Fahim Speaks: A Warrior-Actor's Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back

Fahim Speaks: A Warrior-Actor's Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back

Michael Moffett

Language: English

Pages: 218

ISBN: 0982167075

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Fahim Fazli is a man of two worlds: Afghanistan, the country of his birth, and America, the nation he adopted and learned to love. He’s also a man who escaped oppression, found his dream profession, and then paid it all forward by returning to Afghanistan as an interpreter with the U.S. Marines. When Fahim speaks, the story he tells is harrowing, fascinating, and inspiring. Born and raised in Kabul, Fahim saw his country and family torn apart by revolution and civil war. Dodging Afghan authorities and informers with his father and brother, Fahim made his way across the border to Pakistan and then to America. After reuniting with his mother, sisters, and another brother, he moved to California with dreams of an acting career. After 15 turbulent years that included two unsuccessful arranged marriages to Afghan brides, he finally qualified for membership in the Screen Actors Guild—and found true American love. Though Fahim's California life was happy and rewarding, he kept thinking about the battlefields of Afghanistan. Haunted by a desire to serve his adopted country, he became a combat linguist. While other interpreters opted for safe assignments, Fahim chose one of the most dangerous: working with the Leathernecks in embattled Helmand Province, where his outgoing personality and deep cultural understanding made him a favorite of both Marines and local Afghans—and a pariah to the Taliban, who put a price on his head.

Fahim Speaks is an inspiring story of perseverance and patriotism—and of the special love that one man developed for his adopted country.

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Khan’s presidency crumbled, due in large measure to Soviet intrigues. His administration was sabotaged internally by Communist sympathizers and secret agents. This began an era of constant conflict which has yet to end. I was 12 years old when revolution came to Afghanistan. Sitting in class one day, I heard bombing, buzzing planes, and machine guns. My school was only ten minutes away from the presidential residence where Daoud Khan lived. Our teacher told us to go home. Communist sympathizers

they wondered how our presence would change their world. After a couple of days, the cultural differences between the two Fazli family factions really showed. Mina and Almara knew little of our Dari language, as they spoke English exclusively. My father, Hares, and I spoke very little English. The English-speaking Virginia Fazlis understood American television shows. We were at a complete loss. The girls wore dresses that showed their legs, when they weren’t wearing pants. I know my father

and my old? In February of 2009, Amy helped me fill out an application with a company called Mission Essential Personnel (MEP). Within a week, I was on a plane to Baltimore for initial screening. At MEP headquarters, a CIA official interviewed me. “So, Mr. Fazli, what is your civilian occupation?” “I am an actor,” I replied. “Really? What types of roles?” “I am a terrorist,” was my unfortunate response. The CIA guy excused himself. I should have replied that I play terrorists. The

with an agenda which called for fast action, it would have turned people off. We projected humility and tried to get Haji Kareem to talk, which he soon did. I interpreted for the Boss, who asked the elder about his family and his village. We listened attentively, but eventually I gently steered conversation to issues we needed to address. We had to search buildings, starting with Haji Kareem’s house. “We have a problem you may be able to help us with,” said Capt Benson. “What is that?” said

bands, cheerleaders, floats and speeches, but like most people who’ve deployed, I imagined a wonderful “Welcome Home,” with lots of people, hugs, kisses, and emotion. After we completed some paperwork in Atlanta, Chavez drove me to Fort Benning, where I returned some gear. Then it was on to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and a flight to Orange County. It was July 2, 2010. Just before we landed at John Wayne Airport, ahead of schedule, I had a bit of reunion anxiety. We’d

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