Friday, July 02, 2010

A tiny item on the news yesterday.
Carnage in Lahore. It was brief, because Pakistan has stopped being a story.
Which I suspect indicates that what is happening there is of huge importance.
It turns out 2 suicide bombers had walked into a Sufi shrine and detonated bombs packed with ball bearings among a huge crowd.
42 people killed, maybe 200 wounded.
It was the Data Ganj Baksh shrine dedicated to a medieval Pashtun saint, Rahman Baba.
People gather on Thursday night to dance, and to pray, and to listen to devotional song.
Rahman Baba wrote poems of great beauty in which he asserts:

“I am not a Khalil, not a Daudzai, not a Momand of an Afghan
I am a lover and I concern myself incessantly with love”

And more profoundly, reflecting on the holiest Muslim shrine:

“Greater than building Abraham's Qaaba
Is it, to heal the wounded heart of another.”

He is part of a different Afghan identity that we in the west never hear about: one the Taliban, also, must profoundly hate.

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