Do not underestimate the pride of a Hazara child

____________________________________________

During my labor period as a child

in Iran’s reconstruction industry,

I put Daddy’s worn,

long Afghani shalwar kamiz on

while carrying heavy parcels

of cements on my shoulders

pretending to be a strong man;

a tough man perhaps, like Daddy

though I am only a seven-year-old

war-torn child…!

I hold my little Afghani chest forward

like a brave soldier in a foreign land

and pushing fast the cart of sand

though my stomach is empty,

and heart is broken, and saddened

with drops of tears stuck in the chamber of my eyes,

holding them tight right there not letting them

to be wasted in this unfamiliar… unkind land.

Trying to demonstrate that

I am not a weak kid but rather

a proud Hazara warrior child

who is taught by his father

to always walk with head high

even if its cut and left on your bare palms.

But sometimes,

when the scale of affliction overwhelms

my limit of endurance, I choose to I cry….

but I cry only on the roof-top though

to make sure, no one sees my tears,

because I don’t want to reveal my weakness

though I’m an abandoned child with no guardian…

I don’t want to embarrass my Father,

or his prideful name as his little ambassador!

I show a strong face instead

because my litter shoulders now carry

almost the same amount of sands

in this cart as of other adults…

So, in the evenings

when I return to my brick-made bed

under these blueberry trees in Kand area,

I lay there as if I am on a king-size bed!

I put my arms under my head to make it a little softer

while counting each leaf being stroke

by the cold Autumn’s breeze.

As my eyes close out of exhaustion,

my spirit returns to my hometown’s tall mountain,

and then lands on my mad-made rooftop

like a migrant bird.

I see my little sisters running around Mum,

my brother I see, collects blueberries & apricots

while Daddy is laying back and having black tea.

These sudden thoughts make me quickly wake up to join them

but I see nothing, except a pitiless aloneness with some

drops of cold tears stuck in suspension on my little cheeks.

I sit down and quickly wipe out my tears,

and then, I open my little packsack,

smelling this little handkerchief

with which my mother tight my waist when I left.

It is just to divert my thoughts and heal

my desperate feeling of loneliness, grief,

and create my own version of happiness

in this cold embrace of exile and separation.

I hold on my little sister’s bloodied ribbon,

I smell it and put it on my eyes and cry,

this is how I can hear her laughter, and

imagine her little sweet smile & chuckles.

My elder brother’s chadar (Long garment)

is with me too but stained red just like

the bandage on his right wounded toe…

however, when the night falls,

& the darkness spreads it scary wings,

my thought turns to become the same –

I feel more scared, and lonelier…

At night, I often cry at my sleep,

I can hear the stomping feet of murderous men

marching in my village with their faces covered

by black dirty turbans…

I hear the humming of drones,

the shrieking sand and the sliding stones

as their missiles land around my home…

The battle has shifted its position now,

it is fought in my mind –

This little childhood mind

has turned into a battleground.

I see people are running,

and my siblings are among them.

I see the image of darted faces of abandoned kids,

the damage, blasted skulls of humans

laying lifeless in their own blood,

pieces of flesh hanging here and there…

the thick layers of smoke waving high.

There is no cease, not a comfort…

as I lay helpless under these scary trees,

on hard bricks with no light –

while hearing the soundtrack of my death

approaching has a frightening sound…

I don’t want to see my village anymore,

neither its beloved apricot trees,

or smell the fresh fragrance of ripe peach,

because they don’t yield back

from that toxic soil anymore…

I only pray to see my parents,

and my siblings once more;

dreaming of a peaceful and free world

where children like my little brother & sisters

don’t have to grow up under a chemical sky;

a world where women like my mother,

would never have to cry.

Though I am just a child,

I have a high dream, unlike others.

Though the stones that I play with

are bricks, ceramics, or parcels of sands…

my hopes are unbeatable, & unbreakable…

___________________________________________________________________________________

By: Abdul Samad Haidari

(03/08/2019 – 12:30am,

Jakarta, Indonesia).

About samad1986

Abdul Samad Haidari is a poet, writer, teacher and a former freelance journalist, currently residing in Indonesia as a stateless refugee. He is the author of The Red Ribbon He fled his home country at the age of seven and grew up wandering in Pakistan and Iran as a child refugee, and was separated from his family for the majority of his childhood. For two years, at the age of eight and nine, he was forced into child labour in the construction industry in Iran. In contrast, Pakistan offered refugees like him the opportunity to study and work. This education and work experience culminated in Abdul teaching computer studies and English language courses at the Intel Computer Center and Pak Oxford Professionals. After the collapse of the Taliban government, Abdul returned to Afghanistan thinking that the security situation had improved, and that he could take part in the reconstruction of his war-torn country. With this in mind, Abdul served as a freelance journalist and humanitarian aid-worker in areas of the country that remained dangerous to civilians because of the influence of terrorist groups. Abdul served with the Norwegian refugee council (NRC), ActionAid Afghanistan, Daily Outlook Afghanistan group of newspapers, and The Daily Afghanistan Express. As a freelance journalist, Abdul wrote articles and editorials about on-the-ground realities, which were then circulated widely. These had a particular focus on women and children’s rights, corruption, transparency and accountability in government, warlords and terrorist groups’ actions and the systematic persecution of minority groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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