THE STORY OF SARA
Or A Reflection on Ourselves Ayad Izzet Gharbawi
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: An Awakening. Page: 3. Chapter 2: University. Page 12. Chapter 3: Being an Activist. Page 23. Chapter 4: The Hallowed Purification Programme. Page: 32. Chapter 5: The Party Self Destructs. Page: 55. Chapter 6: Confusion after the Collapse of my Icon. Page: 64. Chapter 7 Getting a Job as a Psychiatrist. Page 69. Chapter 8: Afim: Sick or ‘Normal’? Page: 84. Chapter 9: Having Children. Page 105. Chapter 10: Omar Again. Page: 109. Chapter 11: The Meaningless Existence of My Husband. Page 121. Chapter 12: My Daughter: Lara. Page 127. Chapter 13: Getting to the Top in my Job. Page: 131. Chapter 14: Success & Emptiness. Page 142. Chapter 15: The Shock. Page: 148. Chapter 16: The Trap. Page: 153. Chapter 17: The Punishment. Page 162. Chapter 18: The Barmaid and the Alcoholic Conversation. Page: 166. Chapter 19: Old Age. Page: 180. Chapter 20: Seeing My Son: Noor. Page: 184. Chapter 21: The Unexpected Visitor. Page: 191. Chapter 22: Conversation with my Social Worker. Page: 195. Chapter 23: My Visitor Returns. Page: 206. Chapter 24: Isolation. Page: 210.
THE STORY OF SARA
â€“ OR, A REFLECTION ON OURSELVES
CHAPTER ONE: AN AWAKENING
Sara is my name. I feel the need to write down the words, or rather, the connected and the unconnected stories, of my life. I wish to say straightaway, that I am not an important person; on the opposite. I am, in fact, a no one. I achieved nothing meaningful in my life, and I was never famous. So, why you may think, should anyone read about my life, considering that I am a nobody? Well, I think, that precisely because I am a nobody, people should read about my life! Why? Because, since most of us are nobodies, therefore, I must be a reflection for a significant number of people. I am a mirror that most of us do not see; after all, who wants to see what they really look like? You see, if I were famous, then I would be in the minority of the population, and, as a consequence, I would reflect the lives of just a small fraction of the people. In other words, if I were rich, and if I were to write about my life as a rich woman, then most readers would have absolutely nothing to relate to such a story. But then again, to tell you the truth, I am plagued by insecurities and self doubt. Why am I plagued by insecurities and self doubts? Because life itself is full of doubts and insecurities! Everyday there are so many events that happen that you do not fully understand - and so they have no certainty.
There are so many thoughts that come across your mind that you cannot believe in with certainty - in other words, you have doubts! Life is made up of events, people and thoughts that are themselves uncertain, vague, indefinite, unclear, ambiguous and ultimately blurred. That is why, for me, I found no certainty in my life, no sense of definiteness – and the end result is that my image of my personal reality was a blurred vision. I could never see an accurate view of my own reality - because I had far too many flawed characteristics. I am extremely temperamental. I am extremely impulsive; I speak, behave and act without thinking in a sober, rational, deliberate manner. I am not a very good judge of character when it comes to people. I often evaluate people wrongly. I misread who they really are. I am often very cold with other human beings; I am unable to sympathise and be compassionate to other people. I am not a good listener. I am a slave to my irrational passions, my dark urges and my undesirable needs. Now I am not saying that I have these characteristics all the time – but I confess that I do have them far too often. And all these awful characteristics make me quite unable to focus on myself in a logical, coherent and rational manner. I am unable to see my real Self; I cannot see where my rational mind tells me where I need to go with my life, rather than where my dark passions tell myself where to go. So, maybe my story isn’t worth telling at all. Should I write the story of my life or not? Will anyone read it? I am a member of the weak and the unknown and the unheard class. I am a member of the invisible classes, of what they call 'Humanity'. Even though, I don’t know what ‘Humanity’ actually means any more. I am one non-entity amidst this ocean of Humanity. I am a nothing. So, what’s the point of my existence and, more importantly, the story of my existence!?
Actually, sometimes, when I’m in a good mood, I think, yes, come, do not be timid or afraid, and take a serious gaze at my own face, and I hope you will see yourselves – yes, you, the majority of the people out there, this night; for when you see yourselves in my face, you may learn so much about yourselves, and it seems to me, after I have been living and experiencing so long, you may learn from my mistakes. It seems to me, that one of the problems so many of us people out there are facing, is that nobody seems to want to take a serious, unbiased way that they really look like – and this is because of fear. But what is this ‘fear’? I know that this fear is one reason that causes a nagging and persisting unhappiness. This fear is because we are scared to look at ourselves and find a picture that is severely deformed and far too horrible to behold. Do you believe that looking at your own face is an easy task? I hear you tell me: Oh Sara, all you have to do is to look at the mirror and you see yourself. How easy! But, I’m afraid, you are wrong. Because when you say to me, that all you have to do is to see your face in the mirror, that is not accurate. And that is, because the face you are seeing in the mirror is an image. That is not your face! That’s an image of your face! And an image is only one degree of reality. An image is never and can never be the whole reality. So, you say, why is it that I am seeing an image of my face in the mirror and not the whole reality of my face? Because you yourself are scared to scrutinize and stare so deeply at your own face. Fear is restraining you from seeing your own reality. You may see your real face and it may be a face that is far too ugly to see!
