Soon I’ll be in Kabul, the city I love the most and I hate the most. I know I’ll miss Ottawa the moment I enter a public toilet in Kabul – of course if I was lucky enough to find one. Or when hitting the slums of West Kabul to find a room for rent. Or when I can’t sleep at night because of the cold weather…. But what really worries me is the trouble of getting a job, especially with my Hazara name.
I am not sure if I love Kabul more than I hate it. But I am sure that there is something in Kabul that pulls me in, a strong sense of attachment and attractiveness. This city is dirty, dusty and dreadfully over-populated, however, these are not the reasons I hate Kabul. In fact, I hate the people of Kabul, not the city of Kabul. I don’t hate its dusty streets, dirty toilets, loud restaurants, ugly houses, smelly taxis, cold winters and dark nights. I hate its people, the corrupt politicians, embarrassing president, useless MPs, bad cops, evil mullas, bitchy women, racist government bureaucrats, illiterate uni profs, lying shopkeepers and the fucking foreigners who think they are Alexander the Greek walking on “the graveyard of empire” – at least some of the foreigners.
Kabul is the symbol of all our failures, the city of unfulfilled promises and unfinished business. A symbol of our century-long failed quest for modernity. This city is a naked exhibition of our soul: shattered, tired, messy and misunderstood. And that’s why I love it.