Jan 21, 2008

The graveyard of miracles!

So much for winning the hearts and minds. Afghans are flocking to the graves (mass graves, actually) of the Arabs who died in American attacks in 2001. The thousands, who come from as far as Pakistan, believe that drinking from the salty water nearby will cure diseases. Here's a translation, by my good friend Hashmat, of the original story from the BBC's Persian services:

Thousands of Muslim Arabs moved into Afghanistan after Taliban consolidate their gains on the major city in the south of Afghanistan. Qandahar city was one of the most desired cities for the Arab families. However, After the events of 9/11 ,an the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan, many of these Arab families lost their lives in the American carpet bombings. On the road to Qandahar, and on the road to Spinbuldak, are Arab villages which have been raised to the ground by the American Carpet Bombings. Many of these Arab families have been killed and are now buried in Kandahar’s main cemetery. Over the past few years these graves have become a place of visiting for thousands of locals who believe that these people are saints. The American-backed government of Afghanistan has tried to stop the people from visiting these graves, but the news of the graves have spread throughout the south, and even as far as Pakistan. Men and women flock to these graves for special prayers.

1 comment:

Isseh said...

So much winning hearts and minds indeed, Abdurahman.

An interesting story. It somehow reminds of my childhood years in a small village in Kenya, where the locals had the ritual of congregating on the grave of a late Somali Sufi (whom they revered so much) killed by Askaris working for British colonialists when he opposed them.

The interesting thing was that newly-weds always visited his grave,slaughter a sheep and ask him to bless their matrimony. Of course that was before the advent of Ikhwaan ul Muslimiin; the days of wayfaring Sufis accompanied by boys carrying their 'Saalimoow' hangool (a well oiled walking stick from which Sufis claimed emanates healing power lol) . When I went back to re-visit this village after more than 15 years, the locals have abandoned this ritual and now shun the practice. Some change.

I think, in few years' time, the same may become of Kandahar's inhabitants.