Now, when I am in a bad, bleak, hopeless mood, I really believe in the depths of my angry heart, that it is utterly pointless to write anything, precisely, because I feel that my entire life is completely worthless. Emptiness. I feel my life is filled with emptiness. Ha! How can you ‘fill’ anything with emptiness! You know, I feel like ripping to shreds everything I’ve written, and yes, reader, I’ve done that many times – and, then I start all over again. And how dare I presume that anyone out there in the world would be in any way interested to read the life of an empty woman who happens to be called Sara? You see, at times like these, I have self hate. I confess. I hate every single thing about myself. And that includes my pointless story. And so many times, especially at night, when I’m able to write my story, I think, what if no one is reading these words? How frightful! Could I possibly be that empty? Could I – Sara - possibly be so utterly meaningless as a human being, to the extent that no one could possibly be interested, to give me more than a few precious moments of their time, from their important lives? Well, for all you people out there whose lives are brimming with happiness; for all those of you people whose lives are so full and busy, so they never experience the utter tedium of boredom; for all those of you people who never face an inner emptiness, a loneliness within their hearts and minds; for all those of you people who have no fears, no anxieties, and no insecurities – then I can honestly tell you to hurl this book away! And, yet, I would like to believe that - in the depths of my shaky beliefs and my uncertain certainties - that I have at least one listener with me! You know why? Because it gives me so much comfort and peace of mind to think that I have one human who is interested to know me!
The most horrible thing to me is to live in total isolation. And to ease that unique kind of emotional pain, is to know that someone, somewhere in this planet actually cares for you. I was born in the City, in a middle to low class neighbourhood, where families tended to help each other. It was a closely knit community. You knew everyone, and everyone knew you and so, when there was any problem, people would help each other out. You see, in this way, problems became less heavy than they would have been otherwise, because when more people come to help you, the problem weighs less, as opposed to if each family had to cope with their problems all on their own. It was a happy childhood; I adored my parents and I thought no one could be better than them. They were my icons. As a child, they were good to me, and I could see nothing wrong with them. But how long did that last? By the time my mind was waking up, so to speak, by eleven or twelve, I began to notice, that what I saw wasn't all that rosy at all. My parents used to argue a lot; Dad would scream and Mother would howl. And what were the causes of these clashes? Both were guilty of countless faults. Dad drank too much; Mom didn't pay enough attention to housekeeping and so our house was rather dirty; neither parent paid any attention to us; Dad would always invite his 'friends', and they would be rather vulgar in their behaviour and with their jokes (or what they thought were 'jokes'); Mom would go for hours on end to her 'friends' houses, and leave us children alone; so, when they were in the mood to fight, good God, both sides of the trenches had lots of reasons, or excuses, to use as ammunition! And what battles do we young children witness! Dad would scream: "What kind of Mother are you when you do nothing for the house; you don't cook, and so we never have homemade cooking; you don't clean, and so the house stinks and is always in a terrible mess; and then you disappear for hours to God knows where, leaving us all behind! How much time do you even spend with our children? I’ll tell you how long – you don’t spend any time with our children! Children need love, attention
and time spent with them; how do you think that affects our children? Do you think that makes then happy?" And Mom would scream, at the same time: "What kind of Father are you? You're always drunk, and you're always socialising with drunk, vulgar idiots. How do you think our children are reacting when they see their Father interacting with the most lewd, disgusting people? You're lazy in your job – and that is when you keep a job more than a few weeks – and, not surprisingly, you don't bring in enough money, and so we live a miserable lifestyle. And, you dare to ask me why I leave this house for so many hours? Of course, I want to leave this house – it's because I cannot stand the repulsive sight of you! And then, you have the nerve to ask me, ‘how long do I spend with our children’? You damn hypocrite! How long do you spend with our children? Not one minute!" I would usually rush off to my room, and hide my body and soul in my pillow. And as I grew into a teenager, my parents were fighting against each other even more. Who was right and who was wrong? Sometimes I felt for sure, that Dad was wrong; and, at other times, I felt that Mom was to blame; while at other times, I felt both were to blame; and then again, at other times, I would be so confused that I just gave up thinking about the whole mess, and just wish they never brought me to this world. How could I judge them? I could never really tell, because I didn't have the facts, did I? Who knows if Dad really was lazy at his job, and if that was the case, why he didn't he realize that we needed him to work harder, in order for us to have a better quality of life? Or, maybe he wasn't making enough money, simple because his job was a low paying one, and so it wasn't his fault that he brought such meagre wages. Who knows why Mom didn't take care of the house? Maybe she was depressed? And who knows why she went off to her friends' house for hours on end? Put simply, when you don't have the facts, how can you possibly judge in a reasonable manner?
