Experience war through a soldier’s letter home.
War is war. No matter which side you’re on and what you’re fighting for. The experience is always the same. That’s what was running through my mind as I watched the following video by Australian soldier Tom Abood. The video, titled HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE (which is an Anglo-Norman phrase that can be translated to “Shamed be he who thinks evil of it”), placed third in the Australian Tropfest film competition.
In the short video (only five minutes long) Abood shares war through the eyes of a soldier. He shares his outlook on life, and everything the war has shown him. The video contains no violence. It’s simply a powerful video of a soldier talking.
Many soldiers are still fighting in Afghanistan, and six recently passed in a helicopter crash, the video is just a quick reminder of what our soldiers are experiencing mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Here’s a copy of the letter read in the film (in case you can’t watch the video for some reason).
Thanks for your letter. You and Dad look good. I’ll try to keep this short. You know how much I struggle with spelling. Tell auntie Cheryl thanks for the chocolates. The boy’s loved them, and they’re great for morale. Who would’ve thought that just over a year ago I couldn’t buy a round of beers for me mates but I could sign up to die for me country. Every day is a fucking Monday out here. Btu one thing I’ve learned is that I’m not fighting because I hate what’s in front of me. I’m fighting because I love what I left behind.
God I miss home. You always said I took shit for granted. And you were right. I miss the smell of eucalyptus in the bush. I miss the sound of the ocean. I miss the friendly faces of home. I’m out here trying to survive this war, but the locals they’re just trying to survive day to day. I remember as I kid I tried to pull sick out of school and you’d always make me go. These kids would do anything for just one day of school. I hear stories from other diggers. When we rip out of here that this place will change back to how it was. They say the Minister of Women has a hand in the brothels. And the Education Minister can’t read and write. It makes me think about our own politician. How many of their sons and daughters do you think are out here fighting among side us? They line their pockets while some diggers come back and they live in poverty. A lot of people hate what we do, and sometimes I do too. I keep reminding myself there’s a bigger picture. That’s why we’re here. Fighting for human rights. A wise man once said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past or present, are certain to miss the future.”
Mom, I know now it doesn’t really matter if you’re late for a meeting, if the restaurant gets your order wrong, or you get stuck in a traffic jam. We live in a beautiful country with limitless opportunity. We’re free to make our own way in this world without persecution and life-threatening danger. In the end, we’re all pretty fucking lucky.
When I finally get home, I’m going to take the time to live. Just breathe. Appreciate what so many have given their lives for. And try to let go of the memory of this eight month hell. I’ll be home soon. Maybe the nightmares will stop by then. I hope the nightmares stop. I love you.
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Photo: ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office/Wikipedia
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