An Edmonton woman is reflecting on a life path that would have never been available to her had she remained in Afghanistan.
Marghalara Rashid holds a PhD in medical sciences and is an accomplished researcher with numerous awards.
The research associate at the University of Alberta said her current life could’ve easily slipped away from her.
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“[The situation many people are facing…] that could definitely be me. That could be one of my sisters. We could be living that suppressed life.”
Rashid said it still feels shocking and surreal to see images of the current crisis in Afghanistan, particularly in Kabul, where she grew up.
“My mom and dad were both professors at Kabul University. We were raised on campus.
“I have amazing, beautiful memories of Afghanistan.”
Rashid and her family left the country and immigrated to Canada in 2004.
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“We came at the time when the Taliban were ruling — that was the main concern for my parents. They wanted to get us out and make sure we could get an education.”
She still has family back in Kabul, who are amid growing danger. Many are in hiding or desperately trying to escape the country, Rashid said.
“They don’t have a voice anymore. I am very scared for them.
“It’s disturbing. It’s heartbreaking to see we are going back to the dark ages. It’s a matter of life or death.”
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Rashid has kept a close eye on federal aid. She said she wants the government to help more people as violence in Kabul intensifies.
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“I really want people to know that we can’t shut our doors on these people,” she said.
“When I was just a little girl and I always knew that Canada was a peacekeeping nation.
“Let’s give these people an opportunity. They would love for Canadians to have an open mind and to support them.”
The Afghan-Canadian said she feels there is a stigma toward people living under Taliban rule. Rashid underscored that no one desires to be oppressed.
“This is not what they want. This is imposed on them. It is forced on them and they have no other option.”
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While family and friends have had their own voices taken away, Rashid said she will not be quieted.
“There are young girls in Afghanistan, just like me, waiting for a life-altering opportunity.”
There will be a rally at the Alberta legislature on Saturday as a display of support for those living through the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
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