By: Liza Schuster

We crossed the courtyard and followed 16 year old Amin around the back of the house. We removed our shoes, walked down the dark hallway and turned into the small dark room. The two youngest children sat huddled with their mother under a duvet. 8 year old Nasir’s sobs did not miss a beat, while his 11 year old sister Fatima cried silent tears beside him. Their mother’s eyes were also swollen with crying, as she stood to welcome me and urged me to be seated. “Hello, Nasir, how are you?” I said in Dari. “I want to be in school” he gulped. “I should not be here. I should be in school with my friends. I must go back. I must go back now”. “He has been crying like this this since we landed seven days ago” his mother said in anguish. “This morning, he tried to take one of the bags to put his clothes in it. He said he was going to walk to the airport”. His father could not speak but knelt with his head bowed. I could see his tears glitter as they fell. He finds it hard to stay in the room unable to bear or to relieve the suffering of his wife and children.

“Nasir Jan” I said “You cannot go back now. But you can stay in touch with your friends in Norway. We will find you a good school here and you will make friends here too”. “No, no. The best friends are in Norway. I need them. I must go back. I cannot go to school here. Yesterday I saw six boys beat another boy. My home is in Norway. My friends are in Norway. I should not be here”, the words tumbled out in rapid and perfect English learnt during his 4 years in school. He hid his face in his hands and began a keening that did not stop for the 30 minutes I stayed. I tried to reassure him, to tell him that there were good schools and good people here in Kabul, but he told me his head was hurting and wouldn’t work.

Fatima turned to say something to me in Norwegian and I felt my heart constrict as I looked into swollen reddened eyes. She sat in her jeans, hooded sweatshirt, with her woolen hat and short hair, a typical little European. Her mother tells me she refuses to wear a scarf or a long skirt. I asked her to repeat what she said in English. “We cannot stay here, Mrs Liza. We must go back to school. We must go back. We must go back” – I sensed that she was on the edge of hysteria.

The family are guests of the relatives of an acquaintance they had not seen for five years, and now they need to move on, but they are paralyzed by the fear that drove them from Afghanistan in the first place and by the shock of their deportation. The children cannot process was has happened to them. They refuse to eat, and the stress is manifest in their pale skin, in Amin’s swollen throat glands, in Fatima’s hoarse little voice as she speaks and her hands that pluck incessantly at the duvet, in Nasir’s inconsolable distress.

Their parents are at a loss, unable to comfort their children, unsure what to do next. For the moment they are unable to plan: their thoughts are still in Norway, though they sit in this small room in Kabul, afraid to venture out. In spite of the cruelty of this deportation, the family want only to return to Norway. They cannot quite accept that the country they have come to love has betrayed them.

About Abdul Ghafoor

Abdul Ghafoor is a refugee rights activist and blogger stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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  1. Neda says:

    Economic migrants…political migrants ( refugees ) flies to the nearest border to save their life! This family travell from Afghanistan to Norway, half arond the globe, from one of the poorest country in the world, to the richest country. ..economic migrants? Of course!! Do not ever come back!! Parents has to afford their own children, a foreign country in a foreign continents HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY TO SUPPORT CHILDREN WHO SHOULD NEVER BEEN BORN! And yes, i mean the children in this family! Parents can not support their children, well, DO NOT BRING THEM TO THE WORLD!

  2. Irmelin says:

    Parents are loosers, I hope Abdul Ghafoor tell them they have no right to return to Norway! Parents have no option to support this children..they should NEVER been born!! Birthcontroll in Afghanistan?? Do not exsist…The children are unwanted in Norway..We have NO responsibility for this children , they SHOULD never been born..!!

  3. Dear Ghafoor – ‘Irmelin’ is either a troll or somebody who has a mental health problem. Please do not let him/her upset you. If someone has a different point of view and wishes to have a rational discussion that is fine. But it is not possible to discuss sensibly with someone like this so I would just delete the comment and block them.

  4. Irmelin dearest. From what you write in your response, it leads me to think of you as a frightened, egosentric, fascist ignoramus. You, that have had the opportunity to growup in Norway (I presume?) and have been given the privilege of going to school for free for thirteen years. How did you spend these years? Did you exploit your possibilities? Did you read as much as you could, trying to understand as much as you could?

    From what I see in your response to this article, I fear you didn’t. I fear you don’t understand what is given to you, what our constitution protects or what democracy is all about. It seems like everything your teachers and responsible grown-ups taught you on being respectful was all wasted.

    Somewhere in your life someone taught you that it was ok to throw allegations at people without mercy and without any backing in reality. They taught you wrong. It makes you come out as a white supremacist, a facist and a bigot, desecrating all the sacrifices done by so many to throw the nazi-regime out in 1945.

    An advice, well meant: You should go back to reading. This time to try to understand. Show us all that 13 years of free school and growing up in a democracy is appreciated and that it was worth it. Be someone your parents and you teacher would be proud of. Right now, you’re not.

  5. human says:

    .problems of afghanistan are not problems of afghans lady Irmelin.,its promlems of the world,bcz due to dirty hegemonic policy of western or some people like you who spreads hatred and racism, afghanistan is shameful to express a sick idea to unwelkome human being tobe born in this planet.humanbeing means whether in good of bad situation enjoy responsibility towards each sure norwagian do not grant you nobel price to honour you for such shameful comments.i hope you think twice if you can ever better think.

  6. Melvina Khan says:

    Very sad to hear their story and good to know they have support and love from a lawer like yourself . …now to the fucked up comment of Irmelin : her English tells me that her education most probably of a lower level, which also means that her general knowledge is like ZERO. She probably works in a grocery store ( nothing wrong to do so ) but in her case she is very much unhappy with her job because she would like to have a salary as same level as a doctor like myself .But obviously she doesn’t want to work hard for that, so the easiest way is to complain about foreigners coming here and taking away her benefits. In these days she probably been “eating” from the government herself .I cant wait until she is kicked by her son or daughter (if she has one) to a retire home for the elderarly and eat oatmeal rest of her pathetic 10 years of life which is fed to her by our new Norwegians citizens .She is just very frustrated. So just forget nonsense people like her pleeaaasee.
    And for the comment made by Neda….her name itself tells me she is not very Norwegian herself and for God’s sake take a English class if you want to comment on international level.If you knew the Norwegian history you would also know that more than 800 000 people emigrated from Norway to the US upto 1920!!THEY WERE ALL ECONOMICAL IMMIGRANTS! !!!! get your facts straight woman ! Foreign country? Do you even know what foreign is ? Your ridiculous comment falls on its own ground.thsnk you very much!

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