Hobart student Arezo Hami reflects on Taliban rule in Afghanistan and dreams of becoming a police officer

Arezo Hami has just completed his grade 12 exams, but navigating the Australian bureaucracy to help family and friends in Afghanistan has proven to be the biggest challenge.

It has been just over 100 days since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, and Hobart student and woman Hazara, 18, spoke about the impact it has had on the local Afghan community. .

“Everyone was really sad and really scared because they have family in Afghanistan and they’re all trying to get them out,” she told Ryk Goddard on ABC Radio Hobart.

“For the current generation who don’t know anything about the Taliban, everyone saw their family scared and it was devastating.”

Arezo addresses the crowd at the Reclaim the Night rally in Hobart.(Provided: Anna Bateman)

Arezo did not live in Afghanistan – she was born in Iran and came to Australia as a refugee, and has lived in Tasmania since 2015.

She can see the past trauma in her parents’ eyes.

“I understand how my parents feel, they are telling how the Taliban took power 20 years ago and how they are back now,” she said.

“Everyone in the community was so sad it affected everyone.”

On Thursday evening, she spoke about her experiences at Hobart’s Reclaim the Night event, which highlights the plight of women from various representative sectors of the community, including those with disabilities and Indigenous women.

A young woman in a hijab is standing in front of a desk
Hazara woman Arezo Hami wants to give voice to Afghan women.(Provided: Arezo Hami)

Give a voice

Arezo has been busy preparing for her final exams at Elizabeth College while trying to help members of the Afghan community navigate Australia’s complex immigration system.

“There are families here who cannot speak or write English, and their children have had to fill out forms or go and ask someone else for help,” she said.

“I had to study to prepare for the exams, but then I had to fill out forms for so many families.

“The odds of them being accepted were around 1%.”

Arezo knows there isn’t much she can do from Tasmania, but she tries to give a voice to those in her homeland.

“I try to defend the interests of my people,” she said.

Women march through Afghanistan with placards
Women have taken to the streets of Kabul in the days following the Taliban takeover, but there are now reports of women activists being killed. (PA)

Communication with family in Afghanistan was difficult due to a lack of internet and when her uncle recently passed away, it was difficult to get information.

“The only thing we can do from here is hope that Australia accepts more refugees from Afghanistan,” she said.

“We can pray that they live another day, they starve, they are hiding from the Taliban and running away.

A woman stands in front of a stone monument and looks into the distance.
Arezo helped family and friends in Afghanistan seek asylum.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Police dreams

Arezo wants to be a police officer, a dream she has had since she was a young girl.

“If I could join the police here it would be the best thing,” she said.

“In Iran, I didn’t see a lot of policewomen and I really wanted to be one.

“In my family there are no female police officers and I want to be the first.”

A young woman in a hijab looking at the camera
Arezo wears a hijab and says the Hobart community accepts it very well.(Provided: Arezo Hami)

She knows this is something that would not happen under the Taliban and is grateful to be living in Australia.

“I wouldn’t have been to school, passed exams and followed my dreams. They force women and children to marry their activists.

“Here it’s so different, right now I’m speaking and in Afghanistan women are not allowed to do that.”

Arezo wears a hijab and said she was first scared in Australia.

“When I first came here I was a little scared and thought people might attack [me],” she said.

“I’m not wearing a full blanket… my mom was wearing it when she came here and I was so scared for her and I was taking care of her.

“But now it’s okay, no one is judging you and everyone gets it, it’s really great in Hobart.”

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