Friday, May 28, 2004


Deaths and Weddings!

Abu Raashid (Literally: Raashid’s father. People are traditionally called by their eldest son’s name) was my neighbor at the farm. He was a peasant with his own small plot of land (given by the government in 1959 during the agrarian reform). For the period of more than twenty years that I knew him, Abu Raashid never once planted more than 10% of his land for lack of water (…but this is another story!). He was an unusually quiet man who spent much of his time fishing and hunting unlike most people in the countryside who spent theirs talking!

Abu Raashid’s elder son, Raashid, was killed in the war with Iran at the age of 19. He had one boy left, Taha.

One day, sometime in 2000, Abu Raashid sent word that he was ill and wanted to see me. I stopped by his place on my way back home from the farm. He told me that he was rather unwell and that a doctor had told him that he needed an operation urgently. He wanted me to ask a doctor I knew for a second opinion.

That same evening, a friend dropped by and I gave him Abu Raashid’s x-rays. The following day he showed the pictures to his brother-in-law (a specialist doctor) who said that the man was in the final stages of an advanced lung cancer and did not have more than a week to live.

On my way to the farm, I stopped at Abu Raashid’s and rather bluntly told him the truth and that he doctor who had advised him to have an operation was a criminal (some criminal-doctors did that in those sanction-years, for the money! A few still do). He had less than a week to live. It was a Monday.

On Thursday I was in the farm again. I heard some shots coming from the general direction of Abu Raashid’s house (which was about 3 km away). I was promptly told that Abu Raashid’s son, Taha, was getting married and there was a wedding! Abu Raashid had insisted on seeing his son married before he died.

The following Monday, Abu Raashid was dead.

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