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Candian soldiers in Afghanistan 2006
Acrylic on masonite, 36 x 24 inches (2007)

This is the second in a series of paintings to honour our Canadian soldiers overseas in Afghanistan. My son is the soldier looking into the distance, on his second tour of duty at age 22. The painting depicts the transition of Canadian forces from Kabul to Khandahar. Many of the soldiers were now constructing and maintaining forward operating bases well within the known territory of the Taliban and their allies.

ISAF means International Security Assistance Force, the collective name for the full range of NATO forces involved in the Afghanistan conflict. We are the parents of such an ISAF soldier. And we along with uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, lovers and friends wish them a safe journey. Soldiers are intended to deal with the belligerents, but the war seems as endless as the wars before. The reasons for the fighting continue to go unresolved.

Without arguing the merits of the work by NATO generally, and Canada specifically, we fully support these women and men who stand in great personal danger to make a difference in the lives of the people of Afghanistan. However, we are disappointed that the current government of Canada has purposely confused support for Canadians soldiers overseas with support of the policies and practices that our soldiers are forced to endure. That is irresponsible.

Canadian soldiers originally used their green khaki combat uniforms, to distinguish them from the US forces. That seems a bit sinister somehow, almost suggesting the US forces (who assume the greater role and have suffered the most losses) are people not to be associated with! Perhaps it was more a matter of supply. The Canadians switched over to the desert colours gradually, often in bits and pieces. For awhile, soldiers wore desert colours but with green kit items such as flak vests, ammunition belts and such. This painting depicts that transition period.

This painting is now part of the permanent collection of the Canadian War Museum.

Please do not reproduce the images in this display.
Contact Douglas Laing Arts & Letters for further information.
P.O. Box 659, Winchester, Ontario. K0C 2K0   613-774-5180
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© 2012 Douglas Laing