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Coyote Part 19 'Salvation'

Updated on August 12, 2017
lawrence01 profile image

Action adventure are my favourites. especially if we can tell 'part of the truth' and these hubs are based on real people.

From the Author

Just wanted to say 'Welcome back"
Just wanted to say 'Welcome back" | Source

Before we begin

We've been following the life of a friend of mine who tried once to escape the clutches of one whom the world at the time said was an evil dictator, one that the USA would later call "part of the Axis of evil".

In the story we've got to the point where the Western friends that Samir and many others worked for had to leave, but we left them with little, if any hope of rescue, all they had was each other, and even though they were of different faiths, they came together and worked together to try and make the best of the situation.

Join me now as we take a look at what happened next.


When all else fails PRAY

Winter was fast approaching, there was already snow on the high mountain passes, pretty soon all the passes would be impossible to get through.

Friday is normally the day off in Iraq, it's known as “Yawn

“Yawm ijuma” or 'the day of meeting’ as it's the day to go to the mosque.

Of Op Mercy's workers, Luka had been the most religious, but working with the westerners, he'd seen things that had made him want to find out more about what they believed, they'd really lived out their faith, now, hed still call himself a Muslim, he'd talked it over many times with Tariq and Mr James, Tariq often said “Luka, the word 'islam’ means submission right?”

“Yes, but they mean through Mohammed!” he'd replied.

“But it still means that right? Why not say 'through Jesus’ way?”

They'd thought about that a lot, Tariq was partly right, he was also 'playing’ with the word, but there was something about it they liked, maybe it was the fact it drove the Imams crazy, they had no real answer to it, but the idea of 'following’ Jesus just resonated with them.

“Azeem” Luka began, “what did you find out?”

“I think you're forgetting something Luka” Azeem had been about to start explaining, but Jamila had cut him off, they all looked a bit confused, “remember what Mrs Pauline and Mr James always used to do, God used to listen to them, maybe he'll listen to us?”

It was true, they'd seen things happen that just shouldn't have. Food convoys get through when they should have been turned back, medicine coming through the border that should have been turned back, even been opened fire on, yet no one hurt, and the only reason anyone could think of was a simple “please God” they'd often heard.

But the. Kurds had heard, and didn't really know what to ask! To them, he was just some remote 'omnipotent’ being who didn't really give a damn about people, but with James, Pauline, and even Tariq, it was like they were on first name terms 'with the big guy in the sky’

That led to another issue, none of them had any idea what to ask, or even how to talk to him!

Luka shifted nervously, none of them had any real idea, but someone had to do, or say something, as the leader, that was his job.


Talking with the one who made it all

Talking with the one who's talked about here
Talking with the one who's talked about here

How?

Every eye on the room, ten pairs of them, was boring into him, at least that's what it felt like. Pleading with him to show them the path, hoping that somehow he'd know what to do, he didn't.

“Start with what you know” he could hear a voice telling him, no idea where the thought came from, but it kind of made sense.

“In the name of God, the beneficent, and merciful” everyone recognised the phrase, “King of the world's, direct our paths, show us the way of the poor in spirit” he'd started with the Islamic ritual 'Salat’ but with a difference, he was saying it in Kurdish, they were used to God only speaking Arabic!


“Jesus” he went on, “in your holy book, the Injil, the New Testament, you say the poor in spirit are blessed, all we ask for is you to direct us please, in the name of the blessed prophet Jesus, the Messiah, Amen”

As soon as he finished, he opened his eyes, they all still had theirs closed, sitting cross legged with hands spread out, palms upraised, and not a dry eye in sight, they’d never heard anyone pray in their own language before, most of the guards didn’t even know you could, all they’d ever heard the Imams at the Mosque say was you had to pray in Arabic, the language of the oppressor, and one they hated, not only that, but Luka had prayed to Jesus, but he’d used both the Muslim and Christian way of referring to him, that confused everyone!

