I won’t rant. There are times when pain is too profound to even weep, but I admit that even this is not one of them.
I won’t go crazy about the idiotic announcement in the New York Times that contained additional unrelated ‘news’ s that turned the piece into one baffling and discordant jumble.
Nor will rattle on about the double-speak military spokesman Lt. Col. Stewart Upton was quoted as gurgling, or the chain of communication that led to a promise of ‘an apology’.
This is the time of the Taliban spring offensive, and someone called in some Taliban threats, some helicopters apparently responded. Maybe. Or were they drones? Accounts differ; it’s war, after all, and very foggy.
What we do seem to know is that ‘a mistake’ was made; one in which a bomb or bombs hit the ‘wrong house’ again, and a woman and five children were killed. Three girls and two boys.
We don’t know their ages, or what they loved to do in life, what they feared. Did the boys help tend the family sheep and goats up in the hills? Did they want to learn soccer and dream of becoming national heroes one day? Was their father still living, and did he tell them stories at night before they slept? Tales of cunning animals or legends of great bravery about their kinsmen?
Did the girls want to be like their mama, perhaps sing and weave and bake as she perhaps did so wonderfully well? Were they eager to grow up more quickly like so many children? Did the younger ones trail behind their elder sister out in the fields to watch the snowmelt coming down from the mountains, leaving flowers in its wake? Did they pick the flowers an take them home to mama, or perhaps stick them in their hair so they would feel beautiful? Did they love dressing up for weddings and village celebrations?
We may never know anything much about them save for the fact that their deaths were ‘a mistake’ by US forces. I can almost hope their husband and father was no longer alive; when a child dies, half a parent’s life often dies with them. Five gone? It doesn’t bear imagining.
But at least we can see this photo of two wee ones being held in a quilt while villagers look on in love and concern, as few of the men gaze in to the bed of the pickup where the other four bodiespresumably lie.
Yes, weep for them and their loved ones who treasured them and taught them; they will never see them grow up. At least we know they once lived and died. And even though the Times didn’t tell us so, we know that on the same May 5, 14 other civilians were killed and six others wounded in another ISAF airstrike in Badgis Province.
We may never discover anything about them, either: not their names, genders or dreams, nor whether the military admits their deaths were ‘mistakes’. Did any of them have any idea why ten and a half years of war had been rained down on them by the United States of America?
Light a candle for them please, in your hearts if not in fact. Perhaps you would them in your hearts for at least as long as Sweet Honey sings of children and our ancestors’ prayers and dreamings.
Love and treasure all the people you can; build community and share knowledge…and maybe some food you’ve prepared; nothing is more loving than that.
“For each child that’s born a morning star rises and sings to the universe…who we are…we are One.”