Good News from Afghanistan

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Jul 18, 2006 4:12 PM
This is a beautiful story, which probably won't make the NYT or other national media:

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....

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.