NEWS
16/08/2021 17:46 BST | Updated 16/08/2021 17:46 BST

British Afghans Are So Tired Of Their Suffering Being Dehumanised

British Afghans feel like the global community is not doing enough to stand up for people in Afghanistan fleeing for freedom.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
An Afghan family rushes to the airport as they flee the Afghan capital of Kabul.

For many of us the Taliban regaining control in Afghanistan feels far from home but for British Afghans, the pain couldn’t feel any closer.

What’s happening now in Afghanistan comes after 20 years of war that displaced millions and killed tens of thousands of people. 

And the effects are being felt in the UK.

Hammasa Kohistani
Former Miss England Hammasa with her grandmother in Kabul.

“I feel helpless and frustrated and guilty,” says Hammasa Kohistani.

“I think we all feel very guilty because that could’ve been any one of us and we’re lucky to have managed to escape or get away but that’s still our brothers and sisters.”

When we get in our warm beds at night and we know we’re going to wake up in the morning and have breakfast and we’re fine, that guilt is just engulfing us right now.Hammasa Kohistani, 34

Hammasa works in the fashion industry and made her mark in 2005 when she became Miss England.

She’s lived in the UK since she was 9 and says seeing what’s happening in Afghanistan is “devastating” so has been using her platform to raise awareness. 

Hammasa Kohistani
Hammasa is proud of her Afghan culture.

Hammasa was young at the time but remembers the Taliban from the 90s.

“I remember the Taliban before and the fear they instilled in people because of the tortures they were imposing on women.”

She says seeing them rise to power once again is “everybody’s worst nightmare, whether you’re in Afghanistan or out of it”.

Stringer . via Reuters
Displaced families who fled from their homes take shelter in a public park in Kabul.

Hammasa feels that her community has been “abandoned” and the whole world has “turned their backs on us”.

“Because we’ve been at war for so long, the whole world has become dehumanised to our suffering,” she says.

“We’re tired. Everybody is just tired of fighting, of trying to make a point, of trying to make our pain and our hurt human.“

Marina Khan
Marina owns an Afghan jewellery and clothing brand to celebrate her culture.

And she’s not alone in feeling this way. 29-year-old Marina Khan mentions there’s a lot of “disappointment” to the way the world has stayed silent about Afghanistan.

Marina is a psychologist and also owns a jewellery and clothing brand called Avizeh that amplifies Afghan culture in the UK.

She feels like the world has become “desensitised to Afghan suffering”. She has also been using her social platform like Hammasa to raise awareness of the current situation.

But Marina says no matter what she tries to do to help, she wonders if it’s enough.

“We go to sleep with the thought in our mind is this enough, have we done enough, can we save Afghanistan?”

Only now that our entire country got taken away from us, the homeland that we no longer have, the flag that got taken down, people are taking an interest.Hammasa Kohistani

Some of Marina’s family who live in Afghanistan have watched their homes be destroyed from the fighting. 

“There are so many people that have been displaced it makes you heartbroken.”

Both Hammasa and Marina feel their emotions are shared by the British Afghan community.

They hope that by sharing what’s happening on social media will help those outside of their community take notice of what’s happening and try to help.

“Many like myself have never been home, nor have they visited recently,” says Hammasa. “It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the hurt, the pain, or the closeness with our culture and our people.”