Bomb Anathema [part 2]


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  • It will be easiest if you wear the burqua.

  • No, dear leader, that will not be easy. Forgive me but the burqua is sacred to me, I will not use it for this purpose.

  • But this is the holy war you are fighting in, young woman, not a playground fight. Against the infidels any means are justified. All those clowns of no courage who send their young to die for them. Look at them with their drones and cluster bombs, which kill and tear of limbs even so many years later. They have no decency, no honor.

  • Precisely, dear leader Kareem, no decency. Thus I shall have the decency not to desecrate the burqua by wearing it on such an undertaking. Moreover it would cause me to attract undue attention, which is likely to foil the entire plan. This is not a path of much wisdom, I believe.

  • No, young lady, you must learn to listen to your leader. I have fought in this holy war for many years. There was a day when I killed three Communist demons by my own hands. So what gives you even the idea you might contradict me? I should send you back to the village and sheeps at once. Already, I can tell you are not as strong and obedient as the least among our young men. In this here cell we simply follow the will of Allah, peace be unto him, as conveyed by myself. You understand?

Abida understands that this old man who lacks a beard and forgets wearing his proper headdress half of the days because he is so in love with his military-style beret and [everybody in the camp knows this] his new PSP [from a dead, black UK private], which he plays secretly with, with the volume down behind drawn canvas, that he is unfortunately something of a fool. If it weren’t for his access to weapons and food supplies through his former association with a local warlord, Kareem would never under the sight of the most high Allah, peace be unto him, be in the position he is in now. He is a bit of a Munafiq, one who outwardly practices Islam, while inwardly concealing his disbelief, perhaps even unknowingly.

Nobody around here seems to suspect that for Abida it is not about belief [of which she has little to none left] but simply a matter of revenge: she needs to take the big nothing that was left of their house after the aerial attack and plant it among the people it came from so that they or at least their so-called leaders can understand. Understand. And stop the madness.

When she ran back from the river that night, Yalda faithfully by her side, Abida came back to a burning void. Absolutely nothing had been spared, except for a golden, badly dented spittoon of her father’s, overturned and still simmering with heat. In vain she had clawed the raw, warm, rocky earth for remains of her mother’s and father’s and two brother’s bodies but came up only just dirty-handed and despairing under the full, pallid disk of the moon.

And it was then that the black absence Abida found herself in began leaking into her, suffusing her spirit with the certainty of oblivion, lento, even largo. It is not that she wants to die or suffer or inflict pain but that the adolescent ex-goat-herdress wants to spare herself the farce of deeper meaning, instead simply seeing what is there and what is to be done. Something like slowly advancing into darkness at the risk of knocking against an object one does not know already.

After a few blinks of contemplation she replies, looking Kareem steadily in the eyes

  • Yes, dear leader, I understand. You want me to blindly follow your orders and wear a burqa under which to hide the explosives. But I am telling you that nothing good shall come of this.

And thus speaking Abida hands him a pile of clippings and the statistics a celebrated Pashtun mathematician has compiled, which definitely proof that women trying to perform freedom attacks in burqas are much more liable to get apprehended before bringing into the world. Authorities are onto this stratagem.

  • Moreover, my master and light in dark times, I’ve been telling you that I will not do things this way. Send me back to my village if you must. I would rather do so than desecrate this beautiful, virtuous clothing, which I consider my second home. Would you willingly blow up your own house? No, I did not think so.


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About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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