I am Sayed Sadat, an Afghan, living in New Zealand with my family for nearly a
Born in 1963, in a remote village of Wardak, a province to the west of Kabul, in
Afghanistan, to devout parents and basically hailing from a pastoral community
My late father rose up in life, in service, being a high ranking police official during the regimes of the royalty of the late King Zahir Shah and later continued on promoted levels under the rule of President Dawood Khan, who replaced the late King, becoming the president of the Republic Of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, my life was
pleasant from the stage of infancy and continued so during my primary level of
education. However, as the Bloody Revolution took place in my country,
Afghanistan, life was no longer pleasant.
After the dawn of
revolution, finding opposition, the leaders who stood
against the communists backed by the west especially America and the majority of
European countries and announced Jihad against the Afghan Communist regime and
their allies, The Great Russia. The Communists were backed by the mighty USSR
with over 150,000 soldiers from the Red Army of their time, as they invaded
Afghanistan with their idealistic follower’s invitation. Therefore, both used
unlimited supplies of weapons and their mighty power to control local community,
which at the time was referred to as Mujahedeen.
This unleashed and brought in a wave of tumultuous upheaval in the life of the countrymen, including my life as well as millions across the country. The very next day of the revolution, many reputable individuals that were serving the country under the government of King Zahir Shah Royalty were put into jail for no particular reason, including my own father.
The life that I and family knew had changed forever. It worsened
with the outlaying of new rules and regulations by the communists, as a popular
resistance movement began and resulted in chaotic conditions. Schooling became
disrupted and many were burnt down or simply destroyed.
At a tender age of 15 years, I was forced to flee the country to join my father, who had escaped from the ordeals of the communist prison, as he had already sought refuge in Pakistan. But contrary to expectation, I could not reach the levels of proficiency in academic pursuits, being a mere refugee, had to end up, doing odds and ends of multiple menial jobs to earn a sustenance.
I had been moved to Iran and lived there for a few years, had to meet the same
type of deprivations in my daily life. That respite also got shattered with the
unleashing of hostilities and war, fought between Iraq and Iran during that time
when Iran was ruling by the great religious man Khomeini in 80s.
So I had to flee to Pakistan again, and for nearly ten years worked there, as a
driver for the UN, and had to be a part of the convoy carriers, transporting
essentials to Afghanistan. Life was hard and tenuous, family life disturbed and
no hope for the future.
Then godsend, I had managed to seek refuge in New Zealand with my family.
Therefore, we could have a comfortable and peaceful life, and my children could
have the best possible education. I am father to 5 children.
Despite the hardships of life, I started pursuing the things I was most
passionate about, painting and writing. Despite not having a high level of
education, I continued to challenge myself into doing the things I enjoyed the
most and the things that people didn't expect from me. I was also pleasantly
surprised at my own achievements, despite of peoples misbelief in my abilities.
All of my work has been self taught and born out of sheer imagination because I
never had the opportunity of attending school or university where these skills
would have been taught to me. Till this date, I have not had a chance to display
my art work to the public. I have a very large collection of about 4 to 5
hundred pieces, that ranges from different colours, sizes and materials, and
have been produced by different methods and techniques. I am hoping that it will
receive an encomium, but either way I am still satisfied with my own work.
Regardless of the pain and suffering I have experienced in being away from my homeland for such a long period of time and as well as at such a young age, It has taught me to become a strong and independent human being. Living in exile as a refugee with very limited resources, opportunities and lack of knowledge and skills and on top of having extremely poor health, I am still proud of how far I've come. Lastly, my dream is that hopefully this will be a life changing experience.
As refugees living
for decades in
Constantly harassed by the police and the authorities and suffering with the heat, pollution, and over-crowdedness these displaced people live their lives as best they can. The fact that they can live their lives is a miracle.
Compared with the even harsher conditions of Afghanistan their life in Pakistan is paradise. This is the story of Sayed’s journey back to Afghanistan during the oppressive rule of the Taliban. His aim is to see his parents but instead he is shocked at the situation he finds in his home country and it is only through luck that he escapes punishment or jail for not having the proper ID or a long enough beard.
For the Afghanis of
that time, life under the Taliban is horrific – but no more horrific than it had
been under the rule of Russia and later the Warlords.
- read a sample
- read a sample
Peshawar, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan
The burning summer of Pakistan is really complex and you feel the sun shining right above your head, punishing the hundreds and millions of people living there, the majority of whom are poor and helpless.
Living in a harsh and difficult environment, especially the migrants from Afghanistan who have lived in houses without electricity for decades now live in just tents provided by the U.N.H.C.R. and are placed under direct sunshine in the desert. This is where no living thing existed before, because of no drinking water and is now home to tens of thousands of people who ran away from their country just to save their lives. If you compare their lives to what they are now, it would probably be appropriate if they died, rather than living in such a harsh environment that is not any less than death. Unfortunately, most of them will definitely die gradually and no one might ever know that at all.
Imagine a life of hunger; little or no water at all, temperature rising up to 50 degrees Celsius and no facility of bathing? It’s horrible.
Life is always full of pains, struggles and hardships with unlimited challenges faced on daily basis. Inspire of all these difficulties, we work very hard to feed ourselves as well as our upcoming generations to keep them on going for the coming years and through the entire lifetime.
A migrant has nothing else on mind except working hard to finding food on daily basis to feed their families, or finding any job that is the hardest by physical or mental means that could give the chance to survive for another day month or year or two.
In most cases a big majority does not succeed at all and completely relies on the social welfare money as a help scheme by U.N.H.C.R. or food distribution by World Food Program who provide very small amount of wheat cooking oil and some rice.
