"Coyote" Part 9 'Has God listened?'
From the Author
Okay, so we seem to be getting a 'bit spiritual' and going off on whether God is really there to listen to our prayers or not. I hope you don't mind us talking a bit about it, but the fact is, I can't really tell the story without putting some of that in, it's part of what was going through not just Samir's mind, but everyone else who's been in that situation.
"Why does he (God) listen to them, and not me? Does he even care?"
I've got no real answer to individual situations, all I can do is tell the story, and who knows, maybe you'll find some of the answer there?
Anyway, join us and enjoy the story as we find out what happened after the convoy.
A welcome sight
'Idiotic grins' say it all
The sun was sat just above the mountains in the west as they entered Zakho, it slowly descended until it finally disappeared from sight just as they pulled up at the office.
Everything was in silhouette, but there was no mistaking the new looking SUVs outside, extra guards, much more professional looking ones were walking round them, it was clear, whoever they belonged to was inside.
“Samir,” Tariq began, “you and Azeem are taking your vehicles home I presume,” he went on, “that way we'll have room for the rest of them”
Azeem was backing the IFA into the compound, a couple of the others were loading his things into his Dodge when Mr James came out of the office.
“How'd it all go?” He asked everyone and no one in particular, they all started to reply, all at once, then one by one fell silent, a respectful silence, that waits to be spoken to.
“Jamila has food for everyone” James carried on, then turning to Tariq asked, “any issues?” everyone knew what he meant.
“Had its moments” Tariq replied with a grin, James realised they all had a huge, almost idiotic looking grin on their faces, “but no real problems, just some very thankful people at the other end.”
James knew Tariq would give a much more detailed account when the rest of the team were there, but it was enough to know they got through. He turned to Samir, “Samir, we've got someone here, just come over the border from Diyarbakir, says he needs to see you, do you have a few minutes before you go home?” Without waiting for an answer James addressed Tariq and Luka, “might be good if you two are there as well” he ushered them towards the office in the back, the rest of the team had been heading for the main meeting room, they stopped, Azeem was curious, and somewhat concerned
I think these 'put in for overtime' afterwards!
Samir's 'gut tightened so quickly he thought something would rupture, 'nothing good ever comes from government’ was the only thought he had. “But it's not Saddam” he muttered to himself desperately trying to stem the rising fear. He felt a hand gently resting on his right shoulder.
Luka’s voice was a soft whisper, “we're here with you brother.” as they stepped into what passed for James’ office. To describe his office as 'spartan' might actually be considered generous. Two trestle tables, an office chair (semi comfortable), a laptop and a printer made up the office furniture, they occupied one half of the space with a hand woven Persian rug and cushions taking up the rest of the space.
Sitting on the cushions, three men, drinking tea, the two 'on the flanks’ were both armed, their Kalashnikovs resting on the cushions beside them, both had full, but well tended beards.
The man in the middle was slightly older, he was clean shaven, and unarmed, they all rose to greet the newcomers. All three were immaculately dressed in traditional Kurdish dress.
“Samir” James began, “this is Haj Mustafa Al Barzani, he's with the local government, responsible for our relationship with our neighbours to the north” he continued, “he wanted a word with you, I'll leave you to talk” he made his way back through the door.
“Please” Mustafa began in Kurdish, “join me, sit down please.” It might not be his office, but Mustafa was used to being in charge, he was talking more to Tariq than Samir.
“Thank you” Tariq accepted the invitation, he understood everything being said, but Luka was acting as translator, that way they could slow everything down, and give Samir time to think through any response he might need to make, it was a move they'd used many times.
As soon as they were seated, Mustafa carried on as if it was his office, “I've just come from discussing the present situation with my counterpart in Turkey” he started off, “they wanted to express their gratitude for us not getting involved with their incursion into our territory, their pursuit of the PKK”
“They said they were really glad that we hadn’t ‘interfered’ in their operations here in Iraq” he almost spat the words out, clear distaste for what was going on was evident, “and because of that they wanted to try and ‘rebuild’ some bridges with us” he had his prayer beads in his left hand, he’d been fingering them the whole time they were talking, almost unconsciously as they kept going round and round, the thirty three beads each representing a name for God, three circuits, and all ninety nine names are recited.
