ordinary people doing extraordinary things

Rotary in Dundee
Rotary Club of Abertay meet Monday at 6pm Woodlands Hotel Broughty Ferry Dundee DD5 2QL abertay.rotary1010.org
Rotary Club of Discovery meet Friday at 7:30am DUSA University Campus Perth Road discovery.rotary1010.org
Rotary Club of Dundee meet Thursday at 12:45pm Invercarse Hotel Perth Road DD2 1PG dundee.rotary1010.org
Rotary Club of Monifieth meet Wednesday at 6pm The Grange Golf Club Tay Street Monifieth monifieth.rotary1010.org
Rotary Club of Claverhouse meet Tuesday at 6pm Queens Hotel Nethergate Dundee claverhouse.rotary1010.org
The Eyes of War
The eyes of war. This story was inspired by Steve McCurry’s 1984 photographic portrait; “Afghan Girl”, which later appeared on the June 1985 cover of National Geographic.  I walk through the barren landscape, through the country that had its heart ripped out by war and its soul destroyed by the shells. Here I am in Afghanistan; “the land of the Pashtuns”, the very people who now wander aimlessly around their nation’s hollowed carcass. Now, with my camera around my neck and tripod in hand, I weave through the seemingly infinite sea of tents, the neverending current of sorrow visible in the faded multi-coloured patchworks and quilts that barely shelter their impoverished occupants. This sorrow is etched into the lines of an ageing mother’s face and is unmistakeably clear in the once bright eyes of a child. This is what I am here to document, to capture the poignant emotions of these refugee camps, to bring the world’s attention and sympathy to these people. They are simply people, nothing more and nothing less, not just numbers on a page or pictures in a newspaper. They are individuals with distinctive identities, families and stories which I want to tell.  I arrive at my destination: a building albeit very different to its surrounding shelters, but as equally decrepit all the same. This can’t be it, I think. This couldn’t be the school. But it is. 7ft grey walls descend into the cloudless blue sky, dull bricks where there is dazzling sunlight, hope where there is no hope. Education where there is no future. Shattered glass like the souls destroyed by the savagery of the war. In the very place where there should be a door, there is only an empty frame, no pathway to another life, no escape from the perpetual agony, the camp between safety and war as purgatory is between heaven and hell. It is an agonizing form of torture, not death or flesh-ripping bombs, but simply nothing. In between. They are in a haven but they are not. They are suffering but still might believe that light awaits ahead, just out of their reach but also within their grasp. This form of torture is indifference. This indifference I also see staring at me, emanating from a young girl standing outside the building that is an epitome of despair.  The girl could not have been more than 12 years old, but her face told the stories that only a war could write. Her face is the parchment of tragedy, the ink is the blood shed by countless victims of explosives, the blood that she saw erupting from friends, family, strangers. Her olive brown skin is the barren desert, the desolate landscape from which she escaped, the rough sands and grains now the prominent scar on her nose, the scar of loss. A carnelian red headscarf is wrapped around her head, a nest of chocolate brown hair peeking through the top. But her eyes tell me the main plot of her story; they are startling but captivating; emeralds glinting in a dark abyss. They are the paradise just beyond the arid desert, the ocean glinting in the distance. They are hope. In the girl’s eyes, there is a depth which one would not usually see in a person; the experience and realism of an adult with the soulful innocence that only a child could possess.  Now I raise my camera to capture her photo, her essence, she raises her hands up to cover her face with her headscarf. Shyness and embarrassment. She doesn’t want me to take her picture. I look down at the ground, disheartened but when I look up at her again, her entire demeanour has changed. The girl has undergone a godly metamorphosis; any embarrassment or shyness has evaporated from her eyes; only a raging fire is left. Her gazing at me with that fierce intensity almost seems to be an act of defiance, a small feat of rebellion. Once again, I raise my camera to take her picture. Afghan Girl. By Mia Kellner