Coyote part 13 'Beg, borrow, or steal?"
From the Author
Glad you could join us again in the story. When I first started writing this story, it was about how 'Samir and Sara' came to the West using the 'people smugglers'.
But as the story's started to unfold with me, I kind of went into some other areas, some of which are a little 'shady' and showing people in difficult situations, we will get back to the story of them coming to the west, but I think you needed to know a little bit about what life was like for them before they came.
This week, we're looking at something that really did happen, where they had the chance to save lives, and not just a few, but many. However the lives would be saved using equipment stolen, and some of it was stolen from right under the authorities noses! How would you feel about that?
What if I told you that some of the equipment was stolen from Kuwait when Saddam invaded?
Read on, and leave a comment with what you think afterwards.
What would you think?
“I got a visit from the Hospital administrator yesterday, ” Tariq spoke as they approached the town after the meal, Azeem was driving. They’d eaten some of the toughest chicken they’d ever had the misfortune to try, but the locals had insisted they stay, no matter what they thought. “Samir, I’ve got a bit of a job that we need some help with tomorrow, any chance you can help us?” he knew there was no way Sair would refuse, but it’s always nice to be asked, instead of demanding the help.
“Anything you need Mr Tariq, I’ll be there” Samir replied, “what time?”
“Down at the main Hospital” Tariq replied, “and do you know anyone with a crane fitted to their truck by any chance?”
“What the?” was his first reaction, but he managed to stifle the question, a quick look at Father Boutros showed the same confusion, Azeem was concentrating on the road much harder than normal, clearly avoiding where the conversation was going, “Yes, I think my neighbour in the mechanics area has one we can borrow, it’s Friday tomorrow and he’s Muslim, so he won’t be working, what for?”
They’d arrived back in town and were only a few streets away from the church and house where Samir and Father Boutros lived, Tariq was a little hesitant with what he was trying to say, Samir had no idea why.
“You know we’re helping build and equip the hospital for the chronically malnourished infants right Samir?”
“Yes” he was a little annoyed that Tariq had asked that, Samir had done some work for he hospital already.
Iraq had been under a total UN embargo for five years, that meant that officially, nothing got in or out of the country without the permission of the United Nations, and all that came in came through Baghdad, which effectively meant that the Kurdish region got nothing, Nada, Zilch.
There were things to get, but they were all coming in illegally, food was there, but no one had the money for it, but one thing that wasn’t happening was essential medical supplies, things as basic as infant formula, and the most basic of medicines just weren’t getting through.
Here's another tale, one that didn't end so well.
- A smuggler's deathly tale
The story of five Iraqis who ended up dead in a van by the side of an Austrian highway, in the words of the man who led them there
"Holy cr, it's bigger than we thought!"
The results were chronic malnourishment, especially amongst the most vulnerable, the old and the newborns. Op Mercy’s staff were mostly Nurses and right from the start had been working in the area, a few years ago they’d gotten the chance to set up a special hospital for malnourished infants, and slowly had been working towards it.
One of the biggest problems with taking funding from groups, any group including the UN was there were always ‘strings attached’ and they weren’t always the kind they could live with, consequently it was a ‘shoestring’ budget and very few had wanted to fund it anyway (government bodies saw it as ‘building infrastructure’ or ‘nation building’) but the Kurds wanted it and well, let’s just say sometimes you just don’t ask where stuff comes from!
Hospitals are for making people well again, at that, Zakho hospital excelled, but not because of the skill of the staff there, though they were as good as all the others. Just one look at the place was enough to scare anyone back onto the road to recovery, only the worst cases went there.
There was a time, when it was 'state of the art’. Bought and paid for with millions of tons of crude oil shipped to Japan, plans for identical to the eight others built by the Japanese companies not officially 'doing business’ with Saddam, but those days were gone, and the hospital was a shadow of its former self.
Dr Ashraf, the administrator met them outside, he was agitated. “Mr Tariq, you must hurry, you must take it and hurry” his arms were flapping like the sails of a windmill. “Please!!” He added for emphasis, “hurry up!”
“Why” Tariq asked, genuinely mystified as he closed the vehicle door, Azeem was climbing out the other side, his toolbox was on the back of the IFA, he went to get it.
