About This Source - Al Jazeera English
The video item below is a piece of English language content from Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is a Qatari state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network.
Recent from Al Jazeera English:
Al Jazeera English published this video item, entitled “Norway’s Afghan Sons | Al Jazeera Close Up” – below is their description.
Javed fidgeted in his seat, perhaps because of the shards of shrapnel lodged in his body, as he listened to Pashto translation of the court proceedings.
After 3 years of living in Norway, the 19-year-old spoke Norwegian well enough, but the legal jargon between his lawyer and the public prosecutor was more accessible in his mother tongue.
It was the summer of 2019 and besides me, there was only one other person observing, a retired Norwegian school teacher, and she was upset.
Gro Dregelid had been Javed’s guardian for 1.5 years in Stord, a Norwegian town of 18,000 people, and she was sure a great wrong had been done to him.
“I developed a special care for Javed because his situation was so gruesome. I was convinced that the court was mistaken in denying his asylum the first time, so we re-applied, ” Gro told me.
Before arriving in Norway, Javed narrowly escaped death when Taliban fighters shot him several times in his home in Laghman, Afghanistan. The 15-year-old child fled, hiking the treacherous Balkan route alone, and sought sanctuary in the northernmost country in Europe.
The Norwegian state provided Javed with a residence permit, surgeries to treat the wounds on his frail body, and access to education.
But years after Javed had integrated into his new home, the same state denied him asylum, deeming that it was “safe to return” to Afghanistan. Despite the staggering levels of violence in Afghanistan that has made it the “world’s deadliest place for children”.
Gro agreed to narrate the camera-shy boy’s story from that day on, and over the last two years, she has relayed the developments in Javed’s life following the asylum rejection.
In telling his story, she also invited me into the lives of her many “Afghan sons” who she met as children, remaining their “mama” as they became young men.
Since 2019, I have been visiting Gro in her home in Stord, where she makes dinners for a dozen teenagers at a time. I joined her when she visited Spain, where Javed has re-applied for asylum and where Nasrat, another son, will start university. I accompanied her to a wake in Paris that she arranged for Aman, a son who died while trying to re-apply for asylum in France.
Last Christmas, I met her resettled boys – Amjad, Hamed and Enayat – as they were taking their high school exams.
Gro remains closely connected to some 30 boys she has taken in. She has helped hundreds others in navigating the complex asylum systems of European countries, particularly Norway. She calls Afghanistan to tell the mothers of her closest boys that their sons are well and safe.
Gro sees these boys as not only her kin but also as “Norway’s Afghan Sons” who the country should have protected.
Last November, I finally met Javed’s mother in Afghanistan and was able to film a video call between her and Gro, two women who had become family without ever meeting in person.
The story came full circle.
A film by: Preethi Nallu
Producer: Ala Alhussan
Editor: Ala Alhussan
Assistant Editor: Rania Samir Itani
Executive Producer: Andrew Phillips
With thanks to Ståle Wig
This film was supported by the Migration Media Award by Thomson FoundationAl Jazeera English YouTube Channel
Got a comment? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, below. Please note comments are moderated before publication.
In This Story: Afghanistan
Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.
3 Recent Items: Afghanistan
In This Story: France
France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.