رنجِ مجاز، اقامت غیر مُجاز – Authorized Suffering; Unauthorized Migrant

Just another WordPress site

رنجِ مجاز، اقامت غیر مُجاز – Authorized Suffering; Unauthorized Migrant

Zamaneh Media Presents Authorized Suffering; Unauthorized Migrant I came to Tehran in the 1390s Thank god for now. It is all good. We keep busy working As such, I came here. I am trying to save up here for the costs. Whatever I make here I will take back home to get married; God willing I came to Iran with this hope Something has to remain for us to go back. If we cannot save up, we cannot go back We have to work for a minimum of four, five, six years in order to make money and go back – God willing to get married The situation in Afghanistan is devastating, we cannot stay there If we go back to Afghanistan, we then stay for six months or so but we have to head back to Iran again. We have no choice If I get married and stay in a long-distance, it would be hard for me It is my time now [to get married]. But if I stay in a long-distance, there will be no point to life I am 46 years old. I was in Iran for about 25 years Then I went back to Afghanistan to tend to my parents I stayed in Afghanistan for 15 years and now I am back It has been four-five months that I am back in Iran Since the 1390s that I came to Iran, I have been working roads – asphalt, curb construction; these sort of jobs I have also returned once to Afghanistan and came back again to Iran. I was deported once You know, they arrest us. They arrest and deport us across the border We are not all that well off; we use smugglers to cross the border That is why we are illegals Arrest and Deportation It has been twenty years that I am in Iran I have worked in sewing, in the metal foundry. I have also been unemployed sometimes I have also been ill some time But I am leaving. I want to go to Europe Because here they have not given us any identification or permit; in all honesty – to this day no permits We have applied several times – we have the proof – but they have not given us a permit When we came here they would not register our kids at the schools They said register them at private schools with 1 million Tomans upfront and then a Monthly fee of 100,000 Tomans, they kept getting And this is my employment situation. I come here sanding in this square, looking for labor jobs We have no permits, no papers for now. All we had we submitted to the authorities here And here if we see even one guard, we have to run and go back home… to sit at home without jobs I have had to send my child up Aref Street to work there If only you would broadcast what I am saying I am not saying anything wrong. I am just telling you about my problems We have here someone who has worked for one month and the employer has not paid his wage of one million and 200 thousand Tomans The employer has said I will not pay. All that work went up in the air He has gone to Mansour Crossing. He has worked there The employer has said I will not pay. All that work went up in the air He has gone to Mansour Crossing. He has worked there They have said they will pay him weekly. Not only have they not paid him weekly When he went on Friday night and said “give me 10,000 Toman to buy some things?” The employer said no, saying that he will not pay until the end of the month Here too. We stand here. When the police come, we all have to run If we are all illegals, if we are worthless, if no one cares for us, then collect all the Afghans so that they can leave We just want to make ends meet There is nothing else we can do We have to pay for rent, for water, for electricity Who is going to tend to our problems? All these people who have gathered here, they all have the same problems Give us a card, a paper, a permit or something, so that we can have peace of mind If they arrest and deport me across the border what will happen to my wife and kids here? Rad-e Marz is the process of arresting and deporting Afghan migrants from Iran It was 8:00 am. There was much running The buses came in front of the door I saw the workers running. They said: “run, run!” I started running. I saw I have no way out Two other workers locked the door of the trailer from inside. The police captured me The police kept banging on the trailer door. The workers did not open the door They saw that they have no way to open the door They throw a teargas grenade inside the trailer from a hole in the window They were inside with the teargas grenade for 30 minutes They throw a teargas grenade inside the trailer from a hole in the window They were inside with the teargas grenade for 30 minutes After the police arrested and took us away, they called and said come get us we cannot breathe here, we are dying here We called some guys to go save them from the trailer As for us, the police arrested and rad-e marzed us; they deported us They took us to the police station We bribed the police for 1 million Tomans and they let us go From the police station, they put us on the bus and took us to Varamin and from Varamin to Afghanistan I lived in Afghanistan for a while But there were no jobs, no life, no nothing