They'd already taken the canopy off the IFA, so it looked more like a 'flatbed’ truck, both Azeem and Tariq began unfastening the sides, ready to lift the generator on.
“Mr Tariq” Azeem suddenly sounded concerned as he took a look around, the only thing they could see was a machine, covered by a canvas tarpaulin, “where is it?”
“I don't know, Dr Ashraf, where's the generator?”
“Right here” Dr Ashraf began lifting the tarpaulin, it wasn't even going to fit on the truck's deck, it was so big.
“Holy cr" Tariq managed to stop himself before he said anything he'd regret, “it's bloody huge!”
“Mr Tariq” Azeem was his usual 'deadpan’ self, “I think it's big enough to power half of Zakho!”
“I think you’re right there Azeem” he replied. It was huge, or at least it was too big for the IFA, “I really hope Samir was right about that crane on the truck”
“Where’s your truck?’ Dr Ashraf asked, he knew there was no way the IFA could carry the machine, it was only built for a four ton payload, this was at least five tons, it would snap the springs like matches as soon as they loaded it on.
“It’s on it’s way” Azeem lied straight off, “should be here in a few minutes, we’re just here to take any extra things!” even the doctor saw they were lying, but it deflected his attention for a few moments while they tried to think up another plan, “what about fuel for it?”
“Thank the good Lord for that” Tariq exclaimed as he looked down the street, they both followed his gaze.
Just at the end of the street, a bigger truck, with a Hiab crane on the back turned into the street, they couldn’t see who was driving, but there were two in the cab, they guessed one was Samir, both Tariq and Azeem ran out and began directing the truck.
“Mr Tariq” Azeem shouted as the truck came to a halt, “you take Dr Ashraf away, we’ll load the generator” the good doctor meant well, but he was so much on edge, he was likely to be a hazard to them, and a danger to himself.
“Okay” Tariq replied, Samir and Azeem were the two with engineering and mechanical backgrounds, Tariq didn’t really know what they needed, he’d used them before, but craning something onto a truck wasn’t his strongest point.
“Why the hurry?” tariq managed to ask once he’d gotten the doctor away from the scene, he hadn’t wanted to go, but was finally persuaded when Tariq told him that Azeem and Samir really did know what they were doing, and it would be safer if they weren’t there.
“I order one generator” Dr Ashraf began to explain, “But UN send two! I take bigger one for hospital, and I know you need for your hospital!” he spoke good enough English, and wanted to practice, but not perfect.
“Sopas” Tariq replied in Kurdish, (pronounced Spass) he’d been speaking in Arabic, but why the hurry he switched back to Arabic.
“Because the Mayor, he find out I get two, he want to take second one for weapons factory!” the doctor almost spat the words out, “I say NO! But he no listen, he tell leaders they get weapon factory!” he was angry, “I’m a healer, I no want my machines used for kill people, not even Saddam’s people!”
“So” Tariq interrupted, “If we take the generator”
“They no argue with foreigner” Dr Ashraf cut him off, “especially one building hospital for infants, babies, but you must hurry, Mayor not know it here yet, and I can’t know where it go!”
“Don’t worry” Tariq was laughing, “you never saw it, and we were never here, Our guards will make sure they don’t get it!”
I'm a Healer, not a Killer?
Beg, borrow, or STEAL?
Azeem and Samir were ready and had the generator loaded in less than fifteen minutes, it still had it’s cover on, along with the lifting points for transporting it, which made life a lot easier, it meant the machine could be moved using them without fear of damaging it, all they’d need to do at the other end was take it off the truck, connect it up, fill it up with Diesel and they’d be ready, by the evening they’d have it all working and twelve infants in their incubators, along with all the machines for the malnourished infants, by the evening, they’d be saving lives, and all with equipment that were either begged, borrowed, or even stolen!
Before we go
I'm hoping this one has left you with a few questions, it's probably touched on a few areas you might feel strongly about, I wasn't trying to 'rile' anyone, but sometimes there aren't any 'hard and fast' rules, just things that seem right and seem wrong.
I think it was Thomas Aquinas (a thirteenth century Theologian) who asked "If a man's caught stealing a loaf of bread because he's starving, then is it really stealing?"
I'll leave you with that thought, and thank you for joining us.