Seventeen: An Ode To Afghanistan

Five hundred and thirty six billion, four hundred and fifty seven thousand, six hundred

seconds

eight million nine hundred and forty thousand, nine hundred and sixty

minutes

one hundred forty nine thousand and sixteen

hours

six thousand two hundred and nine

days

eight hundred and eighty seven

weeks

two hundred and four

months

seventeen

years

seventeen years

seventeen years and we’re still in Afghanistan

trying to quench our imperial bloodlust

there have been four leap years since it began

but even it we only counted the leap years

four is still

four too many

but in reality it’s been many more

than just four

and its been many more

than just seventeen

that is, if you count the unseen

what was long out of sight and mind

you have to rewind back to 1979

and you’ll find American tax dollars

turning into the CIA training holy warriors

training the forefathers

of modern day terrorism

dubbing them ‘freedom fighters’

showering the resistance

with RPG’s and Kalashnikov’s

turning resistance into a proxy war

with the ‘evil empire’

turning into tit-for-tat with with the Soviets

turning into a million dead Afghan civilians

turning into the Soviets terrorized Afghanistan

and the Mujahideen sent them home

with their tails between their legs

and after they had served their master well

Uncle Sam washed his hands of them

and left a country full of rubble

and weapons

and well trained, battle-hardened fighters

and corruption

and war lords

and a devastated infrastructure

and not even a dear john letter

and we’re back

and did you miss us?

and the Soviets were awful and inhumane

but what are we

to the Afghan people,

if not the same?

what have we been

for the past seventeen years

great liberators?

Ask them who they would rather have

slaughtering their children

the Russians or Uncle Sam

or just the Taliban

and it’s a Hobson’s choice

and we’ve taken away their voice

but there have long been signs

that we ignore

most importantly

the people of Afghanistan

are against this war

just like the one before

the Soviets may have terrorized the neighborhood

and knocked down the door

but we burned the house to the ground

and looted everything we found

and we tell ourselves

that they want us to stick around

and we live in a world of many possibilities

you see,

the Soviets were bad

the Taliban was bad

and we are bad

if you look past the lies

you’ll clearly see

that there is no good guy

as we fight superpowers

for the right to steal resources

more and more people die

and if I had any tears left

I would cry

because, after all these years

we still act like wild dogs

going crazy for a piece of meat

and seventeen years might bleed into more

and more

because the people we’re killing

won’t accept defeat

it’s been forty years

and it might well be forty more

and they never asked for this war

and they didn’t knock down the door

and they didn’t burn down the house

their roots reach deep down through the centuries

in those mountains and valleys

and they are farmers

and they are shepherds

and they are fighters

and history is on their side

and the truth is on their side

and politicians have lied for too long

and from Moscow

to Kabul

to Washington

they have long been dead wrong

and the long list of the dead keeps growing

and in Afghanistan

Uncle Sam keeps sowing seeds of hate

but back home

the fields have grown over now

years since they’ve seen a plow

it’s all war crimes and such

but all the strawberry wine in the world

can’t numb the pain

rather, can’t bring any feeling back

to the numbness

because we need to feel

we need to understand

just how broken we really are

but we’ve airbrushed over the scars

and put fields of opium to good use

we are numb

we are so damn numb

but, in our numbness

if nine-eleven were to happen again

we would certainly cry

we would certainly feel

sorry for ourselves

again

and the newsmen would tell us things

and we would believe them

for as long as we’re supposed to believe them

and we would attend candlelight vigils

and we would sing along

to patriotic songs

and we would wave flags

and we would buy American flag apparel

that we would mindlessly wear

and we would stare

at Muslims

and make them feel

uncomfortable

for having the nerve

to exist

if ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’

or whatever they currently call

the illegal occupation of Afghanistan

if it were a person

army recruiters

would be trying to get it to enlist

but if we start counting from the days

US tax dollars were first used to shed blood

in Afghanistan

well, then it wouldn’t just be old enough to enlist in the army

it would be old enough to retire from the army

but, although corporations

like ‘defense’ contractors

are considered people

wars are not considered people

so the war couldn’t enlist

and since it’s not a person

this war can’t be killed

it just keeps going

and going

and going

and going…

and we have to keep the war alive

because, in keeping the war alive

we’re keeping capitalism alive

with constant blood transfusions

we’re keeping the system alive

it feeds on human life

it feeds on blood

and, most importantly

it feeds on money

and if we starve the system

the war will starve

and, though the war isn’t a person,

if starved of money

it will indeed die

and when the war dies

countless thousands of innocent Afghan people

will no longer have to

but if we don’t starve it,

it will live on

and wars don’t die of old age

they live on

though they are forgotten

they live on

though we become numb

they live on

and we are numb

and the war lives on…

all of those seconds

and minutes

and hours

and days

and weeks

and months

and years

and bombs

and bullets

though it has led America

into numbness

it has led Afghanistan into mourning

and I mourn with them

because I am not America

I am human

and they are not Afghanistan

they are human

they are not commodities

they are our sisters

and brothers

so please wade your way

out of the numbness

and feel, if for just a moment

seventeen years of pain,

forty years of pain

nay, a lifetime of pain

for which we hold the receipt

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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