I came back to Iran I came back 10 days ago I was in Afghanistan. I was in Iran prior to that. I was deported I was working over there in Sarvestan VI Street when the officer arrested me He asked for a bribe. I said I have no money. How can I pay you? I am a poor worker I was ready to pay 2 million Tomans to stay here in Iran When we go back home to Afghanistan, the living costs are too much. We have to pay for food, for transportation There is also the cost of returning back to Iran. It is not east. we have to pay the smugglers to bring us back to Iran One to one and half million Tomans is the fee for the smuggler to bring us back The road back to Iran is rough on us. There are thieves and brigands on the roads I came from the Zahedan Border; in a Peugeot The [smugglers] carry five people inside the trunk of the car and 12 on the backseat They traumatize us so much I work 16 hours a day, from start to the end of the week We only have Fridays off on which we cannot really go anywhere If we go out for leisure or in order to get some exercise done, the police might come and arrest and deport us back to Afghanistan We sleep here at the workshop. We work, we sleep We don’t go out. We are like prisoners Harsh bureaucratic residency laws and regulations of Iran forces most of the Afghan immigrants into a status of “Illegal Alien” – they are always facing the threat of “Rad-e Marz,” that is arrest and deportation Labor and Law I came to Tehran three months ago From cleaning jobs to construction work, whatever job we can find we will do Patch and prime work, paintwork, [as a child] they allow us to work under the supervision of a master My father died years ago I am in Iran as of three and a half years ago We are five brothers and five sisters My brother and I are here in Iran My brother has a heart condition. He should not work But he is forced to work because we have no one He and I have to work We do not have enough for the cost of his medical treatment Whatever we make we send back to Afghanistan It is not much anyway The Iranian money has decreased in value as well and we have no way around it I have just come to this forest. I am new to this region I have been working here for almost a month now I am happy with the employer here. They pay me But other places have not paid my wages in the past The employer calls me up saying we need laborers; – they need four or five laborers and the employer says we will pay you on a certain date We go there and work. They do not pay us for a 20 day, for a month – they need four or five laborers and the employer says we will pay you on a certain date We go there and work. They do not pay us for a 20 day, for a month or they don’t pay for 25 days So it adds up Or they pay us in installments Or it adds up and the employer runs away without ever paying us We are stuck with them We have to keep following them for a month or two in order to get our wages It takes a long time for us to get our money One place at the end of it all did not pay 100% of my wage; my money went up into the air My 17-year-old son, wherever he goes to work, by the end of the month they do not pay him his wage And this is my situation. I come here standing on the street, looking for jobs and go home at 10:00, 10:30 am Every 10 days we are lucky if we can find work for five days, four days, two days even They do not even let us stand here on the square The Iranian [laborers] come saying this square is ours Or the officers come saying don’t gather here I don’t know where is it that we can stand looking for jobs? What is it we can do? Over there on that roundabout, Iranian workers stand waiting to be picked up The Iranians told me to leave the spot because they said the employers would take you to jobs and not us I was about to leave when he grabbed my back He beat me up. I said: “I am sorry sir. I mean you no harm.”

