One of my earliest memories is of a decrepit, dusty blue Toyota pickup truck lazily rolling past our house. It was June 1991, and my family lived in N’Djamena, Chad. I was five.
The bed of this truck was spilling over with African men carrying rifles. In the middle of the truck bed, there was some sort of tower-like thing sticking up. Something tall and alien looking poking its head out above the gaggle of men in the back of the truck.
It was an anti-aircraft gun.
At first, I didn’t understand. I mean, I had seen a gun like that before when I went on a tour of a retired battleship from World War II. But what was this huge gun doing in the back of a truck? And what was it about how it looked that seemed so… wrong?