CNN sent a camera crew to film a family in Afghanistan selling their 9-year-old daughter to an old pedophile for $2000. The crew not only interviewed the family and knew that they were selling her to buy rice and flour, but they filmed the entire transaction–including the girl being dragged off while resisting and put in a car. The crew that works for a global network worth billions of dollars did not offer to buy the family food so they didn’t have to sell their daughter. They just watched a child being sold into some kind of sex slavery as a “wife.”
The cameras roll as the child applies makeup in preparation for her new “husband.” The father says he has “no choice” but to sell his daughter for food since the Taliban takeover dried up the humanitarian aid he was receiving. The cameras roll as an old man comes to collect his purchase and drags her away as she struggles. No one does anything. The child disappears into the Afghanistan desert as the voiceover says, “The child’s fate has been sealed.”
The full video is even worse. CNN finds other families who are selling their daughters as young as 4 years old; one 10-year-old says she will commit suicide rather than be forcefully wed to an old man. There are two glaring problems here.
What kind of father would even consider selling his helpless daughter to a pedophile for any reason? He should sell himself first if the situation is that dire. He should take his family and run to another country as a refugee and fall on the mercy of that country. He should die before selling his child to a pedophile. Yet, for some reason, the Afghan men don’t seem all that conflicted about it. “I’m ashamed,” says one with dry eyes and no visible stress. Is it the culture of misogyny that is to blame for this unthinkable “solution”? How can a man trade his daughter for a bag of rice? I’d rather starve and so would my daughter.
Why is CNN watching a kid being dragged away by a pedophile without doing something about it? Can they not scrape together a few thousand dollars to keep this from happening? If you save one child, at least you did something. The majority of the commenters agreed with me.
Intervention is not always the best thing to do, and it’s clear that our involvement in Afghanistan didn’t get us much more than a 20-year war and dead Americans. The second our troops were gone, the misogynistic horror show came roaring back at full speed. At some point, we have to recognize that no amount of foreign aid or Western intervention is going to stop the thousands of years of ingrained ways of life in Afghanistan that none of us can understand. Selling children is an unjust and terrible tradition. The fathers are the ones who bear the responsibility for stopping it. But for God’s sake, CNN, couldn’t you have set up a fund for the kids you found and saved a few? Would it have been that hard?
Watch the full video below.
The Biden surrender enabled the sale of this child.
When you live outside of Afghanistan, you have such a different life, lifestyle, and perspective than someone who lives inside Afghanistan.
I was born there but live here. Often in my days I have been a “perspective bridge” for those who are here to be able to understand those who are there.
Current events have once again changed perspectives for all of us.
Things you never think of if you live here instead of there.
For example a simple wheelbarrow.
We use a wheelbarrow for gardening and moving yard stuff from here to there. Afghans us a wheelbarrow to move their belongs and their family away from danger. Sometimes Afghans use a wheelbarrow to carry an injured or dying individual to the hospital. I haven’t seen those images for 20 years. My heart hurts.
I had to sign off social media Tuesday because I got so overwhelmed with the futility of the situation in Afghanistan. It just makes me relive two others waves of the destruction in Afghanistan. Wave one, the Russians invaded, and Wave two after 9-11. This is wave three.
Afghans in the last twenty years have gotten used to roads that are not damaged by warfare. If you look around the capital city prior to the Russians there were buildings of multiple levels (stories). Then warfare and they get flattened. Then rebuilt, then wave two. Destroyed and rebuilt. They are standing tall now. I saw one that looked seven or eight stories tall, but that won’t last long. Wave three is here.
Hospitals and schools and even a simple cafe have come and gone and come and gone and come and will be gone soon.
I’m beginning to think Afghanistan is also another simple item that we in the US take for granted. The doormat. We use it to wipe our feet as we come and go into our home. Afghans don’t have doormats because you remove your shoes when you enter a home. However, Afghanistan is the world’s doormat, because of different countries, governments, and politicians that wipe their feet on Afghanistan as they come and go for their own benefit.