“God is my witness, I mean you no harm.” He beats me up saying you leave this spot The employers take Afghans and they don’t take Iranians He beats me up saying you leave this spot The employers take Afghans and they don’t take Iranians That is why the Iranian comes beating me up It makes their hackles rise. It is true; they get annoyed and they beat me up What can I do? He beats me up, because he can. There is nothing I can do about it I was working for a municipal contractor I do not recall his last name now He did not pay over 7-8 million of our money We were eight laborers working for him. None of us got paid Four days ago I went to him and said: “Why are you not paying me my money?” He says I don’t have money now. Wait two more months He says wait until the spring. We have no choice but to wait We have no documents [no contract] to be used against him so that we can get our money It is now almost two years. It is two years that he has not paid our money and we have nothing: no evidence, No contracts, nothing. They do not sign anything with us Many job payments are lost like this The municipality does not pay the contractor and the contractor, in turn, does not pay us The contractor has no other source of funds to give us money We are stuck, he is stuck. When the municipality does not pay him The contractor cannot pay us. They tantalize us Because the contractor has no money Gradually I started going to Akhtarabad myself, looking for work I said I will do cleaning I will do carpet cleaning. I will do house cleaning This is the situation of my husband I will do carpet cleaning. I will do house cleaning This is the situation of my husband A shopkeeper that I used to buy stuff from said: “Ok lady come work at my sister’s house. If you did a decent job I will give your number to others for cleaning.” I went as a cleaning lady. I cleaned her house He gave my number to everyone. It has been years that I work in cleaning God is my witness that I no longer can work I have pain in my body. My hand sometimes twists I keep rubbing and massaging my hand until it is back to normal I have pain. I have pain in my shoulder. In my kidney I do not have the strength to do cleaning any more My kids were small when I was working. They were smaller than my son here We sent the kids to the intersections to make money They would beg for money, burning wild rue seeds. They would sell fortune-telling cards Our kid’s work was paying for our life Now the kids have grown up and they say: “mom we will not go to the streets.” The kids say they are ashamed. They are embarrassed to get on the streets It has become impossible This baby here is on the formula. God is my witness, it has been a week that I have not been able to buy formula I am feeding her pasteurized cow milk and it is upsetting her stomach. All night she was in distress The employers have never taken my money, thank God I have worked for people that we both were happy with the arrangements The employers however have taken my son’s wage saying we have no money. Even last night it happened I called him last night. He said come get the unpaid wage in monthly installments of 50,000 Tomans He first said I am not paying and then said come get monthly 50,000 Tomans. It basically means that he is wasting our time Who am I going to complain to? If I put forward a complaint, they will ask where are your residency papers? They will ask: “where are your permits?” Asking: “where are you coming from? Where have you been? What is going on? … ” The employers know what they are doing The Afghans who don’t have residency papers go work and by the end of the month, the employer says “if you talk too much I will call the 110 police.” So that the police can arrest and deport you So the poor Afghan worker is forced to take whatever he can. If not paid, he is forced to hit the road to go home. That is it So that the police can arrest and deport you So the poor Afghan worker is forced to take whatever he can. If not paid, he is forced to hit the road to go home. That is it This the story of most of us. If you don’t believe me ask others Some employers are such oppressors that after completing the job they do not pay anything There are these sorts of employers as well and we have no power to face them I have worked in buildings that they have not paid me my whole wage for the job all of it If I go make a claim, the cost of making that claim is even more So I say take my wage. It is yours Since we do not have residency papers the employer abuse us. We cannot say anything I used to work somewhere I was working there for an Iranian He took my wage He did not pay my wage and he oppressed me One job we even signed a contract with them. They said finish the work on each floor and we will pay you It was the month of Ramadan. Gholam and I, were working together The two of us, we were working every day while we were fasting during Ramadan We completed the job but the employer did not pay us Right now that I work, they have taken my wage and they have not paid me Even though it New Year’s Eve they have not paid me They keep saying today, tomorrow, delaying the payment. They basically have not paid since before We are powerless and we cannot take up a fight with them If we take up a fight, they will call the police They kept saying work and we will pay you If we take up a fight, they will call the police They kept saying work and we will pay you The job completed and the employer did not pay And we did not have residency papers to file a complaint against them Nothing, it is now the story of the past. There is no way we can find that employer anyway What can we do? We need the employers. They say work and you will get paid We need to work because our money is in their hands “I don’t have money now; go come back in four days,” they say. The four days will become four years and no sight of money