But then, maybe, you, my dear reader, will say I am wrong, because one ought to judge the situation by using one's emotions and not just 'facts'. To be honest, when I think of those wretched days, maybe they were both 'right' and wrong'; but in what measures – don't ask me! What I do know for sure was this: the fact that both Mom and Dad never spent any time with me really hurt me and made feel insecure. I really needed their company when I was a child and right through to my adolescent years, but, unfortunately, they were never, ever interested to sit with me and talk to me – not even for a minute. In my teenage years, I clearly remember that I felt that I needed Mom and Dad, because I remember feeling frightened for the first time in my life. Why did I feel ‘afraid’? I honestly don’t know. Strangely enough, before the age of thirteen, all my parents' fighting did not leave me scared; no, my response was one of sadness only. So, I tried to talk with Mom and Dad, issues that were bothering me, but I found out, to my horror, that they could not answer any of my questions. I would ask my parents endless questions like: "Should I continue studying in school and go on to university, or should I leave and get a menial job?" "At what age should I get married?" “Is marriage worth it or not?" "Should I smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol – or, are these things wrong?" “What characteristics should I look for, when I make friends? In other words, what are the good attributes versus the bad attributes in the character of any person?” “What is morality?” I remember that my parents were themselves confused by my questions, and at the same time they were irritated. And, at other times, they were increasingly bored with my unending questions. Strange combination, isn't it – to be both 'confused’, irritated' and 'bored' with someone nagging at you all the time!?
I know why they were 'bored'; that's the easy part â€“ it was because, they gradually found me to be a nuisance or an irritant with my questions. They were 'confused and irritated', because they felt stuck as to how they could best answer my questions. You see, they were, themselves, doing all the wrong things, so how could they advice me to do what was supposed to be 'good'?! For example, 'Can I smoke and drink alcohol?' Good question, Sara, but a question that you shouldnâ€™t really ask your parents, when you recall, that both were heavy smokers and drinkers! And, when I asked them: 'Should I get married?' How can they answer that one, when their own marriage was so utterly dysfunctional!? It came as quite a shock to me, when I gradually realized that both my parents were not exactly the good icons I had thought them to be. I was gradually saddened, to see that my Mom and Dad were, in fact, quite pathetic, irresponsible and useless parents. And, I was frightened because, quite simply, and for the first time in my young life, I felt all alone in this world. My idols were nothing more than rotting, self-destructive, stupid humans; living out their empty lives, with no sense purpose and no meaning to their lives â€“ and to me, it was quite natural, to despise them. I was losing an emotional certainty that I had once cherished. It was so shocking to lose that emotional certainty because it dissolved in such a rapid manner! I never knew that certainty could disappear with such speed! I was naive enough to believe that certainty was eternal! Practically overnight, I would wake up and realize that my parents were rotten human beings who deserve no respect, compassion or any interest. This was one of the first icons of my life that would simply dissolve away into emptiness. And all my life, I desperately needed icons to give me emotional security. Why?
I would ask myself this question again and again: Why did they get married in the first place, if they did not know how be with each other? And why did they bring children into this world, if they didn't have a clue as to how to properly raise children? And, didn't they know that, if you don't properly and responsibly raise your children, then your children will themselves become dysfunctional young adults? In other words, I hated them, because they created me, and then they just left me to struggle in the woods all on my own - and with no instructions whatsoever. What other 'emotion' could I have had for them? I more I looked at my parents, the more I feverishly felt that I never wanted to be total 'losers' like them. And why should I emulate them? So I can live in poverty, end up arguing and despising my future husband, and leading an empty, self-destructive and unproductive life? No, I decided to continue my studies because, I knew, that if I ever were to be someone important, I would need a proper university degree from a decent university. Now, I'm not going to fool anyone here â€“ for my school was tough in every respect. There was no discipline whatsoever in my school â€“ students (not that you can really label them as 'students') were little more than animals, while the teachers would always show up with a mixture of disgust, boredom and anger at us unresponsive students. I can honestly say, that there was nothing 'good' in my school â€“ however, I did persevere in my studies, ignoring the general chaos and mayhem going all around me. There was always the ever vivid images of my parents in the back of my mind and, indeed, when I saw the rowdy students and their pathetically irresponsible and wild behaviour, I knew for sure, that by persevering and studying, I would not end up like them: that is, total failures in life. Yes, I was teased a lot by the students. Incredible as it may sound, they teased me, because I was a studious person, and because I simply would not indulge in their self-destructive activities! But, what kind of people were these?