I’m going to tell it from the woman’s viewpoint since that is what I know.
Afghan mothers send only their sons to school while having to tell their daughters they can no longer go. These are the same moms who may have had some schooling if they are under 20 years old or no schooling if the are older than that.
Afghan mothers have almost all buried at least one child.
Afghan women and men included rarely grow old. There is no thought or concept of retirement and social security and forget the whole idea of the “golden years.”
Afghan women do not celebrate wedding anniversaries. Most don’t celebrate birthdays either. Most women do not have a birth certificate unless they were born in the last 20 years in one of the larger cities.
Afghan mothers have to worry about where their children play outside not because of abductions (which can also happen) but because of land mines and other such devices.
Afghan daughters can be married off at any age. And by any age I mean extremely young like eight or nine. I have granddaughters older than that. Both love puppies and kittens and are no where near the age to be married.
Afghan women had just started driving again. Now that will be taken away. A woman will have to have a male family member escort with her if she gets into a car. She won’t even ask, “Can I drive?”
Afghan women will remain in their homes now, even shopping will be dangerous. One wrong move, the wind expose your hair, someone doesn’t think you scarf is appropriate in length or that you are not wearing your this or that the right way and you may never return home because you will be stoned immediately in the street. And we think covid quarantining is bad.
Afghan women do not get manicures, pedicures, and go to hair salons. They love those things. Some will even sneak and buy red nail polish only to wear it around the house for a few hours and then quickly get it taken off. You can’t be caught wearing that kind of thing.
Women do not gather in large groups because that will draw the wrong kind of attention. No girls nights, ladies conferences, or women’s ministry events where we take home a trinket that we don’t need.
Afghan women do not have family reunions. If they are in Afghanistan there are too many restrictions and security concerns. If you are “lucky” and live outside the country, then your family is never all in one place at a time. Sometimes continents away from one another.
Women will not work outside the home. Period. So no career goals or corporate dreams. Even if you just need to make a living because you are a widow, the answer will now be no. If you are a widow in Afghanistan you will be poor unless a family member will take you on as a second, third, or fourth wife. Yes prostitution will happen but only for a short while because if the man wakes up and feels guilty for his part in the event, he will simply kill you. No questions asked.
Afghan women have no place or organization or church or even the police department to go to if they experience a rape or domestic abuse. They simply endure it or die.
Afghan women have their babies at home often with no help. They die at home doing this too. No OB/GYN appointments or baby showers or even wrapping paper on a baby gift. We expect these things without a second thought.
Simple ideas like reading and writing and math. We are so spoiled.
Afghan women cook all their families food and clean their own homes and do their own yard work (farming). We are so lazy.
Afghan women stare. They have a stare that has no joy, no hope, no peace. I used to ask why no one smiles in my family photos of relatives. Prior to the 1980s it was because of a superstition that you should not look directly into a camera and smile because evil spirits will come to you. That same superstition says that you don’t say, “What a beautiful baby” because it will bring bad spirits to the baby. The list goes on. I’ve heard them all. I have never understood them but I realize that without Jesus, no one has joy, hope, or peace. Now, they stare because they have seen too much with their own eyes.
Even that is being taken away again. For brief time the face of women began to be shown. The younger women were braver and they would show their whole, and very beautiful faces. The older women would just show you their eyes. Piercing as they are, they would then look away quickly so as not to linger in a relationship with your eyes. When I was younger, all anyone knew about my birth country was the National Geographic edition that had the Afghan girl with the piercing green eyes on it. After 9-11 everyone knew where I was born. Now the eyes of the women will once again be hidden behind the traditional blue full body covering. It is easy not to have a relationship with someone when you can’t look them in the eye.
Giving a book to someone who can’t read is useless. Giving a promise to someone who doesn’t trust is useless.
Giving Jesus to someone who doesn’t know Him personally changes everything.
Waves of tears, and then so dry that I can’t cry anymore. Waves or rest and then energy. Waves of focus and then no focus. Waves of why’s and then why are we here again.
