The Rugmaker of Mazar-E-Sharif

Josh Walker – Newcomb Secondary College

“Conflict brings out the best as well as the worst in humanity”

To my dearest Rosal, my little brother,

It has been 21 years since I last saw your smiling face, and forever it is etched in my memory. So much has happened in the lives of our family and I since events occurred that are at such contrasting ends of the spectrum; our country now being almost entirely ruled by the Taliban, my near run ins with death, fleeing of our native Afghanistan, but yet my brother, I have found happiness also. My wife, Hakima and I now have a daughter, a beautiful young girl who resembles our mother, Maria. Rosal, een in death, you are still such a valued and loved member of our family; a loving son, a dearly loved brother, and now a highly-respected uncle. Forever in my mind and heart you are, Rosal, for I could never forget you or the night that rocked danced too close to our home.

Rosal, I now know that while you were still with us on His earth, our relationship was not the best. You brought out some of my worst qualities throughout our conflicts; I am forever remorseful for smashing the window at our home to reach at you in anger, although I must admit to you, conflict has made me do much worse. Not once did I ever lie to the Taliban, Rosal, but I fled our homeland and abandoned our family to ensure my time on God’s earth continues. For weeks I was bashed and beaten, having a cold wire whip against my back on a daily basis. I was nothing to the Taliban but just another Hazara man they believed to have been involved in war, but Rosal, that I was not. I was a Rugmaker, just like I was when I returned home on our last night together in this life.

My brother, although in death you are, I want you to know that you must not feel like the only one God judged harshly upon that night; Hasson was also killed in the blast. Abdul Ali and myself also had a harsh judgement bestowed upon us, we were both badly injured, I did not walk for months, but we both had to live with guilt and remorse in our hearts for the rest of our days on this earth. My guilt and remorse are to do with you, my brother. Although in life you caused me more grief tan any man thought possible, all my anger and resentment towards you had a strange effect on me; I love you more than I would have if everyday of our borrowed time together you had pleased me, for all my life I wanted to see you become responsible, a younger brother I could be proud of. That fact that this can now never occur causes me more grief than you did in all our years together.

My brother, as I write you this letter, I am situated in a desert far away from society in the land of Australia. There is a man in Canberra, the capital city in this broad and sparse land, who decides my fate. I can only hope he judges me kinder than God did all those years ago. This desert is so different to the deserts we know so well in Afghanistan, for in this desert I am not to hear the singing of a rocket in the night; the only singing I hear is that of crows through the darkest hours.

The conflict that has been bestowed upon our family and I since your departure has been so different, yet so similar, to the conflict that you experienced in your short time Rosal. It caused me to question my fate in our land of Afghanistan, a land where still, to this day, war succeeds war. The best and worst qualities of myself have been shown to God since your passing, Rosal. Throughout the weeks I was held captured by the Taliban, I witnessed Hazara men, men we had grown up alongside with such similar backgrounds to us, admit to crimes that they did not commit so as to welcome death prematurely. Rosal, my morals were kept intact. Not a single lie was ushered from my mouth, a quality of mine that know was forever stood by. On such a contrast, my brother, are the feelings of remorse, grief and guilt, but not in relation to you. From the moment I left our native Afghanistan, my soul has faced feelings I never anticipated it would. I am stricken with worry for our family. I am remorseful for my cowardish actions of fleeing. I am encountering so many inner conflicts my brother, but our family are now in the hands of God. Their fate is out of my control, much like my own.

Rosal, I hope that our paths meet again one day, for there is still so much left untold and still be to be said, but I must draw this letter a close prematurely, much like God did upon your short (but ever so amazing) time on Earth.

I love you more than I thought I ever could,

Najaf.

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Josh Walker is a year 12 student at Newcomb Secondary College