“If the commercials are true and Disneyland is truly the happiest place on earth, and if everything in life must have an opposite, then the saddest place on earth must be Afghanistan. I once heard it described as the dark side of the moon, but with mines”
-Rob Semrau, Author of The Taliban Don’t Wave
A story of Bravery, Courage and Friendship - The Taliban Don't Wave
by Solange Nicholson - AJC Media Group
The war in Afghanistan – Could there possibly be a “bright” side to a book about the brutal realities on the front lines of the Afghan conflict? The Taliban Don’t Wave (Wiley & Sons; September 2012) by former Canadian soldier Rob Semrau, is a raw first-hand account that depicts the true nature of war. Amongst the violence and sometime graphic combat stories however, are unforgettable moments of courage, bravery and true friendship.
There is incredible bravery when soldiers selflessly put their lives at risk to save a group of children playing on a haystack planted with IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device).
There is unwavering courage when a group of Canadian soldiers run outside during an enemy mortar attack to try and save wounded Afghan National Army soldiers.
And throughout the book, there are countless moments of true friendship and even levity in the face of combat between soldiers that live, fight and die together.
The author of Taliban Don’t Wave, Captain Rob Semrau, made international headlines when he was arrested for the alleged mercy killing of a grievously wounded Taliban soldier in the field. In the ensuing court martial, he was found not guilty of murder but guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer, demoted in rank, and dismissed from the military.
Rob Semrau chose not to use his notoriety to sell a tell-all book about the alleged incident that led to his dismissal. Instead, he chose to channel his energy into a book that would present the bigger picture to Canadians so they get a better understanding of the actual conditions the Canadian Forces operate in daily. He hopes his book will also help in preparing troops before they go into battle and give them background on the support they need when they return to civilian life.
After reading The Taliban Don’t Wave, you won’t see a “bright side” to the War in Afghanistan. There is no silver lining. You will however, find compelling stories about amazing people and unforgettable character defining moments - Stories about the bravery, courage and friendship amongst soldiers. As Rob Semrau himself puts it, the “Canadian Forces is made up of the best men and women that Canada has to offer, and I am incredibly proud to say there was a time when I was in charge of its soldiers.”