Independence is Happiness
Author: Bushra Farkish
Independence is happiness. And no one knows this better than the people who have not been free for their whole lives. As for me, I am tasting real freedom for the first time in 26 years, after I arrived in the United States.
As I walk in the streets of my neighborhood near Seattle, Washington, I enjoy every breath I give and take. And the reason behind that is, unlike Afghanistan, in the states, there is no one setting rules for me on how I should clothe, how I should walk, how loud I should laugh and whether I should go to school/work or not.
I walk to the stores and see teen girls choosing their dresses. I envy. I think of my whole childhood and the fact that I and my sisters were never asked about what we would like to wear. We were happy because we could afford a new dress once a year.
Growing up in a warzone, the most important thing for our parents was to be able to put food in our plate and send us to school. The rest of necessities were ignored completely. Growing up, we all thought we would change the faith of our country and we were the generation who would set Afghanistan free. But all those dreams faded with Taliban in power.
This year, as much as I enjoy living in a free country, I cannot stop thinking about my people back home. My people fought for their rights and independence and freedom for the past twenty years and all of it went to waste in the blink of an eye.
My parents cannot work. My siblings cannot go to school. My young sister cannot get out of the house without a male family member, and all covered in a black burqa. How can you call that a life? How will you feel alive and free with all those restrictions?
As we get closer to July 4th, I weep for the future of the people of Afghanistan. I weep about how unprivileged, desperate and miserable we are now, after feeling what was possible during my life there.
I wish the United States had the capacity to take in all of the people in Afghanistan and just like me, all of the girls and boys of my homeland could taste how it feels to be free like a bird.
On my first Fourth of July in the United States, I share this thought: Freedom is priceless. No one deserves to live without it. It should never be taken for granted. My wish for Afghanistan is the feeling of freedom I have found in America.
Bushra Farkish manages the TAPS programs in Afghanistan. Born in Afghanistan, Bushra, her husband and her son came to the United States in 2021. Bushra speaks both Farsi and English, and received her Masters in Business from the American University of Afghanistan.