My Last Summer in Afghanistan

Kahel Kaschmiri

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

…was hot; the rays of the sun burned so much
that I could barely work.
But is it possible not to work?
Not working means to go hungry and live on the street.
Where would my family and I have found shelter?
I sprinkled water on my face, put on a thin white shirt, and went to the bazaar to attend to the customers at the shop.

In Berlin, on the other hand, I didn’t even notice the summer. It was almost always cold. Only a few days were hot. And on those days, everyone walked in the streets naked. Or lay in the parks. Or went swimming. And I was astonished - how could it be that they nakedly walked in the streets or lay in the park and still found something to eat in the evening?

But the summer in Afghanistan was not just hot.
It hurt. There was the suffering of my mother. The poverty and desperation of my father. The hopelessness of my sister, forced to shield herself from greedy stares by covering herself from head to toe. In the end, she was married off, although she is younger than me. And now she already has a son. I ask myself, is that her son - or is it her doll?

During my last summer in Afghanistan, an armed motorcyclist shot a policeman on my way to work. He fled. The policeman had just been married. It was the beginning of his life. All he wanted was to do his job and earn money.
He died within a second.
By the time the police came, he had already parted from this world.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

I loved riding my motorcycle, roaming around and speeding up.The air was blowing in my face and the sun was shining and I opened the throttle. I was only thinking of Ghazni’s beautiful nature as I accelerated.
Suddenly, a car overtook me. It was driving slowly. The driver gave me a sign. Stop!
I was afraid. I stepped on the gas and fled. I called my cousin: I shouted: “Open the gate, there are people following me. They want to kidnap me.”
It was the ones who are after pretty boys.
At incredible speed, I flew in his direction, towards his house. He opened the gate and I burst in. I took a deep breath and thanked God.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

After a year away from home, I was relieved to finally have a place to stay, a room just for me. Four walls to myself, and a key for a door, which I could dispose of as I wished.
I sighed, opened the door, and fell asleep from exhaustion.
My eyes were not quite closed yet when a door opened and I felt the heavy presence of someone. I kept my eyes closed, the blanket over my face.
Suddenly I felt the heaviness of his body on my body, and I broke out in a sweat. I began to shiver.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.
I heard the being say: What are you doing here and why did you come here?
I began to scream so loudly that I woke up from the sound.

He was gone and I asked myself, who might it have been?

 

Brief portrait Kahel Kaschmiri

Michael Krasnov answered to this Text with »My last Summer in Berlin«.

Like An Arrow

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, raised in Iran

 

It took a month: the trip
That wasn’t a trip at all,
But rather a horror
Towards the land of hope.

Now I am waiting for a paper
That may contain bitterness and grief.
And I feel like an arrow.
Released.
Which should return
To its bow.

Brief portrait Mahdi Hashemi

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth

Love

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

If you love me for my beauty,
Then love me not.
Love instead the sun and its rays.

If you love me for my youth,
Then love me not.
Fall in love instead with the spring,
For it comes again each year.

If you love me for my money,
Then love me not.
Love instead the Pari.*

If you love me because I am the right boy,
Then you should love me.
Love me as long,
As long as I can return your love.

 

Brief porträt Samiullah Rasouli

*mythological fish that carries rubies and emeralds in its mouth

Women

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

When I say women, I mean real women,
Those with eyebrows, real noses, and shoulders.
Who belong only to themselves from the beginning,
Who are not selfish but proud of their gifts,
Who love themselves in their simplicity,
And want to be only themselves
And not resemble another.
These are the women I mean when I say women.

The light in her gaze is like the scent of Kobeko*
Her tender hand is incomparably precious.
Her wisdom shines forth from beneath her make-up.
She walks with beauty in public.
The watering mouths of the gawkers do not bother her.
The self-confident, strong woman pursues her gifts and talents.

Some women stay at home, they dissolve
And turn to water.
And the ones who go out turn to bread and food.
And when I say women, I mean these women.

