I was talking with some of the locals a few days ago, and they were telling me this incredible story. I thought I’d relate it here.
It was a really moving story about an Afghani named Anhahandy who was working in Kandahar as a prosperous businessman. He was successful, young and newly-married. His young wife was beautiful and together they were a nice looking couple. But you could tell that Ahnahandy was not a very warm person. He was strong, but very quiet – very reserved.
So it wasn’t incredibly surprising when it was discovered that Anhahandy’s wife was involved in an adulterous relationship with a flambouyant local cricket player. It was Anhahandy’s right, according to Afghani and Islamic law, to have her stoned to death for her indiscretions, but before a formal complaint could be lodged with the local police, she was found dead, and close by was the body of the lecherous cricket player.
While the magistrate knew that Anhahandy’s wife was guilty and would have been publically executed by legal decree, he wasn’t very happy that Anhahandy had gone ahead and taken the intiative to see justice done. The judge was also a little angry that the cricket player was dead because the upcoming match with Kabul United now looked like it would be a total loss. And he had money on that match.
Over the next two weeks, Anhahandy was put on trial and convicted for the murder of his wife and, more importantly, the cricket player (it turns out that many of the jurors had money on that match as well.) Anahandy was sent to prison in Kandahar for two life sentences, one for each of his victims.
It was in prison that Anhahandy met Rhedalim, another inmate who was also serving a life term. His infrequent parole hearings always resulted in a rejection. One reason was because parole was normally granted to those prisoners who could pay the parole board enough money to let them go. Rhedalim had no money and no influential friends to help him get out of prison. So he had started a cottage industry of getting forbidden goods into the prison. It was a tough business because most of what he could get was bootleg DVD’s, and the surprising lack of both DVD players and . . . electricity in the prison, turned his best bit of business into very shiny decorations for the prisoner’s cells.
But I digress.
Anhahandy and Rhedalim became close friends, and even the hardest criminals in the prison didn’t think that the two were gay, but just two normal guys who were best friends. While they did not casually abbrreviate “best friends” to BF’s for several prison-related reasons, they did just call the two “buddies.”
The best part of the story is when Anhahandy was pushed too far by the suffering in the prison. He started acting strangely and Rhedalim was very worried that his buddy would kill himself, or worse, would kill others. And those worries were compounded by the news that Azim, a new prisoner, had confessed to the brutal crime that Anhahandy had already spent years in prison paying for! Surely Allah had a plan, but Rhedalim could not see it.
The next morning, to everyone’s surprise, Anhahandy was not in his cell! His prayer rug that sported a large picture of Muhammed, was covering a hole in the floor that marked the entrance to the longest tunnel that had ever been dug in the long history of prison breaks in Kandahar. Also, despite the vigilance of the Afghan National Police guards, 500 of Anhahandy’s closest friends also escaped through the tunnel. It turned out that bootleg DVD’s were perfect digging tools. Rhedalim felt proud for the first time in his life.
That new pride led Rhedalim to first, forgive Anhahandy for not simply knocking on his cell door while escaping with 500 other inmates, and second, to finally sell something worth some money, namely marijuana, to the remaining 15 inmates, and save the money to get himself paroled. Following the clues of his friend, he travelled south, to the Iranian border, and started the long trek to the Persian Gulf, where he hoped to find Anhahandy.
And that is the story of The Kandahar Redemption.
I was moved.