A Day with Omar Soltan
Deputy minister, policy maker, archeologist, producer of heritage, an innovator, educator, burocrat, advisor and consumer of culture and heritage
When in 1969-75 I went to Greece with a scholarship to study archeology, then I came back to Afghanistan. It is my love and my blood to work in the field. In 1978 I got the second scholarship just before April which was the first pro Russian time and I got stuck in Afghanistan. The communist regime came and I had to escape. I was 26 years old, very young, and left Afghanistan. It was like suddenly something happens and I felt like I didn’t have a country any more. I went back to Greece and from there to the US. But believe me from the first day I arrived in the US I always had the dream of going back. Being 26 and leaving Afghanistan was really difficult. I had just started my career and suddenly I had to leave. I needed to survive, to feel alive!
I was in house-arrest under the communist regime, but escaped with my wife. I really love what I studied, archeology and I loved that feeling of longing, feeling that I will go back to Afghanistan and that is why I went back. I went back in 2002, as an advisor to the minister.
In 2005 finally they asked me to accept the deputy minister for culture. And I had to think about it. But again because of the love of Afghanistan I kicked everything, my retirement and everything. I kicked everything back. Sometimes I think I made a mistake, but I will never regret that I quit my job in the US. It was for the love the passion of my people.