Kultar Singh – ‘As if somebody locked me up’

Article en français : cliquez ici

Hey Belgium. Kultar Singh is getting tired. We can not let that happen. Three years in Belgium, and before that he got death treats in Afghanistan, fled to Dubai, lost job and papers there, came to Europe hoping to find human rights, and what does he get? Same thing as in Afghanistan. Shame, Belgium! Shame, Europe!

kultar2I don’t know my exact age, I must be about 29. People in Afghanistan don’t give a date, they just say you were born around the time an earthquake happened for example, but they don’t write anything down. I come from Kabul, but I was born in Ghazni.

I am a Sikh. In Afghanistan, there is a big problem. In my religion, when people die, we don’t bury them in the ground. Yes, we burn them. In Afghanistan they don’t let us do that. There is no respect for our religion.

In 1998, Afghanistan got very dangerous for my family. My brother got killed. I went to Dubai because in Afghanistan my life was in danger. I worked there for 12 years, until the shop went bankrupt.  But as the shop in Dubai closed, my father told me they were still looking for me in Afghanistan. They still want to kill me. I don’t even know exactly who they are.

I could not stay in Dubai, and I could not go back to Afghanistan. So I came to Europe. By air. It has been three years now, and I still don’t have papers.*

Now, my mind is also in danger: I am confused about my life. Thinking is difficult in this situation. Where will I live, will they send me away? I don’t know. Sometimes, my memory gets all empty.

My lawyer had told me I would get the Dubai nationality, but Dubai only gives tourist or work visa. Dubai is not a country where people go and receive the nationality. It is not in their law. When people stay in Dubai without papers, they get deported and sent back to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India… So I was in danger in Dubai. Belgium said: “You did not come here directly”. Yes, I came to Belgium after 12 years in Dubai. Now, the problem is: they say I’m a national of Dubai. But I’m not. Three years ago, I came from Dubai, but I’m an Afghan.

People come here for different reasons. I came here because people said Europe was good, that they help you. So here I am, and look: it is the same as in Afghanistan – over there I have no religious freedom, and here in Belgium I have no personal freedom. They could deport me any time.

I can not even speak with my family in Afghanistan. My parents are aging and have no mobile phone or anything. I don’t know where they are now.

I didn’t get much education or diplomas, but I learned things, like how to speak English, simply by working. In Afghanistan, people are not at all educated. I can not go back. I don’t have anything to do there.

With documents, the first thing I want to do is study. It’s been 3 years since I wanted to go to school to learn Dutch and French, but my first target is documents. Then get a job, and get married.

I’m not asking for money, all I need is documents. Afghan Sikhs and Hindus don’t come here to receive money – we’re businessmen. I am not a beggar. I’m a businessman but they treat me like a beggar.

Belgium is a good country, but without papers it is like a jail.** I can’t go anywhere. I can only think inside Belgium. I live between walls. Like somebody locked me up. And if they send me back, my life is finished.

I was very strong and sure of myself when I came here, but now I am being pushed down. We have been protesting for five months. I’m getting tired. But yes, I continue. I try. I walk the walk, I go to the protests. What can I say? La loi c’est la loi?***


*papers/documents = a work permit, an ID card, a passport
**according to the Dublin Regulation, asylum seekers who have given their finger prints in one European country are not allowed to ask for asylum in another EU country, and in case of a negative decision, are not allowed to leave the country
***the law is the law = phrase that mostly covers the acts and decisions of Belgium’s Secretary of State responsible for Migration and Asylum

Interview compiled by Marlene N.

See also this site on Afghan Sikhs and Hindus

This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Discrimination, English. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Kultar Singh – ‘As if somebody locked me up’

  1. Nadia P says:

    Het is intriest…. niemand zou “illegaal” moeten zijn, niemand is illegaal… ik begrijp niet waar ze zo’n punt van maken. Die man wil gewoon gelukkig zijn zoals iedereen. Dat gevoel moet erg zijn, om nergens thuis te horen en nergens naartoe te kunnen, nergens bij te horen, geen contact te kunnen hebben met je familie. Ik vind het super dat jij je voor deze mensen inzet. Ik hoop dat je kan doordringen tot hogerhand. Er moet eindelijk eens een oplossing voor deze problematiek komen. Los van hokjesdenken en stempeltjes op mensen drukken.


