Despite holding all required legal documents, our writer was detained at an Istanbul checkpoint and jailed for two weeks alongside dozens of other foreign nationals, all locked up for trivial paperwork issues, many suffering violent beatings and other indignities.
Too rarely does it occur to Westerners, worried about the erosion of their democracies, that refugees from Syria and elsewhere have valuable experience striving for civic values against authoritarian forces.
Enthusiasm on the left for Vladimir Putin’s bombing campaign in Syria has strong echoes of the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that killed and displaced millions, including relatives of this author.
Recent footage of US soldiers drive-by shooting an Afghan truck driver fits a well-established pattern of cruelty and criminality—yet Afghans who report these abuses are still invariably met with disbelief.
Yassin al-Haj Saleh explores the emergence of the Islamic State and its three main layers of identity and formation, from Afghanistan, to Iraq and eventually, Syria.