Amayun The Talib-Killer; Eshak The Lawyer.
That is the grisly ending of a long and stirring story 34-year-old Amayun tells about how the Taliban came to his village on the Shomali Plains, how they killed all the cattle, burned the vineyards, drove the people away and enslaved the few that were allowed to remain. Its final chapter recounts the last battle Amayun and his comrades waged against the Taliban here. He reckons 27 Talibs died that day. The AK47 Amayun used to dispatch that last Talib - Amayun killed many Taliban, he is proud to point out - had belonged to his friend and fellow partisan commander, Gullalla. The Taliban had killed Gullalla just as mercilessly and efficiently. "It is how you have to fight them," he said.
Amayun said he can't understand why it is that after so many years, tens of thousands of the best-equipped and best-trained American, British, Canadian and Dutch soldiers still haven't been able to crush the Taliban in Afghanistan's southern provinces. "Nobody here can understand. I have no idea. Maybe it is because the Taliban have close ties in Kabul, with the Karzai government."
Meanwhile, in Kabul, Mohammed Ishaq Faizi fights in the same long war, on a wholly different front, with entirely different weapons. From my essay in today's Calgary Herald:
The conflict that shapes Faizi's life and work isn't between an enlightened western civil rights tradition and an obscurantist Muslim religious canon. It's between the West's occluded vision of what Afghanistan's sharia laws will necessarily and always entail, and a deeply-entrenched Afghan misapprehension that human rights are merely a foreign, western innovation.
The result sometimes erupts in international headlines. Most often, it involves innocent people getting locked away in jail in perversions of justice nobody ever hears about.
"But there does not have to be some fight between sharia and international human rights law," Faizi insists. "Human rights are not brought only from western law. . ."