Jan 10 2012

Accustomed

ac·cus·tomed

adj.

1. Frequently practiced, used, or experienced.
2. Being in the habit of…
3. Having been adapted to the existing environment and conditions.
 
I open my eyes in a pitch black room, looking at my tritium illuminated watch, confirming it’s 04:15 AM. It’s time to work. Opening the door, I am welcomed by the cold morning breeze that the Afghan winter currently provides us with. The afghans have already started one of their five prayers called Salah, having huge speakers in every town that functions as a cock in the early morning that tries to sing the verses of the Qu’ran. It all feels a bit more familiar now, and I give no further thoughts on the subject.
 

The weeks pass us by, giving promises that we will grow even more accustomed. At the same time giving the promise that we are soon be at home again with our loved ones.

Both Christmas and New-Years eve has passed by quite painlessly. I didn’t feel anything remarkable on any of them, once again giving me a feeling of pure detachment from human tradition and culture, a feeling I truly embrace at times like this. The people of Afghanistan and their culture dates back to the year 632, when Muhammad died and became the martyr prophet, creating one of the largest known religions we know about today. Their timeline to this day according to the Hijri calendar (or Islamic calendar) is 1433, and they celebrate their new-year sometime this spring.

Our days are filled, as usual. Every day is planned and nothing really goes to spare. My commander has pointed out several times that his goal is that we aren’t suppose to be inside the camp, but outside “doing our job” as much as possible. I produce the thought, “Sure thing”, while pushing away the lazy-human-side I got inside of me.

The weeks has also given us time to adapt. As said, i’m getting accustomed to the thought of getting up early and going to bed late. I’m getting accustomed of always having my assault rifle at hand and daily having to walk around in my personal combat gear, ready for a war that seems way too distant at times. I’m also getting quite accustomed to be welcomed by villagers throwing stones at us or giving us the finger, while the next village may cheer at our visit like saviours. I’m getting accustomed of having green vision during night patrols while a Reaper class drone with hellfire missiles is howering above us. What I never really get accustomed to, and never fail to get astonished about, is the sight of the mighty mountain chain of Hindu Kush who casts it’s shadow upon our mortal souls while streching out like a spine of the earth, in the not so far south. The mountains itself have a direct connection to the Himalayas and the name Hindu Kush litterally means “Kills the Hindu” in English. History lessons tells the stories of slaves transported from India that died in the harsh weather that is typical for the Afghan mountains. Hence, the name.

I miss a lot though. I can give you that. Eventually though, I know I will miss all this. So I try everyday to enjoy everything as it is. That is my conquest.

Lance Corporal Fresh, out.

 


Dec 22 2011

Deployment

We’ve been deployed for a little more than a week now.
The Afghan winter shows us little mercy in terms of temperature and radical weather changes. We’ve been out doing “missions” for almost everyday since our departure from the north, which of course is the reason we are here.
I can’t help but to critisize my every wrong move. It’s easy to get caught up in the ever harassing, perfectionistic and testosterone community this job offers. It also offers low self esteem, maximum irritation and in some ways unhealthy perspectives of life.
In the end though, it sure offers a lot more than that. It offers brotherhood, a very high self esteem and experience in fields no other human outside understand. Everything can be summerized and is transformed into memories never given anywhere else in life.

It is my absolute will to extract peaceful emotions from the back of my mind when irritation and anger seems to be the dominating factor on the day at hand. As nerdy as I could be sometimes, I seriously try to recite the following code to put my mind at ease while taking a deep breath.

     “There is no emotion; there is peace.”
        – The Jedi Code

A question that always ends up in my head in the end of our days is: Does our activity and presence really change anything in this ancient and seemlingly timeless place on earth?
The majority of people in Kabul and other big cities might actually give a shit. They are one part of the twenty percent that actually vote in this country, the other seventy percent really doesn’t bother or even know that they are a part of another big society. To the native and more common farmer out there, we might just be another alien doing wierd stuff, coming here with our technology and shaking their everyday life a bit.
We might still do some good. You can’t expect to change a country over just a few years with this kind of operations.