*Perfume named “Mountain to Mountain”
Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Samiullah Rasouli | Foto © Rottkay

Samiullah Rasouli (*1999)

Samiullah Rasouli grew up in Ghazni, Afghanistan. The region is highly contested today. His father died four years ago. Samiullah was on the run for four weeks. Now he has begun training as a trade merchant. His poems are about love and longing for his father. Photo © Rottkay

Headscarf

Sarah Safi

Kapisa, Afghanistan

 

I thought you could fulfil your wishes in Germany
No barriers would be put in your way if you really want something
I thought I could take my future into my own hands here

It is not like that at all
There are many distinctions here
Between Germans and refugees
Between a Turk, an Arab, a Russian and a Rumanian

Every other person in the supermarket can go shopping quite “normally”
But I, in this crowd,
Am the difference for them
All sorts of people are there
But the security staff
Lurk behind my back

Why always me?
Because of my headscarf
Because I am a Muslima
Can’t they put themselves in my place?
How bad it feels when you are treated like this
What taunts I face from their children
When the adults behave like that

You walk along the street normally
And they barge you away with their shoulders
As they walk past you

You are in the subway
All sorts of people are there
When the ticket inspector comes
You are the first person that he checks

How am I supposed to feel then?
Like a free human being?
Like a strong woman?

Sometimes I think I have lost my way
My entire confidence in myself

 

Sarah Safi (17)

has been in Germany since 2017. She fled to Germany alone, coming to Berlin by air from Greece. Her family, too, has been in Germany since summer 2018. She attends the Peter Ustinov School.

On security and the little freedoms in Germany

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

 

Young women are allowed to have a boyfriend here
They can go out with them and do things together
Afghan girls can’t do that,
Except if they are old enough.

In that case, a husband is found
And there will be a wedding.
Until the wedding night, they will never see the husband.

Two cars had an accident in Berlin
Not even two minutes passed
And the police was there with blue lights flashing
In Afghanistan, the drivers would have gotten into a fight
And two hours later, the police would have shown up.
Although nothing happened, just a scratch.

People walk down the streets here in the evenings,
Not in Afghanistan. When a young Afghan leaves the house, he doesn’t know whether he will return. He says goodbye forever.
When a young Afghan leaves the house, he probably has money, he can be kidnapped. If he’s a bit prettier, they will do other things to him, or even blow him up with a bomb. It’s not like that in Europe.

 

Shahzamir Hataki

Father

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

A hundred kisses I send to the dust
That your feet whirl up.
A hundred times melancholy you had to suffer to find bread.
If only I could become the calluses on your hand.

Not once did you complain, or say that you were tired
I bowed before your sacrifice.
Just like you circle the Kaaba,
I want to circle you.
But even that would not suffice,
To repay your hardship.

 

Samiullah Rasouli

Only You

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan, raised in Iran

 

We now see times
In which you are there,
And only you.
You love and you are not loved.
You feel intimacy and nobody is there
To lean on.
You have everything, and yet you have nothing.
The wound hidden
Behind the veil of tears,
The secret remains unread.

 

more: Mahdi Hashemi

On Tehran

Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan

 

I myself am only the story of a refugee in Iran.
I have burdened myself with the guilt of generations,
and am compelled to work it off.

Iranians, your lack of love is directed at me.
Because I am an Afghan.

Learn not to be tyrants,
to act not only as nationalists.
We have to know how to
view all people with one eye.

I taught myself not to let the injustices
that I experienced at your hands
seep into me as resentment,
so as not to become another tyrant.

Fate has not provided for all people to be happy.
As a refugee I became a character that you make fun of.

Would you like me to explain Iran to you in one sentence?
»For you, everything is forbidden!«

 

more: Yasser Niksada

You

Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan

 

Compared to my pain, you are small.
You tell me I take everything away from you.
Perhaps I am bad.
Perhaps every breath I take annoys you.
I wish no evil to my worst enemy.
But be aware that you too
could possibly lose everything one day.

The dirt from the path of my escape still sticks to me.
But maybe I can save your life one day.
Maybe not.
It’s not your fault that I am alive
and eventually came here.
It’s a pity that my existence is inconvenient to you.
If I were in your position, perhaps I too would not want
to be friends with someone like me.
I sacrifice myself in order to make the world a better place
and you sacrifice yourself in order to destroy me.
A boy, fifteen years old, whose face is not yet lined
and whose hair is not white.
But whose heart has already been torn into a thousand pieces
by the egoism of his fellow men.
He has put everything behind him.
And now he will test your character.

My mother said:
Look!
When the people whom the world has disappointed lie sleepless, unprotected,
the man-eating wolves will awaken.

 

more: Yasser Niksada

The Only Son

Shahzamir Hataki

Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan

 

There were 65 people on the boat.
The smuggler gestured to a mountain,
There is Greece, he said.

The water fell around us like walls.
The motor stopped.
There were many kids on the boat.
It capsized.