Waves are a Biblical symbol of instability.
Psalm 65:7 “Who stills the roaring seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.”
Psalm 107:29 “He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Oh how my heart hurts for both the American soldiers who died today and the Afghans that died trying to be free.
Oh how my heart would be tossed if not for the steady hand of God on my life.
Consider (suppose) it all joy, my brethren (believers in Christ Jesus), when you encounter various trials (find yourself surrounded by troubles and evil), knowing (personal experience) that the testing (what is genuine) of your faith (belief, trust) produces (to work out) endurance (patient waiting). And let endurance (patient waiting) have its perfect (completeness of Christian character) result (work/deed), so that you may be perfect (completeness of Christian character) and complete (in every part, sound, perfect, entire), lacking (fall short, be in need) nothing. But (contrast word) if (conditional statement) any of you lacks (fall short, be in need) wisdom (applying the Word of God to my life), let him ask (inquire) of God, who gives to all generously (sincerely) and (in addition) without reproach (insult, finding fault), and (in addition) it will be given (offer, put, place) to him. But (contrast word) he must ask in (properly positioned in) faith (in Jesus) without doubting (to distinguish, to judge, to hesitate, to waiver), for the one who doubts (to distinguish, to judge, to hesitate, to waiver)is like (similar to) the surf of the sea (waves), driven and tossed by the waves (instability and no control). For that man ought not to expect (imagine, suppose) that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded (two-minds, wavering) man, unstable (not stable) in all his ways (ways he conducts his life). James 1:2-8
I wrote this and then found out about the bombings in Afghanistan at the airport. I would add, Afghan women pack to go to the airport to catch a plane with their family and do not know if they will actually live long enough to make the flight.
Grace and peace to you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ! -Shahe Nahler
I am the author of six books. The first three of the books are about God changing me from my way to His way! Life is a process, people! A journey to walk out with God, and it’s always better when God is in you, and you have a relationship with Him. That way, His way, you never walk out your faith journey alone but with Him!
Knowing when to go to war and when to come home and claim victory or at least promise peace requires great wisdom. Solomon was David’s son because he notoriously stayed in his palace and seduced Bathsheba, the husband of an active-duty soldier. Later, David had to flee from his rebel son, Absalom.
When it came time to fight, David tried to lead, but his loyal troops would not let him. They knew that they could not afford for him to be killed. Joab seems to have had more wisdom in warfare. As a result Joab became a power in the court. He supported another prince to inherit David’s throne and Solomon’s supporters had to work fast to stop him.
Solomon understood the price of foolishness in war. One needed to know how to lead troops to battle and also how to bring them home again.
Many years later, after the ten northern tribes had seceded from Solomon’s dynasty, their king was threatened by the ruler of Syria. King Ahab tried to placate Ben-hadad, but he kept demanding more. Ahab convened the elders in the land and told them what was going on and they agreed it was time to refuse.
So he said to the messengers of Ben-hadad,
“Tell my lord the king, ‘All that you first demanded of your servant I will do, but this thing I cannot do.’”
And the messengers departed and brought him word again. Ben-hadad sent to him and said,
“The gods do so to me and more also, if the dust of Samaria shall suffice for handfuls for all the people who follow me.” And the king of Israel answered, “Tell him, ‘Let not him who straps on his armor boast himself as he who takes it off.’”
Ahab proved correct. Ben-hadad did not have the wisdom, despite superior forces, to “know how to go out or come in.” He over-estimated his advantage in trying to invade a foreign country.
Jesus himself mined the biblical theme when he preached parables about the need for Israel to repent before it was too late:
“Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”
Knowing when to fight and (at least as important) when not to do so, takes wisdom.
And how does one gain wisdom?
Proverbs isn’t like Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” or any other work on strategy. It is more basic than that. It is concerned about what kind of character you need to develop wisdom so that you can benefit from any lessons about strategy. You have to know that you need the insight of others but that there’s a difference between seeking counsel and seeking out those who tell you what you want to hear.
“Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.”Proverbs 20:18
“A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.”Proverbs 24:5–6 ESV
“A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.”Proverbs 26:28
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”Proverbs 27:6 ESV
If a ruler hasn’t come to grips with these basic truths, no manual on warfare will do him any good. If he isn’t accustomed to discerning between advice and flattery, between wise guidance and enemy kisses, then he won’t be able to accurately count the costs. His numbers will be the ones he is given on the basis of what he wants to hear.
This is how arrogance and wrong decisions breed incompetence. No one wants to admit that one’s deeds are leading to disaster, whether directly or through negligence. So one develops strategies for evading reality and rationalizing consequences as bad luck or as the fault of one’s political opponents. The consequences can grow gradually and, like a perverse version of progressive exercise, train you in stronger and stronger delusional skills until you are surprise by an obvious catastrophe.
Mark Horne has served as a pastor and worked as a writer. He is the author of The Victory According To Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel, Why Baptize Babies?,J. R. R. Tolkien, and Solomon Says: Directives for Young Men. He is the Executive Director of Logo Sapiens Communications and the writer for SolomonSays.net.
Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS@RepGosar · Aug 27 I’m demanding answers and accountability from @SecBlinken for canceling President Trump’s Contingency and Crisis Response Bureau, which was setup to protect Americans during the Afghanistan withdrawal
By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Friday, August 27, 2021 UPDATED
UPDATE AUG. 28 [probably meant the 27th] at 5 P.M. ET: Army Maj. Gen. William Taylor said at the Defense Department press briefing on Afghanistan Friday that there was only one suicide bombing attack in Kabul Thursday and not two, as previously reported.
“I can confirm for you that we do not believe that there was a second explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, that it was one suicide bomber. We are not sure how that report was provided incorrectly. But we do know, it’s not any surprise, that in the confusion of very dynamic events, like this, can cause information sometimes to become misreported,” Taylor said at the Pentagon.
As concerns grow over the Biden regime’s [in]ability to evacuate Americans ahead of the planned military [surrender to the Taliban in] Afghanistan, nonprofit organizations are working to assist U.S. citizens and Afghans seeking to flee the nation that’s been overrun by the Taliban.
With less than a week until the Aug. 31 deadline for withdrawal of remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the federal government is working to evacuate American citizens and Afghans who risk being tortured and executed by the Taliban, a terrorist organization.
The State Department reported Wednesday that no more than 1,500 American citizens seeking to leave Afghanistan remain there.
Efforts to bring American citizens and Afghans to safety continue after two explosions in Kabul killed 13 Marines and one Navy Corpsman on Thursday. The Department of Defense attributed the attacks to the terrorist group ISIS-K, a local affiliate of the terrorist group ISIS.
On “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Thursday, Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson profiled The Nazarene Fund, a charity founded by conservative radio host Glenn Beck, as one of a small number of groups that have “headed to Afghanistan and the region to help evacuate people who are trapped there because Biden just isn’t doing that very effectively.”
In an interview with Carlson, Beck elaborated on the progress his organization has made in evacuating American citizens and vulnerable Afghans from the country: “We have pulled out 5,100 people, Christians, women, children and put them on planes.”
Beck explained that the Nazarene Fund flies Afghan refugees to three nearby countries that requested to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation and terrorist attacks.
According to Beck, “The State Department has blocked us every step of the way. … The State Department and the White House have been the biggest problem.”
He also accused the State Department of putting about 500 refugees, primarily women and children, in harm’s way: “We had them inside of the airport today and one military official … ordered them to go back on the other side of the gate. I have pictures of them this morning pleading to get back through the gate and then I have pictures of blood and body parts and nothing but death in that same area. We believe that our State Department is directly responsible for what we believe were some of these people. I don’t know how many survived.”
“An ambassador was called in Macedonia last night and [was] told not to accept any of these people as we were trying to get them off of the tarmac here to keep the airport flowing and getting these Christians out,” he added.