Until this date, the employer has taken six-seven million of my money. He has turned off his phone and he is gone I have paid construction workers I have hired. They have not paid me yet. Now, who is going to pay for my cost? I have taken from my house down payment to pay the construction workers I will write the contract and two or four people witness and sign it, When I do not have residency papers even if I go to the police station to file a complaint, they will say: “Sir, where is your identification?” Even the courts, the first thing they ask for is identification When I have no identification, the contract becomes worthless. They say this is a worthless paper you have written up They will tear and throw away the contract. What can I really do? The “illegal alien” status and the lack of protection under the law, continuously puts the Afghan migrants under threat and subject to the abuse and oppression of the contractors, employers, and government agents It is just like a prison. We are prisoners here What can a white paper get for us? It was not fate The boss man, they know what they are doing. We are illegals It is twenty years that I am being dehumanized I tried a lot. We are illegals The Law and Accidents It was a car accident For 15 days I was in a coma. 29 days after that I had no memory The car hit me We came to Iran from Afghanistan At first, we lived in Mashhad In Mashhad, my husband was a peddler selling salt for dried bread At first, we lived in Mashhad In Mashhad, my husband was a peddler selling salt for dried bread He would pay for our life with peddler money Me, my mom and the kids, we stayed home A relative of ours said come to Tehran He said here in Tehran, bread peddlers make good money We moved to Tehran It was not a week we were in Tehran that they called me up from the hospital – with my older son My older son was with my husband They said come to the hospital your husband and your son were in an accident It was Tehran’s number two hospital I went to the hospital and realized that my husband is in a coma My son was in the operating room. They were putting a metal implant in his arm We were stuck in the hospital And they were hospitalized My husband was in a coma, when the hospital director told me that these treatments have costs “Now that you have come from Mashhad to Tehran, know that these medical treatments are costly,” he said. “Go figure a way to pay.” He said: “pay; so when we release him from the hospital he can be free to go.” I said: “Mr. Director, I have no money. My husband is unemployed. He is a bread peddler. I have kids.” I said we only have to make ends meet He said: “No lady. You are Afghan and you have no papers; you have to pay.” I went to the Afghanistan Embassy to get help and they did not help out He said, “you do not have a residency card.” I went back to Mashhad I had some money saved up. I sold all our belongings in the Friday used items market I sold it all second hand I had some money saved up. I sold all our belongings in the Friday used items market I sold it all second hand I took the money, I took my kids and came back to Tehran I had knives, small guns, weapons. Whatever you can think of, we had My friends and I were sleeping here, around five-six of us They took everything We were 12 or 13 people living here together Every night we would sleep at around 12 to 1 am but we did not realize what happened that night; we fell asleep at 10 pm that night We then realized that they had drugged us by putting sleeping pills in our water tanker There were five of them wearing army uniforms. They came inside We woke up and something hit my head It still hurts even though it has healed They beat us up badly Underneath this duvet, I had put the key to the safe They kicked me to the side They took the key to the safe They kept beating us up with sticks. They would hit anyone who stood up They kept hitting us behind the head and we would fall

We could not stand up They tied up our hands and feet They took all our stuff They took 13 mobile phone devices from here They took six million toman cash and all the money we had saved up It was chaos. All our luggage, passports, papers, they took it all We called the cops and they showed up But it was too late There was no point anymore no point really For those given an illegal alien status, the law in Iran is not a protector of rights of the migrants but a source of fear, anxiety, and threat I was working a full-time job, working at a food paper factory – I was working a full-time job, working at a food paper factory – – food paper for wrapping sandwiches I was going to work in the morning and leaving work at night A biker wearing a soldier’s uniform came and said: “Sir, you keep coming and going day and night, day and night what is your deal? Are you dealing drugs? I have to search you.” The biker took my mobile phone He seized my mobile phone, got on his motorcycle and he left I told my boss the story My boss called the biker telling him: “Sir, at least bring back my employee’s phone.” The biker replied: “No! He does not have a residency permit.” “How can we return his phone when he has no permit?” I was a laborer in metal plating I was getting paid 45,000 tomans I was living in a basement with much hardship Life was going on I then got