These were people who live and die in a world of immorality. Yes, sometimes, I tried to explain to them my feelings and my logic: "Don't you fools see what you are doing to yourselves? Can't you see what you are doing to your future? Don't you want decent jobs? Don't you want decent wages? Don't you want to live in decent homes? Or, do you really want to live like our parents – a life of poverty, with no hope of ever improving your standards? Can't you see, that you are destroying your own future prospects for success by not studying?" And they would answer with that typical mixture of arrogance, sarcasm and pure disgust: "Decent jobs? What's 'decent' to you is indecent to us, my dear, and what's 'good quality of life' for you, is nothing but 'undesirable quality of life' for us. So, keep your meaningless babble to yourself, because, what you are looking for, isn’t what we are looking for. And then, what makes you Sara even think that you’re going to achieve your ambitions? The chances are, next to nothing, that someone like you, coming from a poor background, will be rich in the future; the chances are Sara, that, you will never amount to anything yourself; do you really think that by studying you're going to get the 'good life'?! You are the real fool, Sara, because, you’re going to kill yourself trying to attain your goals, and then, when you finally do realize that you’ve achieved absolutely nothing, well, by then, you’ll be too old! At least, we're enjoying our lives, while, you will live all your boring life, studying, and then after years of studying, you will still manage to end up in some boring, monotonous, low-paying job and so you will end up nowhere! And throughout all those years, do you enjoy your life? No, of course, you didn’t!" That's what they would say! Idiots! What else do you expect from people who have no ambitions? People who don’t care to be respectable? To be admired? These are people who honestly deserve to live in the pitiful, miserable conditions they live on. So many rich people, feel ‘sorry’ for these type of poor people, but, I am someone from a poor background, and I say to all those tender hearted rich people, don’t you feel sorry for beasts like these! They’re animals, believe me!
All that these people do, is to live their lives, in complete vice, immorality, debauchery, crime, fraud, drugs, promiscuity, extortions, robberies and anything else evil you can think of. That is the entire constituents of their empty, wasteful, counterproductive lives. To be honest, what I learned in High School was mostly meaningless to me. In that sense I did sympathise with so many of the yawning students. I myself was so bored by the majority of the subjects we had to learn. The fact is that the subjects we were learning had absolutely no relevance to my life, so why should I learn what is basically completely irrelevant to me?! Why should I care when the Geography teacher tells me how many pigs there are in a country I never even heard of? Why should I learn the statistical facts of rivers, mountains and lakes? Why should I care how a tadpole eventually becomes a frog? Why should I care about other languages when I do not intend to use these languages? Why should I care about the intricacies of some poem? Why should I learn about quadratic equations when I will never use them? Why should know about this battle or that king from a hundred years ago? Why should I care about the forces of gravity? Where is the relevance of the subjects to my life? I know that if you want to be a doctor, then you must learn biology. And if you want to be a physicist then you need to know about gravity, friction and all that. But what about the rest of students who don’t want t be physicists or doctors? Why doesn’t the school actually bother to ask us what we want to study? Wouldn’t that be more useful and beneficial for the future of the students?
CHAPTER 2: UNIVERSITY Well, I did study and, I did pass my exams, and I did succeed in ending up in a decent, upper class school! How did I pay for it? I hear you ask me? I didn't: I got a scholarship! And, what a new world I faced! What a totally different society I saw! I felt that I was in another country, for I never knew that there existed, from my own people, men and women such as those I encountered! My studies in psychiatry really excited me: I thought that I would be able to 'solve' anyone's mental problems. All I had to do, was to study and study as feverishly as I could. Studying furiously, and with love and passion, was the key to success. Study, and then you pass your examinations, and then you become a doctor in psychiatry - and I would thereby become successful. I would then be someone important. I would be respected by everyone. My life would have a purpose and a meaning because I would be going in the correct path. It was simple as that! And what was the alternative? Not to study? And what would I do then?
Go do a menial, low paying job? That was anathema to me! It made me sick, to even think about that! Why? Because, I came from a poor background, and I lived in poverty, and I saw the culture and the people who lived in poverty, and by God, I don’t want to ever live in those circumstances ever again in my life. What was poverty to me? Your house is ugly; your neighbourhood is ugly; your neighbours are the most indecent people you can imagine. The area you live in, swarms with people who live their lives in ‘anti-social behaviour’! And what’s ‘anti-social behaviour’? That means your community is one, where most people are drunks in public, where fights, with guns and knives, are an everyday occurrence; where the most filthy language is the norm in public; where rubbish covers large parts of the town; where vandalism and damage to cars and property is another daily occurrence; where people play ear-deafening music in the streets and there’s nothing you can do – because, if you call the police, they’ll obey, but then they’ll come back and make hell out of your life – in other words, the gangs rule the community. Aren’t those enough reasons to get out of poverty?! And, then for me, there are other things that are really important to me. For example: I mean, who is going to respect you, if you have a menial job? Who is going to look up at you? Who is going to listen to your words, when you speak? And, most importantly, are you yourself going to be happy with your self and with your life, if you had a menial job? Of course not! To be a fully satisfied human, you need to live in respectable surroundings with a respectable job. Otherwise, there cannot be happiness for you. Once I joined my university, I encountered mostly upper class students. That’s why, I say it was like ‘another world’ for me, because I had never encountered people like that before! Their dress was different; their accent and they way they spoke was different; but what interested me the most, was the fact, that
their intellectual interests were extremely varied, as opposed to the people that I had grown up with and knew â€“ those people whose only interests, were getting drunk, practicing promiscuity, crime and drugs! Now outside classes, I got began to get involved with different groups of academic students â€“ each group held differing ideas about the world, politics, economics, philosophy of life - and any other subject you can imagine. I was never interested in what I called the other 'superficial' groups; that is, those who discussed what I considered to be the stupidities of life, such as fashion, make up, cars, sports and so on. No way; not for me, were people like that! For I was far too serious for such mind-wasting people, and, frankly life-wasting people. No, I wanted to learn; my God how utterly hungry and thirsty and deadly serious about acquiring more and more knowledge on every 'serious' subject I was - so that, one day, I would be a useful and productive human to society! If I was not in my classes, and if I was not listening to those intellectuals, I would sit on any desk and search the internet and read endlessly, on any and every 'serious' subject. With respect to my classes, as the months rolled over, I began to feel, and think, that my professors were not all that smart at all. I began to feel that they were, in fact, quite ordinary, dull people. But then, I grappled with next obvious question: if they were 'ordinary' and 'dull' people, then how come they were professors â€“ and by 'professors', I mean that they must be far from 'ordinary'? Surely, any person, who is able to be a professor, must be intelligent? And yet, the more I listened and took down notes from these professors, and the more I analyzed their words and ideas, the more I became convinced at their emptiness and stupidity! My God, you must believe me, for they were talking utter rubbish! Well, who exactly, 'made' them professors? I began to dislike them. Then, the obvious consequences took place in my mind: the more I disliked them, the less I paid attention to their words and that, in turn, increased my boredom in class! No, this was a complete and utter waste of time for me. Yes, I would still need to read the text books given to us by the
university, and I would need to understand these books in order to pass the examinations. But, I was also determined to do my own independent psychiatry studies, in order to find the ways and means of solving people's emotional problems. I found it really thrilling to see so many students having so many ideas about the world, because, for me it was so utterly unusual to see young people actually caring about so many issues in our lives! You had the conservatives; socialists; Dadaists, existentialists, communists of every shade you can imagine; fascists, socialists, liberals, Nazis, monarchists, Hare Krishnas, Hindus, Budhists, yoga-followers, animal rights campaigners, environmentalists, religious fundamentalists, anarchists - the list was quite endless to the point of absurdity for, within each group, there were subgroups, that ranged from the so-called 'left' to the so-called 'right'. However, in all this confusion and chaos, there were, at least two things, that you knew for certain: and that was, firstly; that no group agreed with any other group, whilst secondly; every 'leader' of any group sincerely and passionately believed that, yes they, and only they, had all the answers to all the questions that faced our dear Humanity! But with time, it dawned on me that that most of these intellectual students were not quite what I expected of them. They would passionately discuss any subject and in excruciating detail! To me not every subject was worthy of being discussed! Everything was criticized in university. Everything was questionable. Nothing was certain. On the opposite these students believed that they had a duty to deeply philosophise and intricately analyse and scrutinize from every angle every subject and issue in our planet! Nothing was accepted and nothing was taken for granted. And it was exhausting to listen to them! I say â€˜exhaustingâ€™ because after every meeting, I would actually feel emptier! I simply did not learn or gain anything from all these endless discussions! So they would analyse issues like: what is the soul? What is the difference between the soul and the spirit? Where is the soul located?
