The Afghan Refugee Crisis


 

It's August 22 2021, and Abdul-Rafi and his family are just a few of the lucky ones. They left in June from their home in Kabul on one of the last commercial flights. Now, they watch with horror as their homeland of Afghanistan is destroyed on the 1992 Samsung TV in the rundown Turkish motel, waiting to be sent to America, waiting to be sent to freedom.

The Islamic extremist group, the Taliban regained full control of Afghanistan in August of 2021, shortly after the U.S withdrew from the nation, ending a period of occupation that began in 2001 under the Bush administration. Under the control of the U.S, the Taliban and its followers receded to the hills of Pakistan, giving way to a time of more freedoms and prosperity. However, this time has passed. The people of Afghanistan have watched this year as the nation slowly turned to the hands of militant extremists, forcing women into silence, western ideas into the darkness, and freedoms to the wayside.

Although millions are currently unable to leave Afghanistan, thousands like Abdul-Rafi have fled to safety. Those who were able to get out before it was too late face many dangers before they can enjoy a life of stability in a new country. As of November 2021, the U.S is expecting 50,000 Afghan refugees to enter the country. You may be asking, how do these people find a new home after fleeing? Well, the answer can be quite complicated, and it is never easy. Often, these refugees do not speak English and experience a great culture shock upon entering the U.S. Many struggle to support their families and find stability in their first few years in the country.

Those fleeing from Afghanistan need help. This is where Dr.

Ahangari comes in. Dr. Anghari has been in residence for pulmonology at Yale University following her years working in Australia as a researcher. Dr. Anghari was not always a doctor, having fled from Iran following her studies at Iran University of Medical Sciences. In years past, Anghari has worked with IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services), helping resettle refugees to the shoreline area of Connecticut. After the events that occured in Afghanistan this past August, Anghari became a leader in the S.O.S (Saints on the Shoreline) organization, resettling families that have just fled from their homeland.

As Anghari talked extensively about in her visit to Hamden Hall this fall, the resettlement of refugees takes not only great amounts of time and dedication, but also extensive funding and support from the community.

So, where do we come in? Amnesty International is a worldwide organization with a chapter at Hamden Hall, dedicated to ensuring human rights and equality to all those vulnerable to persecution. The student club at Hamden Hall has decided to team up with Dr. Anghari to help spread the word about Afghan refugee resettlement, as well as to help in what ways we can, like the coat drive we recently held. Although donating coats may have felt like a small action, it will likely have a big impact on the families in need. We at Amnesty International are dedicated to helping refugees with anything from donating to providing English language tutoring, and we encourage the rest of the school to get involved too.

Although the situation in Afghanistan is dire, by coming together as a community and working to help support refugees, we can, as put by the Amnesty International motto, “speak out for anyone and everyone whose freedom and dignities are under threat.”


 

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