Afghanistan, the cemetery of girls' dreams

In times of devastating wars that left thousands of families homeless, women widows, children orphaned, I am an Afghan girl who wants to have a higher education in the field of journalism and to contribute positively to my community. In these pressing times, I have discovered poetry as a way for me to use my voice and make a difference in my community.
Afghanistan, Middle East

Story by Effat Siawash. Edited by Maria Grazia Calarco
Published on January 29, 2023. Reading time: 6 minutes



In times of devastating wars that left thousands of families homeless, women widows, children orphaned, I am an Afghan girl who wants to have a higher education in the field of journalism and to contribute positively to my community.

I was busy studying for the entrance examination when whispers of the capture of the provinces by the Taliban spread in every corner of the country. It was unbearable to hear the news of the war and the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan, and the return of the Taliban. This situation made me scared and frustrated, but I did not allow myself to be discouraged, as I needed to pass my exams in order to enrol in a journalism programme at Kabul University. However, on September 15, 2021, Afghanistan fell, and fear and panic pervaded the country. At that time no one was ready to fight and everyone was thinking of fleeing the country. There was no hope for the future. Schools, universities, and courses were closed everywhere. All at once, Afghanistan returned to its gloomy destiny set twenty years ago.

I was not feeling well anymore

 My bones were breaking

 For my own sake

 For the sake of my people

 For the sake of my country

 My legs could no longer hold my body firmly with this amount of sorrow ...

During the long cold nights, when the city fell into darkness and the heart of the city stopped, all the sleep had escaped my eyes and I just wanted to cry. One day, as tears were flowing from my eyes because  I was thinking about what had happened to my country, my mother said, "If something could be built with tears, I could build a whole city.  Instead of crying, why don't you get up and do something?”

“Mother! What can I do?  Should I go out and fight the Taliban?”

“That does not matter. We cannot fight these men; you have to confront your attitude.”

In that moment, I was like a bird in a cage that flutters its wings in front of a bar and tries to escape – to escape from illiteracy and empty intellect.

I realized that crying could not cure any pain, and I had to start fighting to reach my goal to become a successful journalist, even though it felt unreachable with the arrival of the Taliban. Although this goal has become a dream for me, it required time and patience to realise that it was not impossible.

Patience is bitter but sweet. I was content with this famous saying:

Every person has to face many obstacles before achieving their goals, but it is important to be patient and in some cases we even need to give up everything. If God closes one door for us, He opens another door, perhaps because the path we have chosen is not right for us.

In hopes to find my path, I tried to rediscover my skills. I like reading books, and I spent most of my time immersed in my readings, but since I was not in a good mental state, I could not understand the sentences well. It hurt my heart to see my people without bread to eat or reason to smile. At the same time, insecurity and suicide bombers were killing my people and spreading sadness in the homes of my compatriots. Only God knew what I was feeling.

 Along with poverty, drought and despair, fear and superstition raged like hungry street dogs.

 But life is a beautiful pain that flows ... 

we are doomed to live.

I spent my days painting, practising calligraphy, reciting poems, writing and reading poetry, lecturing and listening to music, completely immersing myself into a world full of art, to be away from the worries of the times.

In the morning of February 10, 2021, I was asleep but I felt awake in another world. I opened my eyes a little, reached for my journal, and wrote the first sentences that came to my mind.

It was the first time I wrote sentences that could be called poetry. It is said that not everyone can write poetry -- it is a talent given by God. I thank God a thousand times for giving me this talent and I consider this an important event in the history of my life. 

Six months after I had started to develop my art at home, I received an email from the Womanity Foundation, where I had previously studied for two and a half years. They offered me a 6-month internship to work online as an instructional designer in a Rumie organization. This was wonderful news for my frustrated heart.

Previously, when I saw my people in this state of misery and loneliness, I cried, but now I think that we have shed enough tears. I want to keep learning even with all these existing restrictions – using the facilities that I have at home, I will continue to teach myself science, history, and other academic subjects. I pray that my generation of brave young women in Afghanistan will do the same.

 The lamp of oppression does not burn until the end

If it burns one night, God will not burn another night

We are those caged birds who do not give up their wings and feathers behind bars, even at the cost of our blood.

 Let everyone know that the day will come tonight and the door will open again!

 I hope God have mercy on this suffering land called Afghanistan.




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Effat Siawash

Effat Siawash

My name is Effat Siawash. I am from Kabul, Afghanistan. I graduated from the 12th grade. Now I work as an instructional designer in Rumie Organization. And I am 18 years old.

Topic: Liberation

Elijah Kanye



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