LIVING AS A REFUGEE IN AMERICA: AN INTERVIEW WITH IMAM ZIA (1/6)

“Even though I was young, all I can remember from my early childhood is the war. During those days, there was a lot of running around for my family because the Soviets would target specific villages where they believed there was resistance or weapons that could target the Soviet army convoys as they are passing by. So we would suddenly leave the house and go to a neighboring village to take shelter. One time we were leaving our house and we saw these Soviet warplanes flying overhead and as a child, I looked at them and kept thinking to myself what if they bomb us. We constantly had to live with this reality that you could die any minute. We kept running from one village to the next, often barefoot not carrying anything from our homes really, just trying to get to the next village which we hoped was safer.
Another time we were going from our village to the capital, Kabul, which is about 20 minutes away from where we were. I was traveling on a bus with my older sister and grandfather and in the middle of the journey, we realized that we were caught in the crossfire between the Soviet army and the resistance fighters who were hidden down the road in the bushes.
Our bus was positioned right next to the Soviets who had taken positions on rooftops on the side of the highway, and as a result, whatever the resistance fighters threw at the Soviets could potentially hit the bus. I saw a huge fireball pass in front of the bus and to this day, I still don’t know what that was. It didn’t have a physical shape like a bullet, it was just a huge fire that passed us and everything all of a sudden heated up and I felt my body started burning up. Everyone started panicking, screaming and shouting and they started reciting their prayers because they thought this was the end.”

Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

Processed with VSCO with s1 preset

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