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new neighbours

A Letter to the Girl I Am in Love With, Who Is Back in Afghanistan

"I'm worried that you might already be married to someone else now."
Illustration by Ana Jaks

This article is part of our New Neighbours series, in which young refugees from across Europe guest edit Click here to read the introduction.


G. is 16 and from Afghanistan. He currently lives in a guesthouse run by Greek NGO Praksis, in Athens.

Dear Zeynep,

thinking of you makes me very sad.

I liked you because you are tall and slim, you have long black hair, black eyes and a mole on your nose – that's my favourite bit. You're the kindest girl I've ever met.


I remember your house, which was two blocks away from mine, near the lake. I remember how we would meet there secretly and talk for ages. We'd often swim too, always with the fear of being seen by your father. He had taken me aside once, and told me not to talk to you and never touch you. Things in Greece, where I am at the moment, are different – there aren't as many rules as in Afghanistan.

I remember how much you cried when I told you I couldn't marry you. But it's not that I didn't want to – I just had no money and hadn't even gone to school. "I told you that I was going to Europe to become a doctor and that when I had made a lot of money, I would return to marry you. But I'm worried that you might already be married to someone else now. You might have even already had his children.

I'd like to see you again, Zeynep,


Sign the UNHCR petition urging governments to ensure a safe future for all refugees here.

Click here to donate to Praksis, an NGO supporting refugees in Greece.

Illustration by Ana Jaks