Words by A. Sultani
Art by H. Hidai
Maybe it has happened to you that you are uncertain about accepting and following what your head or your heart is saying. But this story is a more complex conflict between these two. If you have chosen to read this piece of writing, welcome to my world. A lot of people all over the world may not have the passion to continue their education without many facilities, family support and encouragement, but the story is different here inside Afghan borders, especially for women. Although they are passionate, and have overcome many challenges already in their academic life, they still face a high barbed wire fence made by the Taliban.
Begin by imagining your life as a marathon, where you have passed many obstacles, the days that it was only you who supported yourself, while abruptly you face a barbed wire fence and you have been told “it is the end”. Meanwhile, you look back at the path and glance at all the events you have come from. Remembering your first day of school, the days I was praised as the best student of the year, but nothing can put someone more in an ambivalent situation than the threat of death simply for going to school. Still, I had remained steadfast and was going to school while every day we had to check the classrooms, under the tables, behind the windows and doors for any bomb’s that might kill us. It happened on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018, as more than 150 students were martyred and injured at Mawood Education Center, Kabul. I remember we had started with much more passion in our University Entrance prep class, a class full of boy and girl dreamers who were studying with all of their power to learn complex mathematical structure and physics. ‘Black Wednesday’ took all of their dreams to the grave.
It was our free time. I was standing with my friend Jalila at the yard solving a maths question, when my classmate Kowser came across to us and said, “let’s go to the class, the free time is over.” I said “Ok, we are close to the answer. We will come.”. Within a second, she entered the classroom. We were putting our first step through the door when BOOM!!! Smoke was everywhere. The class roof was flying through the air with shards of glass from the window. A girl was on the ground with a bloody body. Another classmate’s white clothes had turned to red with the blood of someone else. At that moment, I froze and my mind couldn’t accept what had happened while my heart accepted that it was the last moments of my life. Then, someone opened the yard door from the back side, and I ran out to save myself.
Weeks later, I was still emotionally destroyed with the news of losing so many of our friends, including Kowser who spoke with me just moments before the explosion. But we had started again, and continued to follow our dreams. I was trying very hard to chase my own and our friends’ dreams whilst so many people were telling me to stop, due to the danger of attending educational centres.
It was not the end. Afghans and especially Afghan women endured many things to reach their dreams and be educated, and it is not their destiny to be stopped here when they found the way of reaching up to their goals.. This history is one of my thousand reasons that I don’t want to be stopped here, and it’s why I want to keep my hope and continue my way. The things I have lost on this journey are far too expensive to sit down and do nothing. I want to continue and make the future I deserve, because I was made for this, as my name means HOPE.