B. Fatima A. introduction

B. Fatima A., one of nine children, lived in Iran as a refugee from the time of her birth until the fall of the Taliban. She and her family then returned to Afghanistan. She studied for one year in the U.S. When she is finished with school, she hopes to serve either as an Afghan diplomat in her country’s embassy in the United States, or to work for the United Nations.

Looking out the Window

hungry girl

With the corner of my eyes, a woman of not older than 18-19 years caught my attention outside. I turned myself to see her better. She had on a long dress with little flowers on it. Her face was full of dust, looked gray and super tired like she had been through so much since morning. She had her bag on her shoulder. Her hair was all tangled like she had not washed or brushed it for days.

A Family Matter, Part II


“Asata boro, mahe man asta boro” means “walk slowly my light of night go slowly.” It is an old, traditional, sad and beautiful song that musicians play when the bride and groom arrive and depart the wedding hall. Before the bride and groom leave, they do the ayna masaaf. The close relatives of the groom hold an intricately woven blanket over the heads of the newlyweds and look at each other in the mirror while reading from the Holy Qu’ran.

A Family Matter, Part I


In the U.S., the Afghan wedding is one of the subjects that most interests people. I can see the smiles on people’s faces when I talk about weddings, and I receive many more questions than usual—especially from women.

Evening With Friends

Photo: Reuters/Jorge Silva

It was Fall, first days of school / In a nice village. / Not much homework / We were playing on a one-way street / / In front of a friend’s house / In the shade of trees that changed their clothes / Orange, yellow, red too.

I Am Glad…

I am glad I spent hours doing homework / Sometimes didn’t sleep all night / Had to write by lantern’s light / To save money on the electricity bill / I am glad that I was not born in a luxury house / So I could experience what the world is like / For all kinds of people


stone stairs

In our neighborhood in Iran, there was a family and the wife’s name was Farzana. Her parents were divorced because Farzana’s mother was addicted to drugs. Farzana, an Iranian, was married to Morad, an Afghan working in Iran. They were engaged for two years. Morad was good-looking, and at first he worked hard. But strangely, Morad never went to any of the local events, and we soon came to know that he held no love in his heart for either Farzana or his children.

I Am From…

I am from my father’s “lion” daughters / From feeling I have the ability of a boy in Afghanistan / From wanting to do anything I want to
and not caring what people say

Fatima, Victim of Caprice


I lost my mother when I was 18 and was the only girl in my family, living with my father and seven brothers. I worked as a tailor earning enough money to satisfy any personal needs. My father, a civil servant, was kind and did not press me into accepting any of the many marriage proposals that came my way. I did not tell my father, but I had my own idea of the type of man I wanted to marry—my very own dream person. I was determined I would hold out marrying until I met the person who was exactly like the one I had created in my mind.

A Line of Fathers

When I was a kid, nothing used to bother me more than not having a brother and sister to play with. My father would come home every six months. He was a shepherd and had to take the sheep from one place to another. My father was a very hard worker…