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Posts Tagged ‘war’

A late afternoon weekend market in Hama, Syria, back in 2006. In the background is the city famed Noria (ancient water-wheel).

These past days, I have been following the news from Syria in disbelief.

What surprises me the most is not the Syrian government’s defiance against international pressure, sending in tanks and shells to quell rebellions in Hama and other cities; the unexpected are images of Syrians taking to the street openly.

“We don’t talk about politics,” this line parroted by nearly all Syrians I met during my travel there in late 2006 still ring in my ears, and the violently muted reactions of Syrians whenever I broached into domestic politics filled pages of my diary.

Back then, I had arrived in Syria shortly after the 34-day war in neighboring Lebanon, the fighting ground for Israeli and Hezbollah military forces. The Syrians displayed their solidarity with Hezbollah, Lebanese, and Palestinian victims in the conflict by putting up “anti-war posters” in the streets; laymen became learned commentators of the conflict, everyone had a piece to say about the US-Israel conspiracy against the Arab and Muslim world, and anti-Zionist views abound.

But, the moment I tried to veer the conversations to domestic politics, I rammed into a wall of silence. “We don’t talk about politics,” came the reply, end of candid conversations, and in a forced-polite manner, I would be showed the door out of teahouse, carpet shop, cobbler stall, local home, etc. (more…)

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坎大哈市里,千仓百孔的房子见证了多少火拼。

我等了一整天,终于等到来自阿富汗的回音。当奥马和卡利尔两兄弟找到机会给我回复电邮时,坎大哈已经陷入“围城状态”48个小时了,而且迹象显示还将持续下去。

虽然收到邮件前,我已经从网络新闻上获知,塔利班从周六开始对坎大哈展开了强大攻势,多个政府建筑物遭到轰炸,战斗直升机空中盘旋,城里枪弹、肩射导弹横飞;但是,直到看了他们发自现场的邮件,才知道现实状况比想象中还要糟。

哥哥奥马和往常一样,直接把当地NGO保安机构发出的安全警示报告转发给我,在报告后面,他只加了一句话:“奥萨马本拉登死后,阿富汗和巴基斯坦的安全状况更坏了。”接下来,他的电邮直接转入话家常,说说他两个孩子最近在学校的成绩如何,他们都喜欢那些科目等。

局面越是严峻,越需要冷静,日子也要如常过下去——这是奥马一贯的作风,这也是许多阿富汗人,因过去30多年来都在大大小小、断断续续的战争中度日,而学会的生活态度。 (more…)

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阿富汗北方山多,但山区到处都是地雷陷阱。

今天我给远在阿富汗坎大哈的友人写了封电邮,问问他们最近好吗?奥萨马本拉登的去世,是否给当地带来了不便或安全问题?是否出现了报复式的枪械爆炸袭击?最近是否还需要经常前往阿富汗巴基斯坦的边境去办事儿吗?

其实在还没有得到答复前,我就已经在网上看到新闻,昨天周六,坎大哈市中心一整天在枪弹爆炸之中度过。六个政府部门的建筑物被武装分子分别攻击,8人死亡。塔利班已发出声明,称这次的攻击是由他们发起,并表明奥萨马本拉登的逝世,不会改变或削弱塔利班持续抗斗的士气和势力。

我查了查邮箱记录,最后一次和奥马及卡利尔两兄弟通信是今年三月底4月初。当时他们就已经告诉我,坎大哈和边境的安全问题每况日下。他们两在做的NGO工作,有许多项目必须被取消或暂停,除了经费问题,最大的原因是无法确保员工和参与成员们的安全,尤其是一些涉及妇女扶贫技能培训的课程终止了。

奥马今年初患上短期失忆症,这是因为一次前往边境出差时,遇上了游击队和官方军队的枪火冲突,脑部受到震荡,一些近期发生的事记不起来,又或者变得有点健忘。庆幸的是,这只是短期的后遗症,医生说会康复的。一定要好起来啊,我每每想起这事就会在心中默念,因为我不知道应该向谁祷告好…… (more…)

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Received an email from A the other day, as usual, it was brief but full of troubling news.

“Yesterday here in Kandahar city a remote control blast took place at a police check post in district #6, an eleven-year-old child was riding on a donkey loaded with explosive device, eight casualties and three injuries reported. With bad luck, three of the casualties are my cousins.”

This is not the first time since I last visited him in Kandahar, Afghanistan, four years ago that such unfortunate news reached me via emails. (more…)

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