Friday, August 26, 2016

The Song of the Dead

Eisha Sarkar
International Writing Program 2016, The University of Iowa (USA)

The faces, the places
The many races
Speeches, lectures
Many campuses
Across the oceans
I travelled so far
A student, a learner
Of customs, habits
My two degrees
An exemplary record
I could have landed
A job in a law firm
Then came a call
From my 'home'
A tug at my heart
I returned to Kabul
A city in ruins
I gathered the pieces:
The detritus of war
I watched the young:
Eyes full of hope
Then came the desire
To rebuild a nation
My tool in hand:
A good education
And so I taught
Classes and classes
Building a nation
From its pieces
Then one day
I heard the 'crackers
A celebration of sorts,
I smiled and thought
I walked to the window
And saw those men
“This ain't the crackers,”
I told my students
They worried, they texted
The door pushed open
The students screamed
Entered a gunman
I tried to speak
He pulled the trigger
I fell down, 'twas all over
Twelve dead, they counted
An attack on education
In a disturbed nation
Don't mourn our deaths
I tell you, students
Pick up your pens
Open your minds
Build a strong nation.

How I created this piece:

On August 24, 2016, terrorists attacked the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) in Kabul. Desperate students used social media to ask for help. My friends lost a couple of very well-educated friends in those attacks. I created this piece based on the profiles of some of the people who were killed that night. The country needs to reconcile this tragedy and move ahead towards a stronger future.

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