The Pondering AmericanPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

An average American that has some thoughts on politics, culture, and society with a conservative and Catholic twist.

Location: Louisiana, United States
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Soldier fulfilling promise to deliver Afghani rug to president(Awesome Story)

I keep telling SallyV she needs to get a blog. We need a good blogger from where she is from. She sends me the most amazing stuff. First I am posting the entire article because I want to make sure it does not vanish into Internet ether. Firs,t really look at that Christian and Catholic symbolism that came fro Muslim hands. Not only the sacred heart, but look what Bush is wearing. It is quite something. Please spread this story around so this rug can get to the President. I have a feeling one day we will have the honor of seeing this in his future Presidential Library.
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MARION - Grayson Gile may have completed his broader mission in Afghanistan as a member of the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, but he returned stateside with a mission of a more personal nature.Gile's mission - one he chose to embrace - involves a very special rug handcrafted by an Afghan man anxious to show his gratitude to President George W. Bush for this country's efforts to bring democracy
The colorful and beautifully crafted rug was hand-knotted by an elderly Hazara man from Kabul. The Hazaras, believed to be descendants of Ghengis Khan, were one of the most persecuted ethnic minorities in the Middle Eastern country prior to the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance's war with the Taliban.The Taliban, Gile said, reserved their most ruthless wrath for the Hazaras."The Pashtuns (another ethnic group) would be kicked in the head, put in the dirt and the Taliban would be done with them," said Gile, 51, a member of the U.S. Army's 7th Special Forces Group. "But with the Hazaras, that was not enough. They would herd them into (steel containers) and leave them languishing in the desert sun until they died. Most of the Hazaras are alive today because of the Northern Alliance."Gile spent nine months in the country assisting the Northern Alliance."Basically, we broke the back of the Taliban's war-making capability in a viable mass. We worked with the Northern Alliance and supplied firepower and close air support," he said.While in the country, Gile got to know many of the natives. "We got to have quite a bit of interaction with the people of the host nation, probably more contact than most soldiers. It took time to establish a rapport with them, but once we established trust, we had friendships," he said.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."Gile said many in Afghanistan don't understand the concept of separation of church and state."It is hard for them to believe that our president is a secular leader because their leaders are usually religious leaders as well," he said.Gile said the man's efforts could have resulted in his death."The rug is dated October 2002, which was still a very dangerous time in the country. If discovered, he would most likely have been killed," Gile said.It is for that reason that Gile, the Pulaski County state's attorney, decided to oblige the rug merchant and bring the gift back for the president. He has enlisted the help of local Republican leaders to try and make the right connections with the White House for delivery."I think they were under the mistaken impression that I had all sorts of access to the president, but I told them I would do my best - that I would get it to him one way or another. What I don't want to happen however, is for it to go straight into a warehouse somewhere. It doesn't matter what your politics are, anyone who was genuine would appreciate the effort of one little man from Kabul spending a year of his life hand knotting this rug. I was told it was really a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Afghanistan for assisting in the stabilization of the region. It was a labor of love and is a gift from the heart." 927-5633


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:57 PM  

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