The last three days have been Eid-e Quorban, the Festival of the Sacrifice. For those of you who went to Sunday School, you’ll know that Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his first born son, Isaac, on the mountain (one of those bible stories I end up shaking my head at). At the last minute, as Abraham has sharpened up the knife and is preparing to slit his son’s throat, God intervenes, thanks Abraham for his devotion, and in gratitude, Abraham kills a nearby sheep instead. In the Islamic tradition, Abraham is told to kill Ishmael, but the rest of the story is pretty much the same.
So at this Eid, which remembers that event, lots of sheep and goats are killed, and the meat distributed to the poor in thanksgiving. Quite a nice tradition, unless you are one of the sheep, I guess.
For Muslims around here, it is a time to visit, share meals with each other, and judging by what I see on the streets, give beebee guns to your children. I wonder how much the incidence of eye injury rises during Eid…
Julie took the time to visit and hold a wee, premature baby that has been left at nearby Cure hospital. The young mother had twins, a boy and a girl, prematurely. The boy has been taken home; the girl left at the hospital. It desperately needs touch and love, and so a roster of expat mums has been there to hold and cuddle it. I don’t think it is the case that the mother is disinterested – she is young, it is a long way to travel every day, and she has the other child to care for. It is predictable though, that it was the girl child who was left. Hopefully, if she gains strength, she will rejoin her family when she can come out of the Intensive Care Unit.
I and the kids took the time to visit the old Ministry of Defence, further up Dar-ul Aman.
We have visited previously, but the military then took a dissuasive position with regards us going in. This time we were more lucky, and the lone guard was happy to let us poke around. It appeared to be thoroughly demined (it was certainly thoroughly graffiti-ed, and in many places, thoroughly used as a latrine), and it was also thoroughly destroyed.
Kabul used to be full of such buildings or remnants of buildings, there are fewer and fewer as they are bulldozed for the construction of new narco-palaces.
Walking through it with the kids was strange. It was moderately nerve-racking, wondering if there was still any UXO around; it was depressing – seeing the ruin and devastion of what had once been a beautiful and grand building; and it was a bit numbing. The Afghans I spoke too were ambivalent about the building: I don’t think they saw it romantically. It signifies loss and destruction for them, a sad time when the Mujahideen blew Kabul to bits. It is also simply a building, home now to some 30 refugee families.
Afterwards, we drove back to the hospital and shelled peanuts until Julie came.
(* all these images shot with the superlative Tokina 11-16 F2.8 lens, a fantastic wide angle lens, superior in construction, speed, performance and price than the Nikon equivalents – and I am normally a Nikon purist.)