The second of the five countries I’ll be writing about is Afghanistan. Now, I’m not naïve enough to think it’s the safest place on earth because it’s not. We all know about the challenges the country has faced over the past few decades – from the Soviet invasion to the Taliban rule to the various attacks in the country.
But with all the awful things that have happened, we rarely think about the positives it has to give. We rarely hear about the great things that ‘ordinary’ Afghans have achieved; and I think with all the troubles Afghans have faced for so long, it is also important to also draw attention to the Afghans who are doing great things. But, as already identified, life has not been easy for many people in the country.
One of my absolute favourite authors is Khaled Hosseini, who is originally from Kabul. Through the issues highlighted in his novels, you can clearly see how people’s lives have been ruined by decisions out with their control. From women in abusive marriages to civilians having to flee their homes, the novels really open your eyes to how people’s lives can be completely turned around by others’ decisions. Although the books are fictional, the point still stands: life has been difficult for so many Afghan people. Even Khaled and his family had to seek political asylum in the United States.
It reminds me that I have so much to be grateful for.
So I would like to visit Afghanistan for two main reasons. The first one is that I’d like to meet Afghans who have faced significant hardship and hear their stories first hand. It is so vitally important that their voices are heard – it’s equally crucial that we over here know about what other human beings have had to deal with. In so many ways, we are all so similar but circumstances – especially our places of birth – have determined so much about our lives, meaning some have had more opportunities than others.
But I’d also love to hear about the great things that people in Afghanistan are doing. We know that so many Afghans have faced so much hardship, and it’s absolutely necessary to talk about that. But I also think it’s vital that Afghan success stories are also highlighted. After all, there are extraordinary people all over the world.
So that pretty much sums up the main reasons why I’d like to visit Afghanistan. I strongly believe that the most important role of a foreign correspondent is to talk about the actual human beings who are affected by a situation or event. And that’s what I aim to do, whether that’s as a journalist or not. Of course it will be difficult, and sometimes a little dangerous, but nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?