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Monday, July 29, 2013

The war child

His image is completely silent glance and could be one of the 25 or 30 million people-one knows the exact figure, there is no population census-living in Afghanistan. But speaks broken some Spanish phrases: "Hello", "How are you?", "What's your name?" He says with good pronunciation.And is visibly excited when he mentioned a name: the Spanish journalist Jorge Melgarejo. Or "Mr. George", as he calls it. Rahmatullah Azimi traveled to Spain 27 years ago, in 1986, barely a meter from the ground up and not know where he wore. "Some guys came to school and asked if I wanted medical treatment," he says. Can not remember if you answered yes or no, but after three months he was informed that his passport was being processed and met such a "Mr. George", who later became his guardian angel. "I did not want to go," admits Rahmatullah. But the city of Peshawar, where he lived with his family as a refugee in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border, traveled to Karachi, in the southeast of the country. From there to Rome. And finally landed in Madrid. Rahmatullah is a child of war . But not of those who went to the Soviet Union when the Civil War raged Spain, but those who traveled to Spain when the Soviet Union was destroying Afghanistan. It was the eighties.After almost half a century, history repeated itself. "I Was severely wounded in a bombing near Jalalabad" Rahmatullah said in reference to that city in eastern Afghanistan. He suffered damage to the spinal cord and in fits and starts walking . Soviet troops combed the rural areas looking for mujahedeen, Afghans took up arms against the invasion of the USSR, and received economic and military aid from the United States. Afghanistan became a battleground of the Cold War. "We landed at night," Rahmatullah recalls his arrival in the Spanish capital."The early days were spent at the home of Mr. George and his wife Anna," he adds. He was not alone. In all there were five children. All and all disabled Afghans. After already started medical treatment, enrolled him in school, he began studying Spanish, and went to live with Mr. Lorenzo, a friend of Mr. George, who had a son and three daughters. " I remember going to the pool , and watch bullfights on television, "said Rahmatullah. "And also to receive lots of love". Until eight months took him back to his family, to the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. Jorge Melgarejo traveled multiple times to Afghanistan in the eighties to report on the war. Always crossed the border clandestinely, accompanying the Mujahideen factions, and saw with his own eyes the Soviet troops atrocities committed against the Afghan people. His book Afghanistan, chronicles a war correspondent (Intermediate Publishers, 2002) is an example of this. Reading it makes my hair stand on end. "What of 'Chronicles of a war correspondent' was the brainchild of publisher" Melgarejo clear, tried to play down his experience. In the same way that speaks of his "children", as if it were the most normal thing in the world to put a child on a plane to take him to Spain to receive medical care. Melgarejo helped dozens of Afghan children , most mutilated by landmines , but they all lost track after taking them back to Pakistan.Rahmatullah is the exception. Rahmatullah is now 33, married, and life smiles: runs several businesses in Afghanistan and even want to get into politics. "To change my country, for peace," he argues. After his return from Madrid, only returned to reunite with Mr. Jorge a couple of times. Since then, he has not heard from Spain, not even know if the country has troops in Afghanistan, but said that, stop it, Spain is special. The help was not in vain. It changed my life.

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