Opinion: ‘I still cannot faithfully say we are free and independent’

Today, we, the brave people of Afghanistan commemorate the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919, which is known as the Independence Day of Afghanistan.

I am so proud and pleased to say that unlike its neighbours, my precious homeland has never been part of the British Empire.

My brave ancestors fought three gruelling wars with the British in order to protect their motherland from foreign control. The first war took place between 1839 and 1842, the second between 1878 and 1880.

The third Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 led the British to give up control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs which they withheld from their victory at the Battle of Kandahar.

I cannot put into words how much I love and appreciate where I come from. I am deeply proud of my bloodline, my origins, my motherland, my bloody yet intensely beautiful history, my rich culture, and my people whose features I see in the mirror every day.

The third Anglo-Afghan war in 1919 led the British to give up control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs which they withheld from their victory at the Battle of Kandahar

I am equally proud of the languages my people speak, from Pashto, Dari, Hazaragi, Balochi, Turkmeni to Uzbeki. I am proud of the colourful food I eat, the incredible variety of music and dance I listen and spin to, from ancient folk and fast paced qataghani to the loud booms of the attan beat.

I am also proud of the intricate clothing and jewellery I wear, the traditions in which I participate, the holidays I celebrate and most important of all, the overbearing reality of what it means to be an Afghan: a true warrior.

However, it truly saddens me to know some of my fellow countrymen and women condone racism and hold prejudiced views of Afghans of other ethnicities and tribes.

Before we were Afghanistan, we were Ariana/Aryana. We were an empire made up of many people and many lands.

It breaks my heart to know that some Afghans have forgotten their roots and blindly side with the unfair Durand line, which I do not and will never accept.

No matter which Afghan ethnic group you fall into: Tajik, Pashtun, Uzbek, Hazara, Aimaq, Turkman, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Qizilbash, Brahui, Pamiri, Arab, Hindu, Sikh, you must know that there is no place for racism amongst the Afghan community. Right now, our entire nation is bleeding.

Our ancestors did not fight our enemies and die for our future only for us to fight and kill each other. It is shameful. Our diversity and multi-ethnic society is what makes us, us.  It is what makes our people so unique.

Although history's greatest and most ruthless warlords such as Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan were never truly able to conquer Afghanistan and prior to that Ariana/Aryana, I still cannot faithfully say that we are free and independent. We are not.

We might recently have fought off the British and Americans from our land but their bombs keep dropping, their spies still sit in our Parliament and regretfully, their biggest ally is our next door neighbor: Pakistan.

As President Ashraf Ghani said recently, Pakistan continues to be the breeding ground for terrorists who attack our country and kill our people. As we have seen in recent weeks, the juggernaut rolls on.

Maybe, we will never truly be free until the last breath of life leaves our lungs and our souls prepare for the journey back to our Creator but I hope that we can achieve acceptance within our community, solidarity within our ummah and independence to run our country the way we want it to be run.

We might recently have fought off the British and Americans from our land but their bombs keep dropping, their spies still sit in our Parliament 

No suffering, no abuse, no unnecessary bloodshed; the quality of life needs to be realised.

My bibi jan (grandmother) remembers when Afghanistan was peaceful, when women went to universities and wore flannel skirts and blazers, when men were not into sex and sleaze.

Maybe, if we work hard enough, our grandchildren will remember Afghanistan in that way too.

I wish all my admirable watandars (countermen) a happy Independence Day. May Almighty Allah grant us that we want in this life and the life hereafter.

May Almighty Allah grant us strength and patience to deal with the horrors that we are facing on a daily basis. May He grant peace to the departed and patience to the bereaved.

“Honour the guest, O son. Even though he be an infidel, open the door.” - Afghan Proverb.

Fatima Nayimi is an Afghan-British high school student. She tweets at fatima_nayimi

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