Farzana is a previous GLN summer intern and current Balochi teaching fellow. She is a human rights activist and does amazing work with GLN. Here is our interview with Farzana
What do you like best about volunteering for GLN?
GLN is a great place for exploring languages so that we may connect with other nations around the world. It is also a support for people whose cultures and languages are not widely known. GLN is a place that opens doors for many opportunities for everyone.
It was the first place that opened the door for my education after arriving in the US and I am very grateful for that.
What has teaching your language to others meant to you?
It is very meaningful for me and is something I am proud of. Mostly I am proud of working with GLN, which gives me this opportunity to explore my language with other people of the world. I belong to an oppressed nation so connecting with people through my language is an important part of my activism.
What is your best memory from teaching your Balochi students?
I have very talented students; each class is memorable. They wanted to learn about Balochi language and culture eagerly and their interest makes every class encouraging for me, especially when they tell me they don’t want the class or semester to end.
Has knowing other languages been useful to you in your activism work?
Yes because if I can speak other languages then I can easily communicate with others about my own language and culture.
Why did you move to the United States?
I belong to a political family. The people of Balochistan who want independence and try to speak about the rights of Balochistan are under risk of being kidnapped or killed, so being in the U.S. gives me a safe place to speak about my country and culture and bring awareness to the situation in Balochistan.
How have you liked living in the United States?
Living in the United States is not easy because it can be expensive as a woman on my own but I like the freedom and security systems of the US. I call the US the country of all nations, the longer I live here the more I come to appreciate the melting pot that is the U.S.
What do you miss most about Balochistan?
I miss my people and my family.
What sorts of activism have you participated in in the past?
My brother was a student leader and he was kidnapped in 2009 along with thousands of other political activists from Balochistan and I protested for their safe recovery. I have done hunger strikes for 5 years and I filed my brother’s case with the Supreme Court and even walked a long march of 3000 kilometers from Balochistan to the United Nations Office of Islamabad with other families of missing persons in Balochistan. We are still waiting for justice and have high expectations of the United Nations.
What sorts of activism are you working on today?
I am a human rights defender in Balochistan and now that I am in the US I would like to defend all oppressed nations for their basic rights. I am working on my English language skills with the help of GLN.
How are you living GLN’s mission of “using language as a tool to help fix our world?”
I think if we teach our languages with GLN we can help organizations like USAID and the United Nations to support the eradication of poverty and development of better education in Balochistan and other countries around the world.
If you could give a message to other people struggling with violence or trauma, what would it be?
Never give up. I am still not giving up even after the murder of my father, who was a Baloch politician. His assassination was traumatic for me and my family in my childhood. After my father, my brother Zakir Majeed was a Baloch student leader who has been missing since 2009. We have done a lot for his safe recovery but still without justice. We are living on hope and waiting for him. There are many other people like me in Balochistan who are still waiting for their loved ones and justice. Even though I am in a traumatic situation I continue my studies and the fight for justice and also appeal to oppressed people like me to continue the struggle against violence and to bring peace and education to people around the world.
GLN is a global village where we can connect with each other. I am thankful for and appreciate Andrew Brown’s idea of empowering people through global languages and culture through his organization.