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THOUGHTS ON AFGHANISTAN
By Ortrud.Roemer-Horn (Ortrud.Roemer-Horn@t-online.de)
This article was first published in the Club magazine of the German Sighthound Club (DWZRV) and later in the American bi-monthly magazine Afghan World and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author Ortrud.Roemer-Horn
I always have been very interested in people who know the land of origin of our dogs of their own, but much more than this, know anything of high interest about our beloved Afghan Hounds. Recently I learned to know 1st Lt. Goetz A. Beyer. When he was a child, he lived for some years in Afghanistan and owned an Afghan Hound there, and this made him so enormously interesting for me. So "Thoughts on Afghanistan" is not my own remembrance, but these of 1st Lt. Goetz A. Beyer, and to him I would like to say, "Thank you" for his kind support.
In 1928, the Afghan King Aman Ullah was spending some time in Germany. Extensive organization was done for the security of this high personality. Arthur-Werner Beyer was a Captain of the German police at that time, and he was one ot the responsible persons. King Aman Ullah was so deeply impressed by this good organization that he decided to instruct the Afghan police after the Geman ideal. The position was announced and one of the candidates was Arthur-Werner Beyer. His qualifications were very good because he spoke eight languages fluently at that time, but the decision to travel to remote Afghanistan did not came true so quickly.
King Aman Ullah's mental attitude was very pro-West and he would have liked to see his land develop into a modern state very quickly. He was overthrown in 1929. After Nadir Shah (1929-1933), king Aman Ullaha's son, Zahir Shah, only beeing nineteen years old, caputred the throne in 1933. Zahir Shah, very carefully put in huge reforms which his father started, and he also remembered again, Aman Ullah's purpose to hire a German into his country for the training of his police.
And now, after all, the desire of Arthur-Werner Beyer came true, who had become a Major in the meantime, to remove to far Afghanistan. In Afghanistan he quickly was promoted to a Colonel and obtained the high sounding title "Regierungsberater fuer die Reorganisation des Afghanischen Polizeiwesens nach Deutschem Muster." The best way to translate that complicated title might be a thing like: Advisor of the Government for the reorganization of the Afghan Police, after the German standard."
Goetz A. Beyer, the oldest son of Arthur-Werner Beyer, came to Afghanistan in 1936 during the warm seasons. The family lived in the capitol Kabul. In the wintertime the extreme weather situations did'nt allow the Afghan police students to train, so one travelled the long and troublesome way to Kandahar in the South of the country, which is estimated 500 Km away. (about 300 miles) Goetz A. Beyer especially likes to remember the journey of the year 1938; because on that journey he met he black Afghan Hound bitch "Machmal". When he left Kabul, he spent the night after the first day, which was full of efforts, in the thousand years old, through history well known town, Ghazni. On the third day, nearly being in Kandahar, one discoverd the nomads. Another thing that he had never seen before on other journeys, was an approximately four months old black female Afghan Hound, the first Afghan Hound which he had seen, because usually one only sees ordinary dogs, which are called "sack" in Afghanistan, and for which one only has a kick at its best. As it only could be possible in the Orient, a long and obstinate deal started for the property of the bitch. The nomad definitively would't part with "Machmal", which is the Afghan word for the sighthound, but impressed by the Colonel's perseverance, and not at least by the amount being offerend, he agreed in the deal.
Still today, Goetz A. Beyer, likes to remember the tremendous temperament of his "Machmal". Once the bitch manged to escape over the nearly three meter high, appoximately ten feet high, enclosure which surrounded the castle like estate in Kandahar. "Machmal" rushed away in the freedom of the steppe, and he feared the bitch would be lost forever. The Colonel commanded his men to get on horseback and not to come back without the black Afghan. But "Machmal" would't give up her freedom so quickly. It took over a day before she finally allowed to get caught again.
Goetz A. Beyer also remembers the visits to King Zahir Shah. During the Colonel's audience, he and his four years younger brother had to wait in the harem, where the two boys became officiously mothered. There were also dogs in the harem, but no sighthounds. Goetz A. Beyer remembers that he saw Pug like dogs.
Gotz A. Beyer loved his "Machmal" and never let her out of sight. In August 1939, when it still was possible for his father to get back to Afghanistan, from a visit in Germany, Goetz A. Beyer should follow with the next flight - the War broke out. One could follow "Machmal's" destiny. She was about one year at that time. Later on she was taken temporarily in charge by a friendly family, but then her traces began to fade.
The disconnection from "Machmal" was painful, but it wasen't the most tragic event in these days. In all the disorder of the War, the whole family broke apart: The father was captured by the British in India, and the grave of his mother is for Goetz A. Beyer unreachable in these days, in Kabul. But Goetz A. Beyer's love for the Afghan Hound is a very faithful one. Only some years ago, he had to part with his Afghan male "Adul" who had joined him for thirteen years.
Copyright(c) 1986, 1997
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