Ah, Does Anyone Remember Bushkazi?

Posted by Axel Thorer on 7. März 2018

It was once the national sport of Afghanistan ...

Bushkazi

The postcard I got from Kabul ...

IT WAS BY FAR THE WILDEST SPORT ON EARTH! A kind of Polo match, called „Bushkazi“, with up to a hundred and more competitors, and the aim was to bring a dead goat or calf back to the judges table. Or what remained of it. It was „played“ on open grounds, as large as stretching from horizon to horizon, and damned the gardens and fields, parked cars and spectator stands, who came into the way of the cavalcade! The riders watching nothing but the animal’s carcass and the horseman who had it for the moment. They beat each other with whips and sticks, rode the others merciless to the ground, ripped the carcass to pieces while galloping at highest speed, and left a trace of blood and wounded, horses and men, and if a „player“ died, he was recognized as a hero who lost his life in honor. Then 50 years of war destroyed everything in Afghanistan, tradition, religion, the ruling system – and Bushkazi! It’s not „played“ anymore but there are still some people alive who mourn it. And these days I got a postcard from an former employee of my parents in Kabul and it was a nostalgic greeting, showing an old Bushkazi scenery, inscribed with the unusual, un-Afghani Christian well-wishing „Merry Christmas“ and „Happy New Year“. Why the postcard reached me in March instead of December, I can’t say. Maybe some guy in the Central Post Office in Kabul hesitated to send it, fearing the reaction of Taliban sympathisers …

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