“Azeem” Luka waited a few moments before asking him the next question, “What have you found out?”


The plan

The big guy took a moment to compose himself, he was still recovering from Luka’s prayer. Azeem considered himself a good Muslim, not devout in the way the extremists are, but one who really tried to follow the teachings of the holy books, working at Op Mercy had been rewarding, but also a big challenge at times, he’d heard both James and Tariq talk about Jesus as if they knew him personally, and heard Pauline talk to God as if she was the boss at times, but it still challenged him that you could talk to God that way, and he would seemingly listen, he had no doubts whatsoever God heard the prayer, but it really unnerved him that they, just average men and women from Zakho, a backwater place in the middle of nowhere could brazenly walk into the very ‘Throne rooms of heaven’ (as Pauline used to call it) and ask for an answer!

“I’ve been to some of the villages in the North” he began. “They say that the high mountain passes are closed with snow already, but there’s still a couple of paths open, however they warned me not to try for Turkey unless we move further east, nearer to Rawanduz and Hakkari!”

That wasn’t good news, Rawanduz was a small town in Iraq, but it was right up next to the Iranian and Turkish borders, it was well known for trouble, even when Saddam controlled the north it was pretty troublesome with Turkish Kurds fighting against Turkey having bases in the area, consequently, anyone in that area was fair game for the Turks, There was heavy military presence in the area, special forces operating all the time, and round the clock border security, only the really knowledgeable or foolhardy would try there.

The rest of the meeting was more of the same, no way they could cross into Syria, the border was still mined, Iran was possible, but a long way, at least a day’s drive with good vehicles. Samir was adamant, as was Azeem that the Dodges wouldn’t have too much a problem with some of the high mountain passes, even though they were supposed to be closed.

“They’re ex US Army 4x4s” Samir stated, “They’re built for this kind of stuff!”

“They’re also open topped flatbed pickups” Luka replied, ‘they might be, but we’re not!” he shot back “It’ll be minus 20 degrees up there, metal will freeze to the fingers, too cold for us to try at the moment!”

Everyone knew he was right, but no one wanted to admit it.

“Anyway” Luka cut across after nearly half an hour of heated talk and nothing still decided, “I got a message from Miss Jean yesterday, she can come to the border at Ibrahim Khalil tomorrow, she wants to meet me there”

“Will they let you across?” Jamila asked stunned, even hopeful.

“The Kurds will let me into the ‘no man's land” he replied, “but no, the Turks aren’t letting anyone in, they won’t let her out either, we’ll have to stand at the border, but at least we can find out what’s going on!”


Salvation?

The big guy took a moment to compose himself, he was still recovering from Luka’s prayer. Azeem considered himself a good Muslim, not devout in the way the extremists are, but one who really tried to follow the teachings of the holy books, working at Op Mercy had been rewarding, but also a big challenge at times, he’d heard both James and Tariq talk about Jesus as if they knew him personally, and heard Pauline talk to God as if she was the boss at times, but it still challenged him that you could talk to God that way, and he would seemingly listen, he had no doubts whatsoever God heard the prayer, but it really unnerved him that they, just average men and women from Zakho, a backwater place in the middle of nowhere could brazenly walk into the very ‘Throne rooms of heaven’ (as Pauline used to call it) and ask for an answer!

“I’ve been to some of the villages in the North” he began. “They say that the high mountain passes are closed with snow already, but there’s still a couple of paths open, however they warned me not to try for Turkey unless we move further east, nearer to Rawanduz and Hakkari!”

That wasn’t good news, Rawanduz was a small town in Iraq, but it was right up next to the Iranian and Turkish borders, it was well known for trouble, even when Saddam controlled the north it was pretty troublesome with Turkish Kurds fighting against Turkey having bases in the area, consequently, anyone in that area was fair game for the Turks, There was heavy military presence in the area, special forces operating all the time, and round the clock border security, only the really knowledgeable or foolhardy would try there.

