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December 20, 2016
When Marzia met Obama
Letter by a 16 year old girl from Afghanistan.
December 20, 2016

Hi! I’m Marzia, a 16 year old from Afghanistan. I am learning Greek at a place called ‘Melissa’, and one day we received an invitation to participate in a conference happening in Athens, the capital of Greece, where the President of the United States would be speaking.

The day of the conference arrived, and we were all excited. Our class headed to the entrance, where we met the former president of Greece, who struck us as a polite and happy man. After speaking with him a bit and taking some souvenir photos, we managed to enter the conference hall after a long wait, but there was no space for us to sit. Still, we were among educated people and we were happy we had the chance to listen for ourselves and to form our own impressions.

It was fairly strange when everyone started looking at us and taking photos, wondering what we were doing there. Everyone was surprised to see us there, but we were no different than all the rest, aside from the hijab we wore. For me, however, the veil is not exclusion but protection, and it doesn’t inhibit me in any of my activities.

We found a good place to sit and we listened carefully and enthusiastically to the speakers. For a moment I got lost in my daydreams, imagining myself as a successful leader of my country, and, wearing this hijab, I would change this foolish system and bring peace and democracy, so each of my fellow citizens would not need to emigrate to foreign lands but could try to make it in their own country without facing unhappiness and exile.

I heard the President speak of democracy, and indeed that day at that conference, freedom and democracy touched me, thanks to the presence of refugees. When everyone began leaving, I stayed to observe the people, who were all different but still live with dignity and respect, while so many others live in misery and degradation.

However, maybe we create our own fates, because, as the saying goes, where there’s a will there’s a way. So if we want badly enough and we try hard enough, we can become the best we can be.

Warm thanks to my teacher.

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