From a Hero to a Villain – Captain America

From a Hero to a Villain – Captain America

When I was 10,  my maternal grandfather  had a home near the Afghan border. When I used to visit him, I would hear loud blasts, which would shake the house and everything around. It used to scare me and  I used to ask my grandpa and he would tel me its the Soviets fighting the Mujaheddin. It seems the loud blasts were artillery shells or rocket fire.

The house is a few kilometters away from the Salala Mohmand agency, where recently, Americans from Afghanistan killed 24 Pakistani Soldiers.

From my books, I knew that the mujaheddin were the good guys. So obviously, the soviets must have been the bad guys, I thought. I used to have nightmares about the soviets invading and taking our house, and making us homeless and killing my grandfather and my uncles.

From Hollywood movies I understood that the US hated the soviets. Probably just as much as i did for shaking our house making that dreaded blasting sound. Somehow America and its people became my heroes. I thought that the red army was the satan and the only force that stood against them was America.

My schooling introduced me to American history and how they had struggled to create their nation. I read about their love for freedom and democracy. I learnt about their respect for individuality.

As I grew up, to my delight the soviet union was  soon defeated. Noting would be more enjoyable than the villain of my nightmares being removed from the face of the globe.

But no wait something went wrong. Something changed. The Hero of my dreams, the principled nation, which professed universal freedom and opportunity for all, and on whom I modeled my inspirations had slowly morphed into a monster.

When the US invaded Afghanistan they became of the same stock as the soviets. My nightmares had a change of character. Now the nightmare were of US soldiers paroling my deserted village. As far as I could see, the fields were doted with  US soldiers. And they were after me. I hide in a deserted house. But they search house by house and I could feel, any moment they would find me. I could see them coming heavily armored, all sorts of gadgets hanging on them, and every known firearm at their disposal. What would stop them from dragging me out and shooting me in the head??!

I have no where to run. I know, that I cant stay and I know, that I cant run. The feeling of helplessness, fear, sadness, powerless anger seem to be killing me.

Many years have passed now and I have come out of my childhood fears and anxieties. With new tools at my disposal, I now know how my view of the world was tinted. Now I know the world is not all Black and white. I now see grey as well. And I also know how to shed light on the grey.

Now I am father my self. My son, who is 8 yrs old, sometimes, sits with me to watch the news. When he sees Afghanistan,  and people speaking our language and they are bloodied and injured, he asks me, why the Americans are killing these people? I don’t have ans for him. He then sees the Taliban fighting the US soldiers and asks me, who the good guys are. I cant ans him. But if he is like me, when I was his age, then he will by default assume the US as invaders and the Taliban to be the liberators. I guess the hero of my childhood dreams would be his villain.

In this age of virtual games, my son feels he wants to become a soldier and I ask him Y. He says because he can help people. I dare not ask which people and against what.

I wonder if he will grow up to hold America in high regard as i did and wonder if it would be a source of inspiration for him as it was for me.   What do think?

The War industrialists like Bush, Cheney Prince and blackwater are the policy makers now and they finance the butchery of  innocent people around the Globe, for a mere petty profit.

As victims of the American War industrial complex, we wish a political change in the US, where by the good, common folks of the country have a more say in the American policies. I am sure they would want nothing better than putting their house in order and stop the war machine from unearthing the foundations of their country and of the rest of the world.

Tajwali Khan

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