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Afganistan Short Story
“Yes, I was born before the war, and lived through it.” I replied into the microphone. Flashes of the camera blinded me, and brought back a unforgivable memory of world of gun flashes.
“What happened, at 9/11? What happened with your brother, Aasif and your father?” reporters asked me, as if I was a fortune teller.
“Why didn’t you marry?” Why didn’t I marry? I’ll tell you why and leave me alone, I thought. It was getting to much for me, to hard to concentrate, I drifted into my own little world.
I grew up with a brother, his name was Aasif. We lived in Kabul, everyone did. I barley knew my mother, she would not talk to us, like we weren’t her children. It saddened my father, he loved us more than his own life, we were his life. But far from perfect, he was. He joined with Al Qaeda and that lead to the end of his own life. And making mine, the perfect life.
My family was poor, we had almost no money. I was illiterate, and my father could only read. He taught me how to read and write, but not untilI my 10th birthday, it was my present. I was born into a life of war, grew up in it, and live war. I saw boys, no older than I with guns bigger than themselves. I worked everyday, I had to work. Our food supply, water, and a clean house depended on me doing my jobs. I was under weight, more than anyone in the neighbor hood. We fought for our lives to stay alive.
Everyone was Muslim, anyone who wasn’t, practiced in private. I hated the culture. I wasn’t allowed to do anything, go outside, read and write, you name it. I didn’t have a life, no woman did. It was work until we die, at least in my family. The U.S. had be awaken, by my country. I admired Mr. Bush, I like what he did. He tried to get things to work, to make things happen. That’s my understanding, I was confused most of the time. News spread quickly, it always does. But things changed. An event changed my life, and I didn’t even know it was in my back yard, my home country.
20 April 1978.
We cheered, we laughed, my dad cried. Mahud Daoud was killed. Papers were flying, people were laughing. Until it happened. You are told everything good comes with a bad, and here was the bad. From what I heard in the markets, a group of people, called the PDPA was created. Rumors of an estimated 27,000 people were killed, right after the creation. All of a sudden, streets went quiet. Gun shots poured out of the streets and towns. Kabul turned into a war field. No one made a sound, and no one dared to stir.
Father promised that we would go to America, I hoped he was right, but the war caused it to not be. The hidden warriors, my father called them, the Mujahideen, placed war on the Soviet and PDPA. To preserve tradions I was told, to make things better I was told. It didn’t help, in my opinion. Kabul was divided by warlords, it saddened me. There wasn’t anything I could do, even worse the my religion. I missed my old life, I had more freedom, and now people are coming to kill us. I don’t want to die. I wrote that in my diary. It was the only thing not destroyed.
They was a faint smell of blood, everywhere. Soviet soldiers patrolled the empty streets, shot down my Mujahideen warriors every now and then. Their keen eye catching every movement. No one could go out side. The women were in risk of being raped. Even men couldn’t go out without the risk of getting shot and killed. I prayed for my country to be free, to be more like America. I knew I wasn’t the only one, but I felt like it. We were hopeless.
Weeks and weeks went by. Thousands of Soviet soldiers came in, they ruled the country. The PDPA called themselves communists. I was told to hate the word. I hated them. I didn’t know the meaning, but I was told to hate them, and hate them I did. I was scared though, we were scared. I wanted out, to leave to get out. I wanted to be rich, not poor, not scared, to be safe. America was now a forgotten dream.
My 35th birthday, I had not gotten married yet, and it made my father angry. He wanted me to leave him, and go live with someone else. We had no money for marriage, and no one would take me. That was the same year my father joined Al Qaeda. He chose to fight, and fight he did. He would come home, tired and angry. If I didn’t get food on our table, I was beaten. We didn’t talk much, never about Al Qaeda. I wondered how many people he thought of killing, I didn’t want to know the answer. For weeks at a time, he would leave, it was heaven then. I did what I wanted, within reason. The new government controlled Kabul. It was called the Taliban. I liked what the did, enforce a traditional religion, but I didn’t like how the did it. Force was used. Public hangings. Stonings, beatings. Shootings and gun shot were heard around the city. My mother was killed by them, the Taliban. I swore I would get them back, I never did.
17 April 1994.
That was the last day I say my mother. She never came home. A trip to the market cost her her life. A deed well done. The punishment for stealing was stoning, and it didn’t matter what happened after that. Whether you lived or not, it wasn’t part of the deal. Bread, barley and sweets was all it took, that’s what she stole, from what I heard. I didn’t hear the details, I didn’t hear the beginning, but I was there for the end and I’m happy for that. I looked away, and I will never forget it, her limping, a half dead body pleading for her life. The threw ended it. A final crushing thump, like a fist contacting skin. Dead silence. No one talked. Within the minute, people left, carried on on their business, walking around the dirt hole. I cried.
