I have a child, I said, I have a little daughter. I want my daughter to grow up in a world, where she can travel all over the planet and walk the streets and meet the people and greet the people without having to fear that she would be killed for something that she has obviously not done, something that she hasn’t got anything more to do with than the people who would want to kill her (although she, contrary to me, has a talent, she can draw, paint, give form to the world, whereas I ... I can’t even draw a bomb, or a pig, not to mention the Prophet, I honestly don’t have the faintest idea what he looked like, was he tall and handsome like my father? or was he just a skinny control-freak like me? was his beard (he had a beard, didn’t he?) long like a curtain all the way to his waist, or was it rather the kind of beard that Mickey Rourke had in “9½” or “Barfly” (I mean, the Prophet made quite an impression on women, didn’t he? Somewhat of an attractor wasn’t he!)? And now we’re talking pigs, I don’t understand why people get so offended when compared to a pig, I like pigs, they are so intelligent, so human, and not any dirtier than the most humans. But I do understand the Muslims, really, I’d never eat a pig. They are too human. It’s the same thing. I wouldn’t eat the Prophet, would you.) I pointed the video-camera at them while I talked. This time I didn’t want them to have any chance of escape. I knew that what they wanted and what they had planned and what they thought they also would manage to do, was to escape out of this little piece of world history and go back in their little safety-black-box to make sweet and pretty and maybe sad-beautiful scenic representations of life in Afghanistan. But no. Mahmud was there too, my former favourite amongst the natives, Mahmud who had told me that he would go to France this Monday and so had absolutely no chance of being with me on my planned second and direct-into-Kabul-chaos walk although he “really would have loved to”. But I caught him. He hadn’t gone anywhere. And now he was sitting there in front of the camera besides pretty-boy Khalid and that mongolid Reza. You know, Mister Nielsen, he said, just two days ago this famous professor of mathematics who has his own Islamic institute here in Kabul announced that he and his people have started a hunger straik right out there on the other side of the street in the park, and they have been on the television the last two nights, and almost all people in Kabul know about them, and they won’t start eating until the government of Denmark has apologized for the cartoons, and they told the people two look for any foreigner here in Afghanistan, so, Mister Nielsen, said Mahmud, maybe it was okay for you to go the other day, because the other day there was only maybe 20 percent chance you would be killed, but today and the next days until the Danish government finally gives apologize there is 80 percent sure that you will be killed. - We made an appointment this last Sunday, I said, you gave me your words, Khalid and Reza, and pointed the camera at them and looked them straight into the eyes, you said you wanted to go with me and film me on my walk through your city. I want to be able to move freely in this world, and also here in Kabul, I don’t want some inferior professor or mullah or cartoonist to set the rules for my ability to move and live and speak in this world and in this city. In two hours the sun will be down and there will be no more light today, so in five minutes, I said, in five minutes I will raise up and take the flag and walk out of here, out into the streets of Kabul, and then we’ll see what will really happen, how the Afghan peoples will react, in reality and not in your imagination, not in the collective media stirred state of paranoid mind that we all are world citizen in, but in reality, and you will be free to come with me, but if you won’t follow me, I said, and not even from the safer position in the car, if no one is going to follow me, then also no one is going to know what really happened, if something is really going to happen, and no one will be able to tell, I need an eye from outside, I said, just an eye. I looked at them, and they looked down or to the side, and no one said a word, and for a moment there was only the distant buzzing of people and cars from the streets and the helicopters somewhere overhead. Okay, said Mahmud and nodded towards the two others, you asked them, he said, but if they don’t want to go, then I’ll go. Good, I said, and looked at the two others, so, I said, you wanna come with me? Okay, they said, okay. And off we went.
The plan was to walk the Darulaman Road past the enormous new blue Iranian mosque, through the roadside bazaar and southwards out of the city to the spectacular ruin of the palace at the foot of the mountains. But on the way out we were stopped by our Norwegian ally, no! he said and put down his veto, you’re not going that way, Mister Nielsen, that is the area where we live, where we are going to drive and walk everyday for a long time after you’ve gone, we are the ones who are going to pick up the pieces after you, Mister Nielsen, no way! So what did I do, where should I go? It was half past four, only one and a half hours before the dark of the sudden night. We got into the car and started driving, and our native driver took a turn to the right into an area where I had never been before, - here, our Norwegian ally, said, if you get out here you can start to walk, and if you follow the road to the left there is going to be shops and more people, but one thing, Mister Nielsen, he said and grabbed the mini-bus-mike and his voice sounded like a Big Brother cartoon, we’ll have the same rules as last Friday: If anything happens, he said, then we don’t know anything about you, we don’t know you, we’ll just get into the car, and off we go. Okay?! he said. - Okay, I said.
A sudden wind had risen over the plain, dust whirling in the narrow street, the sun just a pale coin over the ruins, I got out of the car and the wind grabbed the flag and unfolded it and almost carried me ahead in the side of the street between cars and mechanic workshops, fruit sellers carts and a roadside butcher standing between his bloody headless animals, not that many people, I thought as I greeted the staring butcher, and I had a vague feeling of being mislead, that our Norwegian ally maybe just had wanted to get rid of me, as I turned the corner, and once of a sudden I was in the middle of a chaotic bazaar, cars and carts and donkeys fruit sellers, old metal, meat, beggars burkas and men with dirty faces and dark beards in contemptuous staring two begging children had gotten hold of my right arm, hang on! and I turned to look for my camera man but