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Monday, February 6, 2023

Afghan Family Hopes Their Children Will Be Like Putin And Obama

Controversial political names for children create a stir within the local community and on social media

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Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani
Omid Sobhani is a senior journalist at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Transcontinental Times.

AFGHANISTAN. Herat. Gholam Ali Payman decided to name his twins Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama four years ago in Nili city. After revealing the story on social media, the family has seen different reactions.

In an interview with Transcontinental Times, Payman said he and his wife chose the names together. “We have seen many bad reactions, even among our own close relatives.”

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“When we noticed that our children were born twins, we were thinking about what to choose as their names. After discussing with my wife, we decided to name them Barack Hussain Obama and Vladimir Putin,” he elaborated.

Inspired by politics

When asked why they chose the names of two controversial world leaders, Payman said the idea came from their interest in the performances of these two powerful men. “I love the policies of Obama and my wife loves Putin’s. Therefore, we reached an agreement and chose the names of the two most powerful leaders of the east and west for our children.”

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He explained that he wants his children to rule the world one day as Putin and Obama have.

A mixed public reaction

Payman became known as “Putin’s father” among neighbors in Nili. When the family requested the hospital put the names on the birth certificates, Payman claims there was not a good reaction at first. “The midwives laughed and asked why we choose their foreign names.”

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The reactions further turned into a social media joke, which Payman does not feel good about. One Facebook user commented, “He is the only one who sleeps the night with the mother of Barack Obama and Putin.” Another user called this a shame for a father to choose non-Islamic names. Most of the comments accused Payman’s decision as a way to find asylum abroad.

“Our goal is to bring the religious distances close to each other and break taboos,” Payman explained. 

Three years ago, another family in the same province chose the name of Donald Trump for their child, which also created a massive response on social media.



  • Omid Sobhani

    Omid Sobhani is a senior journalist at Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Transcontinental Times.

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