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.
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.
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.