“I don’t know,” Wali was saying. “My father says it’s sinful.” He sounded unsure, excited, scared, all at the
same time. Hassan lay with his chest pinned to the ground. Kamal and Wali each gripped an arm, twisted and
bent at the elbow so that Hassan’s hands were pressed to his back. Assef was standing over them, the heel of his
snow boots crushing the back of Hassan’s neck.
“Your father won’t find out,” Assef said. “And there’s nothing sinful about teaching a lesson to a disrespectful donkey.”
“I don’t know,” Wali muttered.
“Suit yourself,” Assef said. He turned to Kamal. “What about you?”
“It’s just a Hazara,” Assef said. But Kamal kept looking away.
“Fine,” Assef snapped. “All I want you weaklings to do is hold him down. Can you manage that?”
Wali and Kamal nodded. They looked relieved.
Assef knelt behind Hassan, put his hands on Hassan’s hips and lifted his bare buttocks. He kept one hand on
Hassan’s back and undid his own belt buckle with his free hand. He unzipped his jeans. Dropped his
underwear. He positioned himself behind Hassan. Hassan didn’t struggle. Didn’t even whimper. He moved his
head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it.
It was a look I had seen before.
It was the look of the lamb.