Remembering a Heartrending Tragedy

An Essay by Abdul Samad Amiri

The desolate place where fourteen Hazaras were murdered three years ago.

There is a place called Jar Nayak Badgah; along the Firozkoh-Dawlatyar Highway. Every time I reach this place, my body grows cold and my tears begin to fall. This is the place where three years ago, on Friday, 27th of Ramadan, a car full of passengers was stopped and, according to their identity cards, fourteen Hazara passengers including women, men and a child were separated from the passengers of other ethnic identities. One of the women was eight months pregnant.

Whenever I reach this place in Jar Nayak Badgah, I immediately envision these fourteen innocent passengers, whose lives were ended brutally and prematurely, for no wrongdoing, simply because they belonged to a particular ethnic group. I imagine that the passengers were eagerly awaiting the moment when they could see their families and loved ones, not knowing that their relatives would never get the chance to see them. I see the new bride and groom filled with hope and wanting to spend the first days of their married life and the Eid holidays in Band e Amir…. unaware that ignorant creatures believed they could go to Paradise by ending their innocent lives. I imagine the people waiting for the arrival of these passengers. Children waiting for their father’s visit and to receive his sweet love — the father who had been away from the family for many months to support and provide for them. I think of the mother longing to see her child after many months of his absence and a family who is waiting to welcome home their only breadwinner after he has lived a long distance away returning for the Eid days with his wages that will ease their suffering. And I imagine what kind of life the unborn child would have had and how excited and happy the new parents and grandparents would have been to welcome him or her to the world.

When I pass this point on the Firozkoh-Dawlatyar Highway, I feel overwhelmed with the sad, frustrating and devastating thoughts of this tragic event. Thoughts of the fourteen beautiful people traveling during a blessed time of year who succumbed to ruthless violence and torture. They were the most oppressed and most defenseless people of this country. Their fate echoed the suffering that has been endured throughout the history of Afghanistan. It is a suffering that embodies the history of darkness, horror and massacres in my mind. This tragedy and memories of these victims must never be forgotten. May their souls be happy and their memories remain alive forever.

About the Author: Abdul Samad Amiri has a BA in law and political science. He is a human rights activist and currently lives in Ghor province of Afghanistan. Tragically, Samad met the same end as the people he wrote about. He was murdered by the Taliban on 4-September 2019.

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart

Writing by Afghan writers. Editor/Publisher: Nancy Antle; Editor: Pamela Hart