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 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.
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.
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.
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.