched and observed it but we didn’t know what these things were, we were very young, but I never realized that these rockets and bombs will one day take my mother from me.

My mother passed away in a rocket blast. I was in class sixth, I will never forget the day that my elder sister came to my school and said please Miss give Fawzia permission to go home with me because my mother got injury in her leg. When I went home there was a rush of people in our house. At that young age I saw my mother full of blood I asked her why are you full of red color? She didn’t reply to me. I asked my father why she didn’t answer me. He said she won’t talk to you anymore because she doesn’t like this world any more. I asked him she doesn’t like me also and she doesn’t miss any of us anymore. My father said no she will miss you, I said no if she misses us so why does she want leave us. My father shouted at me and said go out of my sight. After that, when me and my younger sisters asked him where is my mother he told us that she became a star in the sky. My elder sister look after me and my younger sisters, so day by day the condition and situation get worse so my father decided to leave Kabul and we came to Peshawar, Pakistan. So we have came from Kabul in 1992. We have normal life here, but we still miss our country and the people of our country. They lived in a such a bad condition, thousands of children saw their mothers and fathers in blood and thousands of fathers and mothers saw their children in blood. When my life was going normal way my father became sick, he had lung problems. From the day my father was sick I thought that I am also going to lose my life because my father was very near and dear to me. In 2005 when my father passed away I thought that my life is also finished, but I am still a live and my life continues.

Something that I want from the ones who read my story, please respect your parents, love them, obey them because they are like angels for us. We don’t know the value of them, then when we lose them we knew how important they are in our life.

This is a real story of young Afghan girl. Can you imagine that a young girl can face this much difficulties in her life, who left her homeland 15 years ago. What about the people (women and children) of Afghanistan that still suffer these difficulties. Now you can imagine and describe an Afghan woman.

by Fawzia

 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan is a country little known by people in the outside world. Whenever the name Afghanistan is spoken, only the worst and most unfavorable images come into everyone’s mind. In reality, Afghanistan is an ancient country in Asia that houses a multitude of social and cultural forces. Many kinds of people with their own types of natural beauty live here. So here I am going to give some knowledge that I personally obtained from careful examination about my lovable country to those Afghans and to anybody who is interested to know about Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is a country located in the center of Asia and is mostly known as the “crossroads of Asia.” The area is completely covered with high mountains, and is located between many different Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbakistan. The total area of Afghanistan is approximately 720.000 sq km, which is composed of 34 provinces. Its population is 20.4 million, and includes the ethnic groups of the Tajiks, Pushtuns, Turkmans, Blucjis, Uzbeks, Hazara, Nuristanies, and others. The two main languages are Pushtu and Dari. Its religion is Islam. Afghanistan’s climate is dry and hot in the summer and cold in the winter, with snow. Kabul is the capital. Other big cities include Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Jalalabad, Badakhshan, Kunduz.

The natural beauty of Afghanistan is in the long rivers, the blue lakes, the multi-colored mountains, and much more. The major rivers of Afghanistan are: the Amu Darya, the Helmand, Hari Rod, and the Kabul River.

Kabul
Kabul is a fast growing city where tall modern buildings nuzzle against bustling bazaars. A place where avenues are filled with many different styles of clothes and with beautiful and handsome faces. The city is ringed with mountains gleaming emerald green in spring and white in winter.

The major places in Kabul are:

  1. Balahisar, one of the most historic places until 1880 when it was destroyed during the 2nd Anglo-Afghan war.
  2. Arg: Amis Bdur Rahman (1880-1901) built this place, which includes Salam Khana (hall of salutation) and Dilkosha Palace (Heart’s Delight Palace). Presently it houses the presidential offices.
  3. Bagh Bala is a graceful, many-domed palace that glimmers on a hill to the north of Kabul. It was built as a summer residence.
  4. The national museum is located at Darulaman Palace of Kabul. The museum’s collection hosts artifacts illustrating Afghanistan’s past from prehistory to modern times.
  5. Mosques: Kabul has many big mosques, including Masjid Pule Khest, Masjid Shah-du-Shamshira, Masjid Sherpor, and Masjid Syed Majnon Shah.

In Afghan folklore it is said that “eventually everything comes to Kabul!” Nothing could be more true of Afghanistan’s bustling capital city. It is a major trading city between east and west. Even today, it is still the central market place for all Afghanistan, though it has changed due to tall modern buildings and busy traffic.

Economy
The Afghanistan economy is based on agriculture and small-scale industry. Our products are fresh and dry fruit, karakul, hand woven carpets and rugs, cotton furs, and a large variety of handicrafts. Valuable goods are imported from other countries while karakul, precious stones, carpets, and dry and fresh fruit are exported.

Government
Since 1964, Afghanistan has been a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament and a senate.

Banks
Exchange and other financial facilities are provided by banks. Da Afghanistan Bank, Bank Mili, Pashtany Bank, Kabul Bank, and, recently, Mywand Bank that all are located in Kabul and in other cities. There is also the world’s oldest money market in Kabul which is called Serai Shazada.

Country Life
Since Afghanistan’s economy is primarily agricultural, rural life is still the center of the country’s socio-economic activities. So urban life is much less than rural life.

Entertainment
Afghanistan offers a variety of folkloric events including traditional afghan music and dances called (Attan), animal fights, and tent pegging. The most conspicuous event is Bazkashi (a horse game which is not in any other country of the world).

Public Holidays
Afghanistan’s holidays are the 21 March (Nowroz or New Year), 27 May (Independence Day), 9 September (National Assembly Day), 3 March (the Prophet p.b.u.h birthday), the 3 days for Eid-ul-Feter, and the 3 days for Eid–ul-Adha.

