TO THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN |
May 23, 2007
TO THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN
Name: SGT Brandon White
Posting date: 5/23/07
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Hometown: Diamond, OH
Milblog url: www.gwot.us
Email: [email protected]
Yes, yes. It’s that time of year, time for the obligatory ‘Reflection Post’. You’ve seen them on the milblogs of other soldiers soon leaving theater. They usually contain words such as, “Hope” and “Sustainment” and “Commitment”. They’ll reflect on the good things that they have accomplished and lament the things that could have been. Well I thought I’d try something different for my ‘Reflection Post’. Instead of boring you with the non-complexity that has been my tour, I will instead write an open letter to the people of Afghanistan, who on all accounts are what this fighting-for is really all about.
Dear Afghan Citizens,
It is with a greater respect and better understanding of your culture that I write to you on this day. You and your fellow citizens of this war-torn nation have endured, and on many accounts have overcome, the perils which have been brought upon you since your nation’s inception. During these past few years in which your nation has been occupied by the armies of many other nations, it has been easy for many to see the aspects that you value most in your daily lives.
Things like family commitment, high morals, courage, and a strong work ethic all transcend any lines of religion that may exist. Qualities like these are what will ensure a stable journey as your nation marches toward a better future in this 21st century. In these past ten months, I have been truly awed and inspired at the strength and character that embodies being an Afghan citizen. Many of you are poor. You come home after a 15-hour day working the wheat fields only to learn that a close family member has been kidnapped by the Taliban or even slain by them. Perhaps you own a small shop in your village and have stood by with your weeping family as you watched criminals wearing police uniforms ransack your meager wares and take off with everything that sustains you and your family.
You somehow manage to gather yourself and begin picking up the pieces. Maybe you ask yourself, “Where are the Americans? Why can’t they stop this from happening?” Your neighbor, who lost his family to a roadside bomb, informs you that the Americans are nearby, in the next village, handing out clothing and school supplies. After consoling an angry wife who is now worried about how you can support her, you look past your pride and seek help for your family. You decide to take your family to the Americans to get what you can. You may have no vehicle so you and your family walk, only to get there in time to see the Americans leaving.
Occurences like these only scratch the surface of what life is like in many parts of your great nation. When all is said and done though, you endure and drive on with a renewed spirit and determination with only one goal in mind -- to keep living the life which has been given you. We Americans can sympathize with you in some regard; in my nation’s short history, we have certainly had our share of strife and turmoil. We wish whole-heartedly to give you a life without fear, a life of freedom and relative safety and comfort. Our presence here has nothing to gain except for your hopeful respect and bringing another nation into the international community.
Take with you these words of compassion for fellow human beings and do know that a brighter path already shines forth. The Taliban has lost their foothold in your society, and with your strength and yours alone, they are not able to return to power. I hope one day to return to your nation to see for my own eyes the good that my fellow soldiers and I, working in coordination with you, have done. Until it is so, I bid you good luck and farewell.