Coming to Kabul jan

Tapa-e Maranjan, Kabul / Sep. 2010

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.

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7 thoughts on “Coming to Kabul jan

  1. You are most welcome!
    I agree that the people make us hate a city or a land but be sure that is true about love as well. You hate some people, you already mentioned them, but you may love some people that attract to here. In any part i may be, you are welcome to you are beloved city and people!

  2. It must be difficult. But, if I may ask, why are going back? How long will you stay? Are you moving permanently? Is it because you think Afghans abroad should return to their country to help out?

    • I am going back because I finished my studies here, I can’t stay any longer. And yes, I think it’s great having the educated Afghans back in the country for reconstruction project. But Afghanistan is not for everyone, it takes a lot to cope with fellow Afghans.

      • Well, I look forward to reading your posts and seeing how it goes. Good luck with your return. I enjoyed my time there but was very much in the cushioned expat bubble.

  3. Ali Jan,
    I like the way of your writing in english. you write more honest in english than in dari. is it because of the language? it is like a poetry: “This city is a naked exhibition of our soul”

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