At least they are very kind enough and show strong sympathy to the people who rely on them. The major aim for people is food, which they get at a time but not more than being fed only half stomach. This is where the challenges get bigger and life becomes very difficult. With all the passing days and nights, starving gives you enormous pains and hardships throughout the life you are living.
Despite life being so complex and challenging, no one is willing to give up or die .However, they continue to struggle till they have energy to work and lastly to beg on the streets and roadsides. Without having anything to eat, drink or clothes to wear, they give their best to overcome the hardship with an optimism of light that these hardships will come to an end someday and they would regain the chance to stand and run for work once again, and stay within the society.
As a worker for United Nations, I worked hard and had numerous amounts of travelling throughout the year between Pakistan and Afghanistan in regards to the U.N. projects being conducted in different areas of Afghanistan. Being a driver for the United Nations, my job was more vital. United Nations had hundreds of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects inside Afghanistan, but their offices were situated in three major cities of the Pakistan; that is, Peshawar, Quetta, and Islamabad which is the capital of Pakistan away from the unsecured disaster zones.
Afghanistan had no government for years to lawfully control the nation and its people. Absolutely no stability that could bring peace, harmony and security to its residents and citizens.
Afghanistan, as the general public is aware of, has been constantly in civil war from decades, after the Communists revolution and invasion of the powerful Red Army in 1979. During and after withdrawal of Russians, still they did not succeed in having an elected government that could bring about instability and peace. The Red Russian Army invasion captured Afghanistan as a whole for more than 14 yrs but never succeeded in controlling the country and faced a strong resistance of the Afghans by the help of American and Europeans. Finally they were forced by the Afghans resistant of the Islamic Mujahidin’s to leave the country and withdraw their 150,000 soldiers, as ten thousand soldiers in their troop were killed and injured. They left Afghanistan with no approved government to bring peace and stability in the nation.
Therefore, the United Nations helped people at war to rebuild their country and their livelihood, but this was just a weak sign of showing to the world their presence but no major projects have been conducted in honour of the suffered humans to show their big achievements as to what they did for the country and its people. So far no creativity has been made by the U.N. which dedicates as their good work example of importance in that unstable country.
Presence of the United Nations in Afghanistan was just a symbolic, world recognised organization established to help in cases of civil wars and nature disasters including flooding and earthquake. A very small amount of funds was allocated for the project spending in such a country where 95% of the basic structures throughout the country were destroyed by the on going wars since 1979. After the bloody revolution by the silly Communists, and then inviting their superior, the USSR Red army. This was one of the dominant armies in the world with a large number of soldiers and very advanced weapons. They were familiar to the environment with good experience in the World Wars One and Two.
U.N. helped the minority of people in different provinces but did not conduct any major projects like road maintenance, water supply, irrigation, agriculture and building schools and so on.
The funds allocated for these projects were never used appropriately, but a huge share of these funds was used for filling the pockets of professionals working as a Technical Advisors.
These were mostly Europeans, US citizens besides being paid high salaries of about ten thousands of U.S.D. a month, living in exclusive and expensive houses, paying thousands of dollars just renting certain luxury buildings and houses owned by the richest people. They drove the very latest new models of luxury cars and had other ways of spending most of the money for their high travelling allowances, medical and person insurances, pensions and their security. Whereas Afghanistan had no such luxuries to offer them and no proper security that could enable them to stay in Afghanistan. Therefore, they worked from the neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Iran.
The funds coming through the U.N.O. for help and rebuilding Afghans were used before reaching to the needy Afghans and since I was part of them, I considered myself a proud well-paid employee working for a world-recognised organization representing worldwide under a very symbolic banner, The United Nations.
I was more fortunate than most of the other people who didn’t have proper jobs or any incomes and my life was even better than the life of a government Minister, because just being a diver of the United Nations, I had a more higher salary compared to a minister.
I started working for Unite Nations in the early 90s until the end of 1998 and had an excellent record with several years’ work experience.
I was living happily with my family and had a better life than most of Afghans
living as immigrant in
It was the end of February and I had been invited to a wedding reception by one of my Pakistani friends named Mamriz Khan, a kind young man but very stern Pashton as called Zigh Ghairati Pakhton in Afghan language. A very friendly and kind Melma Doost, meaning a person who loves guests and provides traditional hospitality to anyone who visits his home. He was a brave and fearless man very kind and helpful and he had a wife and a lovely son where he was married when he was 16 years old with his cousin, and he has been my very best friend since years and years.
I first met him on the second day of my migration to Pakistan in 1980, and he was the same age as me but even that time, he was a father to one lovely son.
Mamriz Khan belonged to Afridi tribe, one of the very huge and popular tribe, far more huge if compared to other tribes like Momand, Khattak, Masood, Mangal, Tori (the only tribe fallowing Shia-a Islam) Wazir, and Marwat’s. They lived in a very Pashton populated area, called Pashtonistan or Khyber Agency tribal area.
Peshawar, being second of three major cities in Pakistan close to the Afghanistan border known also (NWFP), is not part of the tribal area but is within Pakistan and falls under the territory of the Pakistan Government. Pashtonkhwa’s majority population are Pashton. However, both Pakistan and Afghanistan are claiming hard for the ownership of Pashtonistan. Although it falls within the Pakistan territory, neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan have yet succeeded in having this area under their control.
In addition, they are given access to special freedom by both the countries on both sides of the borders in having their own traditional rules and regulations through the history, in order to keep them happy and retain them as part of their territories.
There have always been cold wars going on between the two countries since Pakistan became an independent, got their freedom by ending to the British impairs in that region, emerging as an independent country achieving the power from the British and ruling their country by themselves.That was a symbolic freedom where rules and regulations of the British constitution is still in force having lots of influences on the country and its people and this may be in practice for the upcoming decades.
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