Dozens of Regina residents marched from city hall to the legislative building on Sunday afternoon. The protestors are asking fellow Canadians and the government to not turn their backs on Afghan citizens as they try to escape from the Taliban.
Zohra Zahir grew up in Afghanistan and is now a graduate student at the University of Regina. She fears for her parents and five siblings who are still in the country.
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“We are a family who are affected by war,” Zahir said.
“My grandfather doesn’t have a grave, he was just taken by people and we don’t know what happened to him,” she added.
She goes on to say it means a lot to her to see so many people, including both Afghan and non-Afghan community members, participate in the rally.
“For me, it just means that I’m here in a safe country with lots of support, you can see that lots of people are coming today to support us, to show that they are with us,” Zahir said.
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The protestors say they want the federal government to carry on with its rescue missions after evacuations ended earlier this week.
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As negotiations are set to take place between various countries and the Taliban in hopes of helping more people flee the country, Zahir says governments need to be weary of the Taliban as “they cannot be trusted.”
Many Afghan-Canadians, like Solomon Javanshir, left Afghanistan in hopes of a better life, but he says his heart is still with those back home struggling to survive.
“I was born in Kabul during the last civil war and me and my family fled the country during that time and it’s sad to see that 30 years later, we have the exact same situation happening again,” Javanshir said.
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He adds that no government should be supporting the Taliban, who are notorious for not recognizing women’s rights, as well as harming children and minorities, and are said to not be representative of the Muslim faith.
“It’s like Groundhog Day in Afghanistan, everyone keeps dying there, there’s no peace, there’s no freedom there,” he said.
The worsening situation has many feeling anxious and scared.
“I’m very upset, I’m always crying, my family’s over there,” said Zargouneh Khosrey, one of the organizers of the rally.
“The whole country is like my family, not just one or two (people), however, many people live there, they are like my family,” she said.
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Khosrey says Afghans are running out of food and they’re stranded at home as they try to alive by avoiding the conflict outside their doors.
Protestors say they’ll continue to fight for loved ones back home during this “ongoing humanitarian crisis.”
“Afghanistan is my second country, it’s what’s really important to me and it’s all my memories and it’s what’s in my heart and it’s what I know,” said Farah Sorosh Shahabzadal, one of the younger protestors at the rally.
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