Where Do I Belong

Shabibi Shah fled Afghanistan in 1983. When her husband Zafar was imprisoned by the then Communist regime in Kabul, Shabibi secured his release. Then when he escaped across the border to Pakistan, she waited 2 weeks before making the hazardous journey across the mountains to join him - with her 3 children, the youngest a baby of 4 months.


Their journey was terrifying - first, disguised as nomads, to Jalalabad, and then by ancient lorry and on foot across the mountains into Pakistan, where a further ordeal awaited them: a year and a half in Peshawar, the dangerous frontier town overcrowded with refugees where Zafar was again imprisoned, before finally they were granted visas to Britain. They arrived in London in 1984.

When Shabibi left Afghanistan she was 36. She had a good life: she was a college teacher, the mother of three children, married to a political journalist. She tells of the Afghanistan she grew up in and made a life in, before history took hold of it and shook it to pieces. She and her family were one of those pieces, abruptly displaced to south London on the far side of the world. She helps us to understand what it was like to grow up in a family and a place that seemed as if they would last for ever, and then to have everything change around her.

In 2004 she visited Afghanistan for the first time since her escape, and this new revised edition describes what she found and how it compares to the country she left in 1983. 

Price: £6.99
ISBN: 978 0 9554373 5 9