"Coyote" part 7
From the Author
The story you're reading is what really happened in 1994. Two years after an uprising that the West encouraged to get rid of Saddam, and then left the people to suffer the consequences as he unleashed devastating retribution on them.
The west did eventually step in and created a 'safe haven' that was anything but safe! Samir and Sara were two average iraqi christians living in Baghdad when it all started, they had lost everything, even almost their entire extended families.
Hunted by the authorities they attempted to escape, only for it all to go horribly wrong and they ended up in the North, the 'safe haven' that was anything but safe, eyt they're trying to rebuild their lives.
How did they do?
Enjoy the story
From the previous
“I was with a Tank unit in the Army” Samir spoke slowly, he didn’t like admitting he’d served Saddam, especially not here, where you’re much more likely to meet a ‘Peshmerga’ who fought against you, “I was a mechanic with them” he looked down at the ground, almost ashamed to admit it, “You get to know what a T72 Main Battle Tank sounds like” He said, “and they weren’t T72s, they were much heavier and had a distinct whine about them!”
The noise was dissipating now, almost as if it was leaving, maybe it was, “Maybe we should look out and see?” Father Boutros started for the gate.
“NO!” Samir grabbed his arm, “There’ll still be soldiers around” he pulled the man back, checking the gate was still closed he carried on, “they might shoot you, look, it’ll be daylight soon, then it’ll be safe to go out, then we can find out, we’re safe as long as we stay behind the gate, so let’s wait until it’s safe!”
One mean S.O.B.
'Turning the screws'
No one slept the rest of the night, every time the rumbling stopped, or receded in one direction it grew from the other.
The tanks were coming in from the north, but rolling out towards the east.
First thing, as soon as the sun was over the horizon Samir headed for the Op Mercy office, 'at least they'll have been told what's going on’ he thought, he was half right.
There was a Humvee parked outside the office, a soldier stood beside it, an extra Kurdish guard, one that looked very effective was with him.
Whoever they were responsible for was inside, meeting with the people from Op Mercy.
“It was an attack on a police station in a place near Hakkari” the officer, a colonel in the US armed forces was explaining, “they're in 'hot pursuit’ mode” he held up the index and second fingers of each hand, he wasn't buying the story he'd been given either, but soldiers aren't meant to question too much. “The main pursuing force crossed here,” he pointed to a river crossing twenty kilometres east of Zakho, “two other units crossed here and here, their job is get in behind the PKK and cut off any retreat!”
“Colonel” Tariq spoke up, “that was at least a brigade came through here!”
“Division” the colonel cut him off, “so were the other units!” colonel Mike Smith was a veteran of one tour in Zakho already, this was his second tour. He'd gotten to know and respect the people at Op Mercy last time, though they didn't always see 'eye to eye’. Well, not officially at least, he'd been away a year, and was back five months, though this was the first time he'd had to 'put the screws on.’ Rather, it was the first time they'd HAD to listen, they normally did 'their own thing’ and to heck with the consequences.
Maybe this is why I gravitate to these stories! Navy SEALS rescuing an AID worker! (You have to watch it!)
Three and a half DIVISIONS?
“How many soldiers is that?” James asked as he saw Tariq push back into his office chair, he'd never been in the military, so all this talk of 'brigades’ and the like went clean over his head.
“About thirty thousand men” Tariq replied too stunned to realise what he was saying.
“Actually more like thirty five thousand” the colonel replied, “two infantry divisions, and the armoured one that's coming though Zakho last night and later today!” he paused to let that sink in. “The infantry units came through at the other crossings, they're headed for the mountain bases, the armoured units will take control of the valleys, cutting off any retreat!” The colonel looked tired, it was obvious he was as frustrated as they were, but couldn't show it.
“All that firepower” James observed, “and for what? A couple of hundred PKK Peshmerga?”
“They're terrorists!” the colonel was preaching the official government line.
“One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!” Tariq chipped in.
“Maybe” the colonel snapped back, “but don't say those kind of things too loudly, OK!”
“So” James tried to bring their meeting back to the reason the military had asked for, “we've got projects in these villages here,” he pointed to an area not that far away from where the colonel said the Turks were operating, “what does it mean for us? Can we get to them?”
“Not for a while” was the short and simple, “not until the military operations are over, it's just too risky”
“How long will that be?” Pauline had been quietly listening, she'd been in the meeting, but stayed quiet, now it was time to speak up. “We've got four villages we need to finish the water supply for, before the summer droughts come,” she paused, then added, “there's four or five more the UN wants us to start, so how long is this going to take?”
The comments stung, he wasn't used to taking 'insubordinate’ talk like that! 'they're civilians’ he reminded himself, 'take it easy on them’ that's what he thought, what came out was slightly different.
“The Turks have said three to four weeks, until then, no going into the area” Mike didn't even give them a chance to reply, he just wheeled round and begun marching for the door, “sorry to cut it short, but I've got more people to see, we'll keep you posted” and with that he was out of the door, heading for the Humvee.
