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The art of privately patrolling – the axis of evil

kabul sydby

ART tekst for a microglobal-performance:

When all grounds of any interest are owned, controlled and lined up, the skies got to stay open. To manifest the freedom of anyone, to fly anywhere at any time, even after 9/11, this art project took off from a farmer’s grass strip in Denmark, at the 4th of September, 2002.

It was a test if you can cross borders, flying VFR, with map in hand, looking out of the side-window, following rivers, roads and valleys along the border of Iraq right into Iran; crossing it and pursuing on a mission to reach Kabul, Afghanistan.

To obtain the necessary permissions and manage as an individual to process the massive amounts of red tape, combined with such an operation, claiming anyone’s right to the sky.

That was ten years after Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz had published the first draft of “Space power theory”. A document describing how air power can be used to control the grounds and how power in space, can control the air.

“Full spectrum dominance” is a key issue in this paper.

Interest for further space exploration was low in the rest of the world at that time, when the Soviet Union had collapsed. Since no other country took up the challenge in significant space exploration, this established USA as the only dominating power on the planet.

By controlling satellites and air space around the globe, the force of USA is now greater than of all other countries in the world put together.

So far instant attacks on individuals have been carried out by unmanned planes, ”drones”, and borders no longer matter, like the attack in Yemen, against al-Qaeda leaders, 2003. When riding calmly in a jeep across the desert they were under surveillance, tracked and targeted.

Out of nowhere a missile turned their vehicle into flames.

The attack on Iraq showed it even more clearly.

The missiles hitting top targets in Baghdad were delivered by B-2.

When taking off from Arizona, they do so solely on order by the president. Stealth invisible to radar, these planes are air refueled and transverse the globe at superdupersonic speed. When they reach target area, firing their missiles, we are observing an embryo of a punishing God.

This instant fire from an empty sky, hints towards the perspective of full spectrum dominance and the capability of taking out any target, anywhere at any time, no matter what.

A task obviously not fully understood, nor challenged in a Europe. The only competition flagged by China and Beijing’s declared will to reach the moon and a Russian hope to cling on to, what was once a race, but now is an established fact of domination of space-research and strike capability.

Far eastern Iran, in the holy city of Mashad close to the Afghan border, we sat, stuck.

Three months on our way, and the Americans controlling Afghan air space, denying us entrance. Last words from the US Major on a hissing phone to Qatar:

“Sorry to say Ma’m, but if you cross that line, you are a target. I repeat target.”

Click! Phone hung up.

Time passed well by noon before we finally entered our forty-year-old little two-seater and wiggled out over deserted lands, once the route of silk caravans.

There in the sand, lay a line, clearly visible from 7500 feet. It was the Afghan border.

Goodbye and good luck from Iranian air defense radar control was seventeen minutes ago.

It didn’t take long before the radio started to spark:

“This is area control. Aircraft conflicting the line, heading one, two, four. Identify!”

Like an invisible voice from the sky, the ever-patrolling AWACS high up there somewhere, spotted us immediately.

But we did succeed in penetrating American fortress Afghanistan.

And they exercised the other side of domination – mercy.

That is pretty divine.

Kabul, on a mission amongst ruins to find a girl. Not any girl, a certain girl, Farial, a 17-year-old with the outspoken dream of becoming a fighter pilot.

She told so to a Danish journalist, one of those hectic January days when reporters paid thousands of dollars to be driven around, asking women to unveil and shyly look out of their burkas.

Simone read about that dream one grayish winter day over a cappuccino in her morning café. The article was electric to her.

After the project ”Sisters in the sky”, about how women went into the field of military pilotry during WWII, a link was there. Clear to her, meaningless to others.

To reach her, to teach her to fly, to let the controls to her over the ruins of Kabul, would make a wish for the skies come true. And make a micro global performance of aero feministic action take place; smack in the middle of a full spectrum dominated war zone.

This could only happen by building a cross border, cross time, sisterhood in the sky, using the technique of the full total involvement.

That is, to personally perform the task and persistently telling and retelling your story.

By carrying the stories from old American ladies and bringing courage from flying sisters along route, like the Turkish female fighter pilots of today.

To convince any obstructing official of the necessity for open skies, letting everyone who wants to, become a pillar in this imaginary bridge in the sky.

The Tintinism and postcolonial flair, a flirting bonus for fun.

Day 100  after take off, finally treading the potholed streets of Kabul. This city of millions with areas totally shelled out, no addresses, no telephones and no electricity.

Now the reporters are gone, the burkas on.

Farial still in school, now teaching the English she learned less than a year ago.

We found her.

Farial facing this sister hood of flying women was quite hesitant. She now more bound to deny her dream. Out of fear or changed interest, impossible to determine.

We, a metaphor on how the west throws itself upon any prey in need to satisfy this thirst for righteous “good-willing”.

Farial is tough, Afghanistan is harsh. Simone is determined. Cultural negotiation begins for real.

A Pashto clan leader helped as an intermediary.

Letters signed by ministers from Aviation and Defense Department provided security. Cooperation with controlling Turkish forces made the actual flying possible.

Slowly Simone and Farial could define themselves, now sharing the same dream. It took a month to do.

No more men, mothers or officials in their way.

They met on the ground, found a platform, made it closer to the plane.

Well in the cockpit, Farial’s fear diminished and pure joy and fascination took over. Now her training really began and soon the family supported it too.

Farial finally took off. She steered the airplane out over Kabul. She smiled, threw up, wiped off, laughed and flew on. The skies reclaimed, for anyone, anywhere at any time. No matter what.


Simone Aaberg Kærn / Magnus Bejmar

magnus bejmar

Born 1965, Sweden. Radio and TV journalist, has also worked as a director and writer for the theatre. “Smiling in a War Zone” is his debut as a documentary film director.

Contact Magnus Bejmar : at magnus.bejmar(at)