smiling in a war zone jul2005

smiling in a war zone

As an artist Simone has always been obsessed with female fighter pilots. These old ladies challenged her to become a pilot. She succeeded and so became one of the ‘Sisters in the Sky’, now she hopes Farial will join. She decides to look for a plane and buys the only one she can afford: a 40-year old ‘Donald Duck’ Piper-Colt made out of canvas.

Simone: “hings do look different from above, it becomes easier to navigate in life, when you have seen the larger picture.” She also states that, “since 9/11 the skies are occupied and they should again be liberated and free.”

On the way she visits an adventurous female fighter pilot squadron in Turkey seeking top tuned helpers for her mission. But problems loom: her tiny plane can fly only for 3 hours on a full tank and according to the manual it will never fly high enough to cross the Afghan mountains. Bosnia and Iran reject her request to fly over their countries and the Pentagon says that Afghanistan is a war zone and not open for pleasure flights.

After challenging every military authority she comes across, weeks of travelling, 50 hours in the air, 33 landings, and in the end, flying illegally into Afghanistan at nerve wrecking heights, Simone finally reaches Kabul and finds Farial. To Afghani standard she is a modern English speaking girl. Simone even manages to take Farial into the sky, but then there is the harsh landing into the reality of the 1000 year old Afghan family clan-society.