Did you know that there’s a new book that intends to show the “softer side of the Taliban?” The literary work, entitled, “Poetry of the Taliban,” is apparently an anthology that includes selections from radical Islamist fighters in Afghanistan.
The extremely controversial book was assembled by European researchers Felix Kuehn and Alex Strick van Linschoten. While critics are dismissing these men and claiming that they have put together a work composed primarily of propaganda, the two, based in Kandahar, Afghanistan, are defending their work. Here’s more, based on an account from the Los Angeles Times (via Stars and Stripes):
But they say the poems help illuminate a much-documented yet little-understood insurgency.
“For some people, it’s going to be offensive, yes – maybe very offensive,” said co-editor Felix Kuehn, who with his collaborator, Alex Strick van Linschoten, has published a number of academic works on the Taliban. “But we think it’s a way to see how they see the world.”
The book, which was published in Britain this year and will be released in the United States this month by Columbia University Press, came about almost by accident.
For years, as the two researchers scoured Pashto-language websites, gathered oral histories and painstakingly cultivated intermediaries with ties to the Taliban, they began running across scraps of poetry, scattered haphazardly among the group’s strident communiques and lengthy policy statements.
So, what do these poems say, you ask? Here’s one of the selections:
“I stoned him with the stones of light tears / then I hung my sorrow on the gallows. … / It might have been the wine of your memory / that made my heart drunk five times.”
Read more here.