I can’t swim.

I stayed under water for two minutes,
The red vest pulled me to the surface.
I was terribly afraid.

It was
Very cold.
Everybody screamed. Me too. There was a child in front of me.

I consoled him.
You don’t have to cry, but I knew better.

A mother sank before my eyes,
Her child in her arms.
Two hours, then the boat came to rescue us.
Twenty people survived.
All of the small children were dead.

One boy, he was my age,
Sat next to me in the rescue boat.
He screamed and screamed
»Mother, Mother!«
I asked him, why are you crying?

He said that his whole family, seven people,
Had died.
I wondered, who would have told my parents
If I had drowned in the sea?
I am the only son.

Doctors were waiting.
My legs couldn’t support me.
They recovered only eight of the dead.
We survivors went to the hospital.

Eight days and eight nights I slept,
And each day in the hospital passed before me like a year.

When I left Turkey I had 100 dollars.
They were lost in the water.

On the 20th day I called home.

My mother said, »Why didn’t you call?
I haven’t eaten in three days out of worry!«
I told her that I arrived safely,
But simply hadn’t had the money to call.

How could I tell her
that for 10 days, I could only drink hot chocolate,
because my body was so full of salt water?

 

more: Shahzamir Hataki

Nimruz

Samiullah Rasouli

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

We sat on the flatbed of the truck,
In the desert of Nimruz, when we saw seven corpses.
Who had killed these poor people?
We got off to look at the dead.
The men were young, 20, 21 years old,
All dead, except for one.

He was still breathing.

The blood on his body had already dried.
We asked him, »what happened?«
He said, quietly, »thieves.«
They had been ambushed and robbed.
The dying man warned us: »robbers, robbers, take a different route.«
We fled and left him lying there.

Could I have done anything differently?

 

more: Samiullah Rasouli

Sea

Alidad Jafari

Herat, Afghanistan

 

Enough of the sea,
enough of the narrow heart of the sea.

Sea,
how hospitable you were.
God,
you have burned our hearts.

Sea,
how merciless you are.
Sea,
you care little for the life of youth.
Sea,
why can you not stop roaring?

 

Alidad Jafari (20)

lived in Herat in Afghanistan for ten years, then fled to Iran for several years. Finally he decided to travel on to Europe, arriving in Germany via Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Hungary and Austria. Alidad is about to gain his German school certificate in Fürstenwalde and is looking forward to starting training for a social profession.

Life

Nabila Nayebi

Kabul, Afghanistan

 

Life
is God’s most wonderful gift;
we should use it well,
because it is short.

Life is eventful;
when we make a mistake,
we should not do it a second time.

We must live with pride,
and leave our life
with pride.

 

Nabila Nayebi (19)

fled from Afghanistan to Germany with her family. Before the situation in her home town got worse, her father worked as a taxi driver. Their journey to Germany took 20 days.

Comparison with Home

Mahmud Rostami

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

Ghazni is a beautiful town.
In Ghazni there are different fruits:
grapes, apricots, apples,
almonds, pistachios and walnuts.
There are also many mountains and deserts,
unlike in Germany,
in Germany everything is green.
Not everything is good in Germany,
but at least it is safe here.

 

Mahmud Rostami (22)

passed through many cities and countries as he fled, including Dubai, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sweden and Finland. Eventually he hid in a truck travelling from Greece to Italy, and a little later finally arrived in Berlin.

Rules in the Institution

Mahdi Hashemi

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

If you use the telephone,
I’ll take it away from you!

I want to go out!
You aren’t allowed out in the evening.

I want to watch a film!
Only until ten o’clock!

I don’t want to go to school tomorrow!
Then we’ll throw you out!

Can I sleep at a friend’s place tomorrow?
No, tomorrow you have to go to school!

Can I go back to Iran?
No, that’s not legal.

Can I die?
You’re crazy. No, you have no right to do that.

Can I live?
That’s a difficult question.

 

The Poetry Project | Foto © Rottkay

Mahdi Hashemi (*2000)

When he was an infant, his family fled from Afghanistan to Iran. There, he grew up as a refugee, close to the capital Tehran. Mahdi Hashemi writes about why Afghan refugees in Iran even apologise for breathing the air there. Photo © Rottkay

Grief

Hamed Baluch

Kang, Afghanistan

 

The realm of grief
owes me a love affair.

The burden of grief
owes me a life.

