Unteraegeri, 12.07.2019

Afghan asylum-seeker finds solace in writing


Abdullah Moradi is an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan who is currently living in Unterägeri. While in his homeland he was a policeman, whereas here in Switzerland he has been putting much effort into learning the language, and even in writing in it, a job as a journalist not out of the question one day, perhaps.


The 27-year-old had to flee his country as, despite his profession, he belonged to the “wrong ethnic group” and much conflict ensued. It was on his journey to Europe that, on occasions, the strength to continue was just no longer there. Only thanks to the support of his friends did he persist. It is about subjects like this, among others, that he writes, perhaps as a way of helping him to come to terms with all he has endured.


He also writes about love, which he is seeking, and about his new home here in Switzerland, comparing it with his homeland. Very often, what he writes is tinged with sadness as, of course, he loves his homeland and is greatly affected by the suffering his compatriots are enduring.


On the other hand, his writing shows elements of optimism, too, for example when on the subject of generations to come and of his own plans for the future. “I notice that when I write, I find it a form of solace. If other people find what I write interesting, so much the better,” he said.


Moradi is supported in his writing by Annette Plath of the Reformed Church in Cham. “I have noticed, when asylum-seekers start writing, it is often because they have a background in journalism in their homeland, something I have noticed with Kurdish refugees in particular. Others tend to write not so much, perhaps because of the language problem. What Abdullah is doing is quite remarkable,” she said.


The deaconess, who helps in social matters with refugees in particular, went on to say how the former policeman had put in so much effort in all sorts of areas since he arrived here, learning German, playing the guitar, cooking, doing sport, to mention just a few of few of his activities.


What is more, he is the founder of newly set-up Afghan Cultural Association, which already has some 80 members. Events are organised, not just for Afghans, but Swiss people, too, some of which have been attended by as many as 150 people. It is through this association, too, that Afghans have been providing support to other members when they need it, for example when Moradi’s mother died, prompting some of his compatriot friends to organise a special mourning meal for him. In recognition of all she does to help Plath has actually been made an honorary member of the association.


It was on the occasion of the Persian Nourouz new-year celebration that Plath was invited to give a speech, and actually used material written by Moradi. One aspect he tries to include in his writing is to depict Afghanistan as it really is. “When I say I come from there, people think I am dangerous. Often all they have seen of the country are men with long beards and women wearing burkas. Some say, “You do not look like an Afghan; you more like someone from Thailand.” Many of us have Asiatic features, yet it is not our fault where we were born.”


As to his future, this remains uncertain. He has recently been granted a provisional permit to stay, but he would prefer something more concrete, a permit allowing him to study and perhaps realise his dream of becoming a writer.


There follows an example of the sort of thing he writes.


In my country there is no possibility to be happy; days and nights are full of sadness. In my country, people can hardly distinguish between night and day anymore, because the sky is full of the smoke from explosions caused by the Taliban.


People cannot recognise colours anymore. They cannot tell what season it is; they all look like autumn.


My people hate water for the most part as most of their houses no longer have roofs; they are afraid of the rain, the snow and the cold.


They are afraid of night because they do not even have candles to provide light.


And they are afraid of the dawn and what the next day will bring, with the sound of yet more explosions and the sirens of ambulances.


In my homeland hundreds of mothers lose their children as they leave home to find something to eat. More than100 children lose their parents every day for all sorts of reasons. They are not even publicly named, as they come from a lower class; the civil servants do not even bother to inform their loved ones.


If we had a calmer life, we would not have to live as immigrants.


If my land were safe, I would not have to go to work in a neighbouring country where I am regarded as an undesirable.


If Afghanistan were peaceful, there would not be no need for other countries to sell arms and ammunition to it.