Transportation
Afghanistan’s international airlines include Ariana Afghan, Kam Air, Pamir Airways, and Bukkhtar.

Education
Afghanistan’s first school that also changed to high school was Habibia school, which was made in 1903 by Sardar Habibullah khan in Kabul. There also are many more schools and universities, but the major university is Kabul University. Kabul University accepts both male and female students, and the degree is accepted all over the world.

Sports
Afghanistan also has team sports such as football, cricket, and volleyball. In each of these sports, teams have selected to contribute in international competitions and have received different medals.

Foods
Afghanistan’s local foods are very popular among Afghan people as well as those of neighboring countries. The most delicious foods are quabili pilau, bolani, manto, ashak, and kabab. The most famous places in all over the country are chai khanas (tea houses) that serves traditional Afghan foods and tea at a very reasonable price.

Media
The media of Afghanistan is rapidly developing. In the last six years (since 2002-2003) both print media such as newspapers and magazines, along with various TV channels and radio stations have been established that mostly cover 80% of Afghanistan. The most popular channels that are working inside country and are also available internationally are Tolo TV, Aryana TV, and ATV.

by Ellaha

 

My Wishes

Well, our life is full of wishes and desires and we never stop wishing and dreaming and each means a lot to us that we think if my wish comes true, then I don’t need anything and that would be the best day of my life…

I have many dreams and desire too that each means the world for me and if I get them come true so for me that would be a great day of my life.

But if I talked of only a day then that would be:

When I see all my family, friends and loved ones happy, when there won’t be any problems in our homeland “Afghanistan”, when I am a great dentist and all the people are happy around me. If I get them all together then that would be a Day of My Life or the best day of my life. Because for me the happiness of others means a lot more than the happiness of myself and my happiness means nothing when others are in trouble.

by a dental student in Kabul, Afghanistan

 

Traditional Wedding in Afghanistan

When a boy and a girl want to get married, the boy sends a marriage proposal to girl’s home. Once the girl’s parents accept the proposal, they give chocolates to the boy’s elders. The elders now enjoy eating the chocolates. The elders eat the chocolates immediately.

After the acceptance, the future bride’s parents throw an engagement party for their relatives and friends. The engagement party is followed by the Khina (Henna) night. The bride wears traditional Afghan clothes, and the groom wears jami (traditional Afghan pants and shirt) with a lungy (traditional Afghan head gear). The bride’s sister also wears traditional Afghan clothes and silver jewelry. The bride’s dress is different from everyone else’s, however. The evening is celebrated with Attan dancing (traditional Afghan dance).

As part of the tradition, the bride closes her hand, and the groom’s mother will try to open her hand. If she does not manage to open the bride’s hand, the bride will receive an expensive gift from the groom’s mother.

Then, seven unmarried girls apply khina on the bride’s hand. It is believed that that these seven girls will be the next to marry. The khina night celebrations are a lot of fun.

Finally the wedding day arrives. While some people have the wedding party during the day, others have their wedding party at night. During the day, the bride starts out wearing green clothes, and the Nikah (religious ceremony) takes place during the day while the bride wears green.

After the Nikah, the bride wears white clothes and the groom wears a suit. Pictures are taken and drinks are provided. Later, shortly before the bride cuts the cake, the groom’s sister takes the knife and performs the sword dance with it. During this dance, the sister dances with the knife and asks her brother for money for the bride. Once her brother gives the money, she gives the knife to her brother. Then the groom and the bride cut the cake and eat with each other.

Its now time for bride to leave her mother and father’s house. For this event, the brother of the bride ties a green cloth around the departing bride’s waist. The bride leaves her parents’ home and is driven away. Once she arrives at the groom’s house, she won’t come out of the car until she receives a beautiful gift. Once she receives the gift, she leaves the car.

During the wedding night, the bride and groom are covered in a chadar and are given a mirror where they see each others reflections simultaneously and they read the QUR,AN SHAREF.

Afterward they have tahkjami. At tahkjami, the bride’s family comes to the bride house and they bring her lots of gifts called jahez (jewelry). Lastly, after tahkjami, the couple goes on their honeymoon. These are our wedding traditions.

by a young woman in Peshawar, Pakistan

 

A DAY IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!

The day that I will never forget is that when I got first position at first. When my teacher gave me the results, I felt very proud, and my teacher gave me a lot of best wishes. I will never forget that because I took first position at first with lots of difficulties. That is why I will never forget that day.

by a young woman in Peshawar, Pakistan

 

The Teacher

Teaching is the most honorable and respected profession in the world. A teacher may be as influential as a parent. All societies give a high place to teachers and honor them as the builders of society.

Teachers should be respected because they teach us the ways of life, its ups and downs. and give us education by which we can improve ourselves and make a place in society. Teachers give light to our minds and hearts and take us away from the darkness of illiteracy and wildness. We can say that we are in darkness and education is light, so the teacher is like candle and gives light to us.

The teacher is the most respected personality of the world if we look to the development of the country such as industry, health, organization and technology. These all begin with the efforts of teachers. No one can refute the important role of the teacher. Islam also gives a high place to teachers. In the history of Islam we see that Almighty Allah sent messengers to guide the people to the right path. Also, Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran, to our prophet Mohammad, “I sent you to the people as a guide and a teacher to show them that what is right and what is wrong and what to do or what not to do.”

We must respect our teachers as our parents because teachers are our spiritual parents and the source of knowledge. I pray to Almighty Allah to give rewards to the teachers for their hard work.

by Arifa