Marjan

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From Tim Stoffel (2002)
A Tribute To Marjan, The One-Eyed Lion
Photo credit: Laura Rauch, Associated Press

From The Taliban Shuffle (2010) by Kim Barker, in relation to the Kabul Zoo:

I had gone to the zoo, planning to use it as an interesting way to tell the history of modern Afghanistan. My hook was Marjan the lion, donated by Germany in 1978…

One afternoon at the zoo, a Pashtun fighter inexplicably jumped into the cage of Marjan, who promptly bit off the man’s arm. The man later died. The next day, the man’s brother went to the zoo for revenge. He threw a grenade into the lion cage, which sent shrapnel into Marjan’s muzzle, destroying one eye and almost blinding him in the other. The lion’s face was frozen in an expression somewhere between grief and a Halloween mask, with eyes that appeared to have melted into his nose…

When the Taliban finally fled Kabul in late 2001…(w)ith his scars and melted face, Marjan became the symbol of all the injuries inflicted on Afghans over decades of war, of all the pain. His picture appeared on the front pages of newspapers worldwide and sparked numerous tributes on the Internet. He was Afghanistan–battered, blind, blurry, but still strong.

Within two months, he fell down dead.

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