Friday, July 01, 2011

July 2011 Travel Photo: Pashtun Graveyard

Photo by Catholicgauze


Musakhel
, Moses Village, lies on a contested border between various Pashtun tribes.  The village's location in a valley has made it a contested space between tribes, 1980s rebels, Communists, Taliban, and Coalition Forces.  Afghan National Police and Army do not even try to come here.  Over the years many battles have been fought and the dead fighters are laid to rest next to the deceased villagers.

Normal graves are marked with rocks but nothing notes the name of those buried below.  The graves of martyrs have flags waving from them representing Islam (green), martyrdom (black), and the Taliban (blue stripes on a white background).  Village elders' graves have small stone enclosures but no names are listed.

Grave sites has become a contentious issue between the native Taliban who are Deobandi Sunni Muslims and foreign fighters who are mostly Wahhabi Sunni Muslims.  The Deobandis combine many folk practices such as worshipping at grave sites, praying for the dead's intercessions as if they were saints, and even believing the sites themselves contain God-given magic powers.  The Wahhabis believe these practices are paganism in disguise and will attempt to "correct" Deobandi "errors" by destroying grave sites.  While Wahhabis believe their version of Islam is the purest because it came from the purest Arab tribes, Afghan Deobandis believe their version of Islam is the purest because non-Muslim forces have never conquered Afghan Muslims.  Many a Wahabbi has met a horrible end by Deobandis who hate outsiders attempting to correct their interpretation of Islam.  

1 comment:

Dan tdaxp said...

Fascinating, moving, and insightful. Excellent and thought-provoking post.