Friday, October 27, 2006

My Hero, Part II

Last month I wrote about my hero at the KMTC. I only got part of the story. I asked him to tell Merrill about it as I wanted to hear it again. This time I got more details of his life story and it only solidified his “hero” status with me.

I won’t be able to tell it in a chronological narrative as it was told to us in a somewhat disjointed manner but you’ll get the necessary details. The thing that still amazes me about him is the positive attitude he has. He always has a smile on his face. He always makes me feel better inside after we meet with him. I can feel a genuine kinship with him. He is one of the men here that I wish I could share the gospel with. Instead we talk about the similarities in our beliefs; the five great Muslim prophets, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus Christ and Mohammad, feelings on family, abstinence of alcohol, honesty and integrity as well as love of country. I hope that through our influence and example he will one day be ready to listen to the gospel; either in this life or the next.

So on with his story. As I said before, he was taken prisoner by the Russians. Well before that happened, there were a series of events in his small village that prompted his imprisonment. He was in the Army at the time but was not very outspoken about politics until this event took place. The Russians were in his village on some kind of search or rampage. Eight women hid in a wood storage shed. The Russians discovered them inside and instead of letting them go, they burned them alive inside the shed. A shrine was subsequently built in their honor and is still there. When he saw the barbaric nature of the Russians, he knew he could no longer stand by as a mute witness. He began to speak out against the Russians and their invasion.

At about this same time he had an 11-year old daughter. I don’t know if it was before or after his imprisonment but his daughter was captured by the Russians. They covered her with oil and burned her to death. Of course as he told this story he got very emotional. He said that if she were still alive, she’d be approximately 29 years old, married with children. I sat there with my mouth open. What a story.

He then told us of his imprisonment and the beatings and torture he would go through. He told us of how he received the injury to his finger. He said that he was being electrocuted; he had wires attached to his hands and feet. He said that he passed out from the pain. In order to wake him up, the Russian officer who had a steel plate on the heel of his boot, stomped on his finger, spun around ripping the fingernail off his finger and creating the scar tissue that you can still feel to this day. He said that the pain of losing his fingernail in that manner woke him up.

He said that while he was imprisoned, they would take them out onto a field or playground to take care of their bodily functions. He said that one day he saw something that made him realize that the pain he was suffering was nothing. He said that one day he looked down on the ground and saw a mustache attached to a lip that was no longer attached to a face. Yes, this man’s lip had been cut from his face and left there in a sewage heap. He said after that, the pain he had been enduring was suddenly bearable.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t want to believe it but I feel like he was telling us the truth.

I asked him if after all the things the Russians had done to him and his family, did he join the Mujahadim and fight against the Russians. He emphatically said, “No” stating that they were worse than the Russians. We were running out of time so didn’t get a lot of stories about that period of Afghan history. I didn’t even bring up what it was like under the Taliban but will one day ask. I only hope there are no more horror stories in his past.

He talks about death in such a non-chalant manner. He says that he will welcome it when it comes. I wanted to talk with him about the fact that he would get to see his daughter again some day but wasn’t able to get to that point in the conversation due to time. We did tell him though, that he still had a work to do on earth. That it was going to take men like him to turn this country around, and I believe it. If only there were men like him in power, this country would be so much better.

The thing that is so remarkable about his life is that despite the atrocities that he has suffered, he is still in the military, still works with the government but most importantly is not a bitter, angry man. I think I would be after having endured all he has. But like I said in the beginning, he has such a sweet, cheerful spirit about him. He is truly a remarkable human being and I pray for him and his family on a regular basis.

So you can see why he is one of my hero’s.

Do your own problems suddenly seem not so huge or insurmountable? I hope so.

I was going to post his picutre here but didn't for two reasons. First, blogger is giving me problems uploading pictures and second I dont' want to publish his picture for fear one of the bad guys may discover my page, see his picture and do something really bad to him.

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