AUTHOR: PAMIR EHSAS
As I walk down the aisle of the UN General Assembly Hall, the most prestigious political institution in the world, there is only one thought I could recall: this is not for me, but for the 600 million youth who are deprived of this opportunity due to conflict and instability. The fear instantly disappears.
Afghan children’s futile struggle for a better life
My afghan brothers, sisters, and I were simply born into a society torn apart by decades of war; a series of conflicts that crippled our nation and deprived us of our childhood.
Our parents were doomed to either undertake a perilous journey from our homes or become trapped in a decaying, disorganized and ultimately unrecognizable country.
Mine chose the journey and ended up in Norway. Growing up in Norway I was fortunate enough to pursue and fulfill achievements beyond my wildest imaginations: study law at the University of Oslo, received an award by the Royal Crown Prince of Norway, studying Political Economy at Oxford University, more importantly, receiving an award and speaking at the UN GA Hall.
While being incredibly grateful for these achievements, they also remind me of my fellow brothers and sisters, millions of them, who were deprived of the solace I have found for myself.
Growing up, this injustice grew on me, and I wanted so passionately to end it.
Our inherited duty to ensure the rights of all
For the past three decades, religious, ethnic, geopolitical and international power struggles have been spelled out in the heart of Asia, and Afghanistan has been its battlefield.
The continuous decades of war in Afghanistan have now reached a destructive pinnacle. Millions have fled reluctantly; the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghans have perished.
A war that has lasted this long is not about politics. It is not about freedom. It is not about hope. It is not about justice. It is solely suffering.
We can either succumb to the injustice our youth faces or rise up against it. Consequently, the future of our youth also depends on the actions we collectively take today.
It is this fundamental sense of responsibility that led me to launch a nationwide campaign in Norway (Studentaksjonen) calling on my generation of youth and ensuring the right to education of 1 170 youth and children in Afghanistan.
As my speech was finally concluding, I wanted to ensure that my generation of youth who had their rights deprived, would never become invisible again. Also, that the fate of Afghan children would never occur in this form again.
As 1,500 youth delegates stood up in the UN GA halls, to express solidarity with their generation of youth who did not get to be there that day, and make a promise to strive towards ensuring the rights of every child and youth, I could only sense one thing regarding our future: hope.
*This post was originally published in The Huffington Post on September 11, 2017. You can find the original post here.
About the Author: Pamir Ehsas is a law student at the University of Oslo who is currently on leave to study Political Economy at Oxford University. He is also the founding CEO of Brighter Tomorrow and Studentaksjonen.