Ariadne’s Note: This letter from Alaha Ahrar, one of our World Poetry family is full of wisdom and history. It is a moving tribute to her Afghan father and to all fathers on this day.
My Father is an Afghan Man
Happy Father’s Day
Today many Americans celebrate Father’s Day. As I Think of such an amazing day, I start remembering all the kindness, love and support that my father has given to all of his children during very tough situation in Afghanistan to this day.
I always try to inform as many people as I can about the generosity, courage and magnificence of Afghan men. Most people all over the world are very good at judging and generalize the issues that many countries face. As a result, many people have negative stereotypes about Afghan men. They believe that all Afghan men cut the nose and ears of their wives and daughters or that they imprison or kill their wives, or that they do not allow their female family members to go outside their houses or that they do not let women to get an education.
All Afghan men are not evil or cruel!
The only thing that is evil and cruel is the stereotypes that some people believe without having enough knowledge about an issue. People must understand that due to the continuous decades of war, Afghan men are sensitive and critical of their female family members movements. Any wise man in any part of the world would not allow his daughter to go outside the house, while bombs are landing everywhere and some ignorant militants would kidnap or assault his daughter.
I was born and raised during the wars of Afghanistan. My siblings and I grew up during very difficult situation, where there was just war and insecurity. All the educational institutions were closed due to war and instability. My father, who was a banker struggled to handle all of his responsibilities as a father, husband, brother, son and as the elder of all his relatives.
These struggles proved my father an extraordinary man. He is very wise, sincere and rational. My father strongly believes in equal rights of education for men and women. He believes that all men and women of Afghanistan should receive either academic or industrial education.
Due to the ongoing wars of Afghanistan, the situation became very appalling. There were shocking news reports of assaults, acid attacks and kidnappings of women everywhere in the war zones areas of Afghanistan.
I grew up in Khair Khana, which was one of the safest areas during all the severe civil wars.
Although Khair Khana was very safe, like all other Afghan men, my father also decided to not allow his daughters to leave the house for a very long time. It was a very tough decision for him but he knew if he let us go outside the house alone something terrible could happen to us. To protect the reputation of his daughters and himself, he decided to not let us to leave the house even for a five minute walk. However, he made our own house an academic institution and environment. He asked some teachers to come to our own house to teach us mathematics, geometry, physics and English. My parents’ daily conversation with their children was always about academics and education. The lessons that they taught us were the lessons of peace, care and respect. My parents are the most amazing parents on earth. Although they believed that we could not control the political situation of Afghanistan, they knew that we could make our own house a peaceful and loving environment.
My parents stated that we can allow our children to experience peace in our own house so that they can raise their children in a peaceful family environment. Therefore, my parents gave so much love and support to each other and their children. I do not recall a single bad moment between my mother and father. Sometimes they argued but they never argued in front of their children.
My parents always tried to nurture the feelings of love, care and respect in their children. They always told us to live not only for our own selves. They said, if you want to remain alive, get as much education as you can, afterward with your knowledge and wisdom, help and benefit others. Then even after your death your names will shine worldwide. The future generations of this world will read about your works and will try to follow your schools of thoughts, actions and humanitarian services.
On Father’s Day, I want to share some of my father’s advice with you. I was almost eleven years old, my siblings and I were having dinner that my father told us: “You all will grow up and will go in different directions and will have unique jobs. It is possible that you will become very wealthy; so, remember what I tell you today for a lifetime: Money never bring happiness and success. You all came with bare hands and bare feet to this world and you will leave this world that way. You won’t be able to carry anything with you. Therefore, never be greedy, mean, jealous and stingy. Even if you have ten houses, you will live in one of them at a time, even if you have thousands of cars, you will drive one of them at a time, even if you have zillions of dollars at different banks of the world, you won’t be able to eat more than five meals a day.”
My father said: “here is my advice for all of you. Do not be so greedy that you cannot share even a small amount with others or give to charity, whether it is food, money or other essentials. You need to save some money. Do not be wasteful because if you save nothing for yourself you will not be able to give and help others as well as yourself.
It is important to keep a balance in life. Give and save! This balance will lead to a happier life for everyone.
I am extremely proud of my parents, especially my father. He is a brilliant man, with a very beautiful heart and soul because of his rational decisions, his children grew up the way he wanted them to. I truly thank God for granting him as my father.
My father is one of the examples of many great Afghan men. There are millions of extraordinary and amazing men, who are the nicest and the best friends to their families. Therefore, I truly wish all amazing fathers all over the world a very happy Father’s Day!
When I first came to this world, I saw you
I was innocent, unaware and unable to know you
However, your fatherly warmth and love
Urged me to trust, believe and gradually view you
Therefore, I went to sleep peacefully and since then,
Never tried to hurt your feelings to sorrow you
You are an extraordinary father that
Generosity, courage and wisdom, God bestow you
Spiritual Meditation and loving creatures’ practices
Have even more distinct and *bashaw you
During all the tough situations and struggles
Your beliefs remain firm and nothing could harrow you
*Bashaw : as a “noble man” in English and as “King” in Turkish and Arabic languages.
Saturday, June 15, 2013 (C)