All that matters to us is that our children grow up in a free society

The blog series was created in collaboration with Mikser House
Message04.04.2016Mahmud Ali
I'm travelling with my wife and six children. The oldest is 16 years old and the youngest is three. When they ask why I left Afghanistan, I ask them what kind of life can I guarantee there?
Mikser House
People do not realize how hard it is to live under the conditions of continual repression, war and constant fear for your own and your family's lives. They don't know what it's like to live exposed to constant threats that can take away your daughter, your wife, and sell, kill, rape them...if you do not fill the demands imposed on you.     
The threats started because my brother worked as a translator for NATO. Suddenly, the daily calls began. We are neither the first nor the last families whom the Taliban have threatened, but we all know that they do not make empty threats: what they say, they do.
 
It is not normal, it's not human, living with that fear every day and worrying so much for your family. I have to get them to safety, to a place where they will not be threatened by anyone, and where they can get an education. 
 
My wife and I used to live a very comfortable and peaceful life. I earned well as an architect, while she took care of the children and the home in which we lived. We had a beautiful house. Believe me, no one leaves unless the safety and future of his children is threatened.
"We had a beautiful garden in which there was always a lot of work. Gardening was my hobby, a way to escape from everyday life and rest. I enjoyed working in it, and with time it became a wonderful oasis. Every day it was filled with the voices of the children and the sounds of their laughter and games.     
 
Our family spent a great deal of our time together in the garden. Because of that, I gave myself the task of making it our family paradise for us to all enjoy together. Everything was so relaxed, we were really very happy. Then one day my husband came home and everything came crashing down," added Mahmud's wife Selma.     
  
"He told me we had to pack, as they were threatening and blackmailing him, and that the safety of the children was concerned. My husband tried to guarantee our protection, but wasn't able to, the threats became more frequent. One night we decided to go and to get to Iraq. We woke up the children and took them, confused, with us. At that point I was just thinking of them, and what will happen to them, how could we protect them," concluded Selma tearfully.
 
I had to protect them, that is my duty. My parents protected me, and I have to protect them.
When we arrived in Iraq, we found the smugglers who brought us to Belgrade. Now we will see. It is very difficult. It is a huge change to leave everything behind and to not have anything.. We do not need to go to the EU, what matters to us is that our children grow up in a democratic and free society, that will not put them in fear for their lives every day. We've only been in Serbia five days, and already we have met many ready to help.
My brother said he's on the way towards Serbia and now we are waiting for them to get here. We will then decide what we do. He speaks excellent English and it will certainly be easier for us when he arrives. We may try to apply for a family visa in Germany, but we will do it legally - if we are refused, we will try here. We can not go back there, our children's safety is all we care about. We hope that we will be accepted somewhere and that we will be able to contribute to this society.