Worst Things Are Free
The worst thing I have seen was when I was stationed in Afghanistan. We were on patrol on "Ring Road". (It's called Ring Road because it is a paved road that forms a giant ring around the country.) We arrived at a small city near Kunduz where a clear disturbance was taking place. My crew dismounted our MRAP and made contact with the citizens that were in a clear uproar and as the driver, I had to remain inside in case we had to leave quickly.
What I saw bothered me for quite a few years afterward. I saw a girl, a young girl but not younger than 13 or 14 get tied to a pole in the center of this small village. My Sgt and the interpreter were speaking to a person that I assumed to be the village elder or leader about the girl. During the interaction, my Sgt got angrier than I ever seen him before and he started to shout at the elder. The interpreter and two others in my crew pushed my Sgt back to the vehicle where he remained as the interpreter tried to smooth things over with the elder.
As the interpreter and elder spoke, I saw a woman throw a rock at the tied up girl which struck her in the side of the head. Of course, the girl screamed and tried to get free of the rope but she was tied tight. I kept asking my Sgt what was going on, but he only repeated "Bullshit... just bullshit!"
Person after person kept throwing big ass rocks at this girl but we were told by our Sgt that we needed to leave them alone. The small group surrounded the girl, continously throwing rocks until she was simply...there. She was covered in blood, her hair was a mess and she was slumped there, tied to that pole.
Everyone in my MRAP were in tears. All of us were grown as men, crying. While we continued the patrol, my Sgt told me that the girl was raped by a member of a neighboring village and her parents found out. They believed that she provoked the rapist into committing the act and per their religious beliefs, the village elders decided that she should be stoned to death. Her mother was the first woman that I saw throwing the first rock. We were strickly told by our Sgt Major that we were NOT supposed to interfere in their way of life thats why we couldn't act. My command staff were concerned that interference by us or the Germans (the government agency we were attached to at the time) would cause unwanted conflict.
Basically, we stood by and watched a girl get stoned to death. That still makes me shed tears time to time.