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The Lion of Kabul

by Anna Reynolds 

Posted: 21 February 2003
Word Count: 326
Summary: In the aftermath of the post- september 11 war on Afghanistan, a half blind lion was rescued from a war-torn zoo. He had eaten a keeper's arm and been blinded in retaliation, a metaphor for a wounded America's lashing out at Afghanistan. It's only the first page or so..

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Nobody remembers my name now. Itís a shame because Iíve always been particularly proud of my name; Marjan. It sounds majestic, itís far too good a name for me, my mother didnít choose it herself. It had a wonderful meaning; Alone, Beloved. So they say. Our language is fluid, itís never still, it changes all the time. You can never tell what a word might mean from one day to the next. Tomorrow, Marjan might mean Hated, Must Die. Or Unnecessary. Our words are never left alone for long., besieged from all sides. But I was famous for a few days, a while ago. So much has happened in a short time.

My mother would have wanted a less ambitious name for me I think. She was timid, in a relative sense, she only killed for food. She would have called me Peace, or perhaps Joy, since she secretly always wanted a girl. Mostly the girls died, or were sent out to look after themselves, or sometimes, in the dark times, they were hurt and then eaten. We donít talk about that time anymore, itís banned. I donít talk at all, except in my head, being as Iím alone now and probably for the rest of my life I expect. They wonít let me live with the others anymore, they say Iím dangerous. I think of it as a compliment, itís the only way to survive. Me, with only one eye and half my face blown away? Iím a danger to myself sometimes, but they still call me the Lion of Kabul. Iíve heard them whispering at the gates when they think I canít hear, Iíve heard them, I wish theyíd come nearer but they wonít, theyíre scared of me.

I donít know how it all started. Well I do, in actual fact, if Iím honest, but itís a story that doesnít reflect well on me in the telling. You have to think about it afterwards.

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Comments by other Members

Agnieszka Ryk at 18:41 on 22 February 2003  Report this post
I remember that lion - it was a wonderfully evocative image and a great subject for a short story. It's a lovely start and I can hear distinctly the bold booming voice of the great beast - can we see some more please?

Adam at 22:36 on 14 April 2003  Report this post
This is an excellent start to a short story: intriguing and inviting. It leaves the reader wondering what the story is, how the lion came to his present predicament. Moreover, you seem to have really entered into the psyche of the beast; no easy task. I think the metaphor could really work, once fully elaborated.
I should really like to
Keep me posted!
Adam x

Anna Reynolds at 20:13 on 16 April 2003  Report this post
I might do this weekend actually.... he's such an unforgettable symbol/metaphor, also the fact that the actual lion got far more press coverage than the people- due to the british obssession with animals- but still I found him very haunting. Thanks for your comments!

Anna Reynolds at 17:28 on 27 July 2003  Report this post
Thanks! that's excellent really useful. If I ever get any time I will get on with it!

old friend at 19:55 on 09 September 2003  Report this post

I wasn't quite sure if the earlier existence of the Mother lion had been in the Zoo or in the wild. I think it was meant to be in the wild. If so then it is the male lions who are driven from the pride.

I have never heard of a case of lions being cannibalistic. However it was nice to read good English, professionally written. Thanks

old friend, Len

TheGodfather at 15:41 on 10 August 2004  Report this post

I think you could make this work a lot more effectively if there were more events, some action portions. As is, it contains much backstory. The end really leaves us wanting the story as it even says in the last line. Keep working on it. The idea has much promise.


typo alert

except in my head, being as Iím alone now >> except in my head, since Iím alone now

di2 at 22:41 on 22 March 2006  Report this post
I got goose bumps reading this piece. Very moving and so very sad.

Nik Perring at 23:07 on 22 March 2006  Report this post

This is such strong writing. And goodness! Goosebumps? Hell yeah!

Great, great writing. Thanks.


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