We Would Rather Die Here Than Return To Afghanistan

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by Khatera Khakar

“Targeted violence against female public officials, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world’s most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, a new global survey shows.” – The New York Times, June 15th, 2011

Still we are a lot of Afghan women who have been rejected in our seeking for asylum, and now we face deportation to a country or regime where women are being sold as animals according to a special Afghan tradition. The tradition is called baad (bartering a girl or woman as settlement for a dispute between families) and it often results in women being burned and raped, mutualized by having their nose or ears cut off. We are talking about a country where a tribal court decides on a girl’s life; sometimes she’s forced into marriage, not allowed to give birth to a baby girl, exposed to torture, all of which in the end, if the girl is not killed, in many cases leads to suicide.

We cannot change the situation in Afghanistan, but few of us have succeeded in escaping the country through a long and unsafe journey in order to seek asylum and protection with the hope of a better life. A life with human rights, equality, solidarity, and democracy or at least an opportunity to live without fear for our lives every single day. But by coming here, we neither found safety nor democracy. As our hopes of equality and democracy vanish day by day we turn more and more desperate while staying isolated in the camps where nobody hears us.

We don’t have any place to return to and absolutely no future in Afghanistan.

We are 14 women who are considering to go on a hunger-strike. We would rather die here of hunger than return to Afghanistan. But before taking this drastic measure, we are now trying to get our voices heard in a democratic way. Therefore, we now ask you to show solidarity with all the Afghan women who are facing rejection and deportation and reevaluate our cases from a gender perspective.