Afghanistan, 2002 - Linda Panetta / Optical Realities
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Afghanistan (Panetta)

Ehsanullah Nasrullah, who is eight, thoroughly enjoyed attending school. In fact, he excelled so well that he was many grades ahead of the other children his age. One morning Nasrullah and his cousin, Nabile, were running late for class. As they scurried to school, Nabile’s attention was drawn to a small
yellow canister. Thinking it was one of the yellow cans of biscuits/rations that the US had dropped, he picked it up.
Without warning the can began to smoke. Unaware of its deadly contents, Nabile threw it into the air-in the direction of Nasrullah. The canister detonated, sending shrapnel in all directions, tearing flesh from the bodies of the two young boys. Nasrullah’s wounds were nearly fatal; so severe, in fact, that doctors wanted to amputate his two legs as well as an arm.

When asked what his life was like before the explosion, he promptly and assertively responded “Perfect!” But all has changed for Nasrullah and his family. They struggle to pay the exorbitant cost of his ongoing care. Nasrullah describes the pain comparable to loud bells ringing in his head. With some scars visible on his face, it seemed plausible that the pain is due in part to the shrapnel from the bomblet, but one glance into the eyes of this inspiring little boy and his mental afflictions are clearly dramatized. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, his face lights up as he responds: “The President! ... so I can bring peace to my country."

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