From the terrifying moment our plane left Afghan soil and entered Iranian airspace on August 20, 1980, I promised myself that if I lived through the ordeal, I would recount my story in a memoir, sharing with the world the true story of Afghanistan and her people.
The Afghanistan I grew to love as a boy; its rich culture, social dignity, and proud heritage, have been forever scarred and betrayed by forty years of foreign aggression, missed opportunities, and ultimately what I call the “loss of decency.” Countless historical perspectives chronicle Afghanistan’s journey toward the twenty-first century, and I am neither attempting to provide a historian’s perspective nor do I harbor a political agenda. With the encouragement of friends, family, educators, and respected authors, I have written my memoir, which revolves around my passion for Afghanistan; my obligation to rescue as many of my family members as I could; my pursuit of a “home away from home” as a refugee; and my need for “truth” and “transformation” as I continue to watch and hear suffering and misunderstanding around and about my native land.
I have embarked upon this path of telling a story about Afghanistan that has never been told before because I hope that something truly beautiful can emerge from the misery that has blurred the nation’s image and that now threatens its future generations. In this memoir, my life, my Afghanistan, and my story are woven together as part of a vivid tapestry of images from my personal journey.
LostDecency chronicles my innocent and wondrous life as a boy growing up in Afghanistan and the death of innocence and the birth of chaos that began with the invasion of the Soviet Union on December 24, 1979. Many of the accounts in the book are laugh-out-loud funny, while others are heart-breaking.
My story—my flight as a refugee and my subsequent re-birth as an immigrant in post-911 United States—is an excellent read for a broad market wishing to peel back the images in the nightly news in order to reveal a side of Afghanistan that has not been shared and is not widely known. This work is an introspective look into the true beauty of an Afghanistan that was once the darling of the western world, and which has now fallen victim to the harsh realities of imperial aggression. The promise of the Afghanistan of my youth has given way to images of war, corruption, and violence, and has ultimately resulted in the “loss of decency.”
My objective in writing my memoir is to set the record straight from a social and anthropological perspective. Afghanistan was once a peaceful and prosperous society with a unique and vibrant culture at the crossroads of Central Asia. Today, the lasting impact and the forces of change that shattered her progress are critical to considering the possibilities around what Afghanistan can be again.
I am proud to have written a book that not only details true eyewitness accounts of the modern social history of Afghanistan, but also provides a story of unforgettable determination, courage, and perseverance. My life today has been shaped by the events I lived through. Today, as successful financial services professional and a leader in the Afghan-American community, I wish to share the depth of my experience to ensure that the sacrifices of generations past have not been in vain. Perhaps if my work is read these last four decades of war, uncertainty, and violence will not erase the beauty of a culture that spans more than 1,500 years.