Sunday, September 7, 2008

National Martyr's Day aka Massoud Day

Since I am 8.5 hours ahead of the US East coast, my quiet day references in the post below are actually for Monday, 8 September.

Although he actually died on 9 September 2001, today the Afghans are celebrating National Martyr's Day, or Massoud Day in honor of Ahmed Shah Massoud. That on top of it being Ramadan, or in Dari Ramazan, the streets were pretty quiet today. There was, however, a higher security presence in case the T-ban boys decide to cause trouble. They were never fans of Massoud.

احمد شاه مسعود
Ahmed Shah Massoud
2 September 1953 - 9 September 2001
Dari, like Arabic, reads right to left.

Ahmed Shah Massoud was one of the most successful mujehadeen commanders against the Soviet occupation. He was also the most pro-Western, anti-Pakistani, anti-Taliban and most respected Afghan leader. He is considered the National Hero. Many Pashtuns aren't fond of him, but then he was a Tajik.

Massoud's nickname is "Lion of the Panjshir" which is actually a Dari play on words. In Dari poetry, lions are emblematic of courage and nobility. Massoud was born in the Panjshir Valley. Panj is "five" in Dari. Shir is "lion." Panjshir then, is "Five Lions." Therefore his Dari nickname is "Shir-e-Panjshir" or "Lion of the Five Lions" making Massoud the greatest of the lions. The illustration then is that he is most noble, or most courageous.

In April 2001, during a speech at the EU Parliament, Massoud warned of the Taliban's ties with Al Qaeda. He also warned that a major terrorist attack in the West was imminent. It is believed that Al Qaeda was behind his assassination as a quid pro quo with the Taliban in preparation for the attacks of 9/11. In other words, by killing Massoud for the Taliban, Al Qaeda created a blood debt whereby the Taliban owed Al Qaeda protection.

Notice the shuttered shops.
Not for fear of the Taliban, but for Ramazan and Massoud Day.
But we can always use some balloons.

The normally busy corner bakery is quiet this morning.

This van's owner is a Massoud fan.
Massoud's image also adorns the lightposts.

Another deserted set of shops.
Notice the Massoud poster on the corner shop.


Terrie Farley Moran said...

Wonderful post.

I did not know about Massoud. Many blessings on his soul.

Stay Safe.


Charles Gramlich said...

I wonder how they will react if Obama gets elected. Or McCain?

Travis Erwin said...

Like Terrie I did n ow know any of this. Another very good, informative post.

Barbara Martin said...

Thanks for giving us this bit of history. New knowledge is a wonderful thing.

Reb said...

Thanks for such an informative post. It is sad that none of this is widely known though.

lyzzydee said...

I knew a little about Massoud, but I ama lot clearer now. Its great to have an insiders view.

preTzel said...

I've been thinking about you today JL and hoping you are safe. Beautiful words and I didn't know anything about this so thank you for the education. I am always happy to come here and learn new things.

Stay safe my friend.


J. L. Krueger said...

Thanks to all for stopping by again. Between Massoud day and the 9/11 aniversary we've been on a higher state of alert expecting some T-ban or Al Qaeda "celebrating."

One would have thought they'd pick up the action, but they didn't. It seems they are finding it more difficult to interfere with Kabul's festivities, or perhaps they found religion and are trying to behave during Ramazan.

As a certain BBC reporter likes to say, "Kabul was pounded by rockets Monday night." That translates: "two rockets that landed in open fields, no damage, no one injured." YAWN!


Gut feeling is that the Afghans trust McCain more than Obama. They were not all that impressed with Obama when he visited.

The Muse said...

Hi J.L!

I'm learning so much from your posts. I'm surprised the balloon guy was out on a day like that, especially with everything else shut up.

Do the schools shut down too? Like ours do on holidays, weekends, and summer vacations?

I hope you have a good weekend!

Take care.

J. L. Krueger said...

Hi Muse!

The schools did shut down for Massoud Day. They take breaks, the last one was for most of July. During Ramazan everything is a bit off-kilter. Things open later, people are more tired during the day (because they feast and party at night to make up for fasting during the day), and drivers have shorter tempers.

Vodka Mom said...

thank you. I look to you to keep me informed, and to educate....

be safe...........

Ello said...

That was fascinating. And sad. Politics even amongst the terrorists. sigh.

Be safe!

Azizullah said...

M,Muslim Karimi
From Panjshir,

Massoud Hopes.

"ما برای آزادی می رزمیم
زیرا زیستن در زیر چتر بردگی پست ترین نوع زنده گی است.
برای حیات مادی همه چیز را میتوان داشت آب نان و مسکن. ولی اگر آزادی ما برباد رفت اگر غرور ملی ما درهم شکسته شد واگر استقلال ما نابود گشت در آن صورت این زنده گی برما کوچکترین لذت نخواهم داشت"

احمد شاه مسعود