Beck shared on his radio show earlier this week and with Carlson Thursday night that “Copeland Ministries has let me borrow their jet. … We’re going someplace else to open up two countries, and I don’t even want to say who they are because I’m afraid our State Department will call them and threaten them.”
Beck warned of the dangers Christians face in Afghanistan with the Taliban in control, noting that they “are marked not just for death but to be set on fire alive because they’re converted Christians.” He characterized the federal government’s actions regarding Afghan refugees as “out and out evil.”
As of Tuesday, the Nazarene Fund had raised more than $30 million. In an Instagram post, Beck stressed that “I am personally paying for my and my teams’ expenses with air travel courtesy of @copelandnetwork – all donated money goes to rescue those in Afghanistan and other persecuted Christians.”
Samaritan’s Purse, a charity led by evangelist Franklin Graham, has also joined the evacuation effort, working in partnership with “organizations on the ground” to help “desperate people fleeing Afghanistan.” In a statement released Monday, the nonprofit organization announced: “We have been able to sponsor flights that have brought hundreds to safety — one of our partners made three trips that brought out 700 people in one day! We have also supported the evacuation of 80 missionary families via land routes.”
In addition, Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team to the region to help evacuees once they flee the country. The organization is seeking “hygiene items” as well as “comfort items and compassionate care” for “traumatized children” and all “those who have fled with just the clothes on their backs.”
Samaritan’s Purse warned that the Taliban are “Islamic extremists” who are “poised to force Afghanistan back into a dark and brutal state where Christians, anyone who [has] associated with Americans, women, and others face severe persecution and death.”
The organization added that the leader of the underground church ministering to Christians in Afghanistan provided a “first-hand ground report” on the situation in the country, detailing how “The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to pursue and kill.”
During a press briefing with Thursday night hours after the terrorist attacks in Kabul, President Joe Biden confirmed that the U.S. has indeed given the Taliban a list of Afghan allies, and U.S. citizens and green card holders they want to be evacuated, a move that some defense experts fear will lead to the torture and execution of many Afghans.
As The Christian Post previously reported, Victor Marx, the CEO of the nonprofit organization All Things Possible, is working to bring an Afghan family of eight to the U.S.
Marx told CP that the family of converts to Christianity also belongs to “an ethnic tribe that is loathed by the Taliban.” He was first alerted to the family’s plight when the sister of the family’s matriarch, an Afghanistan native whose American husband once worked with him, left him a frantic voicemail asserting that they were in danger.
After Afghanistan fell under Taliban control Sunday, images revealed chaos, fear and desperation in the capital city of Kabul. Now Christians in Afghanistan urgently request prayers as they face threats of escalating violence and oppression.
What Christians in Afghanistan Face
Almost 20 years after 9/11, U.S. troops were finally on their way out of Afghanistan. Former President Trump initiated the withdrawal, with Joe Biden then setting August 31 as the target date. But with the Taliban on the offensive lately, Biden sent 6,000 U.S. troops back to assist with evacuations. On Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan, and the Taliban released video of victory celebrations in the presidential palace.
In scenes reminiscent of the 1975 fall of Saigon, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was shuttered, and U.S. citizens were evacuated. Before American troops took control of Kabul’s international airport Monday, panicked Afghans clung to a plane, with several falling to their deaths. After two decades of war, the Taliban are in power again.
“This is what betrayal looks like,” tweeted Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. Along with video of the airport chaos, he wrote that Afghans “won’t forget that this is what we did. And we shouldn’t either.”
Biden Roundly Criticized for Foreign-Policy Disaster
Politicians and reporters on both sides of the aisle say the Taliban’s swift takeover is a debacle for the Biden administration. In June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said a Taliban takeover wouldn’t “be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.” And on July 8, Biden said a takeover was “highly unlikely,” adding there would be “no circumstance [where] you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.”
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, calls the crisis “an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions.” He adds, “This is going to be a stain on this president and his presidency. And I think he’s going to have blood on his hands.”
