Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The images of Afghanistan in Italian class

Just a few days ago our Italian teacher explained that the next class when we have grammar we will study conditional sentences, and she brought some examples.Then she asked the students to give some examples with conditional sentences; almost no one was able to make good sentences, as they had not studied it before, but at least it gave us something to think about.

I went out of the class for a while to think. Then I thought, if my country was safe, what I would be doing now? If I were safe back in Kabul how great would it be then? If there was no more threats, how peaceful and joyful the life would be there? If people were not killed any more how sweet life would be then; if it was secure there, how happy the people would be there? If …… if……. if……..if ……….if …………and many more IFs came to mind, but all related to Afghanistan and its situation.

Fallen into deep thought, I was physically present, but mentally and spiritually I was not in the class. My turn came and the teacher asked me to make a sentence with “if.”

Every one was waiting to hear my sentence. For a while I was not sure what to say, because I had not read it before. On the other hand I was out of the class mentally, so I just took the Italian newspaper that I had in my hand at looked at the pictures. There were pictures on the first page, but I turned the pages to find some more. I saw the image of NATO soldiers patrolling in one of the provinces of Afghanistan and I made my sentence.

“If they leave our country, soon there will be no peace”

“Se loro laciano il nostro paese presto, non ci sara pace”

I could not make this sentence properly but mixed it with English. The teacher corrected it and asked me to make another one. Everyone wondered what I meant, and the students around me rushed to look the picture.

Then I looked for other images in the newspaper and saw there was an image of a Ballistic Missile being carried by a Military crane in a parade, I am not sure where it was, but I made my next sentence:

“ If there were not weapons the world would be safer.”

“Se non ci fossero piu armi il monde sarebbe salvo.”

This time again, the teacher corrected my sentence then turned to another student.

After two or three students when my turn came again, I wanted to see the newspaper again and use some images as examples.

This time the teacher told me not to use it, but use an example outside of the newspaper.
Okay maestra! I said, and started to think a bit. Then I made my other sentence:
“If there were no wars in the world, all humans would live peacefully and equally”

And the teacher corrected my sentence like this: Se no ci fassero guerre nel mondo, tutti gli uomani potrebbero vivere felicemente e equamente

Other students again took their turns, but when mine came again, I said:

“If there were not dangers and threats for me in my country, I would not be here today to speak with you in Italian.”

“Se non ci fossero pericoli e minacce per me nel mio paese, io no sarei qui oggi a parlare con voi in Italiano”

With this sentence every one laughed at me except the teacher, instead I could easily notice a tear in the eyes of the teacher, but she did not want to expose it. Instead she smiled and I knew exactly that she pretends to smile, but she has clearly understood what was going on in the mind of a person escaped from a land of wars and death threats.

And she told me to go out and wash my face. “Amin, go and wash your face and come back. Today you made all of your sentences with sad words and sad objects. Think of some other things too.”

Although she said these sentences happily and pretended to be happy, I could understand from her face what she felt after hearing all these words related to war and destruction, because all of my sentences were all about peace and war, crises, weapons, threats, and life and death as if I had just nothing else in my mind except these kinds of words.

At the end the class when every one left the class the teacher told me to wait, and I waited then she turned on the computer and told me to show her my homeland. I went to Google images and typed Kabul- Afghanistan. Many images appeared and she was looking at them very carefully and anxiously. I had to leave for another class.

The next day when I came to class I saw some photos of Kabul on the teacher’s desk. I think the pervious day she had printed them after I left.

That was how she found out about Afghanistan-- through some words and some images.

Edited and Photo by Robert Maier

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