Bearing my life on the open palm of my hand
I offer grief for sale.

The realm of grief holds me
Like a madman
In its spell.

 

Hamed Baluch (21)

began training as medical technician after gaining his school leaving certificate in 2018. His favourite food is the Iranian dish zereshk polo, rice with barberries. In his free time he likes to play sports, listen to music and cook. Hamed lives in Berlin-Wedding and would like to study medicine after completing his training.

Childhood

Hamed Baluch

Kang, Afghanistan

 

Mother stands for love.
Mother stands for tranquillity.
Mother stands for friendship.
Mother stands for redemption.

Why do I describe my mother? Why do I choose these words?
Perhaps I have lacked something.
Perhaps it is yearning,
Or something that was never expressed.
Perhaps it is too late to express it.

The beginning of my childhood:
What do I remember?
I remember nothing,
Except pain and inner devastation.

When we speak of childhood,
We think of a sweet smile,
Like an opening bud,
That slumbers in a person’s innermost place.
But it was not like that for me.

In my childhood there were no toys, not even a plastic ball.
My childhood was ruled by a cruel man.
I was the only survivor of my family.
Loneliness was my only inheritance, my constant companion.
More than everything else.
More than everything and everyone (people and also things).
For me, a life without childhood has no meaning,
Like honey without sweetness.
Every life has a beginning and a climax.
But the beginning of my childhood knew no childlike feelings.

When I speak of my childhood,
You might feel reminded of the life of a soldier.
I was in the service of a man of wealth,
A man with supposed ambition,
A man who exploited me.

There are children whose beds are made of peacock feathers.
And there is a child whose bed was the bare ground.
There are children who have the luxury of fighting for their ideals.
And there is a child who fought for his daily bread.

 

Hamed Baluch (21)

began training as medical technician after gaining his school leaving certificate in 2018. His favourite food is the Iranian dish zereshk polo, rice with barberries. In his free time he likes to play sports, listen to music and cook. Hamed lives in Berlin-Wedding and would like to study medicine after completing his training.

In the Name of Freedom

Hamed Baluch

Kang, Afghanistan

 

Home.
A place that represents the origins of every person.
A place that should represent the beginning and end of my life.
A place whose earth I loved.

A home that was deprived of its foundations through exploitation by foreign rulers.
A home where the feeling of freedom was dishonourably suppressed.
A home where the cries of freedom are suffocated with hot lead.

You ask:
Who clipped my wings to stop me from flying?
Who poured hot lead into my throat so that I do not call out?
The cries of freedom in my home were deadened.

Home is my native language.
I want to be the ruler of my own life.
Home is my heart.
I want to be the ruler of my own realm, no broader than the
Width of my shoulders.

Home is my personality.
I have chained it up in my innermost place, so that its cries do not reach the outside and cannot be silenced by strangers.

Nico, my feelings. The name lends them life.
Nico, astonishment about people
Who instead of quiet sleep look for a place to sleep quietly.
They flee so that they can dream again.
National borders make me sigh, because without nations there would be no colonisation.
Sleep makes me sigh, because without it I would not know the taste of death.

 

Hamed Baluch (21)

began training as medical technician after gaining his school leaving certificate in 2018. His favourite food is the Iranian dish zereshk polo, rice with barberries. In his free time he likes to play sports, listen to music and cook. Hamed lives in Berlin-Wedding and would like to study medicine after completing his training.

Unreachable as a Rainbow

Anonymous

Afghanistan

 

The big question: dream or aim?
Everyone says that dreams are out of reach.
I say that dreams do not even exist and have never existed.
The past, which was the future, has broken my heart.
It demanded all of my feelings, robbed me of my family and friends.
During a dream this freedom, which is a lie, exists.
Like a rainbow, visible but out of reach.
An ideal and perfect world that people
have built for themselves to flee from reality.

But I believe in something that is called an aim,
because it always fulfils my wishes.
I might reach a dead end and need a new plan.
I think of what could happen,
if people did not have any fear.
if they made their steps in life resound,
like the keys of a piano.
The only prisons in this world are the taboos in people’s heads.
Come, let us cross the borders.
Without fear of making mistakes.

 

Anonymous (23)

The author fled from Afghanistan by sea four years ago.

