The bomb fell

I received a letter from my sister today. Nothing special about that. (well.. I got it yesterday, but I didn't see it was there before today) People get letters from sisters all the time. My sister works for Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders). Until about two months ago, she was working on a project by Operation Day's Work. In Afghanistan. She's still there.

Changed names and comments are italicized. The letter is translated from a different language than English

I feel like I have to share the letter with my sister with someone. I have not been part of this community so long, but I thought you might want to read it in any case.

Take care.


Dear Poet.

I'm sorry I haven't written to any of you in a long time. It's been rough here in Sarobi lately. The whole MsF OD project has dropped to its knees and been shot in the head. Not that it matters. I don't think the Afghan people will worry much about building schools anytime soon.

The MsF HQ offered us the possibility to leave Afghanistan quite a while ago. As a matter of fact, I was offered to leave from a city just after the WTC incident. I decided not to, thinking that the Afghan people would never need us more than now. I don't know if it is right of me to regret now. We don't actually have anything except from our knowledge to help them with. Even such a stupid, mundane thing as a scalpel can't be found anywhere - much less proper medicines etc. Luckily there is quite a large supply of morphine in Kabul city. On the other hand, nobody seems to want to volunteer to go there (Not that I blame them). The Taleban still controls the city, but every night we hear about air raids and other attacks.

I don't know how much you hear over there in my country about what happens here in Afganistan, but I'm telling you, it ain't pretty. My husband travelled to the city (Kabul) not too long ago, and some of the tales he came back with were.... well.... I think he'll just have to tell you face to face once, if we live through this.

I am sorry if I seem a bit down in this letter. I am just starting to wonder what I am doing here. Daily we hear of Mujahideens who are about to beat the Taleban once and for all. About as often, we hear how the Taleban have taken people and people from a specific occupational group from their homes and killed them off without mercy. The United Front (or Northern Combine, as you might know them) are as bad.

The Kabúl river has become a mass grave. Only last night I witnessed with considerable disgust how they fished out four boys in combat gear. I don't know if they were Taleban or United Front. Hell, they could have been German, for all I know. They can't have been much older than 15. The bullet wounds were horrible. The blood was washed out of them by the water. I will never forget those empty eyes staring up, straight trough me.

Can you imagine, poet, fishing up your 16-year old son from a river? Seing the boy you love reduced to nothing, swollen from being in the water a while? For fighting for or against something that most of the world couldn't give a flying fuck about?

Sorry. I didn't want to upset you or seem morbid. It is just that... Even though I have worked as a doctor in several horrible places, images like that never cease to shock. They never stop haunting me in my sleep.

Things were bad when the Taleban were in power here in Afghanistan, but then we could at least concentrate on improving the situation. Now? It will take years before this is out of people's minds. And even longer until it is distant enough to start rebuilding the country. Afghans as a whole hate the entire conflict. They don't hate USA, but they hate the bombs, the killing and the (the sentence stops here)

Damn! The whole basement just shook. I think a bomb has hit very close to us. If I were to guess, I would think that it hit within 100 meters from where I am. My husband wanted to go and have a look if he could help with something. Luckily, I managed to stop him. I really don't want him away from me at all just now.


the letter continues with the usual good-byes and "tell-mother-not-to-worry" and some small-talk

Take good care of yourself, my lovely brother. And take care of our mother. With some luck I will be out of here before newyears. Just promise me one thing: Do not buy any (firework-)rockets this year. I have seen enough missiles to last me a lifetime.

your sister.

update: I just wanted to tell you all that I am amazed by all the kind messages and well-wishings I have received the last few hours. It is very much appreciated. It might be selfish of me, but I really do hope that the whole godforsaken conflict will be over soon, one way or another.

The idea that the next so-called "smart" bomb might miss its intended target makes me sick.