Shattered Dreams, Glorious Triumphs: The Story of Marzieh Hamidi

Text and photos by Shamima Oshurbekova

On November first, 2002, a baby girl of Afghan origin, Marzieh, was born in Karaj, Iran. Her parents had travelled to Iran before she was born. Due to paperwork problems, Marzieh could not go to a public school in Iran, so she had to go to an Afghan school in Iran. Unfortunately, this school was not an official one, so when she was finally accepted to the Iranian school, she had to start from primary school. When she was 12, she went back to Afghanistan for two years, but later went back to Iran and at the age of 14-15 she discovered her passion for taekwondo.

They returned to Afghanistan in 2020, where she had originally intended to pursue medical sports but none of the universities offered that discipline. Marzieh joined the national taekwondo team the same year after being unable to continue in her chosen field, but the Taliban’s invasion in 2021 prompted her to evacuate to Doha in November and then Paris on December 1st of that same year.

Marzieh is one of the very few lucky refugees who came to France the way we are used to – by plane. Only because she was featured in France by Elle magazine. In France, Marzieh encountered difficulties not just with language and culture but also with shattering the myth around refugees. She works to dispel stereotypes about Afghans by concentrating on her path and goals, which include being ready for the Olympics in Paris.

Leaving home in 2021, Marzieh reassured her tearful mother, expressing a determination to fight and be courageous. Despite the feeling of exile in Paris, she draws strength from her Afghan roots and the struggles of Afghan women. At 21, Marzieh, separated from her family now in Germany, stands as the first Afghan female in France to receive the Medal of Honour. Her story is one of overcoming hardship, a testament to strength forged through pain and loss. Marzieh’s journey is inspiring others to rise above challenges, embrace their identity, and speak up for what they believe in. 

“Being born a refugee and living between two countries forever, I never realised what home was, and this feeling is what made me who I am.”

Marzieh  story shows why it’s crucial for us to engage in the democratic processes of our countries, such as voting in the EU elections. On the 9th of June 2024, our votes can support policies and leaders committed to providing refugees with the opportunities they need to thrive, just like Marzieh.

By casting our ballots, we have the power to influence decisions that can transform lives, offering refugees not just asylum but a chance to pursue their dreams and contribute to their new communities. Marzieh Hamidi’s journey is a call to action, reminding us of the impact of our civic responsibilities and the role we can play in shaping a more inclusive, supportive, and equitable world.

Let her story inspire you to vote, making a difference in the lives of countless others who, like her, have so much to offer!