involved with construction work I was a construction worker without insurance Everywhere we go, we are Afghans They do not even recognize us; – because we are from Afghanistan They do not even recognize us; – because we are from Afghanistan Saying “are you Afghan? Get out!” I was working at a shop I was in an accident and it has been two years that I am staying home since I was hospitalized for six days I was operated on I took my case to the police and to the courts We filed a complaint at the courts with my family A man came to us; he seemed like a very kind man He started a friendly conversation with me He asked me: “Sir, can you sign this paper?” I asked sign what? He said, “don’t you want me to take care of your case?” I said, “sure; may God keep giving you and your family blessings.” He asked me to sign a document Sometimes God just takes away one’s brains I had no literacy to read the case I signed I asked: “sir, how would you take care of my case?” He said go back home I said: “what will happen to my case? I was in an accident I have a spinal fracture, my vertebra is broken My back muscles are crushed.” You see, I cannot walk any more I was walking with two canes and before that, I was sleeping for six months After six months I could only walk with the help of the canes And now I can only go out with the help of the cane and then I am back home The man said your voice will not reach anywhere; you are Afghan He said: “you are at fault.” I said the law has to be on our side, solving our problem When we wanted to use the law We realized the man had my agreement with the signature We could not do anything Every lawyer I talked to says: “you have given consent to an agreement and cannot further pursue the case We cannot help you in any way.” My case stayed still, even though I completed the complaint I have a residency permit. I also have a work permit We are also insured but no one is taking care of this complaint I have a son who goes to work now We are barely making ends meet I am now housebound I am unemployed. I am learning to read and write For literacy I like mathematics the most I like multiplication I also really like subtraction and addition I like to study these more I had to continue my studies But I had to stop studies to work I have to pay for my household To provide for the household’s costs Child Labor and Literacy That is Maryam This is my Astar This one is Melika Mohammad is not home Ghodrat is not home either Ghodrat is 16 years old and he works in a Bakery in the city district 4 Ghodrat is the baker’s assistant Mohammad cannot work His arm is both broken and damaged after a burn He cannot unfold his arm because of the injury During his dad’s accident He cannot unfold his arm because of the injury During his dad’s accident Mohammad’s arm was broken There is metal implant in his arm His arm is also injured from the burns His arm is folded like this The veins and tissues are folded like this The doctors say that he needs plastic surgery to fix the arm We do not have money for the surgery His arm is folded like this I am from Afghanistan, the city of Herat I have been living in Iran for 15 years now I am a construction worker, a simple laborer Every day the schools send my kid home with a paper asking for money 20,000 tomans, 30,000 tomans, 50,000 tomans or 100,000 tomans I go to school, they say if you don’t have the money then take your kid and leave 20,000 tomans, 30,000 tomans, 50,000 tomans or 100,000 tomans I go to school, they say if you don’t have the money then take your kid and leave This current week they punished my son twice at school From 1 to 5 pm, they did not let my son drink water or even go to the bathroom

How is this even legal? How can I be proud of this? They have given us a blank piece of paper If I face a problem and go to the police or courts, they say go bring your identification and residency documents Where am I to find such documentation from? All I have is a blank school paper for my child I tell the school principle why are you doing this, this is not right He says “sir if you have a problem take your child and leave.” To whom can I make a complaint? Do I have anyone to rely on? I do not My country’s condition is in such a way that I have been forced to migrate I would have not come to this country if I did not have to in such a way that I have been forced to migrate I would have not come to this country if I did not have to Now that I am here, first of all, they can just not let us in Second of all, if they have let us in, this is not the way to treat us to do such horrific things to 7-8 year old child I did not go to school at all. I was always working I took labor lessons My friends help me write my contracts with my employers It has been 6-7 years that we have been here Mohammad and I, we were both relatives and also friends back in Afghanistan Here in Iran, we continue our friendship and we also work together We are also roommates We are like brothers From the start, he was my classmate too, my love We would go to school back in Afghanistan Until life problems and issues piled up and we could not get by We moved to Iran I am 17 years old. “You are 17?” Yes, I am I am illiterate. No school, I am a laborer I have three children I have a six months old daughter born in Afghanistan I have a two-year-old son M youngest son was born in Iran, in Firuzabadi hospital He is now 13 years old When he was going to school, he was taking wrestling lessons He was a top student I am sorry not wrestling, he was a top taekwondo athlete student They would not send him to