February 07, 2018

A glance over the book: Afghani

By Khaama Press - Sat Mar 07 2015, 10:59 pm

By: Masoud Kadkhodayi

Afghani (Novel)

Farman, Aref

Ketab-e-Arzan, Sweden, 2012. First Edition, 272 Pages, Appendix: Dari Works and Expressions

ISBN: 9789186065874

Afghani Novel by Aref FarmanThis book should be read, not just because it is a good novel, but for all those realistic images it portrays of the Afghan people’s lives in Iran.

A twenty year old Afghan young man, who has left his university studies in Persian literature unfinished, leaves his beloved family in Afghanistan and heads to Iran with many hopes and dreams. The young man has much love for the great men of Persian literature, such as Hafez and Sa’di and yet still, has no idea how the contemporary social life in Iran misses that greatness in those mystical and globally-oriented viewpoints. He does not know that the greatness visible in the Persian literature is now harder and harder to touch and feel across the entirety of the social lives. The young man has not yet seen how some of the short-sighted and abusive people, who take advantage of racist laws, now sit in the-once-seat of the great national poets and the wise. When the young man faces new difficulties and troubles at the Iranian border, he still is in the heavy midst of the loss of accompanying travelers a bit earlier due to shootings at Afghanistan’s borders. During the whole of the story, the young Afghan who is neither illiterate nor wicked, nor lazy nor ill, and for the only reason being an Afghan, is constantly shifting state – from one difficulty to the next worse. In the horrifying Iran he sees, he is caught in the claws of evil.

He does his best and arrives at city of Shiraz. He meets a group of country mates there and feels the agony they are troubled with: their foreign country, their merciless geography; and whenever these Afghans gather, they sit in the mourning of days lost and youth gone in hopes. What are they to do? to return? to where, Afghanistan? or to stay in Iran? But where in Iran would they be accepted without being offended nor accused nor belittled nor prejudged?

But neither hard work or lowest wage, physical offence or stealing away of the money you have with so much hardship earned is as destructive and unbearable as people’s avoiding to call your name and to see you and want you as a person with no identity and to devalue your character.

The biggest pain the hero of the book – or better said, the poor young man who is the first character of the story – has, is that everyone considers him only an “Afghani”; instead of calling his name, they only call him “Afghani”. In the very same way they say “dog”, “wolf”, “jackal” or “crow” and consider no identity there, they call the people of their neighboring, same-language country so in order to depart them from the human society. Despite my dislike to use clichés I should like to use a familiar sentence: “how dishonorable!”

I am sure that millions of Iranians who have taken refuge to the other side of the Iranian borderlines are familiar with the painful discrimination and the irresponsible words of the right wing and extreme nationalist parties and that they know how much destruction such words generate. Now if we just add physical hurting and imprisonment to that, only for being born in another land, we could perhaps feel the circumstance the Afghans are caught up with in Iran. Beyond all this, what makes life much darker and engulfed with the un-treatable pain, is the very feeling of insecurity and no shelter; the feeling that if taken long, causes various severe mental health issues with the possibility to remain unsolved to the end of life. Of course such destructive feelings could even end a person’s life much earlier than any anticipated time.

The main character of the story – the young man – has no money, no stable job, and no stable residence. He falls in love with house owner’s daughter. The girl likes him, too and they plan a marriage. But the problem here is that the girl, who of course has no name in the novel, is only a “girl”. She neither has an impacting character nor is the symbol for any special type. If the story-teller had even thought in his head of marrying her, we could better remember her. If all that was said of the girl was taken away from the story, there would still be nothing changed in the meaning of the novel.

Another consideration is, that human being is scared of what he does not know, and this is natural. Some years earlier some research was done which showed that eighty percent of the Danish who had participated in the study had never confronted an immigrant or refugee directly, but all of them had prejudgments about these people – prejudgments resultant of Mass Media. These prejudgments were mainly negative. On the contrary, all of those who had directly confronted foreigners had a positive view about them.

The Iranians are afraid of the Afghans. The Iranians were made to fear Afghans. Now the question should be put: who has made such fear and how do they benefit it. Generalization over unique matters is one of the methods used by governments and mass media for personal advantage-taking. The generalization over a wrong act or even a murder by an evil or mad Afghan man can itself lead to more wrong-doing or even a murder much worse. As we see, in many matters, all Afghans are viewed as bad and murderous and therefore treated incorrect and even homicidal, and the flame of the fire awaken, can easily haunt and burn the simple life of an Afghan university student who has fled to the neighboring, same-language country in hope of life.

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