Scary movie, Kandahar

Sent: 11.23 AM March 20, 2002

Last night it snowed quite a bit. Cars and lawns and logs on the beach are all still nicely covered. The temperature is hovering around freezing, with a brisk wind out of the north. Does not feel like spring at all, except that the days are nice and long again. I have just 10 more days down here on the beach and then the next chapter of my life finally begins.
Perhaps it's the harshest view of human life I have ever seen portrayed on film. Or maybe it is just a cameraman's view of a harshness of life I have never seen in the flesh. It could have been far more devastating: it was filmed in the late spring or perhaps the early fall, so the weather was not aggressively killing people. And there were no waves of green or brown smells that I am sure are a major component of reality in these scenes.
They did not tell the whole story in the lecture they gave us before the film began - the story I heard after the movie is that the ONLY lovable character in the whole thing, the black American "doctor", was recognized by authorities after the film's release and arrested for a crime he had committed years ago in Washington DC, after which he had "fled" to Pakistan and Afghanistan to fight against the Russians, exactly as he stated in the movie: his crime in the "real world"? The murder of a diplomat. No idea if it's true or not, but it adds a lot of depth to the role.
Scenes of landmines disguised as pretty plastic dolls designed so the children will bring them home to blow up their houses. Someone I once knew very well actually designed those landmines. He had rationalized that they would never be used, but had lived to see them scattered across SE Asia. And now, here they are again. His were not dolls, they were shiny, colorful christmastree ornaments.
Scenes filmed in refugee camps filled with people with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Refugee families with nothing left but daughters, field hospitals filled with hoards of legless men running on rough wooden crutches. Mullahs teaching schools full of young boys to be militant soldiers of god, learning holy scriptures and weapons handling at the same time.
Best line in the movie "... they don't need doctors here, they need bakers"
©Joe Breskin March 2002
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