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July 30, 2007

 “We set several deadlines and the Afghan government did not pay attention to our deadlines,” spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi told AFP. “Finally tonight at 8:30 (1600 GMT) we killed one of the Koreans named Sung Sin with AK-47 gunshots.”

The body of the hostage had been dumped in the Qarabagh district of the southern province of Ghazni, Ahmadi said. He did not specify the gender of the captive but his use of the Pashtu language suggested a man was killed.

The area is where 23 South Korean Christians, 16 of them women, were captured on July 19 while officially on an aid mission.

Full story here.

Please remember to sign the Avaaz’s Taliban Leaders: Free the Hostages petition (you can read a description of how Avaaz’s campaign works here) and spread the word about the petition.

Earlier this summer while observing operations of a store, I ran accross this man, a regular patron of the store and somehow he was associated with the Oriental rug store around the block and since the Taliban has taken the hostages I keep going back to this conversation with this patron of the store. 

It seemed that he always wore this one shade of grey in his suits, a grey which made the suit look aged more than the actual age of the suit itself.  He wore no tie and kept his top button of his dress shirt unbottoned.  His grey hair was only obvious on his short clipped beard and after a week of shaving his head.  His eyes were deep set and for some reason if I had to say what color I would first say blue but in actuallity they were brown.  Somehow though, his eyes made me feel that they were translucent, that if I tried hard enough I could see right through them.  His age I would only venture to guess from the deep written lines of a life story upon his forhead, near his eyes and along his full cheeks, I’d have to say that these were the writtings of a man over 60. 

There was such a curiousity on my part to read these lines upon his face to know this story but I wasn’t even familiar with the background to figure out its translation.  His accent was unfamiliar to me.  His broken English was so hard to understand even considering all of the experiences I’ve had with broken English, I had to struggle to understand him.  It bothered me that I couldn’t understand him, moreso I hoped that he wasn’t offended by my constant “could you please repeat yourself” and I hoped I didn’t make him feel uncomfortable. 

It was only upon his complaining about the bad market, the difficult times and as he listed his financial obligation of sending his sisters in pakistan $1000.00 a month because they liked shopping that I finally thought I knew where home was to him.  It didn’t make sense though, his accent wasn’t what I was accustomed to of Pakistanis and so I asked “Is that where you are from?” only to find out that he was from Afghanistan, his sisters moving to Pakistan at some point.

Still seizing the opportunity to get the translation of those lines I continued with my questions.  “Do you go back home often?”

He looked a little puzzled and pondered for a moment .. “Where home?  Afghanistan?”

I nodded.

“I no go home there.  Last time 19??, I go see my father’s house.  They killed my father, my four mothers .. their little children..” His voice a shout his arms talking as well with pointing in the air and his four fingers going up to represent his mothers and his hand going to his side showing me the height of children.

I wondered if maybe I should not continue on my quest for this translation.  I wondered what pain he must feel but he raged on about “they”, went on about all of them lying there shot in the head, the mothers, the little children, I wasn’t able to keep up with his broken English nor could I bring myself to say “could you please repeat yourself”.  I could see him seeking my face for a reaction and I wasn’t sure what my face was revealing but I knew by his searching that it would be okay to ask.

“Who are they?”

“Taliban!  Taliban!  You know who Taliban are?” He shouted never waiting for a reply.  “Taliban are bad.  They killed my four mothers, my father their little children .. so little.”  His finger in the air waving a scolding, determined point.

All I could say was something like I’m so sorry, that is really awful.  His body language shifted and he shrugged, his voice softened his hands took on a softer tone as well.  “Afghanistan bad long time.  Russians, Talibans.  My father fought the Russians…” and what proceeded was the story of his father being an important figure .. and that the last time that he was there that the Taliban had even torn down all of the billboards that had his father’s picture on it and again how the Taliban had lined them all up and shot his father, his four mothers and their children.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2007 12:27 pm

    I cry again. Why do men turn from idealists into cruel rampaging animals?

    My easy answer is that it is due to the tribalist nature of the area. The whole of the Middle East and much of Africa. The inability to see “Others” as fully human. But I see the same habits being taught to our young people in the Armed Forces. So it is not just tribalism. Or is it?

    When will we learn, when will we give peace a chance?

    When will we stop inflicting suffering on our fellow humans?

    God knows there is enough suffering to be had from nature.

  2. August 4, 2007 3:21 am

    Maybe we can learn to give peace a chance when we accept that we can not force our ideologies on one another.

    The people of Afghanistan have gone from one ruler trying to modernize the country and in an attempt to do so he tried to impose laws banning scarves and beards so on and so forth.

    Then the soviet influence tried to do the same thing.

    Again the Taliban tries to do the same thing .. but opposite .. by imposing their own strict sharia code. It can’t be forced like that .. none of it.

    People need the freedom to pick their own paths and when they are oppressed in anyway they will turn to those that promise to free them from the oppressor. Turn to Taliban .. failure. The promise of the US freeing them from the Taliban .. failure and economic and infrastructure damages.

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