Restoring Afghanistan: a young woman’s thoughts

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Freshta is one of our newer writers. She is not only a university student, but is also working for two different news organizations in Kabul as a journalist.  Here she allows us to see Afghanistan through the eyes of a woman.  

ABOUT twelve years ago when I came to Afghanistan with my family [like many Afghans, Freshta’s family had taken refuge in Iran] and arrived in Kabul, I was 10-years-old. I was a little girl who had a different picture of Afghanistan than I have today.     

     At that time when we were living in Kabul.  I was small and I went out of home just for school.  When I got older and my school was far from my house, I saw more places in the city. One of these places was Darul Aman palace. It was destroyed then. You could see many build-  ings that were destroyed from war then.  At that time when I saw the palace, I saw it from far. I didn’t go in it.  

     I knew that in the past it was a king’s house. Many people had lived and maybe died there. Darul Aman Palace was built in the early 1920s during the reign of Amanullah Khan to help modernize Afghanistan. It was designed by a German engineer and his team. The Palace has more than 150 rooms of different sizes. But it was only used for a few years and the monarchy collapsed. The castle was burned down and rebuilt, and then again destroyed in the mid-1980s by civil wars between the Mujahideen.  The ruined palace became a symbol of war.

     When I saw it as a girl, I was so sad about my country when I compared Afghanistan with Iran.  I saw people’s treatment of children and each other.  I thought, why I should hear the sounds of bullets and explosions? Why should my country and her children not have bird sounds and not be able to go to a park play play football or travel around, like in Iran? But we could not do these things.

     So Darul Aman Palace is again a symbol of hope even though we are still in danger in our cities. Again the palace has been rebuilt and, this time, with the help of women!  For the rebuilding of this palace about 100 young engineers were working, of which 25 percent were female engineers. It was finished on the 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain.

     Now when we see that this palace is so beautiful, we can say that Afghanistan will have a new future. Dear readers, I think when you think about Afghanistan, or when someone talks about this country, you just think about war, explosions and people killed.  But you can’t see us completely.  You can’t see all the rebuilding. You can’t see the new picture of Afghanistan. Now we are trying to bring peace to our country for young people like myself that grew up in war or as immigrants. We have big changes already.  We have youth representatives to the United Nations and we have young reporters who work in all parts of the country. I mentioned young engineers, especially women, working on the Darul Aman Palace. It may be usual in other countries that girls are engineers and work in the society, but for Afghanistan where men for so long didn’t allow girls to go to school, it is a great thing for us. So the rebuilding of this palace, or the rebuilding of any part of Afghanistan, is a great achievement. I am proud of my country. I feel a big difference about my country from what I felt before. —Freshta


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