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.
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
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.
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.