How can people treat others they don’t know so horribly when they have done absolutely nothing wrong? In this war, how do soldiers do what they do without feeling terrible about it after? Today I helped a woman with a baby she was carrying on her back. Her baby must have done something to catch one of the guard’s attention. I am not sure what but the guard was definitely not happy. I know this because his bulldog-face raised his gun to shoot her or at least threaten to. I have never been able to behave “morally” as an adult but in this setting I did, I keep asking myself how could I stand up for this woman and her baby when I can’t even stand up for myself. But I guess, most of the time it was some fatherly instinct I didn’t know I was capable of.
We left Afghanistan for good this time. I feel this sudden sadness. I don’t know how to explain the way I feel. I know I can’t do anything about the war, but I had to do something to help this woman. Before I saved her I was talking to Amir when the officer let us pass. He told me there is no shame in war, but what does he mean? I told Amir he had to be wrong. I told him he’s wrong. War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace. I knew Amir would follow the way I am. He always does; he is a follower, not a leader. I don’t want him to follow me, I don’t want him to be the way I am, I want him to be himself, not me. I’m not a good man. I can’t stand up for myself and no matter what happens to Amir I want him to be able to stand up for himself. I may look like I am a fighter but I am not. I do helpful things for others and I try to help myself as well. I built an orphanage and paid for Hassan’s surgery but I still do not consider myself a man. I only do those things so I keep my image.
I do love Amir, however sometimes I worry about him. I know he wants to study english, I am proud he is following that. He is a good writer, he could be if he tried. He can do anything he puts his mind to, he just has to try. I think about going to America and if it is the right decision but the Russians invaded Afghanistan and executions became common, Amir and I had to leave Afghanistan, the war was destroying our home and I didnt want Amir or I to be there when it got to our part of afghanistan. We’re in America now, in California. But it seems I misunderstood the “American way” ; it insults the status I am in at this point as I am working at a gas station, Amir and I aren’t in a high social status. Amir is adapting better than I am. Amir thinks about the good side of things. He is a glass half full kind of person. He thinks living in America is a way for him to start over and absolve himself from the sins against Hassan in Afghanistan.
I am glad I helped that Afghan woman because it proved to Amir and myself that if I can stand up for other people maybe I can stand up for myself. And now I am hoping Amir follows that example instead of the one I have set before then.
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