Posted: April 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
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There is a film named Stardust that I have watched a few times – a modern day fairy tale with a couple of big names in it, a few laughs and a feel good ending. In this film there is an old man that has the job of guarding a portal into another land, a ‘gate keeper’ of sorts I guess. If you’ve seen the film you will know the character that I am talking about. You get the impression that he has been there forever, sat by that portal on his little stool, proudly controlling who comes and goes from this world to the other and visa verse and even if the portal were to close he would probably carry on turning up every day just to sit there and watch the world go by.

There is an Afghan who for some reason reminds me of this character. Every-time that I take my client on a task to the local Police Commanders family compound he is sat there at the entrance of the place sat on a small wooden stool wearing his tatty undersized Police uniform with his rusty rifle leaning up against the wall. More often than not he has a glass of chai placed on the ground beside him and a cigarette in hand. Whenever we see him he is full of smiles and always shakes our hands warmly while saying hello to us and asking if we are well and how are our families in his own language. He is old for someone from this country and his eyes, which are a startling blue, although kind are the eyes of someone who has had a long and hard life. He always struggles to stand up and move to the gate to open it but is quick to give you a warning look if you move to do it yourself. Probably he shouldn’t be doing this job anymore and should instead be sat at home with his family taking care of him while his grandchildren sit around listening as he tells them stories from his youth. He is a proud man though and even if the Police Commander did tell him that he didn’t have a job anymore he would probably turn up every morning anyway to sit on his stool, watch the world go by and wait for someone to come along that he can open the gate for. When we leave he always give us a cheerful wave before settling himself back down and carrying on with his glass of chai.

The three suicide bombers were dropped of 50 metres down the road from him. They were all dressed as local police men and even though he wouldn’t of recognised them he would not have been suspicious as there were always officers that he didn’t know coming and going for meetings with the commander. All three of them were armed with automatic weapons which is the norm for over here in the security forces. As they got closer to him no doubt he would of been getting up to say hello to them and readying himself to open the gate. One of them tossed a grenade at him before diving into cover with the other two. As soon as the blast went off they were moving. As all three moved up to the gate one of them emptied the best part of a magazine into him just to make sure that he was definitely not going to get up and open the door for them. As soon as that was done they opened the gate themselves and moved on into the Police Commanders family compound to finish what they had gone there to do.

The fairy tale was over.


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