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When you wake up in the morning in Afghanistan your eyes wander between the two worlds. The world you used to face and the world you breathe now.
Yesterday, pre-Taliban Afghanistan was going to be orderly and stable. After waking up, you would get ready for breakfast and then review your daily plans. You went to school, university, or work. After your vacation, you spent some time with your friends. Every day passed with all the problems you faced, with all the many challenges and hopes. You made yourself strong and you wanted to reach the top of the peak, for which you worked day and night. People in the community began to accept you gradually. You were able to study and work. You would study in your preferred field and work in the field of your choice.
On the streets, you could ride your bicycle. If you liked, you could pursue your favorite sport, while still putting your artistic abilities to the test. Yesterday, society was gradually moving towards accepting life’s colors and differences, and among all those colors and differences, you could see solidarity.
Little by little, you became convinced that you are not the second sex, that you are not an object or a thing. You realized that you are a human being, a girl, and a woman. Someone who could aspire, like others, according to their own unique interests and tastes. You took over part of the family economy, and this brought you a sense of satisfaction and success, of victory.
Men’s attitudes toward you were also changing. No one could easily call you “Sia Sar” (weak woman) or mentally retarded, because they clearly saw that you were growing and progressing, and that your achievements were increasing every day. You were getting closer to your dreams every day.
The ground that had been prepared over the last twenty years had given you the opportunity to fly. You were no longer afraid of breaking the wings of your dreams, and no one could explicitly say that girls could not do this or that. What did you see now that your eyes were on this world? Who did you see? How did you find yourself?
But in Afghanistan today, I find myself in a prison that is destroying my whole being bit by bit. It breaks me down and leads me to nothingness. I feel that I have become a thing again. I feel that I can no longer see myself as a free human being. Because I see that I can no longer study, work, or play sports as before, or test my talent in the arts. Who am I now? An outcast with a bitter fate, a forgotten one.
Now I am stuck in the same dark history of the millennium that ignores my existence, my rights, my being, and they have stolen my interests from me. Today my destiny is determined by an authority that does not see me as anything at all, and if it sometimes wants to see it, it will see me as incomplete. That authority does not want to see that I have a desire to have an identity of my own, to have the right to choose. My new destiny is to exist for the entertainment and pleasures of others.
When I wake up in the morning; I see two different worlds: the world of yesterday and the world of today. The world of light and the world of darkness. The world of running, jumping, and dancing, and the dark world ruled with the chains of ignorance. I see the world of smiles and stories and love and affection that is no longer remembered. I see the world of hunger and helplessness and misery and cruelty that has become my future. I live in the purgatory between two worlds: The world of yesterday and the world of today.
(This is Part One of Nina’s story; Read Part Two here)
About “Nina”: A freedom-oriented, college-age refugee from Afghanistan, “Nina” (a pen name, for security reasons) is now in the USA. Through a last-minute opportunity, she was able to board a US military transport plane out of Kabul, before the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in August 2021.
Nina has been working fervently ever since her arrival in America to help the 15 other members of her family to safety. Her primary focus has been on rescuing her father, who’s being hunted by the Taliban, because of the help be provided to US and Coalition governments.
Learn more about “Nina” and her family at the following bio, written by Jon Sutz, former STW editor-videographer, here: