Former Afghan minister Sayed Sadaat works for a food delivery company in Leipzig, Germany. Reuters
Now this is something that does not happen every day. From fulfilling the wishes of the people in his own country to delivering food to the masses on a bicycle in Europe – it is a dramatic, radical transformation in the life of a former politician from Afghanistan.
Sayed Sadaat was communications minister in former President Ashraf Ghani’s government. He joined as cabinet minister in 2018. After serving for two years, however, Saadat resigned and left the country for Germany last December.
The present-day reality is that Sadaat, 49, who holds both Afghan and British citizenship, is now a bicycle courier delivering pizzas.
His story is particularly relevant against the backdrop of the chaos that is reigning in Afghanistan. His friends also want to leave, hoping to join thousands of others on evacuation flights or trying to look for other escape routes.
Photos of Saadat on his bicycle have gone viral on social media amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country once the US announced it was pulling out.
Reacting to the situation back home, Sadaat said he never thought a civilian government would fall so fast.
Former Afghan Communication Minister Sayed Sadaat passes a woman in Leipzig, Germany. Reuters
With the withdrawal of US troops looming large, the number of Afghan asylum seekers in Germany has risen since the beginning of this year, jumping by more than 130 per cent, data from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees shows, according to Reuters.
The former minister began working for a food delivery company Lieferando after his money ran out.
Though he could have moved to Britain as he had a British passport and spent much of his life there, he chose Germany because he expected it to have a better economic future and a leading role in the telecom and IT sectors in the long term.
According to one report, Sadaat is an Oxford University graduate with two Masters degrees in communications and electronic engineering. He even worked for Aramco and the Saudi Telecom Company. For 23 years, he was in the communications industry with over 20 firms in 13 countries including Saudi Arabia.
He was also the chief executive officer of Ariana Telecom in London from 2016 to 2017.
Sayed Sadaat works as a bicycle rider for the food delivery service Lieferando in Leipzig, Germany. Reuters
But even with such distinguished academic and career credentials, Sadaat was struggling to get a job in Germany that matched his professional skills.
One major reason is because he did not know German, which blocked the route to a good job. “The language is the most important part,” he said.
Every day, he attends German classes for four hours at a language school before starting a six-hour evening shift delivering meals for Lieferando, where he started this summer.
“The first few days were exciting but difficult,” he said, describing the challenge of learning to navigating his way through the busy traffic on a bicycle.All said and done, Sadaat feels safe in Germany and is quite happy to be with his family in Leipzig. Though he has two Masters degrees, he wants to study further. His ultimate dream is to work in a German telecom company.
Saadat said his story should “serve as a catalyst to change the way high-ranking people live their lives in Asia and the Arab world”.
He has been criticised by his own countrymen for taking up such a lowly job, but he doesn’t seem to be bothered. He says he has nothing to feel guilty about. For him a job is a job, and every job has dignity.“I hope other politicians also follow the same path, working with the public than just hiding.”
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