CEC Journal: Issue 7: Hurt and Repair

Refugee Life: A Pictorial History by Khadim Dai

All pictures © Khadim Dai

(Note: To view the images above individually please click on the numerical hyperlinks below.)

When I look to my family history, I rarely can find a picture or a written piece. The history has been always told orally among my family. It was one of the reasons I started to take pictures. I was born in Afghanistan to a Hazara family. Hazara people have been systematically persecuted and forced to leave their home country. Millions of Hazaras became refugees around the world. My family was one of them and they escaped to Pakistan. I grew up in Pakistan and I had a basic education in Pakistan as a refugee. In 2013, my school was bombed, and that day 126 people got killed, including my classmates and friends. My friends escaped to Europe, with no way back to Afghanistan, I escaped to Indonesia via Thailand and Malaysia. In Indonesia, I started taking pictures. I wanted to have pictures from my journey, and I wanted to contribute to the history and change the cycle. Instead of oral history, I thought it is time to have pictures. I took the pictures in Indonesia. I know those people personally. They shared their stories with me. Since I came to the U.S., I still do travel to different parts of the U.S. to meet people who come as a refugee. I take their pictures. I also traveled to Europe and Pakistan. I met my family and photographed them. My pictures are not only telling each individual story, but my own personal story as well. I am a refugee and I am still trying to reconnect with my siblings in EU and Australia.

-Khadim Dai


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