out of province tournament My son was bitterly disappointed. Asking what is the point of being in Iran? He came to me and said daddy they do not send me to tournaments. Why? Because we are Afghans My son would take his identification to school. They saw he was Afghan That is the photo of my son The school said to him you are from Afghanistan and we cannot send you to out of province tournaments My husband and I are both illiterate My two older daughters are also illiterate. None of us went to school That one is in grade four. This one is in grade two this year It was towards the end of the school year She asked mommy you are not going to enroll me next year? I told her no dear I do not have enough money this year for your schooling. Don’t go to school Where would I get money from? No one will lend us money She was crying day and night This one, she loves school so much. She is a good student too She was awarded an honor last year at school She kept saying “I have to go to school,” crying day and night Ultimately she forced me to enroll her Every school I went to, they said you took your daughter out of the school system and you cannot enroll her back They kept saying they have no more room in classes I went to the fifth school, and they registered her Why did you take your kid out of the school? Have you been sleeping? I said: “yes; I was sleeping. What can I do now?” My dear lady, when I am poor and cannot afford the schooling of my kids This child of mine keeps crying day and night (asking me to enroll her) They ended up registering my daughter They registered her and said the fee for the school uniform is 80,000 tomans We registered her and paid the uniform fees, but the school is far The school is too far from here And sometimes when we have no money left when we cannot find food or even dried bread in the house I send my son to street intersections to beg for money On the street intersections, he burns Esfand seeds for warding off the evil eye asking the passersby for money He has an allergy to Esfand smoke. His eyes become red, his heart and lungs reacting to the smoke He says: “mommy inhaling Esfand smoke, makes my eyes red and my heart cannot breathe.” He comes home saying: “mommy my heart, my heart!” He makes 20,000 – 30,000 tomans begging My son did not attend school for three days We did not have any food at home We did not even have dried bread The school called me up They said, “Mrs. Gholami, Payman did not attend school for three days.” I told them it is not a secret to God and nor is it a secret to you Peyman has gone to work as a beggar for three days We did not have food, so he went to beg What can I do? I cannot pay for my household’s costs I cannot work. My husband cannot work I only have that one son who works at the bakery It has not been a month yet. We have to see how much the baker will pay him Peyman, my son, was arrested once by the State Welfare Organization officers They took him to the State Welfare Organization’s houses He was held there for three nights They would not give him back to us He was held there for three nights They would not give him back to us They said: “why did you send your son to the street intersections?” I said god is our witness we have no money. His father took him to the streets This is the condition of his father. I had to send him out of poverty I went there one day to get back my son They said: “your son’s father is sitting home all healthy, and he has sent his son to the streets to beg!” I took my husband to the State Welfare Organization the next day. I said this is the father His arms and legs are disabled I swear to God, the prophet and the holy ones, that we do not have money I had to send Peyman to the streets I said please let Peyman go and I will not send him back to the streets She said you have to sign here They said you have to use your finger ink mark I said fine I will ink mark They said, “you have to agree and ink mark that if Peyman is arrested one more time we will not release him back to you.”

I agreed and said please let him go this one time I said, “I agree that if I send Peyman back to the streets and you en up arresting him again you can keep him from me.” They let Peyman go He is now afraid to go back to the streets- my poor child He goes to the intersections and says: “mom, every second State Welfare Organization people come to get us and I run away as I hold the Esfand burner.” The State Welfare Organization of the Province of Tehran It gets hard when State Welfare Organization people come You have to run so that The State Welfare Organization cannot catch you It is a bit hard, yes The State Welfare Organization people once arrested me and shaved my head It is a bit hard, yes The State Welfare Organization people once arrested me and shaved my head I am 13 years old, but I am in the third grade I was older and late when I enrolled in school, that is why I am in grade three I have been a squeegee girl for three years now Peyman is 12 years old He is in grade two this year He was late to enroll in school; we were poor The school he attends now is free But we have to pay for uniforms and shoes The school has asked for uniform money now We have to buy shoes as well Many child laborers are children of Afghan migrant families living in Iran, and economic instability and hardships contribute to this. When the State Welfare Organization creates obstacles for child laborers, without support and attention to the issue of poverty, it adds to the hardships that migrant families are facing Naser Khosrow Childeren’s Safehouse Despite directives