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The Lion of Kabul

by  Anna Reynolds

Posted: Friday, February 21, 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..

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.