The Blood of Our People

"The deposit has already been credited," Faisal al Nasi listened. "You can go on with the plan. Your family will be well taken care of if you die from this."

"Allahu Akhubar," Faisal said to the caller.

"Assalaam Alaikum, Faisal."

"Wa Alaikum salaam," he said as the caller hung up.

Faisal checked his luggage again. It was a camera, specially made to accommodate his customized Berretta pistol, and press pass. He was the phantom representative of the Star newspaper at the prime minister's conference in the afternoon.

At exactly two o'clock, the prime minister who was campaigning for the presidency entered the Hilton
Hotel's Tsavo Ballroom right on schedule.

He watched to the bouquet of microphones at the podium, leaned toward the microphones and his voice boomed out over the expectant silence.

"Every day I see this country try to rise on shaky legs – burdened by debt and poverty, death and violence, rife with graft and corruption – I convince myself that we need a leader.

"Today, we pay for the sins of our fathers – stealing from public coffers, political assassinations, tribal clashes and masterminded post-election chaos, graft (Anglo-leasing, Goldenberg, Grand Regency) and corruption.

"My family has been connected to such crimes, I don't deny, or confirm it, but I am on this alone. I can't be guilty of my family's sins and crimes. That is why I insist I am the man this country needs.

"It is time for a new era. Brothers and sisters, we've suffered enough from the sins of our past. Enough is enough. The blood of our people that has being shed so far is sacrifice enough."

The prime minister let his pain ring out. He knew how it looked on camera – the determined face of reform and liberation. "The blood of our people – men, women and children, victims of post-poll chaos, political figures who were assassinated, policemen who die in the course of their duty trying to maintain law and order in a seemingly lawless society. We may forget them, but not their sacrifice."

The reporters clung to their cameras and notebooks as though their lives depended on them. There were other presidential candidates, but only the prime minister had the country by spell. They ridiculed and lambasted him in the press, but he knew he was the president the country needed.

"While we put an end to one chapter of our history, let's do it for once and for all. Blood is the tincture of true sacrifice, and that's what our people have done. So, let's not let their sacrifices go unyielding."

At the forest of reporters, Faisal knew that his time had come. He was to waste no time. He reached for his concealed gun, retrieved it and pointed it at the premier.

Faisal fired. Twice. The prime minister went down a moment before he fired again.

Faisal never knew whether his mission was accomplished.

That evening, news was abuzz with the failed assassination attempt. As the prime minister watched the news at his official residence, his mind went back to the fateful afternoon.

His bodyguards had pulled him behind the podium, right on cue, as cries erupted from the crowd.

Pandemonium had ruled for a breath.

It had gone well. Just as planned.

The shooter had been shot by his own security detail. Died instantly. It had not been difficult to convince

Faisal that he was doing it for the glory of Islam, and Allah.

After all, his was among 'The blood of our people' shed for the liberation of the country.

Copyright ©Vincent de Paul, 2013.