for accessibility of public education, privatization of education in Iran has made conditions of enrollment in schools harder than before for migrants Reading from a quot by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: No Afghanistani child even the migrant ones, who are in Iran illegally and without documentation, should be left without school.” I really like the kindergarten She likes the kindergarten There are no kids here for me to play with They moved She means they all packed their things and changed their house Housing and Subsistence In the field we are working, they usually put two Conex trailers for us to live We have no choice. We are illegals. We have to live in trailers If we had enough budget, we could have rented a building for all of us We could have rented a floor or two in an apartment building we could have lived there Now if I want to go and write a lease contract for a residence, The realtor would ask for my identification documents He would ask for residency permits I do not have such documentation All I have is a blank paper for my child’s school The realtor will not accept that blank paper from me I need to search around to find someone who knows me to cosign with me at the realtor Is the cosigner a guarantee? Well, I have no choice Is the cosigner a guarantee? Well, I have no choice I have to have a cosigner to write up a lease contract Twice so far, the landlord has taken the deposit money of around two-three million tomans, and I could not do a damn thing Mahan Real Estate I have been in Iran for 20 years now We only had proper housing for one or two years here The rest of the years, we lived at the workshops We slept at our workplaces I am paying monthly 300,000 tomans for rent here I am behind in rent payments for two months. I do not have money It is a good thing that the landlord is an acquaintance of mine The landlord takes it easy on me My husband was still at the hospital that I found this grove land I found it through our relatives Our relative said I know a grove land you can use for housing I went to check out the housing at the land and saw that it is two dark outbuildings The building had an entrance door at least, a large iron door I worked as a cleaner for a year all over the place, and I was able to save up one million for the deposit I came here and found a 50 square meter house I gave the one million as the deposit and rented the house I stayed in this house for a year without electricity, water or gas I would bring water home with buckets from a nearby company I stayed in this house for a year without electricity, water or gas I would bring water home with buckets from a nearby company I would light up candles for lighting I would feed and sleep the kids under the candlelight The house did not have gas or fuels either We did our own piping and wiring I had nothing. Only one blanket

Charitable people learned that there is a disabled person in this house, who has kids and has no money One brought blankets, one brought a carpet, one brought plates and cups, Good God’s people, they brought things for me They brought me housewares saying this is all yours Our landlord has told us that we have to move this year I told the landlord, “let us stay this one year.” For the future, I am thinking of staying at a grove land For the money I have, there is no proper housing There is proper housing for 300,000 or 400,000 per month I do not have that kind of money Where would I pay the rent from? Whatever I have would go for rent, I would have nothing left, I would be wretch, becoming homeless I was living around Ghiyam Shahr, Khavardasht I was always living on the outskirts of the city They do not let us live in the city without residency documentation If they arrest us in the city, they would deport us How much wage do you think a simple laborer makes? I spend monthly 450,000 tomans on rent 450,000 rent How much do you think I make? 1,200,000 to 1,300,000 My child’s school alone keeps asking for money; 30,000/ 50,000 /100,000 every month I have to pay; I have no choice Every day the school puts a paper in my son’s backpack asking for money I have to pay 450,000 rent per month! How much do you think I make? 1,200,00 to 1,300,000 My child’s school alone keeps asking for money; 30,000/ 50,000 /100,000 every month I have no choice. I have to pay Every day the school puts a paper in my son’s backpack asking for money Thank God, I am a curb maker. I work in curb construction I make monthly two million, 2.5 million, or 3 million tomans The laborers who work for me, I give them 60,000 tomans daily Iranian money has lost its value a bit. It was better before We used to pay laborers 50,000 daily, and it was enough for them Compared to Afghanistan’s money, Iran’s money has plunged in value The daily wage is no longer worth the work for the laborers So they refuse to work with a daily wage of 50,000 They rather be unemployed, than to work for 50,000 tomans daily We had to increase the daily wage to 60,000 tomans There was no way around it I would send one million to 1,200,000 tomans monthly back home Whatever we make, we have to send back to Afghanistan We have no savings There is no way to save up The costs of living are high If I were to work 25 days per month, weather and conditions permitting I would work for 25 days, ten days of which I’d have to pay for my costs Ten days’ worth of work goes towards my costs I have to buy clothing and shoes My living cost basically Then I have to pay for my five-six families back home They are all waiting for our money Because there is no earnings