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A Hidden Pain from Afghanistan

Mursal Hamraz, a cheerful student and a photographer of AUW Yearbook Committee, is about 17 years old who makes a long way from Kabul, Afghanistan to Bangladesh to pursue her higher education at Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong Bangladesh. She aspires to become an Engineer and open ----organizations and schools in Afghanistan. While I welcome Mursal to interview her in a small sitting room at AUW, she thanked me with her attractive smile. She is the youngest of eight siblings: 4 brothers and 4 sisters. Mursal started to unfold her pains in Afghanistan, when I asked her about the situation of women in Afghanistan.

I have translated the questionaries into life story. All the story is based on interview

I was only four years old when Taliban came and captured Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan in 2000. As we had our own home in Kabul, my father was a police officer so he planned to move to Baharistan-Kabul for our safety. I still remember that day; there were a river along with the big rocks Mountain and rivers. As we were young, the adult stand in the rocks in one side of the river and pass the children to other side of the river side like a volley ball. When we reached Baharistan Kabul, we, the girls, were not allowed to go to school because Taliban believes that women should not study if they are Muslim. I am very familiar with my religion; there are no such words that say that Muslim women cannot go to school.

Taliban are not a real Muslim; they are only misusing our religion, our country and us. Taliban do not merely belong to Afghanistan, everyone knew that Taliban are also from Pakistan, Iran and Arabian countries and perhaps from other countries as well. But when there is attacked in Pakistan, why do the Pakistan government blame Afghanistan? Why don’t they just blame Taliban? Why do they blame Muslim? What is our fault of being Muslim? (Thinking for a while and making her big round eyes bigger) We, the women from Afghanistan demand our respect from Taliban.

Currently, not only Taliban are attacking nation and making the security worsens but the foreign armies are also responsible for it. We have already lost our friends, relatives and neighbors from them. I still remember 20 August 1998; the US planes attacked several villages by using 75 cruise missiles and destroyed the villages killing all the children and women who have nothing to do with war. Later US armies mentioned that one of the Taliban Members informed them and said that they are using that village as a shelter. Are the Taliban that much stupid to inform the US army and tell them that they are hiding there? Why the US armies do not think an alternative way to find the truth of the phone call instead of killing innocent civilians?

However, my sister, Frozan, a first year student at Kabul University, started to teach the girls from various grades in our small room. We did not want anyone to know that my sister was teaching school subjects because the Taliban would have killed her. At that time, Taliban’s were living in front of our house and saw that there were many girls in and out every day from our house so finally the Taliban came to our home and asked question to my sister, Frozan Why are the girls coming in your house? Then my sister replied that I am teaching them Holly Quran. The Taliban’s were so happy after hearing from my sister. When we were walking on the street, the Taliban used to ask us to say the Holly word, if we didn’t know the Holly word, they would beat us; no matter we are boys or girls.

Therefore, even though the extreme circumstances hindered me from continuing my studies, I was lucky enough to get chance to study at my home. During the Taliban’s ruling, we were asked to wear black dress and white scarf in our heads whereas boys were asked to wears big turban on their head and tame long beard. Actually, I didn’t remember the exact date but after the Taliban’s rule, we continued our school. The schools still follow single education system. However, after the completion of schools, many girls stop their education because the universities follow co-education system. Parents think that it is not good to send their daughters to university where both, girls and boys are taught together.

It was 7 am in the morning; I was combing my hairs to go to Shereno High school. I heard a huge blast and my home… my home was shaking…. (Pause)….I didn’t know what happened so I went to school. In the school, I came to know that they were many students of my age, who were killed in suicide bomb in the public bus. Students were coming to school to study and make their dream true. How will the parents feel when they knew that their children have been killed in a suicide bomb attacked? What is the fault of those school students who has nothing to do with Taliban? Why do they have to give up their life? There were also some workers who were waiting for people to come and take them to their house for any constructional work every day. They were waiting hours and hours but finally when the bus stopped, the attacker attacked it. They were also killed in that blast. There were about fifty people including school children who were killed in a suicide bomb attack.

Women were the most vulnerable group during the time of Taliban. Women were kidnapped and used for bomb blasts and suicide attack. If the kidnapped women hesitated to involve in suicide attack or support them, they were raped and killed ruthlessly. Women do not have choice at all. Luckily I was small, so I didn’t become the victim even if I didn’t wear scarf on my head. The situation of women in Afghanistan is still getting worst. We have many peacekeepers from Russia, USA and many more countries, what did they do? I know they are also working hard to keep security. But what actually have they done to keep the peace in the country? We all have to think about this? What happened from all of these UN peace keepers, were they able to keep peace in our country? Instead, we become the victims, we don’t want any more. We do not want any war, three decades of war in Afghanistan is too much.

