'I Was Going to Graduate Soon, Now I'm Locked Inside My Room': Afghan Student
A 20-year-old student in Kabul is locked inside her own room because her parents want to save her from the Taliban.
(This article is based on a phone conversation with an Afghan woman based in Kabul. The Quint will be publishing many such oppressed voices of women from Afghanistan. Write to us at email@example.com.)
Twenty-year-old Zainab (name changed to protect identity) lived, what she calls, a 'normal and boring' life in Kabul.
She went to college to study English in the mornings, hung out with friends, went to market with her mother, watched films, and listened to music non-stop.
And when she was not brimming with homework, she would also play her guitar – an instrument she learnt from the eldest of her three brothers.
Today, she is locked inside a room by her parents – with only her mother being allowed to enter – for they fear that Zainab, an unmarried woman, would be subjected to horrors by the Taliban.
"I am not even allowed to open a window. I feel suffocated. But it is what it is. I don't want any misadventure to cost the only thing I have – my family," Zainab told The Quint.
Women and children have again become the worst casualty under the Taliban. An entire generation of Afghan women like Zainab are torn – as they see the spaces they rightfully occupied – like streets, offices schools and universities – shrink into nothingness.
They fear that their life will neither be spared, nor be remembered in history.
'The Only Thing I Have Is My Phone'
The only thing that keeps Zainab going, she says, is her mobile phone with patchy internet connection.
"I was born the year the Taliban was defeated. While I have heard of horrors from my parents and brothers, I have mostly seen only good times. I was looking forward to graduate with my friends this year. But now, we have been checking on each other through phone. Many of them are locked up like me because they just want to live. We were all going to graduate this year, you know? Today, we are prisoners fighting to be alive."Zainab to The Quint
The internet speed has been reducing gradually since July, she says, and there have been more power cuts in the last two days than her entire lifetime.
"It is only a matter of days before the internet is snapped. I don't know how long I can be confined to the four walls," the university student adds, her voice cracking.
'Wanted to Be a Singer'
Zainab confides that she used to say she 'wants' to be a singer. For the last couple of weeks, she has started saying she 'wanted' to be a singer.
She listened to all kinds of music, she says, but has not had any formal training in music. She was hoping she could do a course after graduation.
"I will be lying if I say I saw this coming. So now I am dreamless. Not many days ago, I used to dream of a stage, of a mic in my hand. But today, I am scared to hope. I want to stay alive and not cause problems for my parents."Zainab to The Quint
Zainab is the last of her siblings. But she has many young female cousins who would never be able to complete school, who would never know what it is to study.
"They say that you realise the value of something only when it is snatched away from you. I cry at night for all things that I have lost. Watching television with my friends, going out for a meal, simply sitting in our college campus and making fun of each other. I cry because I will soon also lose my music," she added.
Will her family try and escape the Taliban rule?
"First, I want to state that the world has made Afghanistan a laughing stock. They pity us but then what? What have they done to make our lives better? Second, we are not privileged enough to run to rich countries. Right now, we as a family, want to stay alive. That's all," she added.
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