This story, bravely shared by an anonymous woman in Afghanistan, serves as a powerful reminder of the preciousness of fundamental rights. It is a stark contrast to the reality she faces, where these very rights are not given, but fought for daily. Her words paint a vivid picture of a life where education, freedom of expression, and basic safety are not guaranteed. Every breath, every step, is a silent protest against the restrictions imposed upon her and countless others.
She was a very hard-working and tireless girl, who did not spare any effort to achieve her goals. With tireless effort, struggling to claim her rights with family, friends, relatives, neighbors and, in short, by breaking all the wrong traditions of the city, she stayed up all night by candlelight in her room to pass the university exams. She was able to graduate with highest honors as a distinguished student of the Faculty of Law and Political Science.
I want to point out some of her achievements at the university. When I write these achievements, it may be a few lines for you as a reader, which may take a few seconds to read and go over. But for her, reaching each of these achievements was at the cost of fighting and combat against the traditions and false beliefs that had taken root in society and had become a barrier to her progress and to that of many girls like her. She is the only girl in her family and she is the first among her relatives who was able to fight with everyone and convince her family that girls can also study and achieve great success like boys.
As a university student she participated in many competitive and educational programs and was awarded the prize from the Institute of Human Rights and the Elimination of Violence for “Best Writer” in a competition among several provinces of Afghanistan. Likewise, in the Legal Writing Department at the Asia Foundation Institute she launched a program of legal research in the field of legal ethics and conduct. She became a human rights activist in 2017 and was sworn in as a defense lawyer in 2020. She is working with the people of her country, especially the women, doing her best to deal with very bitter and painful circumstances despite overwhelming opposition and daily threats that she has faced from the families of so many victims.
Despite extensive corruption during the reign of Ashraf Ghani, she served for a year as a prosecutor at the Prosecutor’s Office. But because of corruption and prejudice against women in government departments she was forced out of this position. Nevertheless, she continued with many legal activities while studying for the bar exam, which she passed in first place. After a year of legal, judicial, and professional training she was officially appointed as a defense lawyer. In a lawsuit over people’s rights, she was placed in charge of the one-year task of advancing cases of violence against women in provincial courts. After that, while she was officially employed as a defense lawyer, she worked on women’s skills and empowerment, women’s political rights, freedom of speech, freedom of expression in Afghanistan.
Are you confused?
Let me tell you how “falling” determines destinies.
I know, you are wondering how the fate of this girl has fallen by the hand of fall.
When I talk about falling, you might think that I mean falling from a height or falling from a place.
Or you might think that this girl was falling by slipping on the edge of a mountain. You may recall that this girl is out of place. Or feel that she died. Or maybe you think that she had an accident that has incapacitated her. Or you may say that her fate has changed due to falling into a well. Or you can probably say that maybe she was relegated and pushed.. Or maybe you think that she had a big failure in her life and compared it to a fall.
But no, none of these were factors!
Join me as I tell you about the fall that changed this girl’s destiny.
The girl was ticking off her goals one after another. She was able to get a job in one of the most prestigious institutions that worked to defend the rights of women and children, and she was very happy. Everyone congratulated her. Her family also accompanied her. Her parents were proud of her.
Unfortunately, she spent a very short time working in that prestigious organization that she dreamed of for so many years. She was blocked three months later because of a change of government. After that she could not serve the people of her country as she wanted. A month after the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan, she went to her office and found that the Taliban had broken the locks and entered. All signs of her office were gone and it had been turned completely into a Taliban office. Seeing this, all the desires she had for the rights of her people fled her mind like that of a wounded bird. She crossed by and said nothing. From that bitter moment she began to live with a hidden identity. She gave up her social status and had to hide with her family.
You may ask how the situation changed for her after the change of government? These conditions changed her life completely. In one night she lost all the achievements of her life. It was very hard. It took her breath away.
I wish that no girls anywhere should experience what Afghan girls have experienced under Taliban rule.