Christian leaders, too, are pointing fingers at the president. The Rev. Albert Mohler, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president, writes, “Four American presidents, two from each party, a disaster that is now bipartisan, but a disaster that falls particularly on President Biden, because it is he who announced back earlier in the summer that Americans would proceed with a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
In Monday’s “Briefing,” Mohler also notes that America has “a larger moral responsibility” because thousands of Afghan citizens have been assisting U.S. forces. “Their lives are endangered by the Taliban, and if they are not rescued by the United States, we will have every reason to bear responsibility for the fact that they will be slaughtered by America’s enemies just as America leaves,” he writes.
Outreach editor-in-chief Ed Stetzer tweeted Monday: “I’m certainly biased, as I did not support @joebiden for president, I also acknowledge that the string of Afghanistan failures goes back two decades across multiple administrations But this moment belongs to Joe Biden, The world sees it. And ‘America is back’ rings hollow.”
Biden, who was criticized for staying at Camp David throughout the weekend, returned to the White House Monday and addressed the nation. Though he admits that events unfolded quicker than expected, Biden says, “I stand squarely behind my decision” to proceed with the troop-withdrawal agreement he “inherited.” The United States, the president says, must “lead with diplomacy” and advocate for human rights. Biden emphasizes that he’s not willing to risk more American lives when Afghan leaders flee and its military shows no zeal.
Christians in Afghanistan Feel ‘Thrown to the Wolves’
According to Open Doors, which ranks Afghanistan second on its “World Watch List” of nations that persecute Christians, the country “is already a brutal place for the Church.” In the nation of 38 million, the number of Christians isn’t known, partly because “it is impossible to live openly as a Christian” there.
Now Christians in Afghanistan face even more peril. In a video tweeted by Newsmax host Benny Johnson, a pastor who built Christian churches in Afghanistan tearfully warns that the Taliban will “exterminate” followers of Jesus. “Pray for the believers there,” the pastor says. “ Biden has thrown them to the wolves… Pray that they be strong.”
Mindy Belz, senior editor of World magazine, tweeted, “A person who works with house church networks in Afghanistan reports its leaders received letters last night from the #Taliban warning them that they know where they are and what they are doing. The leaders say they aren’t going anywhere. So it begins.”
Regarding those letters, worship leader Sean Feucht tweeted: “The rise of persecution is HERE. The church must PRAY ‘Peter was kept in prison: but prayer was made WITHOUT CEASING of the church unto God for him.’ Acts 12:5.”
Open Doors lists five prayer needs for the situation in Afghanistan:
Pray for an end to violence and death.
Pray for hungry people, that God will “provide them both physical and spiritual food to nourish their bodies and souls.”
Pray for the sick, especially for those affected by COVID-19.
Pray for people who are fleeing or displaced from their homes.
Pray for protection and peace for Christians in Afghanistan, that the Holy Spirit will “strengthen these secret believers in their inner being.”
Human Rights Concerns for Women and Girls
Ahead of an emergency United Nations session on Monday, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said he is “particularly concerned by accounts of mounting human rights violations against the women and girls of Afghanistan who fear a return to the darkest days.”
Although Taliban officials have promised that women will have more rights—and more access to education—this time around, residents are leery. Women are in hiding, and images of females are disappearing from public. According to reports, the Taliban is already going door to door, seeking retribution on Afghans who assisted U.S. forces.
Rev. Johnnie Moore, who serves on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, tweeted Sunday: “One group will suffer more than any other by the disaster we are witnessing in Afghanistan: women & girls God help them & please ‘experts’ save us all the platitudes [about] human rights after pleading to appease Iran & now this. There are no human rights to be had w/o security.”
Ed Stetzer also urged prayer for Afghans, tweeting: “When radical Islamists take over, so many suffer. Pray: -for persecuted Christians. -for women and girls who will lose their rights. -for other religious minorities who will be targeted. Such a heartbreaking moment.”