An old Story, told long ago
There’s a story that was told by a man long ago, one that’s become famous for the idea of helping a person in need, a story that’s even given us a saying for someone who helps another who needs help, a ‘Good Samaritan’
But there’s another side to the story, one that the old book in which it’s written doesn’t mention, it didn’t need to. The people there understood the other ‘darker’ side to the story.
That ‘dark side’ goes like this.
If you go to the help of another, and the other turns out to be a real bad dude, say a drug dealer, or a terrorist then you are just as guilty as they are, and watch out because the one they wronged, if they can’t get at them, is coming for you, and he’s coming ‘Guns blazing’
That’s exactly what was happening, Samir knew it, James knew it and so did everyone else! The villages, the Kurds in Iraq had been giving shelter to the Kurds from Turkey. To the Iraqi Kurds, their brothers and sisters in Turkey were fighting for their homes and freedom, something they’ll probably never get, but they were fighting any way they could.
A 'hairbrained scheme'
“I’m tellin’ ya” The American worker was desperate, “There’s people there starving, they got no food, no shelter, We gotta do something” he’d just driven through from Suliemaniah, right up by the Iranian border, out there they had no idea the Turks had even invaded, there’d been no way to get word out.
He was talking to most of the other aid workers in Zakho at the time, they were all in a prayer meeting, praying about what could be done, and how they could find out what was going on it the east, and here was the answer. God was saying “Situation critical, now get off your butts and follow my lead” but at the time, none realized it.
Each one looked round the room, there were about twenty there, most of them were tied up with UN projects and had their hands tied, but not Op Mercy, they refused to take money from the UN simply because there were too many ‘strings attached’
“How much to do have in the emergency fund?” James asked Pauline, he had the beginnings of an idea.
“About two hundred US” she replied, “Why?”
“We need to do something about it, we can’t let them starve” James replied, “Maybe we can”
“The military said at least another week before they’ll allow convoys in!” Pauline interrupted, “even then there’s no guarantee of”
“He said they’d use whatever force they need to in stopping aid” the American worker spoke up, “But I don’t really care, we have to do something”
“Tariq” James turned to address him, “Can you get Azeem and Samir in, I’ve got an idea”
Five minutes later they were both in the room, the rest of the foreigners had left, but with the instructions to pray because they now had a ‘hair brained scheme’ (Tariq and james had both laughed as they called it what it was, just ballsy enough to work, or get them in jail!)
“Guys” Tariq was talking to them in Arabic, “We need you two to take the big truck, and the two pickups into the market, and buy as much food as you can get your hands on!”
‘Stunned mullets’ is the best expression to describe the looks on their faces, but even that doesn’t really do them justice, there was food in Zakho, but no one could afford to buy, or if they could then they only bought what the absolutely needed, here they were being told “Buy as much as you can!”
“You both know what goes into a UN food ration right?” He knew it was a dumb question, both men nodded, they didn’t know what to make of this, but someone needed it, and they only guessed where it was going.
“We’ve only got $200 US, but I expect you’ll get a decent amount” Tariq carried on.
“Its for the people in the villages in the east” James spoke for the first time, he spoke in English, Samir and Azeem both spoke some, Samir was pretty fluent where Azeem had struggles speaking it, he could understand it pretty well though. “We’re taking a food convoy through tomorrow”
“But isn’t there fighting there?” Samir spoke up.
“Yes” Azeem chipped in, “Very dangerous”
“I know” James replied, but they need help, “Our friend today told us of at least five or six thousand people there, no food for nearly two weeks, no shelter, and no way to keep warm, we’re doing something about it”
Both men literally stiffened, the beginnings of a smile breaking out, they looked at each other, then Samir spoke in Kurdish, he knew both Tariq and James understood, “Mr James and Mr Tariq, must be harebrained scheme!”
A female voice spoke up from the back of the room, “And Mrs Pauline, don’t forget me!” everyone laughed, the kind of laugh when the nervous tension needs a ‘release valve’
“Bring everything back here tonight,” James went on, “We’ll have the vehicles in the compound, with two extra guards, I’ll get Sulieman and Ramazan, they always want extra work, but tomorrow is volunteers only as it’s likely to be dangerous!”
“And they’ll need to be wearing blue, especially shirts” Tariq finished the briefing off to the total confusion of everyone, then he turned to James and carried on “I’ll need every white vehicle we have tomorrow, especially the Land rover and the Land Cruiser, the UN’s vehicles are white, and they tend to have Landcruisers and Landrovers!”
What about you?
Would you be willing to 'be' a good Samaritan if it meant you were held responsible for their actions afterwards? (be honest with yourself, there is no right or wrong answer)
We'll have to leave things there for this week, I hadn't meant to get 'political' with this, but I make no apologies for if this bit of the story challenges as few things that you previously thought, maybe they need challenging?
We all have a role to play in this, and that role is making sure that the people who 'govern' us do it in a way that's just (not only for us, but for other nations as well) and fair.
That's part of what the story is about, if the west had cut the weapons off to Saddam at the start, when he first showed how bad he was, then our world would be a lot different, and a lot safer than it is today!
Stay involved with your government, keep yourself informed as to what they're doing, and most of all NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER