Today is World Refugee Day. It’s not like you say “Happy Refugee Day,” but I did want to honor my friends who are current and former refugees. Since I’m in Thailand right now, I talked to my friend who is a young Afghan man currently awaiting refugee resettlement in Bangkok, Thailand about what makes someone decide to leave and the consequences of that decision. His answers reminded me of a Warsan Shire poem Home that I referenced last year on this day - “no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.”
When did you decide you had to leave home?
April 2016 I was going to my hometown from Kabul to Jaghori district, unfortunately I was arrested by Taliban terrorist group from highway. I was in their cell for 3 days. the evening of third day I had opportunity to flee from their cell and go among the trees and then climbed to the mountain and then went to near the road and take taxi to go to Kandahar then to Pakistan the decision I made to leave my country was taken suddenly not planned.
You didn't intend to come to Bangkok - how did you end up here?
I didn't know anything about Thailand especially Bangkok. I found smuggler from Pakistan to take me to Indonesia but he brought me to Bangkok it was supposed to take me to Indonesia but smuggler release me in Bangkok and he left me I couldn't find him to take me to Indonesia then I didn't have any options. I searched for UNHCR office in Bangkok so I registered here in Bangkok.
What does it mean for you to be a refugee? What does being a refugee feel like?
Being a refugee is like being a slave and it doesn't have good feelings. I had really bad times when I first came to Bangkok. For several days I was sleeping beside the road on the path in the hottest month of Thailand (May), because no one willing to give me a room even I was willing to give money more then usual but they was asking documents and I didn't have any legal documents until I got my UNHCR ID.
How do you spend your days in Bangkok?
For now I'm doing ok in Bangkok. I tried to learn English language and now I'm doing interpreter job for other refugees I know my English skills are not the best but still can help others and can get some money to survive here. Unfortunately UNHCR doesn't support me financially so I need survive myself. And I'm doing some subtitles works beside my interpreting.
People ask me why refugees waiting a long time cannot or will not go home. What is Afghanistan like today?
I think every one likes to live in his/her home if they are safe. Unfortunately Afghanistan situation is getting worse every day. But the government report the situation good to western supporters countries. government doesn't want to show the reality to western supporters countries. If they show the reality then western countries will stop their support, because even the millions dollars spent in Afghanistan but situation is getting worse not better.
What do you hope?
I hope I can get resettlement as soon as possible. Because I need to make my new life. So if I don't get resettlement soon then it will late to make my new life. Finally I realized that humanity is still alive. I realized there is still some angel they are help needy people we are thankful of that people I hope I can give back what they gave me during this time.