“I am here and it is my home now”

Home »world» «Here I am and this is my home now» December 24, 2021

  • Journalist Feridoon Aryan, his wife and children evacuated from Pakistan after fleeing Kabul after the capital was captured by the Taliban

  • It is the sincere and personal chronicle of what they were forced to leave behind and of a future “full of hope” in the city which welcomed them.

I believed that the year 2021 would bring less misery, death, destruction and calamity than what we Afghans have gone through and have become accustomed to over the past 40 years. But, unfortunately, it was not like that. On August 15, these backward, extremist, evil and brutal forces called the Taliban re-entered Kabul, and with their anger nullified our dreams and aspirations, mine, my family, those of 39 million Afghans and us. forced them to leave everything and everyone. to be sure. A few thousand Afghans we were lucky and we were able to escapeBut millions of people face humiliation, torture, starvation and daily death at its clutches. We spent a month in Pakistan in a rented room, only going out to knock at embassies. We were promised that we would be evacuated if we managed to get out of Kabul and reach a third country where we could get a visa to grant us refugee status. We have tried several times. We look forward to hearing from these friendly countries. Luck smiled on us when, thanks to the Spanish government and some good friends from Catalonia, we managed to get out of this extremely stressful situation and we were able to leave Pakistan and arrive in Madrid on October 12, 2021. We spent the first night safely and without fear of persecution, but I had officially become a refugee. He told me that it was all a nightmare, that I was sleeping in the cozy bedroom of my house in Kabul and that none of it was real. I tried to sleep, but couldn’t get over the agony and pain that broke my heart, broke my mind, made me gasp. I felt broken, with a broken pride, empty and useless, without any sense of belonging. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was wide awake, confused, knowing that I had become homeless and a worried person. Why do we deserve this fate? I tried to calm myself down thinking about the future, about my children, protecting them and allowing them to grow up in a new place, with hope and a smile on my face, safe from the horror.

Five beds

I spent this very long night awake and the next day we went to Barcelona. Our new life began when we arrived in an old house. They gave us the biggest room since we were a family. It was almost empty, with three doors, bars on the windows, five beds, a few closets and a bare concrete floor. This was to be our home for many months to come.. The days passed with little to do beyond going from date to date. The only thing that kept me in my head and made me happy was the visit of our good friends and the people of Barcelona. Without them I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to cope. They invited us to their home, they took us to visit the sights of Barcelona. I realized that every day that passed my children were calmer than the last and that little by little I was also leaving the past behind me, as difficult as it seemed to me to bury it and move on.

I started to get used to this new life after a few weeks, even though my wandering soul was drifting away and I was still in Kabul. I couldn’t hold back my tears thinking about my beautiful city, my family and the friends we left behind. I felt paralyzed thinking of them and feared that I would never find the will to live again. Children had such terrifying nightmares that they woke up constantly and we spent the nights comforting them and telling them that nothing here could hurt them anymore. The plight of my children and not being able to do much more for them hurts me the most. The disaster in Afghanistan also tragically separated our family. The constant worry of being together again eats away at my soul and troubles my heart. Afghanistan has a system of unique natural psychological support and is that of the family, and the extended family, who come to the aid whenever there is a tragedy. I still want and dream of being a whole family again and I hope Spain, and Barcelona in particular, will help us stay together. I’m going to be missing something until we can no longer meet. Days and nights will pass without pain or glory, my gaze will not do justice to the beautiful landscapes of Catalonia, I will feel empty and sad.

Pride and dignity

For refugees, the financial situation is a daily stress, tedious and worrying. It’s for everyone, I know but it’s much more difficult when you can’t work and you depend on the system and you have expenses that the system cannot afford because it is under pressure to serve more and more people. In Afghanistan, we had a stable economic situation. I made a good living working as a spokesperson and manager Press relations for Unicef and my wife, Nooria Fakhree Aryan, she was a professor in a private university. We had high hopes for our future careers, me as a journalist and Nooria as a gynecologist. Now I feel overwhelmed and wonder day and night how we can afford child care, fix school uniforms, or buy stationery. I swallow my pride and dignity and wish that one of our good Catalan friends comes forward to take care of it. And that thought is also hard to digest, as I realize that they all have their own lives and families to take care of as well and work very hard to get every penny.

My good friends tell me step by step. This is an important sentence for me. Lots of people use it here. And, it’s true, little by little life has returned to normal and I feel more and more hopeful and longing to live. I started making changes in my life, starting with the room they gave us, which I fixed with what little I could and what little kindly friends gave me. I changed the arrangement of the beds and tried to accept that there, in this space, the four of us lived. I never complained about my situation, I took it as it came and convinced myself that I had to forget the memories of all that I lost -of my old prosperous life- if I wanted to maintain my sanity. We reorganize ourselves.

Lovable earth

My seven year old son started school and I started a language course. We are busy every day with legal issues, new experiences and challenges that have come our way. Now I see life in a different way and I am happy to be here. My children are well and are back in a good mood, they go to the park, they go to school and I see them happy. I am grateful to the best people in the world, the people of Catalonia, the Spanish government, the Catalan Parliament and my friends here. I wake up stronger every day and with more hope for the future and the days to come. I hope that after learning the language I can become a journalist again, helping people and feeling again that we are together with our families. I feel happy in a lovely country where the first thing is humanity and not religion, color or language. I say it very loudly and clearly. I am happy in Barcelona. You are amazing people. Decent, educated, friendly, courteous and helpful. What would we have done without you? Here I am and this is my home nowHappy holidays to all of you. May this Christmas bring more happiness and prosperity. I hope my children will see the Three Kings for the first time.

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And I end with a poem by my favorite poet, Sohrab Sepheri.

“It doesn’t matter where I am. Heaven is always mine. Windows, ideas, air, love, earth, all mine. What difference does it make if sometimes nostalgia grows like a mushroom? “

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