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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Sergeant Fritz Lehmann comes home from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Due to lack of manpower, these assignments have been difficult. And now he is called back for a tour of duty in Afghanistan again, much to the chagrin of his wife, Helen. Back in Afghanistan, the tale of the magic man spreads through the troops. but Fritz regards it as one of those old wives' tales until the time he meets the magic man himself. The sergeant and his troops have been lost in a patrol and here begins his discovery of the culture of the perceived enemy.
David McDonald's "Enlightenment" is a story of war and how one man discovers the culture of his perceived enemy and in the process gets to understand them and their side of the conflict. I find the plot refreshing and it brings me to the point that not everything is black and white in any form of conflict. The author looks beyond the war being waged and focuses on the people who are directly involved in them. This is a short story that tries to remind us that in a situation of war, there is no bad guy and good guy. This is perhaps the tragedy of the situation. The author presents his thoughts without imposing them on the reader. The strength of the narrative lies in the way this provocative thought is presented with a subtlety that is perfectly restrained. After reading the story, my views about the war in Afghanistan have changed.