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What the Afghan Wants to Say: Arezo’s Journey to America

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2021-11-18T14:55:58+00:00 October 3, 2021|Highline Voices, News|
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What the Afghan Wants to Say: Arezo’s Journey to America

  • Jayendrina Singha Ray

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. …

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This article was originally published by the Federal Way Mirror on Oct. 3, 2021.

About the Author

Jayendrina Singha Ray has a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English composition and research writing at Highline College and Bellevue College.

About Highline Voices

Highline Voices brings a range of diverse perspectives to our community, featuring the expertise of Highline College staff and faculty. Read other articles in the Highline Voices series that began in 2016. All Highline employees are welcome to contribute to the series. Email Dr. Tanya Powers or Raechel Dawson for guidelines.