My Cousin’s Story

It was during the Taliban regime. In that time, my cousin was a shopkeeper. He had a gold shop. His shop was in a four-story market in the old town. He was young, maybe around 18 or so, and my younger brother was working at his shop as an assistant. During that period, boys were not allowed to grow their hair long or shape it in a nice way. There was a special truck that would come and just take every one that had short and styled hair and a short beard. Every time that the Taliban arrived with their truck, everyone would escape and hide some place.

One day my cousin was on his way to his house and the Taliban arrested him because his hair was short. They took him to jail. The jail they took my cousin to was actually an old muddy room with a hole in its roof. There were around ten other people in that tiny room. Most of them were in there because they had short hair or short beards. When the Taliban arrested people and put them in jail, they kept them there for three days or until their hair or beard was long enough! My cousin decided he did not want to stay there. With the help of other men, he managed to escape from the hole of that room. When he was on the roof, he looked around. He ran and jumped down into the neighbor’s house. He ran to the door, opened it and started to run in the tiny block. As he was running, he saw two Talibs before him. One of them hit my cousin with his gun and the other one grabbed him by his patu (a big scarf that men wear.) But my cousin managed to run away.

My family and I were at my aunt’s house when my cousin arrived. As soon as he came in, we understood that something was wrong. He came and sat down. He was touching his head and we saw blood on his hand. My aunt and my mother both asked him what happened. They became very worried. He told us the story. When he rolled up his sleeves, his hands were all scratched and there were cuts on his hands. His head was cut too. He had pain in his arms. Those cuts were burning.

“Now that I think about the jump that I did and about my escape, I can’t believe how I managed to do that,” my cousin said. My aunt and my mother argued with him why he had done such dangerous thing, and what those Talibs would have done if they had arrested him.

By Fattema


5 responses to “My Cousin’s Story

  1. What an intriguing piece. The simplicity of the writing amplifies just how bizarre the Taliban is–that they would imprison someone for the length of his hair.

  2. Congratulations on conveying with clarity a very upsetting situation.

  3. Fatteema,

    This prose is so straightforward and elegant; you exercise great discipline by refusing to explain — you’ve let the story itself show us about life under the Taliban. I find only sentence here that “tells” instead of “shows” (“They became very worried.”). The apparent simplicity of your writing style gives it great power. Keep giving us your stories!

  4. I felt as if I was there watching these events unfold. That’s a sign of clear, vivid writing! Nicely done.

  5. Thank you for your nice comments dear teachers. It really helps me/us to improve my/our writing skills and learn how to write better…

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