Bonnie Support Services

Bonnie Support Services

My heart, my home – Afghanistan

The Taliban are back. As I sit in my living room, the TV blaring, my pregnant belly kicking, I can’t believe I am seeing my parent’s nightmares become a reality, again. I might never be able to go back to Afghanistan- back to my country, my hometown. 

I am originally from a town called Mazar-I-Sharif. This town is the place that I consider my home, even though I was born in Iran, and have spent most of my life here in Australia. Life in Australia has given me many opportunities and opened many doors for me: I’ve had access to education, a safe and secure home, adequate health care and overall freedom. And I know my baby will have these freedoms too, except maybe one: visiting a safe Afghanistan. 

I was raised on the stories of my parents’ experience during the Taliban’s rule. They were forced to leave their jobs, homes, belongings and family and seek refuge in Iran – they needed to go anywhere they could be safe. They had lived in a constant state of fear for too long and could no longer stand the wake-up calls not from their alarms but from bomb blasts and attacks. This is the new reality for all of my family who still remain in Afghanistan. 

But it was not always like this. 

I was 12 when I visited Mazar-I-Sharif for the first time, the Taliban’s power had ceased and it was safe to return. It was so beautiful. This trip really allowed me to see what was taken from Afghanistan and its people. My time there was filled with so much love, joy, happiness and culture!

I took part in all the different aspects that made Afghanistan my country, and what made me who I am as a person. I ate all the food at family gatherings, or the food street vendors persisted in me trying. I danced and celebrated with my family and friends at all the festivities that were happening every day. I learnt that my people and my country are made up of so much more than what I could have imagined, and I could not wait to be a part of the change I could bring to their lives. 

When I returned to Australia, I planned to finish my studies, work and gain enough experience to return to Afghanistan and use what I have learnt to work towards a better future for my homeland and its people. I wanted to work with women and children experiencing domestic violence – afterall it was hearing my parents stories that put me on the path to want to work in a women’s refuge. 

The journey of becoming a mother has been awakening. It has allowed me to feel gratitude like I never knew existed. It makes me wonder what my life would be like if my parents never left Afghanistan 20 years ago, would I be repeating the same stories I grew up with to my children?

If those children whose parents could never escape were given the same opportunities as me, what kind of people would they have become? What makes me so deserving of this lifestyle over another child who could have utilised these opportunities better than me? Am I doing enough as an Australian, as a mother, as a daughter and as an Afghan?

These questions and a million more linger in my head as I hope for a better tomorrow.  

Written by Zahra, Rapid Response Worker at Bonnie’s

Images via The New York Times


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