Photo: isafmedia / flickr
Have you ever wanted to see the softer side of the Taliban?Neither have most people. Still, the recent publication of “Poetry of the Taliban,” an anthology of poetry by the theocratic militia in Afghanistan gives readers the opportunity to dabble in the verse of the fighters.
The work was compiled by two writers who had been covering Afghanistan an observed the huge resurgence of poetry as a creative pursuit and propaganda tool.
The anthology contains romantic verse, satire, battle poetry and at least one use of stoning as a metaphor.
Here’s one poem excerpted in the L.A. Times:
I stoned him with the stones of light tears then I hung my sorrow on the gallows. … It might have been the wine of your memory that made my heart drunk five times.Reviews of the work are mixed, with some saying it has an uneven tone, that it is all but veiled propaganda, or that it is an interesting case study in battle literature.
Here’s another poem from the work:
I know the black, black mountainsMy home is the mountain; my village is the mountain …I know the black ditches …I know the hot trenches.The editors are aware that some people will find the work offensive. Retired colonel Richard Kemp told the Guardian that “what we need to remember is that these are fascist, murdering thugs.”
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