As with so many attacks on “the West,” or “the invaders,” it is Afghan nationals who end up being the victims. Now, it appears it could be B.’s turn. He gets threatening phone calls. The other day, men on a motorcycle threw acid on him in the street.
As a frequent correspondent in Afghanistan, I found Ms. Badkhen’s details of how her life had become intertwined with that of B.’s family to be most touching.
"I know the details of his family's life intimately – the Friday visits to the mosque to maintain appearances, although most of the brothers are not particularly religious; the ceremonial holiday sacrifices of a goat, which then is divided between poorer neighbors; the marital arguments; the after-dinner dancing. At a certain point I stopped being a guest and became a member of the household, someone who is invited to help prepare savory bolani pancakes for the family of 30, who is allowed to do the dishes after dinner. B. and his brothers call me khuhar: sister. His mother calls me Anna diwana, dokhtar-e-man: crazy Anna, my daughter. When I last said good-bye to them, two weeks ago, they joked that they would leave the dishes in the sink until I return."
It’s staggering to think that America has been at war, continually, for a decade. It’s a given that there are risks involved in covering those wars, something that war correspondents like the Monitor's Scott Peterson know all too well. (See Scott's story yesterday on how divisions among Libyan rebels are growing.) But what is different about the past decade is the way in which governments have used the rhetoric of national security to clamp down on the press.