Hope Is Alive Again

champion team

Editor’s note: This was written by a thirteen-year-old writer after the Afghanistan National football team’s South Asian Games victory in Nepal on September 10, 2013. It is Afghanistan’s first international trophy.

Twelve years ago, the 11th of September changed the world’s thoughts about my country, but this victory that we had in football allowed the world to see us differently.

Twelve years ago, people all around thought that Afghanistan was the worst country in the world. We were thought to be the cruelest people and the same as the Taliban.

Even our people’s idea of themselves had been changed. They totally lost their confidence about having a better future. They were like a bird that lost its wings. For instance, when Najibullah, one of the best presidents of Afghanistan (from 1987-1992) was killed by Taliban, there was no one to stop their cruel actions.

All the people of Afghanistan had left was the sound of shooting and explosions and the sites of the corpses of their families. They were thinking, will this darkness and war remain forever in our country?

This September we showed the world that the darkness won’t remain forever and that we are not just for fighting. 

The day of the game, everyone was excited about what would happen. When the game started I was on my way home from the doctor and saw people standing in the streets and watching the game in any place that had a television.

People were inviting each other to pray together. When the team scored and we won the game, people were inviting each other to celebrate. They came together without discrimination. I saw people hand-in-hand like brothers. I saw friendships, love, and happiness among my people that I have not seen before.

It made people think the country can improve and that we can stand on our own feet even after 2014 when the American soldiers leave. Now people want to do something better for a better future: build more buildings, make more products.

I believe that we will have more of this kind of success in the near future and we will have better September 11ths from now on, with hope for ending darkness and starting a new morning.

Tonight I will close 
The story of war and darkness 
I will open a story of 
Love and forgiveness

By Arifa

AFP photo


Comments

  1. “People were inviting each other to pray together. When the team scored and we won the game, people were inviting each other to celebrate. They came together without discrimination. I saw people hand-in-hand like brothers. I saw friendships, love, and happiness among my people that I have not seen before.
    It made people think the country can improve and that we can stand on our own feet even after 2014 when the American soldiers leave. Now people want to do something better for a better future: build more buildings, make more products.”

    Dear Arifa: You did such a beautiful job conveying the significance and the beauty of this extra special night. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. May this be the first of many, many nights of peace between brothers and sisters of all backgrounds! Keep up the strong storytelling!

    Stacy

  2. This was beautiful, Arifa. I love the way you structured it to really bring home your message in the most powerful way. Your writing about the 9/11 changes really saddened me. I’m only one person but please hear that the Taliban were very distinct from regular Afghanis in my heart, both then, beforehand, and now. Your descriptions of the mood around the South Asian Games made me grin, and the poem at the end summarised and concluded every beautifully, ending on a wonderfully uplifting note. Thank you very much for your gorgeous writing and I hope to read more of your work in the future!
    Kind regards,
    Sophie

  3. Arifa,
    This was truly moving for me. I am from the US and I hadn’t ever thought about any affect this had anyone besides those in the US. It was very interesting to read an Afghani’s side to the story. I am so sorry that this time has been so difficult for your people and I haven’t ever seen Afghani people and the Taliban as the same. I am an athlete and I know the feeling of a great win, but nothing could be comparable to this victory! Congratulations on your country’s win!

    Teddy

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