Poverty

blacksmith

The children of Kabul are the visible signs of poverty, but Afghanistan struggles with invisible poverty: the hidden poverty. My friend Hashim is part of the invisible poverty.

The Price of Peace – Part V

oranges

Gholam’s brother gave me the name of someone who told me where I could stay in a tent made of wood and plastic located near the port. The wood was rotten and the plastic smelled of urine.

Remember Your Heart

mirage

Take the chance or leave it behind / Teeth on teeth, it is hard to breathe / Let a mirage take your hand / Stay on until the end, shaking your head

Candle

candle

You cry, candle, without sound, / tell me your secret / while your heart melts / with the dance of your light— / a flame alive throughout the night.

Survival

photo: David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

Time gets old. I hear your voice behind the wall.

The Price of Peace – Part IV

aton-greece

The wind was blowing; I could feel its pull. The wind, the blue sky, the sea, and sun—all accompanied me to Mytilene. My eyes followed the horizon but my mind was in another world. I couldn’t believe we had passed one of the most difficult parts of our journey or how I had jeopardized my friends and my life by tearing the boat up.

The Price of Peace – Part III

swimmers

As I rowed and the sun began to rise, it looked as if the islands we were aiming for were all connected. I didn’t know what the others were thinking or if they noticed. I just prayed that I was taking them to Greece and not Turkey. The memory of finding places on a map with my friends as a boy flashed through my mind. I was so good at that game. How different, I thought, is a real situation.

Mina M. introduction

Mina M. spent her childhood in a small town in Iran. She graduated from high school with a diploma in natural sciences and was a student in Tehran when the Iranian government closed her school. She returned to Afghanistan in 2006 and is continuing her higher education.

The Price of Peace – Part II

Turkish coast

It was raining that Sunday in Dorood. On the way to my family’s home, I was thinking about my escape and what the journey would be like. I felt strong and determined but at the same time, for some reason, the streets and the walls of houses that I could not wait to leave seemed on this day to be so kind and welcoming. I knocked on my parents’ door and told my mother and father I was leaving. Their faces contorted in sorrow. My mother cried.

The Price of Peace – Part I

afghan refugees

My brothers and sisters had been born in a place that would never give us the right to travel through its cities without having an official passing letter, a place that would never treat us like citizens, and a place that would never accept us as full human beings. My father and mother had crossed a border for the hope of freedom, justice and peace, and we had not achieved it.