For many privileged Afghans leaving their country is the only option these days. Fears of a new crisis after 2014 are growing. For Afghanistan this means loosing potential leaders of tomorrow. Marina is one of them.
An afghan passport is useless to many Afghans
“Yes of course I can send you the story in the next 15 minutes”, I told my editor, with a smile as if he was sitting just before me. Around me there were 3 people discussing their lunch at the same time and it was hard enough concentrating on the call.
I was still on telephone when a colleague from the Hindi department showed up. She came inside our office & made a sign to me saying she wants to talk to me.
It’s very rare that someone from the other foreign language departments pass our offices in the far away cellar. I call our floor the terrorist-floor, Afghans and Arabs united in one place.
Not being able to concentrate at all, I finished the call quickly and went outside to flee my annoying co-workers. Manasi, my Indian associate was still waiting. “I need to talk to you”, she said. “We can’t find Marina”. I looked at her, perplexed. What was she talking about? Had something happened to Marina?
I felt like fainting as my knees went weak. Manasi ignored my shock and carried on: “We called her phones, but they’re all shut off. She didn’t come to office since a few days and she deleted her Facebook account”.
In the background my colleagues, who were still arguing about what to eat for lunch, seemed very far away now.
“Her husband was here for a few days and left two days ago. Since then we haven’t heard from her. Her roommate told us she gave back her keys and is not planning to come back” Manasi explained. Continue reading
Millions of Afghan refugees end up in asylum centers or refugee camps. However, mobility and migration within Afghanistan are also seen as key to defying decades of conflict.
Conflict and migration have shaped daily reality in Afghanistan for the past 30 years. However, migration does not always mean refugee camps and illegal emigration to neighboring states.
At a recent workshop organized by the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn entitled “Crossroads Asia: The Nexus of Conflict and Migration in Afghanistan,” academics from all over the world discussed the implications for the future.
Conrad Schetter from the center characterized Afghan society as “trans-local,” and explained that the European notion of nation-related fixed abodes was not appropriate in this context. “Afghans do not think about settling in one place but more about profiting from migration. It’s a survival strategy that contradicts the original sense of migration.”
Social migration is less about territory than about mobile networks, Schetter explained. It allows them to live and work in different places; and whether they are located in Kunduz, Islamabad or Amsterdam, they move within family networks that go beyond regional and national borders.
The German academic added that this was a phenomenon he had observed in the fluid border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan for many years.
Home is defined by bloodline
Only a few Afghans say they live in their home village. Ingeborg Baldauf from Berlin’s Humboldt University, has conducted research into the war experiences of Afghans from the north of the country. She explained that for most, the notion of “home” was where their grandfathers lived.
“One of the saddest things the migrants say is that they have lost contact with their forefathers and to their distant past. Mainly because of migration,” she said.
Most people define themselves through their forefathers, Baldauf continued. She explained that a vital reason why Afghans tended to marry within their tribes was that they wished to continue the bloodline connecting them with important forefathers.
Ayfer Durdu and Francois Ümer Akakca from Humboldt University lived with a family in Afghanistan that descended from the cleric Khoja Hayran.
“Two brothers had married off their children together to continue the blood relationship,” they explained. “One father gave his oldest daughter to the son of his eldest brother. Traditionally, the woman then leaves her home to go to where her new husband lives.”
This is also understood as social mobility: Women leave their family of origin and marry into a distantly related family, thus perpetuating the genealogical line. New networks emerge that go beyond borders and those that already exist are consolidated.
Social mobility allows Afghans to change their whereabouts depending on the advantage this might bring to the family or network. This thus represents a little more freedom and autonomy in conflict-ridden Afghanistan. Schetter said migration within already existing social networks was one strategy for defying the war. It is seen by many Afghans as a better alternative than trying to get by in a foreign country without social contacts.
Dieser Artikel erschien ursprünglich hier: DW.de
Millionen afghanische Flüchtlinge landen als Asylanten in Heimen oder Flüchtlingscamps. Doch Mobilität und Migration ist für viele Afghanen auch eine nützliche Überlebensstrategie, sagen Wissenschaftler.
Seit 30 Jahren gehören Konflikt und Migration zum Alltag der Afghanen und ihrer Familien. Aber nicht immer bedeutet Migration Flüchtlingscamps und illegale Einwanderung in Nachbarstaaten. In einem Workshop des ZEF “Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung” der Universität Bonn wurde afghanische Migration einmal aus einem anderen Blickwinkel betrachtet. Eingeladen waren internationale Wissenschaftler und Forscher auf diesem Gebiet.
Conrad Schetter von der Universität Bonn charakterisiert Afghanistans Gesellschaft von je her als “translokal” oder mobil. Der europäische Begriff von festen Ansiedlungen, verbunden mit dem Nationalgedanken, treffe auf das Land am Hindukusch nicht zu: “Im afghanischen Denken geht es nicht so sehr darum, sich nur an einem Ort anzusiedeln, sondern eher darum, Nutzen aus der Migration zu ziehen. Das ist eine Lebensstrategie, und es widerspricht der Migration im ursprünglichen Sinne.”
Nur wenige Afghanen behaupten deshalb, in ihrer Heimat zu leben. Für die meisten ist Heimat dort, wo ihre Großväter lebten, sagt Ingeborg Baldauf von der Humboldt Universität Berlin. Sie hat die Kriegserzählungen von Afghanen im Norden Afghanistans erforscht: “Eine der traurigsten Dinge, die Migranten erzählen, ist, dass sie den Kontakt zu ihren Ahnen, und damit zu ihrer fernen Vergangenheit verloren haben. Und das passiert in erster Linie durch Migration.”
Ahnenlinie statt Heimat
“Zwei Brüder verheiraten ihre Kinder, um ihre Verwandtschaft fortzusetzen. Der Vater gibt seine älteste Tochter an den Sohn seines ältesten Bruders. Traditionell geht die Frau aus ihrem Heimatort in den Ort ihres neuen Mannes.”
Auch dies ist soziale Migration: Frauen, die aus ihrer Ursprungsfamilie weggehen um in die entfernte Verwandtschaft einzuheiraten. Sie führen die genealogische Linie fort. Es entstehen neue Netzwerke, die über Ortschaften oder Grenzen hinaus gehen – oder die bereits bestehenden werden gefestigt.
Bessere Alternative als Flucht