“Listen up – there’s no WAR that will end ALL wars.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Last year Donald Trump signed a treaty that said all American soldiers were to prepare to leave Afghanistan after thirty years of war. This year Joe Biden is sending six thousand soldiers back, because the Taliban is taking over the main cities and destroying airports so that those who live and work there cannot leave.
I want to make this perfectly clear: living across the street from CFB Calgary had a profound impact on the way that I look at war today. Too many years of watching children worry about their parents, wives and husbands worried about their partners, and too many people not coming back taught me that war is not an adventure.
I remember in the 90s deciding that I was never getting married because too many soldiers came home and killed their wives. Too many newspapers carried the stories of the kind of PTSD that we average folk can only read about.
I was terrified of the idea of getting married, because I was afraid that being in Calgary meant that I’d probably end up married to a soldier, who would come home with PTSD and kill me, because it was happening so often.
Things haven’t changed much. I will never forget the men I met who ranked rather high in the army, who came home and couldn’t live in their houses anymore. They had to leave their families in order to survive because they were too traumatized by all the horrible things they had seen, and in some cases done, in order to survive a world filled with nothing but blood and soil.
On January 6th 2021 the world watched in horror as Donald Trump in his home country, called for war on his own terf as he sent hundreds of protestors into the Capitol building and demanded that they fight for his right to be president even though he had LEGALLY lost the election.
Recently as this weekend the Taliban declared war in Afghanistan, believing that of course they could and will win, because the American’s have left, and now they are headed right back and my only question is what in the fuck were the last 30 years for?
For 30 years Veterans have been crying, and dying, in the streets, because of the horrors that they saw in that country, because of the bloodshed, and the trauma of living in a place far away from families and friends, and any kind of real support system, and now we’re going to send more young people out to a country to die, to try and preserve the idea of peace.
I am so tired of people dying and the world calling it a sacrifice. I remember back in the 90s I was about ten or eleven when I asked myself when the war over there was going to reach the shores of Canada, not fully realizing that it already had.
The same rights and freedoms that women in North America and in some places across Europe experience, are the same rights and freedoms that women in Afghanistan are denied because the Taliban is still stuck in this idea that men should rule while women should cower and suffer.
The war on the freedoms that women and children in Western America, Canada, and Europe experience and enjoy today, is a war that many of our ancestors have already fought. The right to go to school, the right to wear dresses, to drive, to go to a coffee shop and sing karaoke without fear that a bomb is going to blow you up at any moment.
For as long has there has been living breathing entities on this planet who can think for themselves, there has been war, and it feels like it will never end.
In Canada I can wear shorts, get tattoos, and live without being forced to wear a scarf over my head to hid my face from the world.
I can do whatever the fuck I want as long as I don’t hurt other people, and there is no man on this planet who can tell me otherwise. The Taliban want to destroy that and that’s literally all they want. They are poor, hungry, uneducated men who were inspired by an evil man who was educated by America.
“Dad, how do soldiers KILLING each other solve the world’s problems?”
― Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995: An Exhibition Catalogue
Several years ago I attended a dinner where my very good friend A was also in attendance. I was shocked by his appearance and utterly ashamed of my shock, he was and is a dark skinned Indian man who is incredibly beautiful with a pair of stunningly gorgeous brown eyes. But his dark eyes and beard scared the shit out of me, because for more than 20 years I was conditioned to believe that the dark hair, the dark eyes, the dark skin, were dangerous.
Hundreds of thousands of images of Taliban soldiers, read terrorists, have flown past my eyes in the last 30 years, and it took me a moment to remember that A is not the same as the Taliban terrorists’ that I have read about.
It took too long a moment for me to realize that I had let fear override my knowledge that A is one of the best people I’ve ever had the honor of being allowed to know.
I hate that I hate that this world has spent so much time showing me from a distance, how evil people can be, and that the fears inspired by that evil, have forced me to look at my friends differently than I would have otherwise.
All that to say that I cannot imagine what it is like too live in a place where bombs are going off, all the fucking time.
