Afghanistan, land of poetry

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Extract from an article in memory of the “Lion of Panjshir”

From an early age, Massoud loved poetry. After all, Afghanistan is the land of poetry and mysticism. He listened to a young Masood Khalili recite poems on Radio Afghanistan; the two eventually established a lifelong friendship. Khalili became Ambassador of Afghanistan to Spain, while Massoud entered the military arena. Poetry, however, was always present in Massoud’s life; he usually kept at least one book of poetry with him at all times and he read poems to his soldiers.

Keeping a poetry book “anytime” to “read poems to your soldiers …” is a line straight out of the Civil War.

Although, since he is said to be a student of the American Revolution, I wonder if he carried the poetry of Phillis Wheatley who wrote these deep thoughts in 1772:

No more, America, in gloomy tension,
Wrongs and unrepaired grievances complain;
You will no longer fear the iron chain
What shameless tyranny, with a lawless hand,
Had done, and with it meant enslave the earth.

She was obviously ahead of her time and a true revolutionary hero, whom no one in America ever hears about.

At the height of her writing career, she wrote a well-received poem praising George Washington’s appointment as Commander of the Continental Army. However, she believed that slavery was the problem that kept the settlers from achieving true heroism.

And yet, despite his hopes and optimism for a better outcome, the US dollar bill honors a man who fought to preserve and expand slavery. Food for thought when contemplating the importance of poets in the revolutionary era.


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