“Scars are a truly beautiful thing,” said Ret. Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the War in Afghanistan and Medal of Honor recipient, in a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
“This book started many, many years before I started writing it two years ago,” Carpenter said. “I was injured by an enemy hand grenade in Afghanistan in 2010. I spent three years recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. … And through that three years, I was forced to search for the silver linings during the long dark and painful nights and days in the hospital.”
Carpenter sought to write a book with broad appeal and expansive applicability.
“After leaving my three years at Walter Reed — and just having an amazing recovery thanks to the incredible staff there, my family, and so many loving and supporting people around the country — I immediately drove out of the gate of Walter Reed, and I drove down to Columbia, South Carolina, and moved into my small one-bedroom apartment there to start my freshman year at college,” recalled Carpenter. “I graduated from college December of 2017 and looking ahead and thinking about potentially starting a book, I just kept getting hung up before even starting because I didn’t want to write a book that only people that have served in the military or that have been to combat could understand. I wanted a book that transcended all boundaries and that anyone could pick up and not only understand but take lessons from.”
The centrality and universality of struggle to the human condition formed the perspective of his book, revealed Carpenter.
“All of these experiences over the years leading up to this book, at the time, they were just that — they were experiences, something that happened,” Carpenter remarked. “There was always the next therapy appointment, next surgery, next college exam, but with time and deep thought, those evolved into life lessons, which then evolved into perspective. And I think we can never have enough perspective. And so, I wrote this book from the angle of struggle because going through these events and these meet and greets, as I was thinking about how I wanted to write this book, people would always come up to me after these events and say, ‘Oh, well, I was never in the military, but,’ and then proceed to tell me their own version of struggle. So that was kind of a light bulb moment for me, like, ‘Oh, of course, I can write about struggle,’ because everyone — physically, mentally, or emotionally — can relate to struggle.”
Carpenter determined, “Struggle is that one common fiber throughout every single person on this Earth, and so, yes, [my book] has a chapter or two about Afghanistan and my injury to give context to my journey, but it’s so much more that. It’s primarily written from the blast on because, like I said, I wanted people to [connect with my story]. … They might have never spent three years in a hospital bed, but they know what pain is.”
Carpenter realized the value of the scars he developed from his injury and subsequent surgeries while trying to minimize their visibility with scar revision therapy.
“While I was at Walter Reed, I couldn’t rush my surgeries anymore than I was, so in between all of those therapy hours and surgeries, a lot of my doctors were addressing … some scars on my face, if I wanted to, I could just come by the clinic and do scar revision therapy,” recalled Carpenter. “At this point in my recovery … I hadn’t really had the deep thought to follow my hospital time and really realize the lessons that I had learned along the way, so I thought, ‘Okay. I’ll try some scar revision therapy.’ I go into the clinic, and not only is it extremely painful, but I come out and my face — I mean, I was unrecognizable. I was swollen. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror.”
“At that moment, I had a few epiphanies, one was: I’m trying to buffer out a scratch on a car that has been completely totaled,” quipped Carpenter. “Both my arms are skin grafted, my right one from — it doesn’t function right — so even if I didn’t have the scars, you would be able to [observe my injury]. I have skin grafts and scars from my wrists all the way to the top of my shoulder.”
Carpenter continued, “So there was that, but on a deeper level, I realized: why am I trying to do this when I’m going around the country and speaking to people and trying to share hope that it’s okay — physically, mentally, or emotionally — if you get injured and if you have scars. I kind of felt like a hypocrite almost.
“Scars are truly a beautiful thing,” declared Carpenter. “Yes, they can be a little ugly on the outside, but scars show that you’re a survivor, that you made it through something, and not only did you make it through, but now you’re stronger and wiser and more educated because of that tough time that you went through. It’s my favorite chapter in the book — Don’t Hide Your Scars, Chapter 13 — and this kind of realization how scars connect all of us and how struggle connects all of us.”
Carpenter was awarded the Medal of Honor for using his body as a shield to protect a fellow Marine from an enemy hand grenade. His Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
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