Award WinningKahel KaschmiriPoems

My last summer in Afghanistan

Kahel Kaschmiri

Ghazni, Afghanistan


…was hot, the rays of the sun burned, so much
that i could barely work.
But is it possible not to work?
Not working means to go hungry and live on the street.
Where would my family and I have found shelter?
I sprinkled water on my face, put on a thin white shirt, and went to the bazaar to attend to the customers at the shop.

In Berlin, on the other hand, I didn’t even notice the summer. It was almost always cold. Only a few days were hot. And on those days, everyone walked in the streets naked. Or lay in the parks. Or went swimming. And I was astonished - how could it be that they nakedly walked in the streets or lay in the park and still found something to eat in the evening?

But the summer in Afghanistan was not only hot.
It hurt. There was the suffering of my mother. The poverty and desperation of my father. The hopelessness of my sister, forced to shield herself from greedy stares by covering herself from head to toe to. In the end, she was married off, although she is younger than me. And now she already has a son. I ask myself, is that her son - or is it her doll?

During my last summer in Afghanistan, an armed motorcyclist shot a policeman on my way to work. He fled. This policeman had just been married. It was the beginning of his life. All he wanted was to do his job and earn money.
He died within one second.
By the time the police came, he had already parted from this world.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

I loved riding my motorcycle, roaming around and speeding up.The air was blowing in my face and the sun was shining and I opened the throttle. I was only thinking of Ghazni’s beautiful nature as I accelerated.
Suddenly, a car overtook me. It was driving slowly. The driver gave me a sign. Stop!
I was afraid. I stepped on the gas and and fled. I called my cousin: I shouted: “Open the gate, there are people following me. They want to kidnap me.”
It was the ones who are after pretty boys.
At incredible speed, I flew in his direction, to his house. He opened the gate and I burst in. I took a deep breath and thanked god.

Do you want me to tell you more about my last summer in Afghanistan?

After a year away from home, I was relieved to finally have a place to stay, a room just for me. Four walls to myself, as well as a key for a door, which I could dispose of as I wished.
I sighed, opened the door, and fell asleep from exhaustion.
My eyes were not quite closed yet when a door opened and I felt the heavy presence of someone. I kept my eyes closed, the blanket over my face.
Suddenly I felt the heaviness of his body on my body, and I broke out in a sweat. I began to shiver.
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.
I heard this being say: What are you doing here and why did you come here?
I began to scream, so loudly that I woke up from my own screams.

He was gone and I asked myself, who might it have been?

 

Michael Krasnov answered to this Text with »My last Summer in Berlin«.
Translation from German: Hanna Baumann
Foro © Rottkay

Kahel Kaschmiri (15)

Kahel lived in Ghazni, Afghanistan. A Taliban commander was after him. Kahel fled his country, via Iran, in the trunk of a smuggler’s car. In Germany, he is confused by the lives of Europeans. Photo © Rottkay