Traces

Yasser Niksada

Panshir, Afghanistan, raised in Iran


Be next to me and see
What has happened to me.
It is over, the trace still in my heart.
No room for me to sleep on this bus.
Withered feet, the dream sunk into the eye.
The police said stop.
Go back, go back.
All then in the train car, just me alone on the tracks.
The rubber boat sank and my heart, hot for Europe, turned cold.
The world slept, only we were awake,
Hungry, thirsty, tired.
We left; it will be more difficult to return.
All this tearing oneself up for a little bit of rest.
Not my rest.
The rest of my family.

 

Translation from German: Maxmarie Wilmoth
Foto © Rottkay

Yasser Niksada (*2002)

Yasser Niksada comes from the Panshir valley in Afghanistan. Ten years ago, the Niksadas fled to Teheran, where the family live as refugees. But that's no life, says Yasser. That's why the family sent him on a journey to Europe. In Germany, Yasser misses his family. Photo © Rottkay

Berlin

Mansour Hamidi

Kunduz, Afghanistan

 

Berlin means freedom.
Freedom to go out alone without fear.
I can do what I want.

The Brandenburg Gate. Alexanderplatz. Olympic Stadium.
Berlin Cathedral. Reichstag. Wannsee. Tempelhof Airfield.

Subway.
Tickets please.
Police.
ID please.
The feeling of fear.
Sirens in my head.

But Berlin means safety.
Different worlds collide.

Sometimes I feel lonely.
Empty days for me.
Berlin.
So many people.
So many just look at me.

 

Mansour Hamidi (19)

was born in Kunduz in Afghanistan and grew up in Mazar-e-Sharif. His first thought when he came to Germany was “everything is strange”. But he is grateful that he can be here and no longer has to fear for his life. Afghanistan is a beautiful but very dangerous country. In his spare time Mansour likes to play football. His family still lives in Afghanistan, but in Berlin he has found an adoptive family that supports him in everything.

Shattered

Nasima Haidari

Kabul, Afghanistan

 

I was in the kitchen.
Do you remember?
You flung the towel.
You shattered the glass vase.

 

Nasima Haidari (23)

comes from Kabul in Afghanistan. She grew up in Pakistan. She went to university in Afghanistan und then moved to Istanbul. From Istanbul she came to Germany, from Berlin to Leipzig via Frankfurt and Hamburg. She works as a graphic designer and has six brothers and sisters.

About Longing for God

Hamed Mirzaie

Kunduz, Afghanistan

 

Faith is something that all people have within them
Some people see religion as something very great and valuable
And then there are people who do not believe in God
But, trusting their heart and their mind, rely on
What seems right and important to them in life

An example of the faithful
Are people who belong to Islam
For them, religion is highly important and significant
They want to stay true to it for ever
But unfortunately today there are numbers of terrorists
Who abuse Islam, cast a bad light on it
And cause destruction by their deeds
If you ask these people about Islam
They don’t know what is meant.

 

Hamed Mirzaie (16)

comes from Kunduz in Afghanistan. He came to Germany about three years ago. In his spare time he likes to read poems, play football and swim.

Buildings of the Future

Zahra Sharifi

Ghazni, Afghanistan

 

Every building was once a simple sketch.
So do not be deceived.
Your Now need not be your Soon.
What is important
is to believe in yourself,
not to lose hope.
That you shape the sketch into a building,
take your own future in hand.
With mindfulness and effort
everyone can build a good future.

 

Zahra Sharifi (13)

came to Germany from Afghanistan three years ago. She now lives with her parents and two brothers in an apartment in Berlin-Charlottenburg and attends the Rudolf Dörrier Primary School. She likes karate and wishes there would be no more wars, so that all people can have a good future.

Letter to a Girl Friend

Sarah Safi

Kapisa, Afghanistan

 

Greetings, dear friend,
Many days have passed since we poured out our hearts to each other.
I never wanted to be far away from you.
You were the only one who understood me.
Now I am far from my family.
For a year now.
In this year, life taught me much.
To go out alone, to go to the shop alone, to eat alone, to sit alone.
Alone – that is very difficult.
Loneliness is an affliction that can drive you to extremes.
But then you don’t do what you thought in those dark hours.
Friendliness, friendship and emotions, all of this is absent here.
So much being alone makes me exhausted.
The love of your father and mother, by contrast, never tires.
True love lies in this relationship, of parents to children and children to parents.
Outside this relationship, everything is meaningless.
I live from the hope of meeting again.

 

Sarah Safi (17)

has been in Germany since 2017. She fled to Germany alone, coming to Berlin by air from Greece. Her family, too, has been in Germany since summer 2018. She attends the Peter Ustinov School.

