Qiam Amiry now ponders Afghanistan’s troubles from afar

Colby Bicentennial Seal 1964-2013

Fall 2006



Sitting cross-legged on his bed like a rail-thin Buddha, Qiamuddin Amiry ’09 searches the air above his head for the words to explain his life before Colby. He is used to searching. Just four years ago, he spent his nights wearing a bulletproof vest, patrolling the streets of Kabul.

As a translator for British special forces, Amiry spent his nights with soldiers who maintained security on the war-torn streets of his home city. He worked the night shift with the military so he could attend classes during the day and teach English in the late afternoon. “At the time, I never thought what I was doing was unusual for a sixteen-year-old kid,” Amiry said.

…At Colby, Amiry is far from the din and danger of his former world. He is now able to concentrate on his studies in philosophy and government. The former child laborer now has a work-study job behind the main desk at the Olin Science Library.

However, as Amiry settled into life at Colby, he remained aware of the world beyond Mayflower Hill. Flanked by charcoal sketches he drew of Martin Luther King Jr., mahatma Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln (later replaced by his drawings of Mohammed Ali and a Hazara), Amiry said he hopes his education at Colby will enable him to attend graduate school and ultimately to work for the betterment of his country.

It’s a formidable goal. –John Campbell ’09