Wow, what a book! I was seriously blown away by this one.
In late November 2012, Dilip Joseph traveled to Afghanistan as he had done many times before. Being a medical doctor, he was connected with an organization helping, and educating the people there. He didn’t realize how that trip would be different from all the others, and that he would be forever changed.
When Dr. Joseph and two of his colleagues were traveling between villages, they were held up and kidnapped. They were forced to hike for about 9 hours that first day, got little sleep, were forced to watch violent videos of other Taliban members being murdered or tortured, and hiked some more.
Ransom demands were made, and they were threatened with death. They got tired and hungry. But that is what I expected from a story such as this.
The surprising part came when the second day, one of the Taliban asked the doctor about his life at home. They exchanged stories of wives and children, extended family (family is almost sacred to those in the Middle East), and hope for the future. It went beyond just getting information. The Taliban member doing most of the talking, even asked Dilip if he could help him get into the U.S. It seemed he was interested in education, and a better future. The doctor felt that most of the men there felt trapped, and wanted something more for their lives, for their families, and for their country. Every time it was time to eat, the captor treated the captives well, wanting them to eat more than themselves, wanting them to be full.
Two parts really stood out to me and made me view them differently forever.
1. At one point, the doctor’s 2 colleagues were separated from them. They were going home. This was the lowest moment for him, fearing to be facing this alone. For the first time, he sat down and began to cry. What was going to happen to him?! There were 4 or 5 members of the Taliban left with him at that point. One of them took of his headscarf, and wiped his eyes with it. Each member took turns, drying the tears that fell from his eyes.
2. When Navy SEALS came in just after midnight on that last night, all of the Taliban were killed. The one he had “connected” with earlier, talking about family and future, did not die right away. The doctor said he wanted to go to him and somehow comfort him, but he feared being disrespectful of his rescuers, so he turned away. That was the decision most regretted.
The only thing negative I have to say, is that Dilip Joseph’s Christianity is very vague. I was left wondering if he is Catholic, non-denominational, or what? He mentions God and faith a lot, but it’s not clear, and there is no gospel.
I learned so much from this book. So, so much. I wish I could share it with everyone. The Taliban as a whole, have been guilty of so many violent, evil actions. But they are human. Some of them are trapped and want change, but they don’t know where to turn. It makes me feel so compassionate for them, and want to pray more for them.
I also learned how thankful we should be to live here in this safe nation. President Obama made Dilip’s rescue a top priority. There were generals, organizations, and of course, the Navy SEALS all putting time, effort and money into rescuing one man. The lead SEAL of the night, the first through the door, was shot and killed, along with the 5 Taliban. What a story!
Please read it!
I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.