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!«


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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:
When the people whom the world has disappointed lie sleepless, unprotected,
the man-eating wolves will awaken.


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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