Author: Nushin Arbabzadah

Welcome to the West, But Please Don’t Integrate…

In the late 1980s, when my family arrived in Germany, I assumed that we had left behind forever the ideologies that had ruined Afghanistan. The country was plunged into a vicious civil war where the hard-right Islamists fought the hard-left Marxist–Leninists, who were then in power. The West’s own ideological wars had thus moved geographically and were now surfacing in the rest of the world. In Afghanistan, their impact was felt in the 1980s with the Marxist–Leninist military coup that started the war—the same war still being waged today. Prior to this, there was indoctrination of young Afghan intellectuals, poets, journalists, and teachers in totalitarian ideologies of right-wing Islam via Egypt and hard-left communism via India and the Soviet Union. On my very first day of school in Germany as a teenager, I encountered sympathy for the Soviet Union. Nothing had prepared me for what I experienced that day nor for what was to come in the following years. Looking back, I realize that the reason for my failure to spot the ideology was that …

A ‘Noble Savage’ Speaks Up

At the height of Islamist terror in 2015, an American radio station contacted me. They asked me whether I wanted to comment on the fact that the media appeared to be paying more attention to terror attacks in Europe than their counterparts in the Middle East. Could it be that the media knew that people were not going to tune in to listen to the news of attacks in places like Baghdad and Beirut? What was it about American culture that made the people sympathize with Paris but not with Beirut? I responded that yes I would be happy to comment but by the time I answered the email, it was already too late and I had missed the slot. I felt relief because had I been on air, I would have said things that would not have been expected of me. The truth is that my conscience was troubled because I could no longer bring myself to guilt-trip the people of the West for not being emotionally egalitarian. This piece of writing is testimony …