Outside my window I see the mountains sometimes, and I see hundreds of trees, beautiful trees in a thousand different shades of green, yellow, brown, and sometimes red.
Afghanistan used to look like it looks outside my window. There used to be hundreds of thousands of bright beautiful trees, bushes, and flowers, and now it’s a place filled with the blood of innocents, and the rubble destroyed by bombs and fire.
I know how lucky I am, I know how blessed I am to wake up safe every single morning, to know that when I go to sleep at night there are people watching to make sure that I stay that way, but there are hundreds of millions of women who are just like me wishing that they had 1/10th of the freedom that I have.
And so we send our soldiers to fight for them, we send our soldiers to kill for them, we send our soldiers to die, for them, and for us, so that they can one day have the hope of a world where war doesn’t exist at all.
There has never been a single generation of humanity that hasn’t had to face war, and I am tired of it. I wish the God’s that inspire these horrible acts of evil would fade the fuck away so that we could have some peace in our word, but I just don’t see that happening.
I don’t see a world where there is no war because wherever there are humans, there are people who like to kill and destroy.
I spend a great deal of time telling my readers to be their best selves, to believe in themselves, but what good is that advice to a girl who can’t go to school because they might be beheaded for choosing NOT to wear the hijab.
Not all women are forced to wear their headscarves, and that is really a HUGE simplification of the issues that the Taliban are causing on the other side of the world, but it’s indicative of a much larger issue.
I was a SEX slave for most of my life, and now that I am free I will never go back. I wasn’t given a choice, and I will fight to the Death so that my sisters will ALWAYS the FREEDOM to CHOOSE. Devon J Hall, LMBG
In Afghanistan many women fight side by side with the Taliban, some because they genuinely believe in the ideas and ideals of the Taliban, and other times because it’s just easier than trying to fight against them.
I totally and completely understand that, because that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. I spent a lot of years being something I wasn’t trying to fit in with men I didn’t and do not like, just so that I could survive worse men who wanted to destroy and kill every inch of independence to make me into something that they would be proud to have on their arm.
I want to be glad that there are so many men and women around the world ready and willing to go and fight for the innocent ones, but I am just sad that they have to.
I hate that so many of you have to choose between living at home with your own families, and flying a hundred thousand miles away, to protect other people’s families, knowing you may never make it home.
I was a sex slave. I was raped, beaten, tortured, and branded, by men who accused me of being a liar, who said that what was happening wasn’t really happening, who convinced me to stay silent by shaming me, and making me afraid to be my true self. Growing up I didn’t have the promise and the hope that soliders would come and fight for me.
There is not 1 thing that I envy about the lives of the people these soldiers are going to fight for. Not one single damned thing, that I want that they have, because I know that who I am and where I am, is because of these soldiers. I lost out on school, I lost out on a lot of opportunities, because I was raised in a country that promises and pretends that we don’t have the same problems as the men, women, and children, who are terrorized by the Taliban every single day.
In my less than expert opinion, war is not a necessary evil, it is the result of too many men with too much power and too little education, trying to destroy the lives of others, SOLELY so they can feel like they have won something.
Yes, that’s incredibly easy for me to say, because when I turn off this laptop the Taliban won’t kill me for telling you that they are evil, corruption personified. Not unless I dare go to Afghanistan. Which means I probably won’t end up there any time soon.
I am not writing this post because I think that my words will change a God damned thing, I am writing this because I have feelings about what is happening in Afghanistan, and because I am Canadian I have the right to say and do as I please.
I just want the women of Afghanistan to have that too, I just want them to wake up, smile, and know that they are safe, because there isn’t anyone out there trying to kill, rape, murder, and maim them.
I just want my sisters on the other side of the world to know how sorry I am that they can’t have the freedoms that I have, simply because of where they were born. I am sorry that War is so fucking obsessed with your hometowns, I am sorry that death and destruction are in every corner of your world and I truly wish that you could have peace, and freedom, and love, and serenity, and hope, and strength, and power.
To the Soldiers that are about to return to the battle zone please know that I am thinking about you too, and hoping that you return home safe, and healthy, and proud of the work that you about to undertake.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall