Refugee Week


The journey

Unlike many refugees who arrived in Australia after a difficult journey, I landed here in 2017 with a valid visa and a scholarship to complete my PhD.

Before that, I left my family and hometown in Afghanistan in 2005 to get a better education. Even earlier, my family and I fled our hometown in Herat in fear of persecution, once in the 1980s and then again in 1996.

The night the Taliban took over my hometown of Herat the first time, my father was not home. He had a procurement position with the army and that evening was on duty. We barely slept that night, worrying about him. When he returned home, two of his bodyguards were carrying him because he had a broken leg.

It took my family a month to find a way to flee Herat for the second time. We snuck into Iran, heartbroken to be refugees again, but my family considered Iran would be a second home. But this time, Iran was no home to Afghan refugees.

We struggled to make a living, and chances to study and work were slim for my two siblings and me. Year after year we hoped to go back to Afghanistan and finally in 2001, hope came, and we returned home. We all said, never again, because we never imagined Afghanistan would go back to the dark ages.

Life in Australia

In 2019, I got married here in Australia, having continued to visit my family in Herat, Afghanistan, and enjoy spending time in our beautiful old house. It was a great life, until August 2021.

That day, my daughter Taliya was four months old. I was already sad that my parents had never met my wife and baby, but we a solid plan to go to Afghanistan as soon as the international borders openrf after the COVID closures. But all those plans changed in just a matter of days.

The survival of my family members instantly became more important than visiting Afghanistan. I never thought the Taliban would return to power, although I had experienced life on the run under their tyranny before. I held Taliya in my arms and began crying for me, for my family, for the remote possibility of our reunion, but also for millions of Afghan women and girls, their dreams shattering in few hours.

I knew there would be no going to Afghanistan for me, but I also knew there would be no place for my family to stay. After a month of hard work and coordinated efforts, we got my family out to Germany. Six years later, in October 2022, I reunited with them in Germany and finally introduced my wife and baby to them.

Giving back 

I feel a responsibility to tackle the misconceptions people have about refugees. I wasn’t a refugee when I landed in Australia, but I was a refugee before I was born and for the years to follow. I never forgot that wherever I went.

All refugees have the right to be given the chance that everyone else has, and I know refugees are equally capable, not only of being law-abiding citizens, but also of being valuable contributors to the betterment of their host country’s economy, culture, education and politics.  

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