A poem for 6 Afghan girls …
Martin Bailes


What a great picture! Lovely girls with intelligent , challenging eyes obviously belonging to strong individuals with substance and potential.

Such a tragedy what has happened to the Afghan people in the past 50 years…

I have travelled through Afghanistan as a young girl in the 70s , before the whole downward spiral began … I only saw hospitality, tolerance and a great sense of humor. I have stayed in the country two months which was double the time my visa had allowed. Exiting the country east, to Pakistan, the Afghan border official wanted to send me back to Kabul to sort out my overstay. It was evening, I had travelled from Kabul with a bunch of French guys in a funny adapted Citroen bus. I really did not want the hassle of going back to Kabul alone as I had this great ride with the Frenchies straight from Kabul, over the border, to Peshawar. After pleading with him — without any good arguments for my breach, we had some chai and a smoke of nargilleh with him. Then he sent us off to sleep, keeping our passports. In the morning he returned the passports to the five French, slowly, one by one. Finally, he gave me back mine, keeping me in suspense . That sense of humor I am talking about. All the passports were properly stamped, including mine . He gave me a look I could not quite explain in my anxiety and said one single word to me in Farsi. I shall never forget it : “buru” — “Go”. And off I went on my merry way over the awesome Khyber Pass, the most dangerous mountain road I have travelled in my life, to Pakistan and later India… It was 1971.

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