Haj Mustafa didn’t add the fact that everyone knew that even if the Iraqi Kurds had joined in alongside the Turkish Kurds, the fight would still have been as ‘one sided’ as it was, instead they’d made sure the PKK were long gone from the areas, and tried to evacuate most of the villages further in.
“As a reward” he continued, “They’ve decided to move on a number of issues that we’ve been trying to pressure them about” then he turned and while Luka was translating it was obvious that his next comments were going to be to Samir.
“Samir, do you remember a few months ago you came and filed a report with my office, the one about the Kurdish smuggler who took all your money?”
Samir could not believe his ears! Neither could anyone else for that matter! He’d only filed the report because Mrs Pauline had pressured him into it. Sure, Luka had gone with him and made sure of it, but no one seriously expected anything to come of it, no one except Mrs Pauline that is!
“Yes” Sami could hardly speak, his voice was little more than a whisper, “I do remember, why? Have there been developments?”
Haj Mustafa broke out into a smile, there’s nothing better than to give good news, and as an official of the local government there wasn’t usually a lot of that to give, the tension in the room relaxed with that smile, “Yes” he began, “there has been” he took the glass of tea up again, took a sip and replaced it on the tray. “If our reports are right,” he went on. “ The smuggler was caught a few days ago, is this the man?” he produced a photo, a prison ‘mug shot.’
Samir’s eyes went as wide as saucers, his mouth dropped open and even though he tried to speak, nothing came out, it was Luka spoke up for him, “I think it’s obvious that it’s him Haj, what do you require of Samir?” Samir was nodding, he hadn’t totally lost control, but everyone could see he was in shock, his mind reeling with the news “They said they were really glad that we hadn’t ‘interfered’ in their operations here in Iraq” he almost spat the words out, clear distaste for what was going on was evident, “and because of that they wanted to try and ‘rebuild’ some bridges with us” he had his prayer beads in his left hand, he’d been fingering them the whole time they were talking, almost unconsciously as they kept going round and round, the thirty three beads each representing a name for God, three circuits, and all ninety nine names are recited.
'A lamp unto my feet'
Did he really listen?
“As a reward” he continued, “They’ve decided to move on a number of issues that we’ve been
trying to pressure them about” then he turned and while Luka was translating it was obvious that his next comments were going to be to Samir.
“The criminal will be transferred to us tomorrow,” Mustafa replied, “Once we have him, we’ll have a hearing where we discuss sentence, and inform his family of our decision,” he finally took the glass of tea and finished the rest off, placing the cup upside down on the tray, indicating that he didn’t want anymore he finished off what he’d come to say. “I’d like Samir to be there to hear our decision and meet the family so that they can begin to talk about reparations to him”
“Reparations?” Tariq finally spoke up, not quite sure what was being suggested, “What does that mean?”
“We can do nothing about the money stolen from the people who were sent back to Baghdad” Haj Mustafa explained, “But Samir and his family are a different story, they are here, with us. This criminal won’t be released until either he, or his family have paid Samir back all the money” and with that Haj Mustafa rose and said goodbye, there was a stunned silence as he left the room, no one could believe what they’d just heard.
Samir didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry, he really didn’t know what was going on, he’d walked into the room expecting all kinds of horrible things, as an Iraqi, his track record with government wasn’t good, most of the time they were beating him or trying to kill him for something, but this time, they’d come and told him they were going to get his money back, even if they had to beat it out of the thief. He didn’t know whether to feel happy for himself, or fear for the thief’s life, he didn’t want a death on his conscience, even if it was a thief’s.
Uncharted territoryClick thumbnail to view full-size
A final word
For Samir, this really was 'unchartered' territory, he wasn't used to having people actually take notice of him, to take into account where he was at and what he needed, much less have the 'big guy in the sky' be the one to do the taking notice.
the answers didn't come in 'nicely wrapped packages' they came in dirty and dusty people, some of them needed their own answers, some others could only give what they had, but they did come, the question I have for you is what about you? Have you noticed the answers that have come in your life?
Suddenly waking up to that fact can be a daunting prospect. That's why I've put the last song in, it really can be the 'lamp to our feet'
Thank you for joining us on this journey.
Leave a comment, let us know.