Like New Year's, you start to reflect on the things you normally never think about. It's no different for now, at least for me. Suppose I don't come back, have I arranged everything sufficiently? Do the right people know what to do if things go wrong unexpectedly?
Of course I am a very tough soldier who continues where others stop, neatly as the Ministry of Defence wishes. But at the same time I am also Arjan, someone who leaves friends and family behind. Some people ask me why on earth I go to an area like that....
But unlike many people, I notice that terrorism is still lurking. Someone will have to stand up for others and work to make the world a little bit safer. Whether I can make that happen? No idea. My contribution in Afghanistan will be mainly to make sure that if someone who is working for peace is unexpectedly wounded, he or she is transported as well and as quickly as possible and receives the highest possible level of care.
Apart from all that, at exactly 7 days before quarantine...with a bottle of wine, the emotions also come a little. Perhaps that's also the fine thing about alcohol, you can't get your head around slowing down and rationalizing everything.
2012, farewell family and friends at
Eindhoven military airport.
After my last post on my website, I received quite a lot of responses via Facebook and Instagram. Some very simple, others with pretty good questions and discussions. I hope I can take the time to answer them in the coming months as well. Know that I will do my best anyway.
Personally, I notice that I am a little more emotional than average this week. Something, by the way, that is a normal part of a farewell process for the area I am going to. Stereotype within Defence is to shout that this is "gay". But fuck that, cause I am! And I just accept that feeling and emotion is part of it. I am going to an area where almost no one would go on vacation voluntarily... but I hope that COVID will soon decrease and everyone can enjoy the summer and freedom. Because at the same time, I do feel a little guilty, somewhere, for leaving everyone behind in that misery.
That doesn't mean that COVID makes it easier in a country like Afghanistan, but I can only really tell you about that when I'm there. It also prevails in Afghanistan and has its impact. However, until I am there I can only tell you what I expect...and these are not facts.
- Arjan -
Blackhawk MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) helicopter