The same year my mother was killed, my dad also joined the team that killed her, the Taliban. It was his way to get revenge on Mulllah Omar, but I wasn’t sure how. He was the creator of the Taliban. I wanted revenge as well, but as a women, I couldn’t do anything. My father was with both groups. A Islamic control force group and an international terrorist group. Guns were everywhere. I saw a gun in our house, no, I saw guns in our house. An AK-47, two of them, loaded. Nothing scared me more until that moment. I needed a safe house. That was the night we were told that we were going to the States. Not something I wanted, but it excited me, for a bit.
Everyone talked about it, the bombing. My father planed that. I guess that’s what he meant when he said that we were going to the States. He helped to bomb them, he planned it and I was his daughter. I was hated, and I hated my father. He caused me pain, and enforced Al Qaeda. He was killing me on the inside.
September 10, 2001.
I clearly remember that day. We had only been in America for 3 days. And I loved it already. Nobody judged me, tried to hurt me or kill me. No gun shots were heard, ever. We landed in a place called New York, I guess it was like a country, but smaller. We rented a hotel near the largest building I have ever seen, the World Trade Center. I loved the buildings. People called them sky scrappers, I wonder what that meant. I wish we lived in New York, everything is new, and pretty. I tried new foods, something called a hot dog and a churro. They were delicious, I bought 2 more of them. My dad, brother and I retired at out hotel unit, #46. I slept on my first, real bed that night.
September 11, 2001 8:50AM.
I suddenly awoke. I smelled musty , smoky smell. Like something was burning. People were running. I looked at the window, and all I saw was the tower, the beautiful World Trade Center, it had been attacked. I jumped, grabbed Aasif and looked for my dad. He was no where to be found. I ran outside, everyone was screaming, I heard Al Qaeda, and terrorist as people ran past me. I was called words that I do not wish to explain. I lost Aasif. He ran away looking for our father. I tried to follow, he could not hear me yell for him. I looked up to see bodies, many of them, on fire and falling down to earth. They had fallen form the tower. I took a sad glance over at the tower itself. Running into it was Aasif. I screamed. I fought my way to the doors. Looking up, a block of concrete was falling. I saw him take his last breath. He screamed for me, trying to run. Silence. It was over. I laid down and cried. His lifeless arm, bloodied and twisted with his hand still reaching out to me. Nothing else was left. Nothing was there.
The U.S. declared war on my country. My home country. I wished this wasn’t blamed on Afghanistan, I wish it was blamed on Al Qaeda, the ones who did it. My father. He was in Al Qaeda. He might of planned this. He brought us to the U.S. for us to see his plan fall into action. He caused this. I hid myself, I took all the money and ran. I ran untill it was nearly dark out. I looked for a hotel. I saw a sign saying “Brooklyn Bridge”, I crossed it without daring to know what it was. I found a small place, called a motel. I stayed there for the night.
It was getting colder, and I was running out money. I had about $300 U.S. dollars, which wasn’t going to get me far in life.
I applied to go school and ELL. I knew some English, but not very well. I wanted to learn more, learn more than what my so called father taught me.
I heard that the U.S, also called my the name of the Northern Alliance, teamed up with the Mujahideen. The warlords were in power once again. Hopefully not over Kabul. They were fighting the Taliban, and I was proud right then. The people who killed my mother, were going to die. They deserved to die.
“Hello? Can you answer my question?” the angry reporter yelled at me. I snapped back, and realized that I was still in the crown. I guess I must have daydreamed or something. It was late 2009, and President Obama wanted to leave Afghanistan in the year 2014. I knew he was right, he always was.
“Did you like growing up in Afghanistan? I have asked you that about 5 times already! Tell me!” he shouted, now spitting in my face. I yelled back, louder and meaner that I have ever in my life.
“Get out. Now. I do not need your stupid little face in mine. You do not deserve to ask these question. You go try and live in Kabul under war and tell me what it feels like. Go now and find out.” I said with power and held a steady tone. He left, never to be seen again.
I am now 54 and I decided to write a book, a book on my life. But I want others to read it, I want people to understand what it was like, and what they don’t know about war and Afghanistan. I really did like my country, but when it was under war, like any country, it was scary. I really was scared. But that’s over now, I now live in Washington D.C, married to a sweet, loving young man. His name is Andrew. I will call my book, My Perfect Life. And it turns out that, my life really was a perfect one.