  2. Arwi Kaur says:

    It’s very emotional! Well done Marlene! There are many situations where I feel powerless and this is one of them


  3. Shafi says:

    Those poor hindo of Afghanistan always been victims, even in Afghanistan there is a Montaigne named hindo kosh (hindo killer) they proud to kill Hindus, I am really ashamed to say but it is the reality.


  4. Simon Vx says:

    Very good article. Very sensible, and you can tell it’s what he wants to say.


  5. Ramnat T says:

    Thanks Marlene ji it’s very nice Article !


  6. Jeannine Goff says:

    J’espère que qq a transmis à nos chers élus … C’est un témoignage poignant; Pour ma part, je suis à vos côtés, dans la mesure de mes moyens! j’essaie aussi de faire venir, selon les promesses de Milquet, ( ha ha ha), oncles et tante de mon beau-fils, syrien et chrétien …2 faits qui justifieraient un statut de réfugiés … Mais, cause toujours … elle offre xxxx places ( en réalité 40, y sont 20 de la famille!) P… P… , je suis, même de loin, avec vous, isabelle le sait ( matelas, oreillers, vêtements, jouets ..) tout ce que j’ai pu. Mnt, j’ai promis “à ma soeur de coeur”, la maman de mon beau-fils, de faire tout ce que je pourrai …pour sa famille. Je me bats contre des Murs . Je n’abandonne pas, ni vous, ni les miens ( parce que la famille syrienne est ma famille ) Mes petites-filles sont 1/2 syriennes, et leurs cousin(e)s sont sous les bombes … Fatiguée … Mais je n’accepterai pas, jamais, ni pour nos amis, ni pour ma famille de coeur . Et le témoignage de Kultar Singh me rebooste ! All my things with you all …


  7. Lola Rasta says:

    Wow c’est fort!


  8. Sunmeet says:

    Heel goed artikel. Het is het verhaal van bijna elke sikh daarin.

    Geen vrijheid daar en geen vrijheid hier.


  9. Tom says:

    I read the story three times. The sobriety and the simplicity of his words make Kultar’s story all the more powerful and poignant. No adjectives, no exaggeration. Humble and without pathos, this article is one of great generosity. I think that what we read here, are the words of a very noble man.


  10. Homa says:

    Dear Kultar singh !
    Why are you wasting your valuable time In Belgium , 3 years is a long time , go back to your family , move with your aging parents to India , where you can freely practice your religion and every body speaks your language …..
    wish you all the best


    • Hello Homa,

      Thank you for the comment, it is appreciated. You must know that those death threats are serious, and that going back to Afghanistan, even for a few minutes, is not an option. Also life in India is not that great for immigrants from Afghanistan. Plus, the country does not deliver papers, so most people who do go to India remain illegal and have difficult lives.



  11. Alain de H says:

    Bravo pour le bog. En proficiat voor het interview van Afgaanen! AL


  12. Pingback: Kultar Singh – ‘Comme si quelqu’un m’avait enfermé’ | Brusselsislove's Blog

  13. kilaheem says:

    Poor guy I hope someone rescues him


  14. Harinder Singh says:

    Be brave and don’t loose your hope. Best of luck.


  15. Sammy be says:

    Sad to read that 😦


  16. Pingback: Kultar Singh – ‘Alsof iemand me opgesloten had’ | Brusselsislove's Blog

  17. catsholiday says:

    I do feel for people hoping for a new life and all they find is rejection


  18. Pingback: https brusselsislove wordpress com 2014 01 23 kultar… | Ace News Services 2014

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