More and more Afghans are seeking protection in Germany. So far, Afghanistan is the second most common country of origin for asylum applications after Syria of 2016. The vast majority of Afghan refugees do not live in Europe, however. Neighboring countries Pakistan and Iran alone are home to at least 2.5 million of them. Because of their country's critical situation, many people in Afghanistan are considering leaving.
The film “Spring in Afghanistan” by local director Mohammad Mehdi Zafari gives a voice to six young Afghans from different social backgrounds and with different life stories. They are united, however, by their desire to leave their country of origin and by their corresponding willingness to face the risks and dangers of the flight to Europe. This is true for both unemployed Mohammad, who whiles away time in a Kabul park flying kites, playing cricket and soccer, as well as doctor Pazhman, who has already emigrated from and returned to Afghanistan eight times. Ali, a young entrepreneur who has founded a company specialized in geological analytics in Kabul, wants to leave as well. He owns machinery worth more than a million USD, but cannot use it because of the security situation in Afghanistan. His equipment is now literally rusting away on the company grounds.
The film lets its protagonists use their own words for describing their life realities in Afghanistan and why they want to escape from these realities. It shows an entire generation's lack of perspective and clearly illustrates how the reasoning behind a flight decision is a combination of safety and economic aspects, as well as personal reasons.
The film was shot in March/April of 2016 in and near Kabul. In Afghanistan, the question “To stay or to go” is particularly pertinent in the early spring: Whoever wants to make their way to Europe must use the mild months, before storms and snow render the mountain passes and sea routes to Europe impassable in the fall.
The film “Spring in Afghanistan – to go or not to go” by director and alumnus of the FES Young Leaders Forum Mohammad Mehdi Zafari is available online.
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