She has been living in society for two years as a girl without any social status. She did all this to protect her family and her life. Now all the dreams of girls of her land are in vain. After the night of August 15, 2021 she couldn’t see any light in her country. There is darkness everywhere. She wished that the day before the collapse of Kabul would last forever, that it would never be night again. But her wishes are all for naught. Now it’s night. This night will no longer be the day. The conditions have become very difficult and the restrictions are increasing day by day…
You can still see in her the courage to achieve her goals. She still looks for light in the darkness. She has always sought to do useful things as a human being and as an Afghan girl. She still wants to fulfill her mission of being human in this world.
She picked up her phone. She remembered that there would be an online meeting in half an hour. She should share her thoughts about the book she just read.
In these difficult days, the only happiness that connected her with the outside world was the phone and her hands which made it possible to connect with Germany, Pakistan, Iran, Canada, France, and anywhere in the world. And when the call was over, she wished she could return again without any restrictions, without any fear or worry.
But she should have realized that during her journey she must not say a word or a sentence against the government to any stranger lest her identity be revealed. She entered her WhatsApp account. Her eyes fell on a new message!
Hello! I hope you are well. Dear lady, we ask for your cooperation.
Yes, of course.
Are you ready to speak frankly with us?
She knew that speaking the truth could be a heavy responsibility. Despite this she did not want to remain silent and ignore the question. Bravely she replied to this unknown acquaintance.
Yes. I am ready. Tell me how I can cooperate with you?
About the situation of women in your country.
“Women” of my country?
She said the word “women” with emphasis because being a woman in her country required courage. Being a girl in that place meant fighting to breathe, to be, to exist, and to be seen. The women of that place are the oppressed of history. Cursed geography, in its corners of a mother’s sigh, a sister’s woe, a daughter’s poverty, a wife’s helplessness. In short, pain is silently screaming.
And like all women she was faced with a question that eats at her mind! She thought to herself, what was the purpose of her struggles? Just to reach basic rights? The same basic rights that every other person, without exception, deserves in this world!
Yes! We ask you to tell us about the thoughts of women and of the problems that have not been heard since August 15, 2021.
That’s what she was thinking. She was struggling to find the right words to express her pain, sorrow, suffering, cruelty, and poverty. She remembered! The pain cannot be written. The pain is stretched here, bit by bit, by the veins of the thin cells of women.
Who values women enough to listen to their words? How do women who have cut their voices, raise their voice? And if they raise their voices, where is there? In the same territory! That’s why the people who put a woman in the middle of the goat killing field, in public, and stone her to death just for the crime of choosing her future husband?
Who listens to the women of this land!? The same violent men who don’t seem to know anything about humanity and shamelessly pull a woman down from a taxi just for the crime of wearing a long coat with a face mask! “Why didn’t you wear a veil?”
Or that thin and withered old man with deep furrows on his brow and a turban on his head, who does not even have mercy for the small and kind heart of an innocent 14-year-old girl when he enters her classroom with a gun and fierce anger and tears her book apart in front of her?
Or that stout man with a large body, equipped with heavy weapons who enters the office of a lawyer and fearlessly throws all her belongings into the street and makes a place for himself!?
Or that short, dark-faced man who had black spots like benign cancers on his wrinkled face, it was because of the blackness of his thoughts that he detains a woman with irrelevant questions at the door of the court for her “crime” of being a lawyer!?
Or not that washed-up young man who has just come of age, who no one knows if he has a university degree or not, and who sits behind an official government desk and says to the woman applying for a passport: “Go, you were left behind by the same blasphemous government. What do you want here, another era?” The reign of disbelief has ended, now Islam rules.
There was no one to tell them that Islam will drag you to hell because you have given this holy religion a bad name.
She was overwhelmed by these thoughts and did not know what to do.
She had seen many women who raised their voices here but were silenced without even a moment’s hesitation because they had no support. In her country, it really took courage to be a woman. Being a woman there meant fighting with all the men of the land and getting lost.
August 15, 2021 and fall! I will never forget this ominous word.