in Afghanistan A whole population is illiterate citizens What can they do, really? Nothing They do not have any earnings They are awaiting the money we make Every week if we make enough, we have to send 500,000 back home Before we were making good money One afghani money is worth 500 IRR So the money we send home becomes only 15,000 AFN No 10,000 AFN What can we do with 10,000 afghani money? Nothing! With 10,000 AFN before this, we paid for six months of the costs of our families We cannot do the same anymore Because, Iranian money has plunged in value so much right now It is worst, at least four-five times fold Last year, one million tomans was exchanged for 18,000 to 20,000 AFN Right now, one million IRR is exchanged for 5,000 AFN We have to send home whatever we make The costs are so high Do you know how much costs we have? All prices have increased It is affecting us hard You make one million a month, but you cannot pay your household’s costs with that You cannot make it to the end of the month, can you? Cost after cost We are not unhappy that we have moved to Iran We are satisfied We are satisfied with moving to this country We came here to make some earnings, to build a comfortable life for our wives and kids That is it We had identifications. We submitted those The government of Iran has all our papers We came with our passports We are not even illegals No one cares for others, even one’s family; it is only your pocket that counts Your pocket can save you If your pocket has money, everyone knows you If you have no money, then no one knows you It was better before, the costs were lower Since the prices have gone up, we have nothing to eat I buy infant formula tin can for 22,000 tomans

It has been a week that I am feeding her pasteurized cow milk It upsets her stomach, poor thing. She cries all night According to official sources and media reports, a great number of Afghan migrants have left Iran since 2018 Here, it is better than Afghanistan. We’d like to stay Over there, it is all killing. We have no choice but to stay The Future There is not much security in Afghanistan. There are break-ins One cannot go out of the house after eight nine pm You have to lock all the doors from inside You cannot go out If I send my son Peyman to a school that is far during the day, there is no hope of him ever returning Suicide attacks happen on the streets The kids go to school, and there is a suicide attack The mother sits home saying my kid has not returned I keep looking out for suicide attacks. Kids get either killed or wounded They call up the mother saying your kid is at the hospital This is the condition of Afghanistan If Afghanistan was livable, we would have moved back At least it is cheaper than here In Iran everything is expensive Afghanistan is affordable If you have a thousand tomans or two, you can pay for your household’s costs But not here in Iran But over there you also have the Taliban Americans are also there ISIS is also there There are all in Afghanistan causing much misery Many have moved to Turkey Many have returned back to Afghanistan It is because of the plunging Iranian money They were not making much earnings here I could not go back to Afghanistan or elsewhere, like Europe, because I did not have enough money for the costs I had to stay here I want to go to Europe now I am not sure yet where in Europe Wherever accepts us, we will go Whichever country, it does not matter Makes no difference to us We will go illegally from here to the Turkish border From Turkey we will go towards Europe Of course, we are afraid of the route, but we have to go We have to confront our fears Either we will reach Europe or we won’t My nephew has gone to Germany My brother in law has gone to Australia They are living there They have residency there, living comfortably It is has been two-three years that they have moved, not long We have been in Iran for 20 years with nothing and with no future What will our future be? Forget about our future I don’t care about my future. What will happen to my children’s future? Only God knows I do not have the means to move If I had the means and the money, I would not stay in Iran even for an hour Why would they deprive my eight-year-old son bathroom for five hours? When I when to pick him up at the school, his face had changed colors Why? Which Islamic country would do this to a child? You tell me. I have been here for 20 years, and for all the 20 years I have been humiliated Words matter Some say it does not make a difference that you are Afghan Some say “you Afghans” as if we are murderers This treatment is very tiring If there were security in Afghanistan, if I could live a life there, i would not stay here a day I am not saying Iran is bad Iran is a good country But Afghanistan is our land, our birthplace If Afghanistan was a possibility, if the conditions get better, with peace and stability, if they control the killings, I am much more satisfied with living there I much rather be a beggar in Afghanistan than to come to another country Because I am an illegal here If ten people beat me up and they are all our Iranians brothers, I am still satisfied with them I am an illegal in their country and they still let me have a place here I am satisfied, even if they beat me up Because I am an illegal and I cannot say anything to them That is why I say I will rather be a beggar in Afghanistan If I could make ends meet in Afghanistan, I would not have come here As an illegal, I would have rather not come When I cannot make ends meet, then I have to come to Iran. I have no choice