“There is so much to say, my son! The Taliban are the same barbaric group as in the past. The Taliban are enemies of us and you. They’re the enemies of Hazara people,” the mother said, with a heart full of grief.
It was a frigid, overcast day. The harshest day in the winter of 2021 The winter wind, more merciless than the suicide dead, with the whip of death in hand—which was picked up from the religious dead of the Sharia—hit the body and soul of every innocent person. It was so eager to whip so it could please the monster of death.
The day before, when my friend Reza called, the icy needle of cold penetrated my body and soul more than the previous days.
“Let’s go to Koch-e-Dasha, if you can,” Reza said, his voice shaking. “We have to help a needy family. Or they will die of hunger.”
One of Reza’s relatives had sent some money from the States to aid that family, a mother of five children.
I left home at 7 a.m. I took my route not through the streets but through the old back alleys. The face of the sky, just like the heads and faces of the Taliban militiamen, was hairy. A thick, dark cloud covered the face of the sad sky with wild beards and ratty hair. The mud of the tired ground had become wild, and with every single step of mine, it showed claws and teeth.
An elderly mother opened the door as Reza knocked on the wooden door of the house. It was a muddy house. Old and tired from the grief of life.
“Aunt Fatima is a distant relative of mine,” Reza had told me on the way to the mother’s home. “Of course, there are so many families in need, but this family is the neediest.”
The mother guided me and Reza to a small room, where the door and its windows were trembling badly like the frozen willow leaves in the yard from the whipping wind. The room was so cold that it could not make peace with the stove. I said to myself, I curse the burning bones of the wicked winter against the warm, sunny days of the summer we had back then.
Ms. Fatima welcomed us with hot water, not tea. And I took a sip as soon as I could, for I was trembling deep in my bones.
Reza greeted Aunt Fatima briefly. On the way, Reza had told me that Ms. Fatima had four daughters and one son, the oldest of whom was a seventeen-year-old girl.
“God bless you, Reza jan,” Aunt Fatima croaked, trying to smile thinly. “May God give you a long life. And also, please say my thank you to Mr. Sulaimani.”
For a moment, Aunt Fatima, staring at the withered flower on the faded carpet, fell silent. A lump shot up in her throat, and her eyes teared up. The merciless cold of the room was choking her throat and her heart.
I couldn’t witness that tragic scene anymore. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I told myself, The God who is lurking behind the sky, if he would get zealous and descend to this forgotten land right now, God—meaning himself—knows how many diapers he would bring with him to warm his reckless ass. The question is: Where the f**k is that zeal? That honour and pride!
After a while, the mother, with trembling hands, continued, “They didn’t do anything. We went to the police district many times. We gave all the information about Mortaza’s dad we had. But what should we do when they don’t want to look for him?”
Reza also told me that Aunt Fatima’s husband had left home a year ago and never came back.
The mother, who was being ruined by the desperateness and hopelessness, asked Reza, “Reza jan, don’t you know anyone? Do you know anyone from the Taliban who could help us?”
“No, unfortunately,” whispered Reza with a tight throat. “You mean the Taliban did not find any kind of clue?”
“No. Trust me,” the mother replied, with a trembling and worried voice, full of pain and sadness. “They did nothing. I swear to God, we even begged them to do something. May God eliminate these savages! One day my brother talked a little too loudly, and Talib slapped him hard on the face. Then he said something, Dagha, Bagha (blah blah),” that I didn’t understand. There is so much to say, my son! The Taliban are the same savage group as in the past. The Taliban are enemies of us and you. They’re the enemies of Hazara people,” the elderly mother said, with a heart full of grief.