In those dark days of the fall, even as there was no light in the city where she lived, the dark presence of an army cast a shadow over it.
But all her hope was in the Capital, the city of her dreams. She prayed that the dark shadow of this black fall would never spread overhead, so she breathed in the hard days with this hope.
Do you remember anything from it to share with us?
The evening of August 14th will never be erased from my memory, the evening that followed the terrible dawn of isolation.
That evening, from the porch of their small house in the corner of a haunted city, she sat idly watching the sunset and looked towards it with hope. She was aware of the unfortunate situation of her country, said with all these worries, that today when the sun sets, tomorrow’s sunrise will inspire a part in the hope of tomorrow’s noisy sunset. But in the early hours of that night, the moment that the city of her dreams fell, as if the whole universe collapsed on her head overnight!
A night whose darkness became a black shadow on my dreams.
Tell us about the situation there.
The night after it which I lost my flightpath in the darkness. How to describe that dark night, the night that carried the fearless attack of an army of ignorance with it to steal her dreams. The night when a group of thieves came and stole the dream of a generation and left a generation wounded without feathers.
Nothing is clear, darkness is everywhere, no one has a definition of the future, and this is the saddest story of an uncertain future.
In these cases, are you ready to talk with us in more detail?
Almost two and a half years passed and she has been imprisoned for two and a half years. Her feeling in those days was the same as that of a prisoner who did not have the right to any act of freedom except eating, sleeping, and dressing. What does it feel like to be an innocent in prison? Maybe now she could understand why her clients struggled so much to prove their innocence and wanted to get out of there!
It’s hard, believe me, it’s very hard. The women of this land couldn’t express the heavy weight of this sorrow in words
This was the pain and hardship of the tired eyes of a woman who fought for years for the rights of others, but now she is alone and cannot take her rights from the clutches of a black army.
This sadness was narrated by the eyes of the girls who were excluded from school. Or the girls who each had their duty and were independent, but now they are in need. We can discover this pain in the spirit of the girls who did not forget happiness for a moment, but now they have forgotten to laugh.
This pain could be clearly found in a girl who has spent her whole life in pursuit of science and knowledge and achieving her dreams so that she could become a successful lawyer and be a voice for the women of the country. But now, everything is gone overnight.
This difficulty can be seen in a girl who has a mental problem after the fall of her dreams and is forced to use pills and medicine.
Or another girl who is forced to get married for fear of loneliness and lack of support, which she does not want.
This pain and difficulty can be found in girls who no longer have any dreams and feel empty and futile.
You can see the height of this sadness in the eyes full of enthusiasm of girls who got scholarships with thousands of hopes and go to the airport to fly towards their dreams, but they are turned away from the airport and they are not allowed to travel.
Or an innocent girl who was the first in the general school in the fifth grade, but deliberately did not study in the sixth grade in order to fail; Only out of fear and sadness that if she is promoted to the seventh grade, the Taliban will not allow her to go to school.
The story of the hardships of our times is as black as the hair of the Morsal.
The fall has created the saddest stories for the women of this land. This realm has brought the darkest days to the angels of this land. I am afraid of a darker day, lest these heroes get tired of this kind of survival and my speechless tongue ends up committing suicide.
She seemed determined about her decision. She understood that she had to raise her voice. So that the world knows how women have given a land hostage by signing an agreement. But she was still hesitant and afraid of a scary future. She sent the message with fear.
Don’t worry, trust us.
I know we all fall at some point. All without exception will fall at one point, When we fall into the pit of fall, everyone reaches a level from this fall; One settles, the other makes a stair for success; Some people bury themselves in that hole to die; The other one hugs her knees and thinks only of failure and fall; For some, the fall is a turning point; But the most fortunate people look for a light in that black hole to draw their future possibilities with its light. But I wish that you never experience the fall of geography and your homeland; Because this fall will throw you into a black hole where every moment you have to take a handful of the soil of your homeland to bury you…
“A” must remain anonymous in order to protect her identity in Afghanistan