When I was 13, my doctor sat me down and told me that I was HIV-positive. Sitting next to me, my mum was silent, in denial of the virus that she had unknowingly passed to me. People often say that when they discovered their HIV-positive diagnosis they thought they were going to die. Not me. I was numb, confused, but at 13, I didn’t know enough to be scared.
Within a year, I was very unwell in hospital. I wasn’t sticking to my HIV medication. With support from doctors and Teen Spirit, the group for teenagers run by HIV charity Body & Soul, I realised that I had to make a decision to stay healthy.… Seguir leyendo »
Last month, while I was visiting my family in southeastern Afghanistan, my mobile rang. I didn’t dare answer it.
I recognised the number — it was a colleague I work with at the World Food Programme (WFP) office in Kabul — but I couldn’t risk being overheard speaking to her in English.
Most of my relatives in Paktia province don’t know that I work for the United Nations. I tell them I run a private business — the same story I give to my neighbours in Kabul. The truth could put us all in danger.
I’ve never programmed the numbers of my international colleagues into my mobile phone because I don’t want someone to find them there if I’m searched at a roadblock.… Seguir leyendo »
We went today. All the routes were closed but we made it to about a half-mile away from Revolution Square. At every intersection they had riot police dispersing us, trying to make sure we wouldn't get through.
But we managed to get a little further. My guess is that I was among a crowd of 50,000 on the northern side of Enghelab Square. They were using water cannons at the gate of Tehran University.
They kept breaking us up. The regular riot policemen were generally okay but then riot police with army fatigues came and started beating people. They were hitting people on the head; one young woman's head was broken in front of us.… Seguir leyendo »