The Silence of Soldiers in War

11 Sep

The following is a short story based on thoughts that have been plaguing and haunting me for months now, and it seemed fitting to finally write them down on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I dedicate the story to the anger, confusion and sorrow of knowing people who contribute to warfare.

A large white room with a black floor. I feel a sudden draft of wind in my hair and somewhere a door bangs shut. Evasive clandestine: who was here and just slipped away like a secret in socks? Your departure titled the room and the draft of wind unsettled the black ink on the floor. I watch the ink rise and I watch the ink rain. It pours the news on a world already on fire.

Once upon a time, when we were still young, you were flown to Las Vegas. Like an excited child, you ran around its colourful entertainment. It was work hard, play hard. You were there to work on a machine that can fly, that was all you said. Later, as I grew up, I read an article in a magazine and heard a sudden rush of silence and the sharp bang of a door. I looked around: I was surrounded by white walls again, watching the ink rise and the news rain: “The Americans have presented their latest model of unmanned airplane, which they call Predators. They are capable, for example, or shooting one person lying in bed without harming the other. These new models will be used in the War Against Terror and were built by a team in Las Vegas.”

The news rained into my head, slipped into the part of my brain that is crystal and now it hangs there in legible stalagmites. I carry their chill wherever I go.

Once upon a time, when we were still young, you were flown to Djibouti and I looked for it on the map. It sits between Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and I had never heard of it before. You were sworn to silence and secrecy while you were there, and I was relieved when you returned. Later, as I grew up, I read the news and again felt the rush of silence. I was back between the white walls, watching the news rain: “Somalia denies the existence of a CIA interrogation base in its capital Mogadishu. It is said to be an underground prison in the compound of the presidential palace. Children as young as 14 are being held there. The USA has a military base in neighboring Djibouti.”

I read the news and my world caught fire, burning with it everything I had known to be true. All that remained was your gentle smile, your gentle hands. So I carry the news quietly, looking for something that can bottle it and make it safe. In the wake of your profession, you and I stand on opposing sides. To remain friends, we become widows of words. We never discuss the wars that are raging. We don’t exchange political views, we do not allow graffiti.

I will grow up one day and know why you are now in Kuwait, in Pakistan, in the United Arab Emirates. I will walk in the wake of this fearful profession, watching friends become names of ink when they fall – fall onto newspapers about who you were and where you fell and how we plan to retaliate. We are a generation stained with the ink of newspapers and the confusion of good people becoming soldiers in a vicious decade of war.

These mechanics in Las Vegas, these soldiers in Djibouti, they are my friends. When they come home, they tell me a little about their day, and months later, I discover the rest – when a new war begins.

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2 Responses to “The Silence of Soldiers in War”

  1. purple harem September 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Beautiful poetic words amidst the chaos that encircles us. Wise words that ring truth and pain…
    We are in living the reality of an unspoken 3rd world war.
    An unnecessary war that was born out of manipulation, greed and oppression.
    One day all the veil of lies will be revealed.
    Soon enough we will reach the age of Inkari and our much needed and deserved Golden years.
    Until then, much awakening needs to occur. Awakening to the reality that none exists at all.
    The monopoly game and masquerade will soon fade…

    books to consider:
    The new Pearl Harbor
    By David Ray Griffin

  2. Tom September 13, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Brilliant! I particularly liked the descriptions of the “news room”. I’d love to see a short-story version of this.

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