Analysis: An Afghan family’s harrowing journey to Canada – CTV News

TORONTO — As Canadians, we think we understand words like “relief” and “joy” – but we really can’t comprehend those words on the same level as people who have experienced the opposite.

Occasionally, as journalists, we get to witness something that stays with us forever. Thursday night was one of those moments.

The Hussaini family had just arrived in Edmonton, Alta., after a quarantine period in Toronto. They had escaped a harrowing ordeal in Afghanistan. Like so many, they were desperate to get away from the re-imposed Taliban regime.

They were probably exhausted, physically and mentally, but they certainly didn’t show it.

When they met with us, they had smiles and pandemic-appropriate fist bumps. And Beazhan Hussaini, the only family member fluent in English, had the chipper mood of a person who had just woken, showered, and met a friend for a coffee.

They allowed us, in fact, invited us, to come with them to surprise their sister Nafesa, who they hadn’t seen in person in 11 years. She has lived in Edmonton for the last couple of decades.

When they knocked on that door, and she opened, I think it’s safe to say myself and videographer Chad Tweten both had to force a few blinks to keep our eyes dry.

The cry we heard from Nafesa was one of the happiest sounds I have ever heard. I will never forget that sound.

The next three minutes of video show raw emotion. I have watched it several times, and will probably watch it a few more. It’s a beautiful moment we can all relate to, but most of us won’t be able to fully understand.

Here in Canada, Nafesa watched the news last August as the Taliban swiftly and cruelly took back Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan after the U.S. and other countries withdrew their troops. She worried for Beazhan and the rest of her family.

Thursday night, we witnessed the moment that worry could lift. And it was palpable.

And then, there’s the happiness on the other side. Beazhan, his wife and mother, his two brothers and sisters-in-law, and his nieces and nephews have lived out an ordeal over the past three months.

They watched their city and their country fall into the hands of an oppressive regime. They felt their lives were at risk, and the women and girls saw their freedoms taken away.

Their tears, and their words Thursday night – even the words in Farsi, which I couldn’t understand – didn’t need any translation. They were happy to be here. And it was impossible to see that, and not feel it too.