Friday, March 18, 2016

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The last thing I expected my sister to do was point a gun at me. Growing up she was daddy’s Malaika: heart-shaped face framed by long lustrous hair forever hidden by the burqa, almond-shaped eyes if you were lucky to get a glimpse of them through the slit of the niqab, high cheekbones, long nose, long slender neck, flawless caramel skin, and breasts like minarets calling men to worship. At sixteen she was five foot seven and not ready to stop growing.

“I see you are still Muslim at heart,” I said.

“Ten years is a long time, brother,” she said. “After all that’s what a true Muslim is expected to be.”

But she removed the burqa and looked at me and said, “So you may see what I look like after all those years.”

She hadn’t aged a bit. She still looked twenty. Exquisite beauty.

She continued, “It is the perfect disguise…”

“Even against mahram..?”

“You are dead to me.”

“And yet here we are…”

“You are more important to us alive.”

“Ahem… would you please point that gun at something else? Guns kill people, you know…”

“No, brother. Guns don’t kill people. People with guns kill people.”

“So, what gives, Sister? I don’t suppose I’m here to pay for my past sins.” I paused. “And consider letting big bro know where he is ‘cause I don’t think we are in Garissa. We looked for you everywhere…”

“It’s about justice, brother.”

“For you?”

“No, Mubaraq. For Somalia,” she said. “And for where you are, it doesn’t matter. But if you insist, as I know you, you’re in Jilib, Somalia. Don’t expect your Special Forces to stage a rescue…”

“And you think pointing the gun at me will…?”

“My relation to you, or what you did to me, has got nothing to do with this. Right now what matters is you collaborated with the infidels, helped them murder your brothers and sisters. You are no true Muslim.”

My hands were tied behind my back to the wooden chair I was sitting on. I was slowly trying to loosen them the way they do it in movies, but whoever had bound me had done a pretty good work. When the tête-à-tête with my sister was over, I was going to ask her how I got there.

“Since those kuffār invaded Somalia they have been killing our brothers, raping us, defiling our lands. Crimes which you too are complicit aided by the almighty America…”

At that point two Kaffiyehed men armed with AK-47s entered and stood guard. Sympathizing with terrorists I could understand, but not having mujahedeen as bodyguards.

A memory of my sister as a child flashed in my mind. She had a heart bigger than the world. She was this joyous kid, generous. Daddy’s beloved. Playful. Clichéd as it may sound but she couldn’t hurt a fly. Family’s eye candy.

Somehow she bottled up all the anger after I campaigned against her joining the army and lobbied through mommy. Surprisingly dad supported me in this. For me it was simple: the army is not for women, more so Muslim.

Having been in the army for three years I had seen it all: female trainees  stooping too low during training so the training would be smooth for them, instructors demanding sex from the female cadets so as to be lenient on them during training, female recruits knowing that the only way to get through the training was through peddling their bodies to the instructors, not to mention the horde of Team Mafisi male cadets who had nowhere else to release the training tension if they weren’t masturbating.

I couldn’t let my sister join the army. As I said, Dad supported me. A’shadieeyah kissed her joining-the-army pipe dream goodbye.

She went to the University of Nairobi, journalism.

On April 2nd, 2027 UoN was attacked by al-Shabaab. They were marking their 12th Anniversary of April 2nd, 2015 Garissa University College attack where 147 students were massacred. A’shadieeyah disappeared then. The media reported that a second year media studies student was the mastermind, worse than the then infamous, most wanted female terrorist, Samantha Lewthwaite aka the White Widow.

I knew the nameless burqa face that the police gave belonged to my baby sister, no one else had a clue, and blood is thicker than water.

With her beauty, brains and strong Islamic faith I couldn’t imagine how she was the target for those monsters who told her that she would join the harem of seventy-two virgins in Jannah if she engaged in group sex with them before they went around terrorizing people. They hurdled her into a miraa pickup truck to Somalia, twisted her faith into something barbarous, and took the love and innocence in her heart and made them terrible weapons.

“I understand you, A’shadieeyah, but that doesn’t justify terrorism…”

“You understand nothing. You had your chance to understand me but you didn’t,” her voice trailed off. “Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahedeen are fighting for us, you call us terrorists, but what are you?  

“Since 2026 your army has been acquiring armed drones, missiles, to kill us. Are you any less terrorists? Al-Shabaab have not invaded Kenya, it is your soldiers who invaded Somalia. Somalia belongs to Somalis in the same sense Kenya belongs to Kenyans. Nothing can be said against al-Shabaab fighting for Somalis’ rights against all odds.”

“Sis, I still don’t see the need of me here, that gun pointing at me is giving me the jitters. For all I know you could not hurt a fly. I don’t even know they trained you on how to handle guns…”

“It is Somalia that is occupied by your soldiers,” she ignored me. “Since 2011 bombed by the infidels you’ve sold your soul to…”

“And lecturing me will achieve what exactly?”

“No, I’m not lecturing you. I’m telling you. You are going to help us retaliate against your army…”

I laughed derisively. “And how I’m I going to do that, Angel?” I said.

“Al-Shabaab has just acquired a missile guided system like the Kenya Defence Forces’. And you, my brother—or may I call you Major Mubaraq?—are from the Kenya Army Corps of Engineers. You have been working on the system, modifying, making it better. We know you can now track the missiles to a mobile phone, dial in. That’s where you come in…

“And before you say it, this is not a negotiation, and no, we’re not going to kill you,” she continued, undeterred. “Mark you, we have enough suicide bombers. They are prepared to die for the cause, but there is no way of guiding our missiles to the specific targets...”


My sister looked at me and smiled. My stomach churned, muscles went taut, and my heart took a sinking low. 

4 comments:

  1. This is awesome Vin! You have a knack for weaving twisted plots in captivating ways that leaves the reader gasping for more, just as I am eagerly hoping there'd be a sequel to this particular story. I'd love to read about what becomes of this particular hostage and his terrorist sister. Makes me wonder the sort of psyching and brainwashing these terrorists go through, to think a once innocent sweetheart who couldn't hurt a fly would end up as a vicious and ruthless terrorist is just alarming.

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  2. Thanks Nduka, and now that you want a sequel, you will get it though I was not thinking of having it. I wanted it to end there, the reader to come up with all possible conclusions, but I will save you the trouble.

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  3. Lol! Yes please, save us the trouble. Really enjoy your factional pieces Vincent. They are not only a mirror reflection of society's current challenges but also an apt projection into the future if matters are not addressed. Keep this up Vincent, keep it. The break is coming!

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    1. Lots of Love (LOL) Rujeko. I feel I am shaping writing in some way with you as my encouragement. Stick around and I will be there.

      Thanks, always.

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