The rest of the meeting was more of the same, no way they could cross into Syria, the border was still mined, Iran was possible, but a long way, at least a day’s drive with good vehicles. Samir was adamant, as was Azeem that the Dodges wouldn’t have too much a problem with some of the high mountain passes, even though they were supposed to be closed.

“They’re ex US Army 4x4s” Samir stated, “They’re built for this kind of stuff!”

“They’re also open topped flatbed pickups” Luka replied, ‘they might be, but we’re not!” he shot back “It’ll be minus 20 degrees up there, metal will freeze to the fingers, too cold for us to try at the moment!”

Everyone knew he was right, but no one wanted to admit it.

“Anyway” Luka cut across after nearly half an hour of heated talk and nothing still decided, “I got a message from Miss Jean yesterday, she can come to the border at Ibrahim Khalil tomorrow, she wants to meet me there”

“Will they let you across?” Jamila asked stunned, even hopeful.

“The Kurds will let me into the ‘no man's land” he replied, “but no, the Turks aren’t letting anyone in, they won’t let her out either, we’ll have to stand at the border, but at least we can find out what’s going on!”


The Meeting

“Luka, it’s good to see you brother” Jean reached out and gave him a hug, he wasn’t used to it, and it made him a little uncomfortable, but at the same time, it was also good to realize they hadn’t been forgotten.

“It’s good to see you too Miss Jean” he replied, “I hope you’re well?” he had no idea what to say, so the first thing that came into his head was what came out.

“We’re fine thank you, the girls all send their regards to everyone” she replied.

“How’s Tariq? Why hasn’t he come?” Luka was a little confused, this would be the kind of thing Tariq would normally jump at the chance of.

“Tariq ran into some problems with the authorities here, best not to ask too many questions about it, but they basically suspected him of working with certain groups if you know what I mean”

“What?” Luka was incensed, he knew exactly what she meant, and could not be further from the truth, he also knew it was exactly what governments do in this part of the world ‘Give a man a piece of bread, and if he turns out later to be a terrorist then you’re a terrorist too’ was the logic, and the thoughts behind the parable of the good Samaritan! “So, where is he?”

“Last we heard, he’d been released and was on his way to Europe” she replied truthfully, “Took the brown Landcruiser”

“Really?” he was dumbfounded.

“Yep, apparently that was a vehicle the Turks have been watching for a few months, even in Zakho”

It was also a vehicle Luka had taken to the village a few times, one time, with a few of the foreign girls, they’d stopped to attend to a wounded man on the roadside, Tariq wasn’t with them that day, but another Westerner, who looked a lot like him was, he’d been driving. Turned out the Kurd was Turkish and fighting against the Turks, it all made sense now, they’d mistaken Tariq for the other guy. If he had been with them, he probably wouldn’t be alive now.

“Listen” Jean cut through, “I’ve got some news for you, I’ve been working with the US Consulate here in Eastern Turkey, I’ve managed to convince them of the very real danger to you and our workers in Iraq”

“Thank you” was all he could say, he wasn’t sure where this was going, but it sounded like good news.

Jean handed him an envelope, “Don’t open it yet” she said, “They’ve been working with some of the other American organizations in Iraq and managed to compile a list of our workers, they’re willing to take you all out to the United States”

He just stood there, awestruck, dumbfounded, totally speechless, of all the places that every Middle Easterner always wanted to go, America was always at the top of the list, and here he was, being told they were going to be taken there because of the danger they faced, he couldn’t believe it.

“In the envelope is a list of all our workers they’re willing to take” she carried on, oblivious to the confusion and elation he was feeling, “we didn’t compile it, the US state department did, can you have them here the day after tomorrow, at noon, coaches will be waiting to take you straight to Diyarbakir airport, you’ll be flown direct to Istanbul and then on to Atlanta in the United States”


Was this an answer to their prayers?

