July 18, 2006

A Gift for Mr. Bush

afghnarugforbush.jpgA man who was persecuted under Taliban rule in Afghanistan sends the fruit of his labor as a gift to President Bush. The gift is a thank you for helping to liberate him from that intolerant Islamic regime. Under the Taliban harassment and murder of the Hazara was a popular pass time.

The Southern Illiniosan: MARION(IL) - 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 to Afghanistan.

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.

Hat Tip: The Anchoress

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."

By Howie at 09:53 AM | Comments |