Guest Column by Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray
In our little Zoom room, I hear my interviewee break into sobs. Her part of the Zoom room is engulfed in darkness, and I have no way to see her. Can a woman connect with another over the tangible intangibility of cyberspace? Well, not really. But the stunted efforts at connection did give me access to a woman whose story is one of resilience.
An Afghan by birth, three-month-old Arezo (name changed) was carried to Iran by her parents in the 1990s. Arezo and her family were not the first refugees to enter Iran, as the first wave of Afghan refugees had set foot in the country in 1979 after the communist coup and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
The flight of Afghan refugees, like Arezo, in the 1990s, took place with the fall of Mohammad Najibullah’s pro-communist government and the emergence of the Taliban. While Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE extended their support to this new political wave, numerous Afghans tried to escape the harsh reality of a country that sanctioned public executions and banned female education. Arezo and her family were among those who felt the tremors of this new reality, and decided to forsake the security of their home and family business for a life of safety in Iran. …