Some days ago though, we were in one of the very remote villages in the outskirts of Balkh – for the record, an ancient center of trading back in the days of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Even though Marco Polo described the place as a “noble and great city”, the place has long lost its significance. Nowadays, it just resembles ruins and people living in houses made out of mud and sand.
In any case, this village actually gave me hope. Our mission was a bit fuzzy at first, we settled outside a local school to discuss with the elders about their problems and hear them out. Meanwhile, soldiers like me and my comrades held a 360 degree security around the school. The children flocked around us in times and at one time they might have noticed the medical cross on my back, signaling to me that I was a “doctor” of some sorts. I was quietly honoured by their misinterpretation, and signaled to my buddy to hold my sector while I focused on the childrens pleas.
They talked with a tounge that I didn’t understand. But their gestures gave me a hint of what was going on. They wanted help, of course. They pushed forward one of the smaller boys (maybe five or six years old) and he showed me his hands – they were fully covered with small bruises and wounds. I carefully examined him, wondering if I really could help this little soul. It could be a burn or it could be the notorious Leichmaniasis desise given by sand flies.
My squad leader giving me a green signal on my request of helping him, I put on my gloves on and started cleaning and using all the tools I knew I had to make it barable. Under the care, he himself and his friends eyes lit up, putting on a smile aimed at me. It was almost like I was actually helping this little fellow, at least giving him a brighter day to look back to. The feeling was excagirating.
It might just had been me, but when I helped him, all went into focus – there was only me and him. My surroundings were blurred out and I didn’t notice the people around me at first. I really blame myself for that AND acknowledge the potential. Never let your guard down in this country, but the sensation and intense focus I generated was flawless. It occured in just a few minutes, then my head started to fill up with every other problem in the world once more..

I might have helped his hands. I might not. My caring actually could have worsen the wounds on his hands, given I didn’t know the cause of it. It wasn’t really a big deal any way. I just did “something” for a change.
 Altough, I want to believe that this young man chooses not to grow up to become an “insurgent” or “taliban” at first hand that want to pick up a gun and shoot at us at first sight. He might even tell his friends and family not to go that way either.
Either way, I’m letting myself become satisfied with my surroundings for the time being.

I really need to work on my mood and ignore the intense pain when the afghan cold actually hits the very bones of my hands and toes.

May the force be with us.
Lance Corporal Fresh, out.


Dec 1 2011

Destined to Live

What about it?

I find myself in the beginning of a journey. A journey that will determine quite a lot and set a stamp in my book of life. In a few weeks, i’ll be going with my fellow comrades to Afghanistan. I’ve visited this historical and war-torned country once before, but just brief. Altough brief enough to give me a before-hand feeling of what is to come these following months – an exclusive cocktail of life’s strongest emotions; excitement, boredom, happyness, sorrow and love.. Shaken, not stirred. Please.

I will miss everything at home that makes my life worth living. Especially she who holds my love with the caring hand of a Goddess. I want her to feel it, and that she will be worshipped in her absence without question. Unable to express my feelings in human words, I will have to get back to this in a later chapter.

I do feel a lot more content these days than before. Although I can’t be sure that it isn’t my imagination, but somewhere I have to believe in my own creative evolution, so to speak. I will take time to meditate on this further to cristallize and focus on this feeling a bit more. Still, even though I might feel and seem content or mindful, it all do feel like a spectacular acting. Sometimes I even act infront of myself to stand for some delusional, fortifying, self-centered dream of mine. Healthy or not, I know my boundries. Some times, I’d rather not. Ignorance is bliss.

 

Mentoring.

I’ve been searching for a mentor-like persona for a great deal of my life. Not that internet sort of mentoring and not those ten minutes talks with a self proclaimed expert in some field. I would gladly dedicate my life to another person in the sense that he/she would teach me the very essence of living. And yes of course, the world is my neverending teacher. But sometimes I cannot interpret what the world need of me, and it’s in those times, I would need someone to translate and give me that poke on the nose and tell me that i’m not focused enough. I am tired of searching – Teachers in school, athletic trainers, officers in the military, friends of friends… The list goes on. But at the beginning of this year, I found a clear substitute for it, that I had forgotten existed. Books. They aren’t nearly as pedagogy as a human being can be, but they give me what I want – Information when I ask for it. Some books even tell me what to do to achieve different things. Isn’t it marvelous?

Seriously though, misunderstand me right, as you say in swedish. I love my newly christined fascination about books. But in the end, they are only as real as you make them. Like this text I am writing this very moment. Is it really me or you writing these words?

Love life!