Story: Hussein, 1997 / Interviewed by Sophia
The war in Afghanistan forced me to know four rules.
Be smart and protect yourself.
Trust no one.
Know exactly what a person expects from you.
And lastly: The world is not kind.
We were at war, we knew that. But in everyday life we didn’t realise it. For me, war was a game of hide-and seek. Only when we lost a classmate for no reason, I suddenly understood how fragile my future was. It could have happened to everyone – to me.
So I told myself: “I can’t stay here. I should leave. I want to do something with my life!”
My mother was neither in favour, nor against it.
“If I insist that you stay, and something happens, I will blame myself.”
When I finally left, I was an adult. I was 17.
The first stage was the hardest. The border between Iran and Turkey is a no-go area for unaccompanied minors. Traffickers use you as protection for the others. So, my brother and I travelled with my mother’s cousin. Families were treated with respect.
In Turkey, we were left on our own. By chance I found an old classmate from Afghanistan, who was travelling with four of his friends. One of them was almost illiterate, but he had good social skills and could talk extremely fast. Once, we had to stand in line with a thousand people to receive a document. We told him: “Go and get the documents!” After five minutes he was done.
As a group of seven, we dared to take the dangerous route to Europe.
Therefore, I broke the rule and decided to trust them. My brother and I joined the group. As a group of seven, we dared to take the dangerous route to Europe.
Today, I study Information Systems at a Swiss university. I have a strong fascination towards technology and this was evoked by a camcorder. My father bought it when I was eight. I loved to open it and to look inside. Soon I was the one responsible for the camcorder. I even learned how to record my favourite TV cartoon episodes on it.
There happens to be kindness in the world. Wonderful childhood memories are linked to this camcorder. This is beauty, and I can hold on to that.