I am not against the Taliban, neither against US or UN, but I am telling the truth. Despites all of these, there are some things that only Taliban were able to do. When Taliban ruled Afghanistan, they did everything they can to make people feel secure. When there was robbery, Taliban cut the hands of robbers and hang it in the public places. After the situation, there was no robbery at all in Afghanistan. We feel safe wherever we go.
We are getting lots of foreign aids but where does the money go? We are still in the same position. If I were a government, I would open a university only for women so that girls will not have to stop their education after the school. Additionally, Afghanistan depends on others countries to import products. Thus I wanted to open an organization which will produce good qualities clothes so that many people will have a job and parents will have money to send their children to school.

Although there is much discrimination against women, my father supported me in every steps of my life. Hence, today I am here at AUW to become an Engineer and study without any fear. I wish all the sisters get same opportunities like mine for their studies.

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Mazar

Dear Sunita,

I am so moved by Mursal's very honest story of life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and US occupation. We do not often hear these stories from Afghan women, and I appreciate you sharing this powerful and insightful interview with us. I hope that you will invite Mursal to join PulseWire as well!

It must be amazing to study alongside young women from so many different cultures and life experiences. Mursal has a strong vision for her country and I hope that one day a women's university like the one that you study at in Bangladesh, can open in Afghanistan so that more Afghan women have the chance to further their education in peace.

Love,
Jade

sunita.basnet's picture

Mursal Joined World Pulse

Dear Jade,

Just some minutes ago, Mursal joined World Pulse. I helped her to open the World Pulse. She said that after some days she will write her journal. She has also added me.

I have asked Mursal to write about the situation of Afghanistan. Hopefully, we will hear alot from her. Below is her link:
http://worldpulse.com/user/4545
.. I was also so moved from the story of Mursal and is now thinking to interview friends from others countries in my free time so that I will have more understanding about their lifestyle. Yes as said, I feel so lucky to be here staying with friends from 10 different countries.

I thinking to interview another student from Palestine after some days, lets see how it will go!
I have heard many things about palestine!

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

jadefrank's picture

Digging deeper

Hi Sunita,

I see that Mursal has joined! Thank you for introducing her to our community. She will be a welcome member in our community!

I encourage you to continue your interviews. I love interviews as it's a way to learn more from someone who intrigues you and inspires you... and allows you and those who you share the interview with, the opportunity to learn something about that person that they themselves might not feel important to share (because I find that so many inspiring women are so modest). I have started interviewing members of the PulseWire community for the same reasons as you for interviewing peers at AUW - as a way to get to know amazing women on a deeper level. The interview process is amazing... and my favorite part of journalism. Please continue to share your interviews!

You are a natural journalist Sunita... it is a quality that was born in you!

Hugs,
Jade

sunita.basnet's picture

Finding the truth

Hello jade,
Yeah, I agree with you that interviewing with people help us to understand deeper level. Journalism is one of my favorite too. I need more skills in journalism.

Thanks for your inspiring and beautiful words jade.
Love much and big hugs
XXXXX

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

JaniceW's picture

Another voice rises

Sunita,
What an engaging and insightful interview. It is great to see you using the skills that you learned from VOF in drawing her story out. You are indeed privileged to have friends from so many different countries at AUW, providing you with first-hand accounts of life in their communities. Mursal's story, as do many we read in PulseWire, gives dimension to the stories we read in the mass media and opens our eyes to the realities of those living under occupation.

I look forward to reading more interviews from you. Thank you for giving voice to those who have yet to find their voice, and for encouraging Mursal to join PulseWire. Hardik subhakamana, Bahini. Dherai Maya,
Janice

sunita.basnet's picture

Didi, Namaste! Yeah! I am

Didi,
Namaste!

Yeah! I am trying to maintain my free time, interviewing with people and learnign their lifestyle. Yeah! I knew that there are many students in AUW who have passed many turmoil in their life due to unstable political conditions. Therefore, now I am going to collect all those stories and inspire them to join the world pulse.

You will ofcourse hear many more stories from Mursal. She will continue writing in world pulse.
Thanks
Sunita

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

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