To be virtuous is to be free. Being humane does not come at an enormous cost!


There was a moment when I recognised my humanity, and it was then that I also realised the sincerity and nobility of my humanity. From that time on I severed my connection with religion, I lost my faith, I broke away from the confines of racial hierarchies, culture divisions and ethnic conflict… forever. For me, to be a righteous human, to be humane, to be compassionate came to mean something new; for me they reached a greater level of valour in my contact with different peoples, and especially toward animals; for me they meant a deeper love for humanity. I realised true kindness, I recognised true affection, I revelled in togetherness.

For over four years I have been displaced and alienated from my family, I have suffered greatly, I have experienced so many forms of pain. There were times when I was degraded due to my Afghan identity. I would be verbally abused and denigrated when dealing with a whole range of diverse people, groups of people from completely different backgrounds, because I did not appear well-off, I did not wear expensive and fashionable clothes; but I always maintained principles of humanity, I maintained a code of ethics.

The hardest part of all these difficulties has been spending three years of my life in the corner of a prison. I have been reduced to a prisoner, forced to live in the worst state possible, even though I have not committed any crime – stripped of a life of freedom and dignity due to my status as a displaced person and my weak financial situation. I have ended up wasting time in this repulsive and depressing place. In most cases I have been resisting the injustice and violence of the guards and immigration officers, and I have become a somewhat expert in using whatever strategies humanly possible. Without fear of damaging my case for protection, I have been defending homeless and vulnerable refugees.
Ultimately, after all these bitter and edifying encounters I have realised that no one is your friend, no one will come to your aid, no one recognises you as a soul who deserves freedom. No one is there for you, just because you are not religiously inclined, because you do not have religious faith. And I have come to understand that humans, and humanity as a whole, have lost their values and principles.

I always placed honour on the highest pedestal in life – for me it has always been a source of power, merit, and kindness, and also the basis of humanity. This is what is valuable, what has been valuable from time immemorial!

I will do whatever it takes and overcome all obstacles so that I come to understand better, so that I experience more, so that I can tolerate loneliness, so I can confront the dangers, so that I become a model human being, so that I leave a legacy!

We are in desperate need of a world devoid of religious violence and racial violence.

Written by me Erfan Dana a refugee originally, from Afghanistan currently detained In one of an Indonesian detention centres.

Translated by Omid Tofighian

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