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Life (Short Story) by Emal Pasarly

Chardara district

Do you call this life? There is no power, no roads and the school is so far away that my son tires of the journey rather than his studies. It’s not a true education anyways; one day the teacher complains of a headache and the next day claims that one or the other of his parents has passed away. It is only a school by name, a ploy to fool people and ensure they are rewarded by the government with a title of sorts.

Just look around at people elsewhere, they dont just exist, they know how to live a proper life. Consider those in Kunduz; they have power and every single home has clean drinking water from their very own wells.

The schools are close by and the teachers actually have real degrees. In Kunduz there is a shop for everything and you dont have to wait for the weekly bazaars as we do here. Everyone is going to Kunduz.

We are the only ones stuck here in rusty Chardara.

Only God knows what we have worth staying here for.

Kunduz city

Do you call this electricity? I wish they would get rid of this diesel run power. It runs for an hour only to leave us in darkness for two more. Oh God, and can you really call this water? There are frogs jumping in and out of the well and we must still drink the water that comes from it. Its no wonder my son is sick all the time.Only God knows what this city has done to my son, he has never had a day of health in his life. Every day he has to endure one surgery or another. Even the doctors are not at the same standard as those in Kabul. God knows where they got these doctors; not a single one of them knows what he is doing. One is worse than the next. They are not like the ones in Kabul, who are all foreign qualified. Kabul is Kabul, it is the capital city afterall. They have power 24 hours a day while we, the pathetic ones, rot in this sickening Kunduz.

Kabul

Oh my God so many rockets! We have yet to enjoy a single day of life here. Every one is leaving to protect their children; we are the only ones that remain. Even the schools in Kabul are not what they used to be; they are worse than even those in the Mamakhail village. Teachers are being forced to join the military leaving leaving any unqualified individual to claim the title of a teacher. This city with its destruction is so expensive to live in. We cannot afford to buy meat for weeks at a time, leaving my son skinnier and skinnier by the day. I can deal with his thinning body as long as he is still alive. Who knows what could happen with those rockets; I can only hope and pray to God to spare him.

All those lucky enough to have the means have left Kabul already. Afghans are happy and prospering in Peshawar. The UN helps them fulfill their needs and even their schools are taught in English.

Peshawar

IT is so hot! Hot enough to call this place hell.

there are flies in every direction and blisters covering our bodies thanks to the heat. My son’s body is so full of them there is not a clear spot left.

Doctors attribute it to the climate and tell me that when winter comes it will do him a world of good.

What a pathetic life we lead. The police here are unbearable. Prices so such that not even the school fees are within our reach. House rent is sky high and completely unaffordable. What happened to the supposed UN aid? None of us know a thing about it.

The Pakistanis keep everything for themselves, leaving refugees without a single penny. Other people are so lucky, they know what to do and have all gone to Germany. There they are given free houses along with salaries for each and every person. You find fridges and television sets at your doorstep along with cars in your driveway. There is a luxurious life to be had there. It is only we, the poor and pathetic ones, still living in this heat ridden Peshawar. I do not know what my poor son will here. What sore of future can he have in this country? Everyone is going abroad and we are left here to suffer.

Germany Colon

What do I want with this church? I do not give a damn if this is one of the seven wonders of the world. I am not a Christian. I wish that I wasn’t forced to look at another single angry faced German. They hate foreigners. One cannot even buy a car in this country. A poor Afghan bought one recently only to have his neighbors notify the government which in turn cut off all the social aid he was receiving. My son is not even able to learn this German language. How can you blame him; this language is so rough and difficult. Who could possibly learn it, it’s like an alien tongue. There are no jobs here for us, its not like London where Afghans earn a lot of money. In London they are not only able to work but they also get social benefits at the same time. The English are so much more generous than the Germans. They treat Foreigners with much more respect. My son would be able to study there with no problem at all. He had already picked up on English in Peshawar. So many people have left Germany for London yet we are still left here to live.

London Green lanes

I cannot recall a single dry day here. I have yet to see the sun in London; it rains day in and day out.

Darkness sets in at three o’clock in the afternoon! I hate the council here, they have provided us with a house that would be suitable only for mice. My son goes to college but I wish he had never gone there in the first place. He is constantly away from home.

Once he was a well mannered boy and now he is anything but polite. If you dare to question him as to his whereabouts he does not even bother to give you a response. I wish I was dead. Even death would have been preferrable to this life. We poor souls are not even guaranteed a grave in this country. One must buy land for a grave here and how can we manage to afford that? I am happy, however, that I cannot afford it.

I would not wish it upon my worst enemy to be buried in this muddy earth. My dear husband I beg of you, if I should die here please promise to bury me in the Mamakhail village of Kunduz. At least there someone will pray for me and I will be among my own people.

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