“A Βeautiful Country”: Afghan Photos Show Albania’s Welcome

January 31, 2022

TIRANA, Albania — Afghan evacuees in Albania on Monday opened an exhibition on their impressions on the tiny Western Balkan country.

The exhibit, “Albania from my Eyes,” opened at the Tirana Art Gallery with photos from some 20 Afghans who fled to Albania last fall.

For Madiha Talash, 20, a medical student who came with her sister, also a student, the exhibition showed the “beauty of a country.”

“This exhibition shows how another people see the beauty of Albania,” she told The Associated Press.

34 year-old professional photographer Firooz Mashoof from Afghanistan poses in front of his pictures during a photo exhibition “Albania from my Eyes” at National Gallery of Arts in Tirana, Albania, on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

Arriving in Albania was difficult for all of them. Some 70 Afghan employees of the American Councils for International Education and their families had come in October while some others supported by global soccer body FIFA arrived a month later. All find themselves now housed at tourist resorts along the Adriatic Sea.

Some 2,400 Afghans evacuated after the Taliban came to power in August last year have been housed in Albania. Some 300 have already left, mainly for the United States.

“The photos show how beautiful and colorful Albania is and how grateful our Afghan people are,” said Mohammad Zafar Jaamay, a 34-university professor.

Anisa Ruseti, Tirana’s deputy mayor, was so happy to see how the Afghans had seen Tirana, the capital.

“We are so happy they have found this way to show our hospitality,” she said. “We now refer to each other as friends.”

Firroz Mashoof, 34, a photographer who had come to Albania with his wife, said Afghans have a lot to tell the world.

“I’m trying my best to forget my past back in Afghanistan, and I want to tell the world that Afghans will never be silenced,” he said.

Visitors look on a photo exhibition “Albania from my Eyes” at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana, Albania, on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Franc Zhurda)

“We could not live there anymore. Schools closed for girls and for a girl living there was so difficult,” Talash said, adding that she hoped to soon join her family in Washington D.C. “The situation turned so bad.”

Aria Mushahed, a doctor, was happy that she would give birth to a baby in a safe country.

Many of the Afghan women in Albania did not feel comfortable about talking about their experiences at home, but all said they hoped to return to their beautiful country one day.

“I hope the country will get to peace and I will be back there one day at my home,” said Talash.


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