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Gaisu was 14 years old.  Her virtue was sacrificed.  “I didn’t want to get pregnant. I knew I wouldn’t finish school”

Gaisu was 14 years old. Her virtue was sacrificed. “I didn’t want to get pregnant. I knew I wouldn’t finish school”

The fate of the rebels from Afghanistan shows that the fight for women’s rights in this country (and not only) never ends. However, they also teach that female solidarity can work wonders, and once gained freedom gives strength to resist another enslavement. – I fight at home, I fight at work, I fight with society – admits one of the protagonists of Ludwika Włodek’s book. – It takes a lot of energy. I am barely 30 years old and I already have gray hair. Besides, I also had to fight for my hair. When I cut it to my ear, my father wanted to throw me out of the house. He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t make me wear long ones. When I got my first salary, I heard from him that he would prefer my brother to earn so much. But I didn’t give up. This fight makes me strong. Nobody’s gonna stop me.

Below we present a pre-premiere fragment of the book “Rebels from Afghanistan”, which will be published on March 23 by the WAB Publishing House

Ludwika Włodek, “Rebels from Afghanistan” – excerpt from the book

Jori’s family waited a long time for Abdul Samad’s return. It was obvious to everyone that Boszi Habib was behind his kidnapping. Gaisu’s grandfather, Shirchan, was old now. In Koloje Rais Abdullo Chan there was no man in the prime of life, enjoying the authority, whose presence on the property would guarantee safety.

Therefore, one of the Jamile brothers moved to the castle for a while. It was he who made Boshim Habib promise to bring Abdul Samad home. Boshi Habib never directly admitted his abduction, but agreed to go get him.

As the day of Boszi Habib’s scheduled return with Abdul Samad to Sange Moshe approached, a welcome reception was being prepared at the castle. Even the rest of the siblings of Jamile from Karaboghu came, her sisters helped with the preparations.

Even so, Abdul Samad never returned. Gaisu suspects that Boshi Habib’s things are a bit out of control. Only years later, the most probable course of events was reconstructed from rumors and heard stories. Boshi Habib ordered Abdul Samad to be kidnapped and taken to Pakistan. Perhaps he didn’t want to kill him at all, but scare him. But Abdul Samad was diabetic. Not only had he not eaten for several days because of the kidnapping, but he had not taken any medications yet. He died within a week at the place where he was held, in the village of Chaman, near Spin Boldak, on the road from Afghanistan to Queta.

A little over a year after Abdul Samad’s disappearance, Afghanistan’s political system changed. After the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, the Americans invaded the country ruled by the Taliban, which in recent years has become a place of refuge for the perpetrators of the attacks, i.e. the leaders of Al-Qaeda. This terrorist organization was founded by the followers of the idea of ​​the world jihad, who in the 1980s came to Pakistani Peshawar to help Afghan modjoheds in the fight against the Soviets. When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in 1996, this jihadist international found a safe base there for further activities.

In late 2001, a coalition of Western troops assembled by the Americans overthrew the Taliban, and power in Kabul was taken over by a government led by Hamid Karzai. The Taliban was not completely destroyed, but pushed into the provinces for guerrilla operations. They had the greatest influence in the southern regions of Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan. Ghazni were also present in some, especially Pashtun, districts, but many of their former allies, such as Boshi Habib, turned over to the Americans. Mainly because they seemed to be a more forward-looking ally at the time: stronger, richer and better organized than the licking wounds of the US Taliban invasion.

After Abdul Samad was kidnapped, Bosi Habib’s friendship with Shirchan ended. For nearly three years he did not come to the castle. When, despite the announcement, he did not bring his father home, Gaisu told him that she did not want to marry his son. Faridun did the same, he also stated that he did not want to marry the daughter of the man responsible for his father’s death. Even so, the engagement was not broken, it was just that the mutual contacts between the two families cooled down.

At that time, Parasto lived once in Sange Moshe, once in Karabogh, and finally, in 2003, she married Hamid and went with him to Kabul. Thus, she was irretrievably lost for Bosh Habib, as was Firuze, who did not return with Parasto from Queta to Afghanistan, but moved with her mother to Islamabad, and after 2001 she left with her to the USA.

Boszi Habib had to be consistent in order not to lose the chance to take over some of the influence and land property of the Jori family. In late 2003, he decided to beg Shirchan to stop being angry with him. The old familiarity never returned, but everyone hoped that easing relations with the former commander, and then a military man of the Afghan National Army fighting alongside the Americans against the Taliban, would allow Abdul Samad to be brought home. Back then, his relatives were under the illusion that he was alive.

“The children are grown up, let’s finally give them a nikah,” he offered Shirkhan Bosi Habib, and he was given permission.

Gaisu was 14 years old. Her virtue, because the nikah is a Muslim engagement or wedding ceremony, depending on the context, was sacrificed. At stake was to restore her father to the family. It happened for nothing, as it turned out later, because he had probably been dead for a long time.

