Today’s episode is an emotional one.
I ask my grandpa about his experience when he reunited with his father after over 30 years of separation due to exile.
Here’s the eighth segment of the SHACKLED interview series.
Adam: What was the day you were freed from prison like?
Khaled: I remember that it was one winter night that I came to Berlin. Actually, I should at the same time have come to Germany, but there was a lot of snow in Moscow and no flights heading to Berlin. So I stayed one night in Moscow and the next night I came to Berlin. From Berlin, I took one taxi from East Berlin to West Berlin. From the border, I took another taxi to my father. My father and my brothers and my cousins were out looking from me from the railway, from the busway, from the taxiway, but I was at the home before they all were there. Nobody was at the home except for my stepmother.
When I saw my father…I couldn’t stop my crying. And my father also. But I stopped because I knew that my father had high blood pressure, and I changed the mood then.
Adam: You changed the mood because he had high blood pressure and you didn’t want something to happen to him.
Adam: What did you guys talk about?
Khaled: He asked me about the days in jail…like you.
Khaled: I wouldn’t talk about it too much because I knew that he wasn’t in good health. I began to tell him my story with the taximan from East Berlin to West Berlin, that I gave him 30 US dollars. He was so happy. One dollar at that time was worth 5 D-Marks. One D-Mark was worth 5x the currency for East Berlin. It was a lot of money for a short taxi ride! He was so happy that he ran from me….took the money…and we were all laughing about this story.
Adam: And you spent how much time with him?
Khaled: With my father? 6 months. After breakfast, every day we would go to one park…Thiellepark. We were walking and my father told me about his history and the past, who he was and what he was doing. He told me about the situation at the time with King Amanullah, and what was the purpose of King Amanullah, and later the purpose of Nadir Shah. That was something.
Adam: He had a lot of letters, right?
Khaled: Yeah, he had a lot of letters, but I’m sorry, it was all old or destroyed.
Adam: But there are still some you can read.
Khaled: Yea still some of them I took and put in the book. You can see the picture. Nadir Shah always write to my father about the fighting against Bache-e-Saqaa and asking for money. My father sent him money and my uncle sent him money also, Ghulam Nabi Khan, because they were all working together at the time. But, after he took the kingdom away, he was out from them…
It was 6 months that I was with my father, and during the 6 months, I was for some first days or weeks or one month or two months always with him. After that, I couldn’t swim, so I went to swimming school. I couldn’t dance, so I went to the dancing school. Twice a week I learned French and English at the Berlitz Institute. During the day I was busy.
Adam: But every day you were walking with your father?
Khaled: Everyday I was walking, yeah.
Adam: And he’s telling you his story.
Khaled: Yeah. The stories from him, and his father, my grandfather, Sepah-Salar Ghulam Haidar Khan Charkhi…he talked about his stories and the story of Nuristan.
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I wrote SHACKLED alongside my grandpa, as it chronicles his life from being imprisoned for decades when he was six-years-old.
The book has been receiving some incredible praise from readers already.
Here are a few reviews from readers:
A beautiful, spellbinding historical account of Khaled Siddiq’s life with photographs throughout the book. Adam Siddiq, the author, captured the essence, magnificence, and radiance of his grandfather, Khaled Siddiq, in this remarkable and awe-inspiring true story. It takes place in Khaled’s homeland, Afghanistan. A government takeover results in terror used as an instrument to control people, and led to the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners for many years including the very young Khaled and his many close family members. Khaled’s life, along with his family, was about survival, sorrow, bereavement, injustice, grief, and a love that transcended broken dreams. Adam’s grandfather is the embodiment of resilience powered by patience, hope, and the gift of love bestowed upon him by family and generations of ancestors. He learned patience at a young age, and held on to hope and love while he and his family endured unimaginable hardship, deprivation, and imprisonment. He witnessed indescribable cruelty and inhumanity. This story, for me, was about surviving unending darkness through the light of love. Adam Siddiq, how fortunate you are to be a recipient of your grandfather’s legacy of love.
– Ilaann W.
If you’ve enjoyed books like Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl, or Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela, or any book or movie or story that has a profound depth to it with overcoming a horrendous situation….you will enjoy reading SHACKLED. Written by Adam, the grandson of Khaled, there’s an extra dimension that makes this book so special.
– Daniel P.
This is an amazing, inspiring, heart-wrenching and heart-opening story of a man who walked in courage and love even amidst the harshest treatment and circumstances from a tender young age. Masterfully and lovingly written by the equally inspiring Adam Siddiq, this book addresses the ultimate question we all face in life: How do we find inner peace and spiritual freedom when faced with hate and difficulty as we walk as human beings in this world? The bond and collaboration between elder and grandson shine through the pages of this book. If only we could all find the courage and honor to share the stories of our elders in such a devoted way.
– Donnaah S.
Gripping story, beautiful imagery and a necessary literary contribution to the global library… Also a unique perspective on this historical account for those seeking to delve deeper into Afghanistan’s truth from the 1932 coup to the 1979 Soviet invasion. The story reinforces the idea that our time is precious and nothing may be taken for granted, while encouraging generational bonding… Many complements to the author as this is a “must read.”