On Thursday, we had difficulty watching a movie at Giovanni’s place, since we had to interrupt the viewing on several occasions. Clementina Cantoni was released on Thursday evening and Giovanni, an Italian, got calls about every five minutes.
Interestingly, there are two official stories out as to what was done to get her out. The Italians claim that both money was paid and prisoners were released, the Afghan government claims that neither happened, but the word on the street is much more interesting. According to a source at one of the ministries, it was clear, almost immediately after the kidnap, who the kidnapper was. Immediately, the man’s mother was kidnapped and put in jail, with the message that lf Cantoni was hurt, the mother would be hurt. It explains why the government was so certain Cantoni would be released unharmed. And, of course, it’s justice, Afghan style.
Then, on Friday, while at the office, I was drawn away from my computer screen by a hailstorm which was pouring down hailstones the size of marbles.
Around this weekend, the first annual international Kabul spring fair was on, at the Loya Yirga Convention Center.
Taking a look, I was surprised to find the fair actually resembled a fair. Besides some of the articles, handmade embroidery, carpets, etc, the fair could have been almost anywhere in the world. Save for the fact that it was simply packed with regular folks, taking a look, out of curiosity, at this first annual spring fair.
Later, we visited the circus. Yes there is a circus in town. It’s from Pakistan and trying to understand at what time the show was on saw the second time today where the 10 languages I and the person I was talking to had between us weren’t enough to communicate.
The whole circus, in its desperation, resembles a set from Mad Max or some other post-apocalyptic movie more than anything else. A covering which might have been a tent when the British were still controlling India, rags and string to hold everything together, but with the promise of lions and trapeze artists. The net under the swings, even though it looked to be in sorry shape, suggested the acrobats at least wouldn’t fall to their deaths. However, the rather flimsy border between public and actors assured me I would want some fellow spectators between me and the lions.