I found this text below a good way of introducing my new passion The Unthink Tank. It's written in 10 minutes, without an edit. If you want to talk about your feeling of impact of war and conflict, please leave a comment.
Moments of the impact of War
Context: online writing exercise with Martine van Bijlert.
My mood: busy in my mind with my bigger work-goal for change. My head is full since the end of this summer, full with this hope to create change to make peace (and no I am not going to add that this is a naïf idea. This is my life, and I am ready to think on this level)
The mood before the exercise: negative. I did not prepare well. I expected a debate. I thought I have better things to do then writing random pieces.
But then I went along with it.
And it was the best thing I did after this summer. It was a beautiful meeting about care, and concern about war, and about letting go emotions about war, about allowing, showing the pain of living in war. Absolutely stunning. Also for me personally I feel often lonely in my work, so this was so empowering to realize that others care too.
So we had to write a text about moments of the impact of war.
(Martine gave pointers like ‘where were you’, ‘what were you feeling’ ‘what did you see’ in the scope of 20 minutes, and that makes writing easier. You just answer her questions and soon enough the story starts. Here is mine.)
Where am I?
In front of an apartment building, plastered in bright white, 5 stories, with a heavily decorated black metal gate, a house next to the palace of Madrid.
I see nothing, but I feel. I feel privilege.
In the apartment, I see my friends, a couple, white, who, with a very expensive IVF managed to have a baby, to live the life so many Westerners live. They don’t see much either. They come from a rich background. In front of the white apartment building, on a beautiful green square, sits a grand white statue, of a white man, pointing his hand into the future. That is her grand father. He was a prominent minister.
I am here because I can. I am rich . I have a job. I have a career. I am elite and I have elite friends. One with a rich apartment building, next to the palace in Spain. I am here because we can permit ourselves holidays. I am here on my 3th holiday this year.
What happened when I enjoyed the one-million dollar sunset view through the richly decorated balcony? While my friends talked about an even better life for their baby, arguing, I for the first time realized that I don’t have the power to bring the pain of the ongoing war to here. I realized that I have the pleasure of empathy with the people of the war but I can’t bring it home.
My best friend Najibullah form Uruzgan is not here. That’s the whole point. Our intellect is the same. Our humor as well. His English is better then mine.
What is not happening is that he gets opportunities. He can but he can’t create this career, his elite doesn’t bring him prosperity. He cant go from A to B, to a city next door, he can’t take roads. He is in a prison, also created by us, while we have our luxury life. The Western governments can still permits itself not to take it’s responsibility, not to care, to live without emphaty.
I don’t remember concrete impacts of war. Yes, the rolling head of a body killed by a suicider in Shar e Naw. A stiff body, long dead because of a sniper.
I don’t know why I have difficulties to pick these incidents. Poor children begging near a patrol station? Maybe. I maybe wish I had more of that emotion in me? Or do I feel I should and is that the problem? Are those images hijacked? I feel I often find the Western ‘care’ about war superficial. The reports of Amnesty, a media campaign of an aid organization about a disaster, I don’t feel their empathy.
My friends in Madrid? I love them. They don’t see what I see. They can’t help it. I am sure if they would see and feel and understand the Western war in Afghanistan they would have stopped, paused, and tried to find tools for action.