Where is the mind located? What is the difference between bravery and foolishness? Are mathematical facts like 1+1=2 discovered or created by mathematicians? What does the word ‘the’ mean? What does the word ‘a’ mean? Who has a right to create rules and laws? How much taxes should each adult pay? Is the universe finite or infinite? And so it went on and on until your brain became numb with the deafening boredom and pointlessness of it all. What irritated me the most was that with these groups of students, was that nothing was sacred. Nothing was certain. On the opposite, everything was completely uncertain. As for myself, I gradually gravitated to the leftists – that mixture of socialists, communists, anarchists and other such-like groups. Why? Because to me their philosophy was more or less simple. There wasn’t all that endless series of critiques and analysis that so nearly damaged my brains! Their idea was simple: we had to removed the oppressors. And the oppressors was anyone who had power and influence. And what kind of society did we want? A purely egalitarian one where there would be neither master nor slave. Simple! Here I found that much needed sense of certainty! Here was an ideal, a philosophy that had strict rules that we were meant to follow in order to achieve our sacred aims! I was immediately attracted to one student leader, Tony, who passionately urged his listeners to use any means necessary – except violence –in order to achieve our goals of total equality within our society. He was a tall man of average weight, with short hair – actually, let me immediately stop myself here - because actually there was absolutely and totally nothing remarkable about the way he looked; but what really made him so attractive was in his
personal charm, and the way he spoke, with such a theatrical ability, that made you unable to move as long as he talked. I can still see him, as he gracefully gesticulated in such an animated manner, giving further power and reason, to every word and idea he uttered: "Can't you see and feel what is going all around you? My friends, listen to my words, because we are living in a society that is dominated by greed and ultimately misery and death on an everyday scale. Why is the dustman paid any less than a doctor? Aren't we all human beings, born free and equal? And, so, if you, my friends, agree with me that all men, women and children, are equal, then it should make obvious sense to you that we should all live equally. Do you feel what I am saying to your hearts, or not?!" he would thunder at us, with his face contorting from the passion, and with his ability to be so majestic and, yet, so utterly humble at the same moment! Yes, I began to think more and more about what Tony had to say. Why was there poverty in the first place? Where was Humanity? Indeed, aren't we all equal human beings; so why this discrimination? It seemed so sensible to me; and yet, what was I, Sara the Nobody, doing about this problem? Nothing, of course. Yes, I was just a student – but I was not actively working against the dark forces, as Tony was always talking about. Tony would mesmerize his listeners, which were usually held in the evenings, at around eight o'clock. He always managed to talk to you directly – or so it felt, despite the large number of listeners. "There are people who make millions in minutes – did you people know that? While most people in our society struggle and sweat not only tears, but, I tell you, they sweat blood – yes blood" he would scream at this point, "day in and day out, and getting paid next to nothing, you also have a minority who make millions in minutes! How can you, yes you, tell me that that is fair? Why do you, my listeners, why do you lamely accept, that we live in a society that allows conditions, whereby the majority, and I say the vast majority of human beings, men and women, have to bleed to death just, to pay their never ending bills, while a minority lead an easy life overflowing with money, glamour, power and luxuries that are indescribable? I ask you again and again to answer my
questions: is that fair? And if it is not fair, then what should be done about this sick situation? Well, clearly, we must use violence to take our rights, because no democracy will allow our party to succeed in any election and obviously the rich will never voluntarily give up their oceans of wealth; therefore, if you ask me, what is to be done, I firmly tell you as my response, that we must fight for our eternal rights, and by using the verb 'fight', I mean we 'fight' with every weapon at our disposal – be they words or bullets!" I was simply exhilarated by his symphony of words! And yet, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something ‘missing’ in Tony’s personality. He just didn’t have that supreme self assurance that others had. I guess that was what was ‘missing’. I couldn’t understand why he did have that degree of insecurity – because, it seemed to be a contradiction when you are living your life for an ideal, and at the same time, you have insecurities within your heart! It was also at university, that I first met Sanji. He was a tall, dark wavy haired man with a dark complexion. His beautifully oval eyes had a deeply pensive look, and at the same time, they were always somehow mired within a sorrowful gaze. Even when he would talk to you, Sanji's eyes seemed to be far away, deep in thought, about God knows what subject! Gracing his eyes, were beautifully arched eyebrows and the longest, thickest eyelashes I have ever seen, that beautifully complimented those seemingly lonely eyebrows in perfect harmony. He was a quiet, soft spoken gentleman, who was the most polite and sincere man I had ever met – I would forever ask myself, how can this man, be so gentle and compassionate, and without seeming to get distressed, angry or anxious?! He had such a depth of serenity in his personality – and that trait was something that made so utterly envious of him; I was constantly wishing and trying to have a millionth of that serenity of his. He was utterly sure of himself – and not in any arrogant way. He was completely happy and secure with the ideas and principles which guided him throughout his life. He had a complete knowledge as to what the purpose of his life was. As a result he knew exactly where he was going with his life.
