I took this picture in Bamyan, Afghanistan at a ruined mound known as Shar-e-Gholghola (شهر غلغله) which translates as “City of Screams.” The city on this site was destroyed in the 13th century by Genghis Khan. The local population was massacred, apparently in retribution for the death of his grandson who was killed in an earlier battle. I love history but it almost always saddens me. Here is a poem I wrote about the experience of visiting the City of Screams:
You are no longer known by your former glory
No one who walked your famed streets has passed on your memory
Your ancient past, where Joy was known, is long forgotten
Withered whispers that have drifted away
Your ruins are now a monument to that Dreadful Day
The thunder of hooves that shook the rocky depths
The hostile shouts in a foreign tongue
The cloud of arrows that blocked out the light
Your crumbled walls still echo with screams
Brick and stone have witnessed things unspeakable
Lives cut short, the innocent gone
Joy strangled by Death
Where then is Justice?
Is there not One who can reach down from eternity
Into time itself
To make right the wrongs of History?
To rend the heavens
And tear the curtain dividing the sacred from the profane?
To walk in the dust
To share the sorrow of the bleeding
To experience the loss of Love
And yet declare “it is finished”
To defeat Death and resurrect Joy?