It was the very tone that said, as I was heading southward, “Young man, can you give these two men lift, with you?” by that time I could not comply with the check point guard’s request. However, on my way to the north; the same voice asked me again “young man, would you be able to give lift to this boy?”
I saw a small boy whose sweat sent its smell as he approached the car; it hardened the locks of his hair around his ears. We commenced on our way.
Further on the way, an old bearded man waved his hand for me to stop. He seated himself at the back; soon the smell of his hajj perfume filled the car, “Al salam alaikum” (1) all we heard from him was the sound of his rosary and as he was mumbling, sometimes raised his voice “Subhan Allah”(2)
I turned to the boy
– Where are you coming from?
– What do you do?
– I carry blocks.
– Are you in school?
– Not anymore.
– After my father was killed I stopped.
– Where was he killed?
– Between the south and the north.
– What was he doing?
- Greeting in Arabic, mostly Muslims use it.
- Glory to God, religious expression in worshipping and remembering God.
– He was a Peshmarga. (1)
“Inna Lillah wa Inna Ilayhi Raje’un”(2) the noise from the back mumbled. The boy turned his head back and looked at the hajji.
I asked the boy again:
– So your father is a martyr?
– No, he is not. There is no martyr ID or salary for him. (3) He spoke with confident but tired voice.
– Do you have elder siblings?
– I am the eldest. I work carrying blocks, digging; hard labor work, whatever I can get. My mother has not bought the Eid chocolates for us yet.
Immediately, the other children in this country and how they spend their time in such days came to my mind; following their parents in the market and taking them from one shop into another for the sake of the Eid new clothes. It was yesterday when a minister’s fifteen year old son crushed his fashionable car hitting a wall only to see how the air back works.
The boy spotted the place and got out of the car and just before leaving, I heard his voice calling me; “uncle, stop”
He put his hand in his torn pocket and offered me a chocolate.
He bid me good bye smiling.
I put the chocolate on his seat.
With the sound of the rosary beads over the white lines of the street I headed toward the north.
- Those who face death, Kurdish armed forces.
- To God we belong and to Him we return, a religious expression used when somebody dies.
- Mostly martyrs’ families get salaries and government takes care of them.
- Translated on Monday, December 14, 2009 – MohammedAli Yaseen Taha
El Rodeo De Mora – San Jose – Costa Rica