There was no sense of being lost with Sanji; for he knew the endless, twisted, meandering number of Paths of Life ahead of him - and more importantly he knew which path he wanted to tread on in his life’s journey. He would never use foul language; and would always listen to you with interest as you talked – which is rare in our world. And he had that most beautiful ability and talent to be so extra careful in choosing his words when he spoke, for he always wanted to get his thoughts and ideas properly across to you, so that people would understand him well, and so that there would be no confusion as to what he stood for. That's why he was so pensive and why he spoke so deliberately; there was never any impulsiveness on his part; he intended exactly every word, and exactly every phrase, and every sentence he used; there never was any carelessness on his part when he would interact with you. I never met a man who was so wholly and totally considerate for the feelings of others. And, of course, my utter and complete admiration, respect and awe for this gentle soul increased over the years, as I couldn't but love his sheer intelligence. You felt somehow utterly ‘safe’ with Sanji; do you know why? Because you felt that this beautiful human was so protective of you, and because he was so utterly emotionally secure, steady and strong so that as long as you remained with him, you would never be lost. Of course, we were totally opposites; whereas he was pensive and thoughtful, I was impulsive, reckless and emotional. Whereas he never allowed the situation he was in to take control over him, I would willingly and enthusiastically allow myself to be overwhelmed by a situation, if it suited my emotional needs. "Sara, don't you realize that all these so-called student 'intellectuals’ are nothing more than buffoons? No, wait, let me change my language here. I'm wrong to say that these so-called intellectuals 'intellectuals are nothing more than buffoons'. I'm sorry; first of all, they are not ‘intellectuals’. They are completely idiotic. Secondly, they are not ‘mere buffoons’, because they are in fact far more threatening than mere buffoons. And so, my question is, don't you realize that these students are actually dangerous
people, who are hurting innocent people out there, thanks to their riots and disturbances?" Sanji would always ask me questions like these, because he was really concerned at my deepening involvement with the militant student circles. "Sanji you know how much I respect you, and how much you mean to me. But, in these days of ours, action is needed against the evil rulers out there. And there's no point in just studying and doing nothing about the challenges that face us." "What 'challenges' are you talking about? And who are all those 'evil rulers' you talk about? Can you seriously tell me that every man and woman who happens to be rich must necessarily be 'evil'?" "Yes," I replied immediately, without thinking. "Sara, you are simply wrong. You are morally wrong. You don't have the 'right', nor do any of these militant students have any 'right', to harm a person, simply because he's rich. That is not only absurd, stupid and ridiculous in the intellectual sense, it is also absolutely immoral." "What do you mean by 'morality'?" I asked Sanji. "Is killing the innocent, 'morally' right or wrong?" "It's wrong, of course," I replied. "Well, there's the definition of what morality is." I didnâ€™t like the fact that Sanji was being too simplistic with me. "And so, too, then, it is moral for us to remove the rich," I deliberately used the phrase 'removing the rich', and thereby avoiding words, like exterminate, because, I knew, Sanji really found such strong language to be offensive! "But you still haven't answered my question: is every person who is rich evil?" He was right; I was avoiding that difficult question. Actually, it was more than difficult, since I didn't have any answer. "Furthermore, I have another question: what if a rich person is working for a company that is doing no harm to people. Would you still categorize that person as evil?" "Yes, I would," I replied. I was just answering what leaders like Tony would expect me to say. But, the truth is, I had no answers. "Are you serious, Sara?" exclaimed Sanji.
"We are facing a war against those who seek to exploit us to death," I said, employing another phrase I had learned from the party. "You keep talking about a 'war'; what 'war' for God's sake? I don't see any war out there?" "Sanji, we are in a struggle against the Pigs. What do you call that struggle? A picnic?" "Sara, I don't know how you choose your words. It seems to me you just use any word and any phrase that suits your present emotional needs; but you don't actually think enough of what it is you are actually talking about," said Sanji. Actually, he was absolutely right. I wondered, did he actually see through my use of phrases and sentences that I simply produced, without thinking about them? "There's no 'war' out there!â€? Sanji would always tell me, â€œthere's just a bunch of harmful students, and young people, who are causing disturbances and riots, and the police are there to stop you people from creating any more havoc. If that's the definition of a 'war' or a 'struggle', then your words certainly have different meanings to my words." I didn't know what to say. I knew that if I allowed my enthusiasm to open my mouth, I would be just repeating the same phrases and slogans, and I respected Sanji far too much to do that to him. "You know what Sara?" asked Sanji. "I think you're deluding yourself. Not only you, but a lot of young, impressionable people in our generation, are really deluding themselves when it comes to this age old problem." "What problem?" I said, the words just coming out of my mouth, before I had the time to think of Sanji's words about us deluding ourselves. "Well the age old problem of the rich and poor. How do we lessen the exploitation of the poor by the rich? How far should society go in reducing the power of the rich? Is poverty natural or should we strive to abolish it? Does the fact that the rich classes exist mean that we have an abnormal or normal situation? You know, not one leader, and not one country, throughout our human history, have been able to solve that problem, and I suspect, this problem will be with us for a long time to come. One thing I can say for sure, and that is what you people are doing, isn't harming the rich in any way. You people think and believe that you are
