A story from a tired land. words and photo gallery by Ahmad Ali Fidakar


A story from a tired land

Once upon a time, nearly two decades ago, a miracle occurred at the center of crisis and turmoil in Ghazni province in a tired land when a humourful and playful boy was born into a traditional and populous family whose souls and minds for years had been harnessed by war.

War and terror were the twin monsters destroying the tired land of Afghanistan.

Despite the weak economy and being another mouth to feed the arrival of the boy did not diminish the joy and happiness of his family.


His grandfather, the dignified man of the family, with his open forehead and empty hands, gave everything up for his family, the boy´s grandmother loved her grandson very much.

The boy´s father always helped his father, the boy´s grandfather in the home, on the farm and through the hardships of life. He worked hard for his family to contribute to its happiness.


But war gradually split the boy´s family and all the families in the country. In his early days of childhood, confusion and insecurity pervaded the lives of the members of the large family, and in some cases, the damage affected many family members.


Migration was a temporary solution for saving their lives from bombs and guns for a while. The boy´s grandfather moved several members of the family to  the center of Ghazni, then to Kandahar during the Taliban’s military conflict with Western coalition forces and the national force of Afghanistan, through Spin Boldak to Pakistan, and then from Pakistan to Iran, and finally to relatives in Shiraz city.


For the young boy, it was difficult and unpleasant to be separated from my birthplace, from the farm and from the gardens of his house, and he prayed every night to return to the warm embrace of his kind mother. Alas, his prayers took almost two years to be answered.


When he returned to Ghazni two years later, he found a devastated and wounded city. His grandfather no longer had his former energy, and the children would count his white hairs.

The school at that time was not very close to home, and the boy had to walk for hours to get to class, but he never got tired or stopped; this tireless journey continued for twelve years. Twelve fruitful and noisy years, but alas at the end his grandfather was no longer.

During those twelve years, the boy became interested in poetry, novels, stories, short stories, art, film and music and also the English language. His great interest was to photograph nature and record it with his old camera; this excited his life until he realized that he had become immersed in his art. And so he concentrated on photography.

This passion for art, and especially for the art of photography, forced him to take the Kankor preparation classes and gave himthe desire to enter the Faculty of Arts at Kabul University.


But war and destruction in Kabul was increasing every day, and he found his dreams burning and being destroyed in his heart, as were those of the children of his homeland going up in smoke.

He became indistinguishable from the children of his homeland, and the war extinguished the lives of his friends and his dreams as well.


A prose poem in his words:

That day (August 15, 2018).

There was blood in the lesson that day

Mathematics of war

Solve a not-so-simple equation

A negative explosion of a class of 400 people

Reporters run for hours in hospitals

And at the end of the night, they announce the impact of this explosion.

Killed 150 Wounded 50

Killed 47 Wounded 47

And teacher

The result is called a mass graveyard

The lesson of that day


In the midst of the smoke and the wounds, he cried and searched all day for the bloody torn bodies of his classmates. Luckily, he was healthy enough; he had a few wounds, but the very first wave of the explosion stole all his imagination, desires and motives from the depths of his heart and carried them to the sky and beyond the clouds in long streams of smoke.


For months, as a result of that attack inside his classroom, he became deeply depressed and his soul ached. What was he going to do with all his long-lost dreams? And where could he take his head empty of longing?

Soon after the difficult days of the tragedy in Kabul, Ghazni fell and was set on fire. After that, the Taliban attacked his hometown. The displacement and injury of his family and other innocent compatriots compressed his soul more than before, and the vicious wounds of his heart deepened but, like in his early school days when I walked for hours to study for only 3 hours in class, he still had strong hopes and, despite countless grievances, did not get tired and continued his activities and efforts. He did even more than that.

He tells me: “My interest in photography is not only artistic, personal, and recreational; I want to bring smiles through my photography, something which has been done less; I want to bring smiles through my photography to the lips of the deprived children of my homeland, and to the hearts of all Afghan citizens; my love for photography is more than just an interest. I am in Afghanistan and belong to its people and I want to continue as far as we can; but war, insecurity and poverty are the barriers that constantly hinder me and my fellow citizens from serving my country.

I don’t want to die on a night full of war and explosions inside my earthen house like my grandfather. I want to see the coming of peace with my own eyes. I want to live in a space full of love and purity. As a literate person, I want to serve my people through my art.


I am ready to experience being away from home again and away from my family.

The difference is that this time I am no longer that one-year-old child who escaped the war with the help of my grandfather. Rather, I am a hardworking young man. I want to put an end to the war with the help of my pen and artistry.

There are more opportunities for study and progress abroad than in Afghanistan, and I want to study and complete my higher education in a humanitarian European country.

As far as I know, Europe annually has accepted a large number of young people like me in its home countries and with a sense of humanity and service to human society has made it possible to cooperate with them so that they may study. I am also eager to come to one of the European countries and study in such a good environment. After graduation, I intend to return to Afghanistan and serve my people. And to be of a little help to Europe itself, I will prove to you the value and efforts of the people of my land.

I didn’t want to sign up through social media on inanimate and relatively dull, faceless apps. Rather, I wanted to send my heartfelt message to you. If you could help and accept me as one of the hundreds of people who are studying in Europe. First of all, I would be grateful for your help. Secondly, for a while, I would be like you, in your shadow and that of your country and in line with your culture, and then I would return to my country so that I can take a small step in eliminating and ending the war in Afghanistan. And I promise you that if you give me this opportunity, after I return to my country, I will help this land to get rid of this nightmare, so that there will be no more children without fathers and no fathers without children.

My wish and that of my poor family is for you to accept me for a limited time and to be able to continue my studies in the field of photography at one of the European universities, and to help me regain my lost dreams.


Sincerely, and with a smile.


Kabul Afghanistan”.


Will there be a happy end to this story? It all depends on us, on you. Here are some of the beauties from Ahmad´s portfolio. It is a plan to make a photo book with his story to raise money for his studies.


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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie's first novel, Stillwater, will be released in the spring of 2023. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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