Garcia reports on his travels with the military in Afghanistan @ Superstition Review.
We prepare to go out on a night patrol.
The captain however must pick up an Afghan policeman first. On paper, the American and European soldiers of the international security forces provide a “supportive role” only to the central Afghan government. Therefore, protocols require an Afghan police officer to lead patrols, the captain explains to me, an embedded reporter. He calls me by my last name as he does his soldiers, and tells me to ride with him.
We leave Camp Julien in south Kabul for the District Four police station in a convoy of four Humvees, six soldiers in each vehicle. The dawn light rinses the sky with an umbrella of pink light, and then the light fades almost instantly and the sky darkens to an impenetrable depth without stars. Kids wave to us from the shadows as they always do when we go out on a night patrol, but it seems to me they also have one hand behind their back, and sometimes I’m right because I’ll hear the rocks they throw ding against our doors.
“Last week on our way out, this kid was throwing rocks at me,” a soldier tells me. “In Iraq, parents’d beat the shit out of their kids for doing that. This kid didn’t look slow. It’s not like he’s a retard. If that’s how a kid thinks about us what about his dad?”
“It’s a game dude,” another soldier says. “How many rocks do they have to throw to make a gunner duck.”
“They need to start a baseball league here then. He was whizzing them.”
The dirt road we follow climbs a hill. A stone castle swarmed by birds circling its broken towers overlooks our progress.
Image: Lalage Snow
Post a Comment
J. Malcolm Garcia reports on the struggles of Egyptians after Mubarak @ Guernica.
Friday, April 8, 201111 a.m.She wants me to look at the sign she holds high above the heads of protesters, and read the words she has written on either side of a photograph of her five-year-old grandson.From the revolution where are my rightsI’m an innocent child release my father
|J. Malcolm Garcia on Amazon|
And this below his picture:Bring my father out quicklyBring my father out injustice is not good.Bring my father out I want to see himI see everything dark without my fatherBring my father out or you will go to hellDozens of people push and shove, jostling around the grandmother, 48-year-old Magada Ahmed Mohammad. Spinning in circles, moving one way and then another with no apparent purpose other than to escape the crush of bodies descending on Cairo’s Tahrir Square for today’s demonstration, a day of “cleansing and prosecution” as organizers have called it.Two months earlier similar gatherings in the square forced Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to leave office. Those demonstrations also had names: “The Day of Revolt,” “The Friday of Anger,” and most memorably “The Friday of Departure” when Mubarak quit the presidency on February 11.Now the youth movement that defied him has grown impatient with the slow pace of change since he left office. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that now rules the country appears reluctant to prosecute Mubarak and his cabinet for corruption and human rights abuses. So the hundreds of protesters now clogging the square have decided to once again demonstrate and stay until Mubarak and his cronies are arrested and charged with crimes.read more
J. Malcolm Garcia reports on the women of Afghanistan who set themselves on fire @ Guernica.
In Bed 19, a woman suffers from high blood pressure and burns to her feet from boiling water spilled from a pot; Bed 21 burned herself lighting an oil lamp; Bed 20 fell against a hot water heater.
Then there is the girl in Bed 18. She looks no older than fifteen. Stray wisps of black hair lie limply against her cheeks. Rank smelling blankets cover her bandaged-wrapped body, and she stares mutely at the ceiling, flakes of charred skin peeling off burns to her chin and neck. Beside her sits her pregnant sister-in-law who looks about the same age. They live in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province, a Taliban stronghold far south of Herat. They have never left their home before; have never been to their village bazaar and the cities beyond it. The girls won’t look at us. This is the first time they have not covered their faces in the presence of men outside their families.
Dr. Naeema Nikzad, a psychologist who counsels burn victims at Herat Regional Hospital, considers both girls while adjusting a blue-patterned scarf around her head. When they came to the hospital, Dr. Nikzad told the sister-in-law to remove her burqa. She gave her a smock, flip-flops, and a surgical cap and told her to put them on.
Dr. Nikzad then took the burned girl into surgery and told her, now I have to strip you. You cannot wear a burqa. No one will touch you. No one from your village will see you.
The girl felt Dr. Nikzad raise the burqa above her head. “I am exposed,” she said. read more