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Nadima’s family fled Afghanistan when she was a baby. As an adult, she returned. Despite fears and insecurities, the 38-year-old woman refuses to leave again. In this article, she reflects on the changes she has seen in her country since the Taliban took over on August 15. .
All my cousins I have not seen in 10 years have been visiting Kabul for the past three days, from Mazar, from Herat. We all had a great time together.
The house was full of girls, we danced, we all decided to get dressed, they all wore my turban, we all wore traditional clothes. We sing together, cook, share stories, talk about everything that happens.
One of my cousins thinks back to how hard she worked to be a teacher; now she can not imagine sitting at home and not giving class. She fought for her education, she protested against her family, while the only person who supported her to go to India to obtain her master’s degree was her husband. Even her brother, my cousin, was not for it.
So she can not imagine staying at home. She is afraid that what happened to her mother, who was brought to her knees by the Taliban in 1999, 2000, could also be told to her. She does not want to be beaten like her mother because she insisted on running her girls’ school in Heart after the Taliban closed it.
My cousin tells me that she is very strong and independent and that she will always plead for education. But she does not feel that she wants to do it from here, which is why she is going to Turkey.
“These people do not know our value, our value, what we as women can offer, so I will go to a country where I am welcomed and appreciated,” she said. “All the hard work I did in myself to get here so that I could teach another girl, now I will do it in a country that will accept me and want their wives to be educated,” he said. she said.
It made me very sad, you know, because she’s valuable to this country, to the young girls here.
She understands the culture, the language, the education system, because she has been through it. She is a maths genius and would go do her PhD. But now someone else will enjoy the fruits of her hard work, the Turkish students. In another country, another group of people is going to learn from her when she has to teach children in Afghanistan.
We have lost as many women as she has in this country. I’m very, very sad.
I will recover, but everyone is gone and I am sitting alone in the house and I think: what am I going to do?
Because of the decision I made to stay, I can not even tell anyone how I feel. When guns fired into the air the other day, I called one of my cousins, who also lives in Kabul and cannot leave. I asked her, “Are you okay?” The celebration of firearms seems to be the new norm. We heard it the day the withdrawal of US troops was completed, and when Mullah Baradar, the deputy leader of the new Afghan government, arrived in Kabul a few days ago.
“I’m fine, but what the hell are you doing here?” she asked.
“I can not leave,” I said.
‘No, you have no excuse to call me, no reason to call me. You chose to be here – live with it now, “she replied.
So I may not even express how I feel.
Those who choose to stay here, to raise their voice or to be a part of this and at least observe and understand themselves, do not even get the chance.
People started getting apathetic because they were just trying to survive. They are worried about the economy, their education, their health.
What makes me sad is that yes, there is a shift, there is a change of government, there is a history with the Taliban of the past, people have trauma.
But what does this have to do with the women continuing their education? What does this have to do with the orphanages that need funding, for the children who have been the victims of the last 20 years of war? What about the women who are in the hospital who want to give birth at the moment? What about the nurses, the doctors, who are going to take care of them?
How can anyone, anyone in the world, decide to just leave everything behind and not think of the children, the young women and the young boys and the men themselves?
I feel like there has been a divorce between Afghanistan and the rest of the world.
Afghanistan is like a female energy – the woman – and now she’s sitting behind with a bunch of kids who have been made dependent on this father. And Afghanistan, as the female energy, was made a housewife. She was told, ‘You have nothing to do; we will do everything for you ‘. But it was all a lie and she left a bunch of kids behind; their education, their health, their social life, everything was taken away from them.
And after what happened last month, who’s going to take care of this? Who will send therapists for this? Who is going to create healing energy? Who is now trying to say that we are doing well? Who came forward and tried to reassure the people and said, ‘We do not know what the future holds, but we are here, we are not just going to let everyone hang.’
There are great movies in Hollywood that are so good at creating these heroes who always save the world. But look what’s really happening. Where are the heroes? Because it’s real, the zombies are taking over. This is real and these kids are actually suffering a lot.
The other day I see women protesting on the street from the window of my house. They shout and protest for their rights and the rest of us sit inside.
I look at my cousins and say, ‘Look, there are more women in this city, why are there only 50 of them? [protesting]? ”
“It’s all a show,” my cousin replied. “The right people are sitting and watching this. These poor women are likely to be beaten, hurt and traumatized, and no one will give them therapy.
‘We did this part of fighting 15 years ago, 20 years ago. My mom did it, our grandmother did it.
‘We now know that there is nothing [that] can be done for this country because the men, men do not protect us. They will not protest for us, they will not respect us. No one came out and protested for their sisters, their mothers, their daughters, their wives, their nieces, their granddaughters. ”
She said the men just want power, money and control while we are used. So, if men are not going to do this for us, what can we do?
And then there are the other men who become suicide bombers based on the idea that, when they die, they will have heaven and a bonus of 70, 72 virgins.
But it’s insane for me. I do not understand how they are willing to die for the idea that they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven, while on this earth they will not even try to fight for one woman, they will not die for one – not their own mother, their own sister, their own grandmother, their own daughter, their own niece.
It amazes me that they are willing to die for these imaginary women they can get in this heaven, but they are not willing to die for women in this country, in this world, on this earth.
There are women begging on the street with small children in their lap. These children are all bitten and have scars, their mouths are dry from dehydration, their nails are damaged due to vitamin deficiency and they all look malnourished.
These men have no empathy for these women and their babies, but they will marry a 15 or 16, 17 year old virgin.
They kill the women who sell their bodies to provide food for their families, but they will not kill the men who give the women money for prostitution. The man who looks at a woman on the street will not be punished, but the woman who walks and does not bother anyone is told to cover.
Women are constantly being jeopardized here, while the one causing the problem is roaming free.
Today I’m alone, all my cousins have left, and it’s so quiet. The house was full of children. I had my friends tea in the evening, but now I’m alone. But thank God I’m not lonely.
I’m still going to stay, and keep making myself aware, smiling and joking and trying to make everyone laugh, because the least I can do is try – something I also want to see from the rest of the world.
I know that this thunderstorm will pass and I am confident that light will shine.
* Nadima, known among her followers as her alter ego Patinggala Kakai, is a social media influencer in Pashtun who focuses on spreading the message of unconditional love and advocates for basic human rights for all.