With Fear in my Heart

Muska Karimi

Kabul, Afghanistan

 

On the day I came to Germany, no one helped me
I did not know whom I could have asked for help
I did not know where I could have gone
The security personnel at the immigration ministry did not answer my questions right
It was a sunny, warm day
Without water, without food, without money
Alone, unaccompanied

Outside the entrance I met a boy
He had been here for four years at that time
I asked him how to draw attention to myself in this country
He answered: I don’t know

They took me to LaGeSo in Turmstrasse
I was suddenly standing there
In the middle of this room
Without a door, without a wall
A sports hall
I was allocated a bed in the middle of this hall
I was the only girl, there, in the middle of this room
Alone

Night fell
I felt lonely and was terribly afraid
That someone would come too close
That night I only slept two hours
The strain kept me from sleeping

The following day
My body was so exhausted
So indescribably exhausted
That I could not walk a step
I desperately considered the question
Where should I go now?
Great pain in my heart
Great pain in my body
So much fear in my heart

 

Muska Karimi (26)

fled to Germany alone in 2016 because of difficulties with the Afghan government. In 2017 her application for asylum was accepted. She has learned German at the Humboldt University and taken several modules of the HU for Refugees programme. Her younger sister is now in Berlin and they live together in a flat-share.

A Piece of White Cloth

Muska Karimi

Kabul, Afghanistan

 

It makes no difference
Which country she grew up in
Which God she believes in
Which ethnic group she comes from –
Women are treated like objects

In Afghanistan forced marriage is normal
A 70-year-old man with a 15-year-old girl
Why does he haggle over her like a sheep or an item on the market?
Where is decency?
Were we women born to be mistreated?

Night or day
Women are afraid to leave the house
Afraid of being attacked by a man
Of being assaulted
We put on more and more clothes
So that no brazen, coarse words assail us

The man who had a thousand women is proud of himself
The woman who leaves her husband
Is exposed to a thousand insults
A man leaves his wife
And the woman may not object in the slightest
She may not utter a word

A daughter hears from her mother:
You are a piece of white cloth
But you get dirty quickly

I know men are anxious about their place in society
Because if women rise
Or depart from men’s lives
The men are nothing

 

Muska Karimi (26)

fled to Germany alone in 2016 because of difficulties with the Afghan government. In 2017 her application for asylum was accepted. She has learned German at the Humboldt University and taken several modules of the HU for Refugees programme. Her younger sister is now in Berlin and they live together in a flat-share.

Responsibility

Jamal Abasi

Herat, Afghanistan

 

Teachers can bear great responsibility
With a few words they can shape you to be an important personality
Or an unimportant person whom no one will listen to
They are the ones who teach us to read and write
In a book I read that “Everyone is worth as much as he knows.”

I had a teacher in the 4th and 5th school year
Who had no financial problems
He travelled out to the furthest schools and villages
To teach there
I asked him: Why?
He answered:
For rich people’s children a teacher can always be found
There are other children who cannot go to school because they are poor
They more than anyone need schooling
Because they experience so much hardship at a young age
These are the children who need school
Because there is no philosopher or scientist
Who can bear toothache

 

Jamal Abasi (16)

came to Germany from Afghanistan four years ago. He likes poems because they communicate a lot and can express feelings that sometimes don’t fit into sentences. Apart from writing, in his spare time he takes an interest in literature, music and drama.

On the nature of freedom

Jamal Abasi

Herat, Afghanistan

 

Freedom is a fine word
For which much has been sacrificed
And which can harbour many dangers
But that does not mean
That we have no freedom at all
We have just not understood it properly
We have not understood that it has limits
We have not understood that untamed freedom
Can lead to folly.

Yet we are not always
Responsible for it ourselves
People who could not taste freedom
Their whole lives long
And then suddenly come to a world
In which it is highly valued
Do not understand freedom
They follow their image of freedom and in this lose
Their own way
No spot on this earth can be completely unfree
Because a person’s thoughts
And the way
A person experiences the world
Are a universe of their own

It would be good to know
Where the roots of unfreedom lie
So that one’s own freedom
Is not suddenly in a cage.

 

Jamal Abasi (16)

came to Germany from Afghanistan four years ago. He likes poems because they communicate a lot and can express feelings that sometimes don’t fit into sentences. Apart from writing, in his spare time he takes an interest in literature, music and drama.