Dear readers, I sent this letter to Women On Topp so I can be heard and hopefully helped too.. this is my story. My name is Maryam R. I am an Afghan in my thirties a teacher at a Women’s High School in Kabul, married and a mother of 2 daughters and 1 son.
I would like to share my story as I am desperately in need and in a very life-threatening situation. I can no longer suffer nor can I see my children suffer from life in Afghanistan.
I was in the third class of school when the situation in Afghanistan changed. That’s when the fighting between the Taliban and the Mujahedeen (Freedom Fighters) started in Kabul, which didn’t finish until 5 years later. Armed men, gunshots and explosions became part of our day-to-day, while it was getting more difficult to live our lives in our area.
Regardless, we kept going to school until it was no longer possible, which was until sixth class. In 1999, my family decided to flee to Pakistan so we could be safe. We fled for our lives and for our future.
We lived there for three years and returned to Kabul after the Taliban’s collapse in 2001. We were able to return back to Afghanistan and continue our lives here, we were so glad that it finally ended.
In those 20 years of international aid, I’ve felt hopeful about the future of Afghanistan. We gained so much courage to rebuild our motherland I finished university and got hired as a teacher. I got married and raised a beautiful family with my husband. I thought I was able to follow my dreams and have my children the freedom they deserve and want.
Now, it’s my children, this time it’s their fate that is unknown.
All the traumas that I had to go through in my younger years, fleeing and feeling unsafe have become yet again my life and this time it’s also my children’s life. My dreams, freedom, safety, everything has taken away from me and my family..
My life is torn apart after the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan, once again. Everything has gone back to square 1. While so many Afghans fled Afghanistan throughout the wars and years, I stayed in my country with my children and husband just for the sake that it would be safe enough again as it once used to be. Modern life in Afghanistan..
I would have never thought not even for one second that my children would go through what I’ve gone through before. Yes, it’s true they are in the exact position as I used to be more than 20 years ago… and now their fate, like mine, is unknown and we fear our lives.
I fear for my life and my family because I am a women’s rights advocate and an activist for girls’ education.
Forced marriage has always been one of my biggest concerns in middle school and high school, where I try to persuade girls to finish at least high school. Often, these girls’ relatives would contact me, argue with me and threaten me because in their eyes, my thoughts would be anti-Taliban and I would turn their daughters against Islam. Naturally, they were fearing for their family’s lives as well.
So I was always in touch with relatives without knowing them and often argued hard with their families most of their families related to the Taliban and my thoughts were anti-Taliban. They claimed that I am far from Islam and I am calling their daughters against Islam.
As if me being a female teacher isn’t already bad enough in today’s Afghanistan, my husband used to be a doctor in the Afghan military. Anyone who worked for the former government and with NATO allies is seen as a traitor to the Taliban. So, me, my husband and our three children are hiding because we’re fearing for our lives. I sent this letter hoping someone can save our lives, please save me and my family.
I am in a hopeless position I can’t reach out to anyone for help, but if you know you could help me please contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Any way to help me and my family to get somewhere safe.
Maryam appears under pseudonyms and without photos for their own safety.