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A gift from a grateful Afghani

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2006

Lt. Col. Grayson Gile completed a tour in Afghanistan recently. Now that he’s back in Illinois, however, he still has one more mission to complete — delivering a special gift from a grateful elderly Afghani to President Bush. Thanks to The Anchoress for pointing out this wonderful, heartwarming, feel-good story in The Southern Illinoisan — you just know it’ll never be covered in the MSM:

One of those friendships involved a Kabul rug merchant who pulled Gile aside before he left the country. The merchant told Gile the story of an elderly man, so overwhelmed with gratitude to the United States for its intervention in the conflict that he made a gift for President Bush – a gift that was a year in the making and made, given the conditions of the country, under penalty of death.

Gile was astonished when he saw the hand-knotted rug, a portrait of Bush, filled with Christian and Catholic symbolism. Filling the center of the rug is an incredible likeness of Bush, dressed in religious vestments, standing at a podium decorated with the official seal of the country and flanked by two waving American flags.

Directly above Bush is Jesus with a sacred heart and stigmata carefully knotted into the rug’s pattern. The rug also shows cherubs and, apparently in an homage to both Bush and a fallen Northern Alliance leader, two lions.

"(Ahmed Shah) Masood was often called ‘the Lion of Panjshir.’ As one of the country’s military leaders, he put some very, very heavy licks to the Soviets and then turned around and delivered the same to the Taliban," Gile said. "He was assassinated two days before 9/11."

One corner of the rug reads, "President George W. Bush," while the opposing corner has the words, "Number one champion."

Gile said he was impressed by the man’s efforts.

"For this man to sequester himself away for a year to hand knot this rug speaks highly of his gratitude," he said. "And for an extraordinarily devout Muslim to have taken very strong Christian and Catholic symbology and incorporate them into the rug is amazing. He may come from a different religious culture, but he was respectful enough to do that, and that is very interesting and humbling."

Here’s Lt. Col. Gile showing off the Afghani rug (photo by Steve Jahnke / The Southern):

Afghani rug honoring Bush

As The Anchoress said:

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Someday, when the current fever of hate and the trend to mendacity has faded…in a saner world…right-thinking people will look back and realize that this president – THIS president – has not been an evil, moronic, malevolent and war-mongering dictator but one of the greatest humanitarian presidents in the history of our nation. It may not happen in Bush’s lifetime, but Dr. Martin Luther King said, "a lie can’t last."

This is one of those stories that so marvellously illustrates the decency, goodness, and humanity of which people are capable — and the empathy that one human being of good will can feel toward another, no matter how different they are — it just stirs me to the quick.

I remember hearing about Ahmed Masood from the late David Segal of Denver, a former IDF officer whose knowledge of military history, the Middle East, and Afghanistan never ceased to amaze me, and whom I thought about — and mourned — just the other day when the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began.

Segal, too, admired Masood and thought that his assassination was a real shame for the future of Afghanistan — and he believed it was no coincidence that Masood was eliminated just before al Qaeda struck us.

Given some of the negative news from Afghanistan lately, it cheers me to hear that there are Afghanis who still admire and honor Masood. And Bush.

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One Response to “A gift from a grateful Afghani”

  1. Anonymous said

    Thanks for remembering David. Cool blog!

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