Immigrants Carry Their Homeland with Them

Those who leave Afghanistan do not always achieve their dreams, and emigrating to escape the Taliban tyranny and the torment of hunger can be just as dangerous as staying in Afghanistan. Over the past one and a half years, hundreds and in some cases thousands of compatriots have migrated to neighboring and distant countries, many of whom have become stuck in the middle of their journey, some have gone down paths they did not intend to take, and some have gone missing or their bodies have been returned to their homeland. Recently, a ship full of migrants sank off the coast of Italy, resulting in dozens of deaths and missing people, some of whom were our compatriots. It is estimated that in the last ten years, the death and disappearance of 20,000 migrants have been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea alone, and undoubtedly the number of Afghans among them was in the thousands. The loss of our immigrants is even higher in the distance between the homeland and the Mediterranean Sea. Every year, a large number of those who leave their homes hoping to reach Western countries are either killed and/or go missing in the plains, mountains and borders of Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.

The number of those who have migrated to other countries by plane and through official processes is very small compared to the group of compatriots who have undertaken the arduous journey through illegal routes. The majority of immigrants who have reached their destination and have found homes and found work in other parts of the world have done so through dangerous and difficult means. From a distance, it appears that those who have arrived have not been able to fully recover from the suffering they endured. Immigrants take with them both the good and bad elements of their homeland, such as honors, setbacks, disgraces, and common names. They must search for answers for themselves and others for years. Leaving one’s homeland does not mean abandoning it, and even if someone desires to leave it, its culture and roots remain with the immigrants for years, and the host environment keeps reminding them of their original home. The difficulty of resuming life in a new environment with its many restrictions makes migration a very challenging experience for those fleeing war and starvation with nothing.

Due to the current catastrophic situation in the homeland, leaving the country is seen as a form of salvation, with all its associated dangers, ambiguities and wanderings. The suffering of immigrants is often overlooked and they become victims, with their plight not making the headlines or evoking collective sympathy. The hard and earthy definition of homeland and patriotism that is created can make it difficult to think of a homeland beyond geography and the homelands that are scattered all over the world. With the increasing number of immigrants and the continuing wave of leaving the country, it is essential that the issues of immigration, the rights of immigrants, and the sufferings of compatriots abroad are included and highlighted in the political, civil, and media agendas. The prisons of the countries of the region are full of people from Afghanistan, while the camps and cities of Pakistan and Iran are full of hungry and homeless Afghans who have fled their homeland, most of whom have no place to stay and no way back. The current political and economic crises in Iran and Pakistan have further narrowed the environment for immigrants. They live a life of limbo, suffering between the hope of improving the situation of their homeland or immigration to western countries on the one hand and continuing to live in poverty and destitution on the other. It is essential that their faces and their issues are reflected in the mirror of politics and media.