Twenty three-year-old Afghan Student Escapes War Twice in Afghanistan and Ukraine
Running from one war to another, Hamoon Nazbar, after all the hustles, is finally waking up to birdsongs.
By Zuhal Qaderdan
Hamoon, an Afghan refugee, fled Afghanistan a year and three months ago to further his education. He restarted his life twice by fleeing two different wars: civil war and international war. Despite being discriminated against for his skin color, anxiety, and homesickness, he persevered and continued his education in Germany.
Hamoon had always wanted to study medicine in Germany. After finishing high school, he began studying German and preparing for a German medical school entrance exam. He knew it would take him a long time to get to Germany, but he chose patience. The COVID-19 outbreak began just as he was getting close to his goals. But he didn’t give up and continued learning German at home while waiting for educational centers to reopen.
“I lost my patience as city after city fell to the Taliban.” The cost of pursuing his dreams was leaving his homeland. Hamoon left for Ukraine a week before Kabul fell, imagining it would be his last time staying in Afghanistan. He left his family behind. In his heart, there was a glimmer of hope that Kabul would be safe. Kabul fell, and the hopes shattered. Hamoon did not sleep for days worrying about everyone. For four days, his parents would go to the Airport. The Kabul International Airport was chaotic at that time. Right after they entered the airport, an explosion occurred. Hamoon was fortunate that his family made it alive, but God knows how many other young people like Hamoon lost their families.
“War in Asia, but War in Europe? Unimaginable.” In six months, they started a business, thinking of Ukraine as the safest place. Something unexpected happened. “It was 4 in the morning: my mom woke me up and asked what we should do?” War caught up with them, even in Europe. Growing up at war in Afghanistan made European countries seem like heaven for Hamoon. As they fled city to city, he couldn’t believe the war was there until his brother said that the Ukrainian officials had blown up the bridges, preventing Russians from entering Kyiv. God, it’s a war. They went to Cherkasy, thinking it was a safe city until the sirens went off at midnight. Russians had fired some missiles on civilian houses. The sirens were so loud that his ears rang for days afterward. They left for the Polish border. It was a five-day journey, and a car was their only home. Rockets were flying over the cars. People didn’t eat for days. Their breath reeked of hunger. Children were crying so hard that he could still hear them. But the sunset was at its most beautiful. The clouds were gold and pink until the smoke hid it away. They stayed one day in Poland and left for Germany. His dream of going to Germany was becoming a reality but he never intended to go there as a refugee.
“Though they are both lands, there is a huge difference between a land and a homeland.” Tears rolled down his crusty cheeks as if an emerald melted by too much pressure. Fate brought Hamoon to Germany and labeled him a refugee: which he dislikes. In his homeland, no one discriminated against him for his skin color. He is silent for a moment, but his sparkling green eyes speak louder than his words. If being labeled a refugee means no longer waking up to sirens, it’s worth it. He passed the medical school entrance exam and is taking preparatory courses. His parents and brothers are with him, but he misses his sisters, dog, and friends.
“In a million people, God chose me and you to survive, let’s not give up.”
Sitting in front of a tall fall tree, Hamoon compares himself with it.“My hopes are falling, but I stand tall because spring will come.” He wants to return to his country and serve his people as a doctor. He thinks medicine is a profession in which he can help his people. All races deserve peace.
“We are not refugees. We are humans who deserve to wake up to chirping birds, not sirens.”