It's fifteen kilometres from Ibrahim Khalil crossing to Zakho, about nine miles, on a good road that should take about fifteen minutes, when you take into account a couple of minutes to start the engine, put her into gear, and all the things a good driver should do.

Luka raced back to his vehicle jumped in, started her up and floored the accelerator, wheels spun, gravel flew, water and sleet sprayed the two cussing Kurdish border authorities, one of whom was screaming Luka had forgotten to sign back in.

“Azeem, meet me back at the office, NOW, I'M ON MY WAY BACK” he shouted into the walkie talkie he'd brought, no one answered, he kept trying all the way back, which took a while eight minutes.

As soon he was level with the office he yanked the handbrake, slammed on the footbrake, threw her out of gear and dived out of the vehicle, “Sulieman” he shouted at one of the guards, I need Azeem, go find him” the poor guard looked totally bewildered, he had no idea where he was, and no way to find out.

“Azeem, where are you” he tried the radio again,

“I'm down at the hospital” the reply came back, “working on the generator”

“Never mind that” he cut him off, “ I need to see you, Jamila, Ashraf and Samir, I've got big news, can you get them for me?”

“ We'll be there in half an hour”



Half an hour later they were all sat in the meeting room waiting for him to begin, Luka had been too scared to open the envelope, excited yet terrified, knowing it meant safety, yet terrified what the future held.

“I don't know what the future holds” he'd often heard Tariq say, “ but I know who holds the future!”

“That's one of Tariq's sayings” Samir chipped in as he quietly said it, “and I think it's true” he gave Luka a reassuring look.

“Miss Jean said the American government has agreed to take Op Mercy's workers to live in the United States” he began.

There was stunned silence for a whole minute, then pandemonium broke out, there was weeping, tears of joy, shouting and all kinds of things.

“This envelope has the names of the people they agreed to take” he began to open it, everyone went silent, the excitement was electric, they'd heard the words, but didn't dare believe their wildest dreams coming true.

In the envelope was a letter with a letterhead, it said


THE CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

This document is to confirm that all people named here below are hereby under the protection of the government of the United States and are to be given all assistance necessary to facilitate their immediate transfer to the United States.

Below the paragraph was a list, scanning the list, to his horror, Luka realised one name wasn't there, Samir's name wasn't on the list.


Before we go

Did you read the last line? Everyone's name but Samir's was on there. Everyone else was going, but Samir and his family was being left behind again.

Don't worry, the story doesn't end there, but imagine how it felt for Samir, first he tried to get out through Turkey, then he was working for an NGO yet he got left behind again, now what was he to do?

You'll have to wait a week to find out what he came up with.

Blessings

Lawrence

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    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      Every story needs a twist, even the true ones have them! I'm pretty sure Samir felt like all his hopes were crushed, yet they never gave up.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 9 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Okay, so I'll wait a week, but it's driving me crazy in the meantime. Thanks, Lawrence!

    • lawrence01 profile image
      Author

      Lawrence Hebb 9 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Bill

      Thank you for the input, I'd agree with your assessment. The chapter does take a bit of a different view on things.

      I didn't mean for the chapter to be 'too religious' but to show a bit of another struggle that the folks went through in coming to terms with the fact that over the years they'd also changed, and in the new place they would go to more changes would be required.

      In a sense, for Samir, this chapter is a bit of a prelude like when you're out walking and come across the last mountain to climb, it's a big one so you stop and take a moment to prepare yourself mentally for what lies ahead.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 9 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I know there is more to come but the ending sounds so sad. Thanks for another good read.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 9 months ago from Olympia, WA

      As a stand-alone chapter, this one lacks the oomph to carry a reader through....as a chapter attached to 18 others, this chapter provided an interesting philosophical and religious discussion, adding depth to the characters. Every book needs a chapter like this one where there is at least a little respite from the non-stop action and tension. Well done!

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