Detroit Poet in a War Zone M. L. Liebler Rides the Kabul Beat # 2
War is hell! Or at least trying to get to a war is. I left Detroit Thursday night at 10:00pm for Amsterdam. I had a brief layover there (no John Sinclair sightings at Schippol), and I caught a flight into Dubai. The place is beautiful from the sky at night. It’s known as the Las Vegas of The Middle East. Didn’t Michael Jackson buy a palace there once? I wish Detroit had some of this here oil and the windfall money it leaves in its wake. We’d be living the high life in Motown. I guess the trade off for all that black gold is that it was 100 degrees when I landed at 11:00pm Friday May 4th.
The flight pattern into Dubai was a bit surreal as we flew right down through the heart of the Middle East . At one point I noticed on the plane’s map that Baghdad was on my right and Tehran on my left with the once fought over Kuwait straight away. We flew in over The Persian Gulf and landed smoothly in Dubai. My flight to Kabul was quite late at 3:30am. After a Costa Coffee in the fancy schmancy Disney World mall-airport, I boarded my flight to Kabul. Traveling over the snow capped mountains of southern Afghanistan, “Lose Yourself” came on my iPod. It felt right to have a little Em with me from the D landing in the K.
I arrived in the capital city about 6:30am Saturday May 5th local time (Afghanistan is 8 ½ hour ahead of Detroit). After waiting for luggage in an airport about the size of Cheyenne, WY, I was met by a State Department Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer. As we drove from the airport to the Embassy Compound, the streets were packed with cars, tanks, jeeps, soldiers, and people heading to work on their first day of the week, and some of us thought Saturdays were for running around to used CD stores. Everything looked like a typical city until I glanced out the armored car’s window to see a man riding shotgun in a donkey cart down the middle of Massoud Road (their Woodward-only it’s the width of the alley we use for our annual Dally).
At the Embassy, I was taken to my hooch to sleep. Before dozing off, I noticed my first cultural stop tomorrow on the tour is with the Afghan Women’s Writers Project that novelist Masha Hamilton started around 2009. I’ll spend several hours with them writing, talking and growing as writers. I’ll give a full report after. I notice my Detroit poet friend Suzanne Scarfone has spent some online time working with this legendary group of women writers. Check out their website and get to know these very brave women who have discovered that writing can save lives and change the world for the better. http://awwproject.org/