I lived around 19 years of my life as a Hazara (Afghan) migrant in Iran. Being cat-called and called cat-eyed girl, I used to think having small eyes is a fault. I used to curse my fate for being born with small eyes and Hazara because I saw other Afghans ethnicities have large eyes the same as Iranians. However, when travelling to India and meeting many girls from countries such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal and other countries that had the same eyes as mine, I saw how beautiful they look with small eyes. That was the point where I learnt about diversity and beauty. Studying in an international university and learning about cultures, art, history, and philosophy, I got to know about many similarities and common points among different cultures, religions and philosophies and learnt that the main happiness comes from acceptance, tolerance, respect and love of all.
Gradually, I forgot fidgeting when I was going outside and my self-confidence in public improved. My self-confidence gave me the power to respect and love other people too. My life had changed and I had become a different person who found everyone beautiful and easy to love. I was intoxicated with Rumi’s philosophy and was flying in the sky of love for all. There in the sky, I found the love of my life too.
I met a guy who seemed to be the one whom I always used to want in my subconscious dreams. He was kind, caring, well-read and had a heart like a child, pure! We had the best time with each other until we decided to let our families know about our decision to get married. Then, I suddenly lost my wings and crashed.
The one and only matter that my family addressed was that I can’t marry with a man not of my ethnicity—especially when his ethnicity had killed tens of mine a decade ago. That was all their point and no other word was exchanged.
I was Hazara and he was Tajik. During civil war in Afghanistan, a group of Tajiks surrounded a Hazara area and killed all of them. Then, Hazaras retaliated the attack and killed many Tajiks too. However, Hazaras are still bearing grudge of the past and hate them. They never remember that many Tajiks were also killed during this battle.
I tried to make my parents realise that it was a civil war and when in a country, country mates kill each other, all families and all groups will suffer, not only one. I tried to make them understand that decades of wars we had gone through was done due to hatred and that’s why we need to forget hatred in order to have peace now. I tried to tell them how love can cure all the pains and hatred that Afghanistan is suffering from. But they know nothing except enmity. The interesting point was that not only my family but other people didn’t like to see us together too. For example, when we went to a restaurant, the waiters used to get upset to see a Hazara girl with a Tajik boy. Sometimes they rejected our orders; sometimes they tried their best to bring our foods late. Seeing all this, we were more determined not to give up.
Now, it’s almost six years that my love and I are together and we haven’t stopped loving each other. We go out with each other hand in hand and wearing the best smiles. Now, people of our area got used to see us together laughing, talking and happy. I bet many of those haters are even jealous of us and this is what we wanted. We are living with each other to show others how love can cure old wounds. Our love has become an inspiration for many young friends and I realised that love never fails!