From an article remembering the “Lion of Panjshir”
From an early age, Massoud adored poetry. After all, Afghanistan is the land of poetry and mysticism. He listened to a young Masood Khalili recite poems on Radio Afghanistan; the two ultimately established a lifelong friendship. Khalili went on to become the Afghan ambassador to Spain, while Massoud entered the military arena. Poetry, though, was always present in Massoud’s life; he typically kept at least one poetry book on his person at all times, and he read poems to his soldiers.
Keeping a poetry book “at all times” to “read poems to his soldiers…” is a line straight out of the American Civil War.
Although, since it says he was a student of the American Revolution, I wonder if he carried the poetry of Phillis Wheatley who penned these deep thoughts in 1772:
No more, America, in mournful strain,
Of wrongs and grievance unredressed complain;
No longer shall thou dread the iron chain
Which wanton Tyranny, with lawless hand,
Had made, and with it meant t’ enslave the land.
She obviously was way ahead of her time and a true revolutionary hero, who nobody in America ever hears about.
During the peak of her writing career, she wrote a well-received poem praising the appointment of George Washington as the commander of the Continental Army. However, she believed that slavery was the issue that prevented the colonists from achieving true heroism.
And yet, despite her hopes and optimism for a better outcome, the American dollar bill honors a man who fought to preserve and expand slavery. Food for thought when contemplating the importance of poets during revolutionary times.