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Independence Day April 28, 2006

Posted by Linda Barnes in Afghanistan.
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Every morning at around 6:00 a bevy of helicopters, thrashing against the early morning quiet, flap over our residence…there are about 8 of them…it is a chilling noise. I have become quite accustom to their arrival and watched as they slowly glide into a distant two-by-two formation and veer off to some destination north of Kabul.

Yesterday morning was Independence Day in Afghanistan so the usual flap of helicopter blades was accompanied by the thunder of cannons and other miscellaneous weaponry. I wondered, having read some Afghanistan history, exactly what Afghans were becoming “independent” from. They have been continuously trodden over by foreign powers for almost as long as history has been recorded, but colonized…not. One of my Afghan colleagues said Independence Day has been celebrated for about a dozen or more years (her memory of it anyway). This coincides with the Afghans finally forcing the Russians out after their 20 odd years of misadventure in Afghanistan through the 1980 and 90s.

Otherwise the weather has turned very warm and my nasturtiums have awakened to life in Kabul (I have never seen any nasturtiums here). The “green fuzz” referred to in my earlier rumination has now leafed out. I realize now that there is actually green throughout the summer in Kabul…it just gets covered with increasingly thick layers of dust giving the overall impression of Kabul being a dull green/grey terrain.Kite2.jpg

I have been very hospital/office bound this trip and am looking forward to connecting with midwives this week at the Afghan Midwives Association Congress. I have been promised a trip outside Kabul to visit one of the Community Midwife Education (CME) programs. I will be leaving mid-May to return in July-August.

I wonder why “independence days” seem always to be about guns and military posturing. It was a pleasure yesterday afternoon, after all the cannons and marching before dignitaries had ceased, to see the flutter of kites filling the Kabul sky….”Kite Day”…. wouldn’t that be a novel national holiday..Kites1.jpgkites3.jpg

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