Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Tale Of Terrorist Abdul

Once upon a time, in a nondescript little town somewhere in West Asia, there was a terrorist named Abdul.

He was a fairly average little terrorist, was Abdul, with a steady job as a truck driver, a wife who worked part time as a tailor, and a son and a daughter who were at school. He paid his taxes regularly, watched TV in the evenings and thought about religion only when he had to.

One time Abdul managed to save up enough to go abroad to attend a relative’s wedding. When he arrived, he was taken aside at the airport, strip-searched, questioned for hours before being finally released. While abroad, he was also abused in the street by a group of young people and almost beaten up. But it was all right, because he was a terrorist.

Now one day it so happened that there was a bomb blast somewhere else in the world, and in revenge a powerful nation, claiming Abdul’s country was responsible, attacked it, destroyed its government, privatised its economy by selling off its oil wells to multinational corporations,, and occupied it with a complex of military bases. Abdul tried to carry on as best he could, but while he was at work one day, a drone flew over and bombed his truck. Abdul lost a leg and couldn’t drive a truck any longer, so his wife had to work full time and his children had to leave school, which was no longer free as it had been under the wicked old government.

Little by little, owing to a shift in geopolitics and a rising insurgent movement, which despite savage reprisals the occupation forces could not defeat, they reluctantly left the bases and withdrew. But before leaving they installed a new government of warlords supported by a private army of mercenaries. Abdul’s wife was coming back from work one evening when a group of these mercenaries shot up the car she was in, killing her and wounding her daughter, who was with her. But that was all right because they were terrorists, and no action was taken.

Some months later, Abdul’s neighbour Omar, who had never been quite right in the head, took a butcher knife and murdered his own wife, accusing her of infidelity and worse. Abdul was one of those who – hobbling on his crutches – went to restrain Omar, turn him over to the authorities, and attempt to help the couple’s infant daughter as best he could. That evening, when he turned on the TV, he saw that the news was all over the Western media, and that respected commentators in the West – professors and such – were saying that this was inevitable because Omar was a terrorist, and that Abdul’s and Omar’s religion was one of terrorists.

A few weeks after that, a couple of terrorists in a nation far, far away went on a shooting spree which killed a few people. Abdul and his fellow terrorists, who had nothing to do with those two far and distant terrorists, and never had heard of them, watched  white men sitting in  TV studios far, far away demanded that all terrorists, everywhere, apologise for the actions of those two. So they got together a demonstration against the attack. A bomb blew up near the demonstration, killing several, including Abdul's cousin Hussain. The TV didn't mention either the demo or the bomb.

But that was OK, of course, because they were terrorists. And they totally deserved it.

And then, a few weeks after that, a group of satirical cartoonists decided that freedom of speech meant they could draw caricatures mocking Abdul's terrorist book and its terrorist Prophet. Which they did. But some terrorists took umbrage, issued death threats and attacked the cartoonists' office. This, of course, was an intolerant affront to free speech.

And the terrorists had to be destroyed, so the wars began anew.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2015

Now, seriously, I Google imaged "terrorist" and all the top results I got were of brown men. Why do you suppose that is? It couldn't possibly be racism, right? Right?


  1. This is f*cking brilliant, I gobbled it up, then went back and read it again. Tight, terse, almost a poem. And unendurably tragic, all the more so because it is true.

    Actually it is heart-breaking when you put it like this. Which you did.

  2. sharing this one, hope that is ok

  3. Bill, Some people just don't seem to get the idea that the lives of the privileged living in the Western world are considered so much more valuable than their own. And a lot of the time they're brown.

  4. Good work Bill. Excellent read and true to the point.


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