Saturday, November 01, 2008

In John Pilger's new book, Freedom Next Time, there is a chapter about Afghanistan. He had been visiting a couple villages that had been bombed by the u.s. In Kabul he visited a bombed high school, where the students were trying to carry on in makeshift classrooms of cardboard and plastic sheeting. The headmaster explained to him that the kids could no longer remember their lessons, that everything had to be repeated over and over.
"...because the young have been emotionally invaded and left with only anguish. They constantly worry about shells or bomb attacks, or stepping on a mine; they are terrified of aircraft. These wars have taken away our minds, and the spirit of our lives, and left us with only the shells of our bodies."

I had never though about this before. I suppose I was just agonizing over the bombs and missiles, the mad stupidity of ever attacking this poor country at all. Still, I too am a schoolteacher, and have seen plenty of war traumatized kids- mine are mostly from West Africa and Somalia. But when you start to think abut it, it seems so obvious. Of course it must be this way. Say you were six years old in 2001. Now you are thirteen. You never knew what it was like to live without bombs. Never had a childhood.

I never heard anyone express it as eloquently as this Afghan teacher. And the true magnitude of this Afghanistan horror is that this happens to everyone in the entire country. All the people of Afghanistan have been emotionally invaded. They have all had their minds taken away, and the spirit of their lives.