Any day now, Ingjerd’s best friend Taibeh Abbasi, 19, could be detained by the police in Norway and deported to Afghanistan. Ingjerd, 18, reveals why her government should keep Taibeh safe…

I met Taibeh five years ago. We were supposed to be working on a presentation for social science class, but we kept finding other things to talk about. We hit it off straight away.

Our friendship has become so strong. Whether we’re listening to music or cooking dinner, we’re always there for one another, particularly when she has to go to court.

I remember when Taibeh showed me the letters she and her family had received. The words were complex and difficult to understand. At 14, I struggled to grasp the language, but I knew it was serious. I asked my teacher for help and he said Taibeh and her family were facing possible deportation.

As Taibeh’s best friend, it’s been devastating to see her and her family go through this. It’s been a long journey and this battle has become a big part of our friendship. To me, Taibeh is the smartest, funniest person. We’ve shared our hopes and dreams. It’s heart-breaking to think hers might not become a reality.

Yet, our friendship isn’t the only reason I want Taibeh to stay in Norway. Yes, she’s my friend, who’s positive, funny and always has a smile on her face, no matter what she’s going through, but she’s also a great citizen, who brings so much to Norway.

Taibeh and Ingjerd. Photo: Amnesty International
Taibeh and Ingjerd. Photo: Amnesty International

As teenagers, we started the #AbbasiStays campaign in a bid to keep Taibeh safe. We didn’t do it because we were told to, but because it was the right thing to do. Afghanistan is not a safe country – everyone knows this – and Taibeh has never been there. Through demonstrations and concerts, we made our voices heard. People from all over Trondheim came together to support our campaign. #AbbasiStays even gained international attention, with organisations such as Amnesty International joining our campaign. Yet as we say one thing, the Norwegian Government says something else. They said they understand why we want Taibeh to stay, but that it’s just not possible.

Norway has spent a lot of time integrating Taibeh and her family into the community, finding them a home, making sure they have access to healthcare and education. Six years on, they just want to tear it away.

This is a principled fight. We are shedding light on Norway’s dysfunctional, inhumane politics. We have supported Taibeh and her family throughout this ordeal, but there are so many other stories just like Taibeh’s, that stay secret. The Government’s actions are sad, frustrating and disappointing. As teenagers who have taken action and spoken out, we deserve a proper response.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I’ve learnt so much from Taibeh. We’ve shared our political views, our cultures and I’ve got to know her family. Taibeh’s opinions continue to inspire me and she teaches me so much. She always manages to bring out the positive in every situation. We could be having a really bad day, receiving yet another letter saying ‘no’ you can’t stay’, but then we will bake something or go out to dinner and find something to smile about – our friendship is truly unique.