All four newly married teenagers did not change their place of residence. This was postponed when they grew up, but from then on Hajotullah, and his father along with him, became frequent visitors again at Koloje Rais Abdullo Khan. It was clear to everyone that from now on, Hajotullah had the right not only to talk to and be with Gaisu, but also to sleep with her.

– He tried to touch me a few times. I felt that I should let him do it because I was convinced I was his property, but at the same time I was terribly afraid of sex. I didn’t want to get pregnant. I knew that if this happened, I would not be able to finish school. I threatened to jump off one of our castle towers if it breaks my resistance.

Gaisu was the first student in the class, she cared about education. Hajotullah promised her that she would be able to finish school and that he would not touch her until she passed her final exams. Even though he regularly came to the castle and sometimes stayed overnight, he slept with her in a separate room on the same bed, they never had sex. It was their secret anyway, everyone was convinced otherwise.

Gaisu even liked Hajotullah. Their relationship, unlike her brother’s relationship with Boshie Habib’s daughter, who believed that she should not be married to a boy who had lost his father through her own fault, seemed quite compatible. Hajotullah, like his father, became a soldier, he often traveled to other districts, where fighting against the Taliban was still going on.

The first disagreements between them arose when Gaisu began working in radio a year after nikah in 2004. At first, she had no intention of doing so at all. It was a local radio, operating thanks to the support of foreign donors. In the afternoons, it broadcast a popular program, which consisted in the fact that the listeners on the air talk to the leader, asking him to play a specific song.

Gaisu, accustomed to the BBC Persian listened to at her home, was amazed that there were no female voices on that local radio. She wrote for her favorite show asking why there aren’t any female hosts. The letter was read on the air, and an invitation was sent over the air for her to report to work.

She didn’t hesitate for a moment. She was also not disturbed by Hajotullah’s objection. He expressed his dissatisfaction, but he couldn’t stop her because he was not in Sange Moshe. The radio people sent her to Kabul for a two-week training session and then gave her their own program.

Gaisu went to the radio station for several hours after school. The work drew her in very quickly, and she turned out to be made for it. She was involved in the life of the local community before. Together with a friend from school, Marzije, they organized meetings for residents, competitions and festivals at the mosque. Now, thanks to the radio, Gaisu had the opportunity to reach an even wider audience. In her programs, she talked about important characters. This is how she came into contact, for example, with the story of Forugh Farrochzod, a Persian poet who became her favorite heroine forever. She also ran a broadcast about how to build healthy relationships in family life. A very ambitious task for a teenager, but she did it brilliantly. She was fluent, confident and eloquent. In addition, she laughed often and was able to amuse the audience. She had all the qualities expected of charismatic radio broadcasters.

Gaisu’s most faithful listener was her mother, Dżamile. She hadn’t missed any program, the kitchen radio had always been set to the right frequency, so that as soon as the right hour struck, she would turn on the Gaisu broadcast. She has told her many times that she is proud of her, that she can speak so beautifully, to so many people that she supports her in what she does, and listens to her every word, wondering that she is her own daughter.

Gaisu quickly became known throughout the area. However, not everyone liked what he said on the air. First, she got a letter from the Taliban. They instructed her that her behavior on the radio was not befitting a young woman. Shortly thereafter, the Council of Ulema, or Muslim scholars from Joghuri, wrote to Gaisu, worried that its broadcasts were leading local girls to the wrong path. It also turned out that the imam of the largest mosque in Sange Moshe, funded by Iranians, drew attention to her. The mosque was right next to the radio headquarters, and Gaisu was the heroine, negative of course, of almost all Friday sermons there.

But she didn’t bother with it. At that time, the morals and the American-defeated Taliban were not yet as powerful as they were a few years later. And Gaisu not only came from a local, very respected family, but also had the genuine sympathy of the majority of the inhabitants on her side, many of them were her listeners.

Gaisu began to learn English after school. In class, she met a boy of her age. It sparked quickly between them. They started writing letters to each other and then even visiting each other.

For her, this state of infatuation was a shock. Until now, the only man she was close to was Hajotullah. She liked him, but she wasn’t in love with him. Now she suddenly realized that dealing with someone could be so emotional. For the first time, she experienced soft knees, butterflies in her stomach, and unlimited joy at the very thought of seeing someone again.

This, of course, affected her relationship with her fiancé. When he reappeared with Sange Moshe after a while and tried to dissuade her from working on the radio, she laughed in his face and then avoided him.

– Right after school I went to English or to the radio. Later, if my mother managed to tell me that Hajotullah was there and he asked about me, I didn’t come home, I just went to my friend’s for the night. When he was not in town, I used to invite my friends from the radio and English to my house. We played cards, watched TV. I didn’t think that one day I would have to stop it all, move in with my husband and start a family, Gaisu told me.

Ludwika Włodek – Rebels from Afghanistan mat. ferry. (WAB Publishing House)


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