harming, or even destroying the rich, but the truth is, you are nothing more than a nuisance to the rich." "Sanji, how can you say that? Our country is undergoing a revolution! Our country is undergoing convulsions, thanks to our ceaseless struggle!" I was just saying more slogans and borrowed phrases. “Sara, I hope my words will reach the rational part of your heart. You are following an immoral movement and I realize that can’t convince you that that these people are criminals. But remember my words – you are following false idols and soon, some day, some year, you will get badly hurt by these same idols you believe in. You will be badly hurt and damaged by them precisely because these leaders you follow are themselves seriously harmful and not helpful. They are exactly like drugs. At first, you feel the joy, the exhilaration – and then your body and mind begin to deteriorate and rot away from the effects of the same drugs. The same sad process happens when you become a slave to false gods!” Sanji simply sighed, as if saying to me, that I was 'useless'. I couldn't help but smile, feeling somehow I actually 'won' the argument! He looked at me with pity. Actually, it was more with sorrow. So, yes, we went on marches, demonstrations and we would deliberately provoke the police and fighting would ensue. Next, we would be sent to jail, because, obviously the police would overwhelm us with their firepower, to await trial and soon the judges gave us light sentences of a few days in prison, and we soon left prison, and this routine would go on and on. And we would be so excited, because the media would report our activities on television and in the newspapers; we would be interviewed by the mass media – at first it was, for me, so thrilling, because I really believed that what we were doing was going to change our country and our society into a totally egalitarian one. And we would go on and on with these activities. And, then, I inevitably found myself thinking about my life and what I was doing. It was always that annoying and nagging question: what was I doing with my life? Was I going in the right direction? Were we doing the right thing?
Impulsive as I was, I couldn't bother to reason with myself on these disturbing questions, and I went straight to Tony to get much needed answers from him. "Do you have doubts about our cause, Sara?" Tony asked point blank. "No, not about the validity of our noble cause, but I am finding myself worried if our actions are the correct way." I replied. "What do you mean by the 'correct way'"? He would stare right through my eyes at this point and I found it making me insecure. "Well, I mean, what positive results do you see coming out from all of our activities Tony? What changes have we made? What –" "Look and listen", he interrupted me; "I understand that you are still young and inexperienced on the battlefield. That's normal my Sara". I felt so much more confident when he used the word 'my' Sara. He continued: "Soldiers who have experience aren't the same as soldiers who don't have experience. Am I correct, Sara?" "That is certainly true," I replied immediately. "So, you must be patient, little one. Success does not come overnight, does it? The struggle – any struggle – takes years to achieve, my dear girl." He said as he began to raise his baritone voice. "So, today a battle here, and tomorrow a battle there, and soon, from the acres of debris, rubble, wreckage, bloodshed of the war, you will slowly see what true victory will look like! Yes, our victory will be assured only through persistence and by blind, fanatical devotion to the cause, Sara, and not by doubt!" Yes, I was, once again, completely convinced by Tony and his ideas. Silly Sara, how could I doubt the wisdom of these veteran soldiers, who've been fighting for years in order to secure victory for the masses! What a stupid fool I was and may God curse me! Soon, I graduated with my psychiatry degree as a licensed doctor – not that I believed any of what psychiatry books had to say! How strange for anyone to study a degree they don't actually believe it to be true! In these intervening years, I continued to explore the intellectual circles of my university days. I found so many subjects not only interesting, but I also could not resist going with an unrestricted passion for all of their work and activities – legal or illegal. Take animal welfare.
Why were rich farmers killing animals so that people can simply eat them, when we humans can go vegetarian? I felt so thrilled by this completely novel idea – I simply had never thought of it, and so when I first heard I was shocked and thrilled at the same time to hear how beautifully true it all was: vegetarianism was necessary for us humans, while at the same time, we must punish those mass killers of animals! And that's when I joined another party, called the 'Animal Liberation Front'. I immediately plunged into their activities: we would endlessly harass farmers; go into supermarkets and smash all the corners that sold animal food; we would throw poison on farm land; release, or 'liberate' animals that were imprisoned by farmers. The latter was my real favourite, because I really could feel the utter thrill and pleasure of releasing all those inmates condemned to death; inmates – yes, they just happened to be animals, but what difference was there between us and animals? Don't they have the simplest right, and that is the 'right to exist'? Next we would go into restaurants that served animal food, and we would make the most terrible scenes by howling and screaming at all the criminals who were eating animal flesh. "What's the difference between you and cannibals? You're all cannibals!" We would scream at the frightened people; soon the managers and the waiters of the restaurants would call the police, and, yet again, we would simply wait for the latter to put us back in jail. Yes, I was so proud to say that jail for me was my second home! My first home, I felt, were the streets, for it was only on the streets that I could make changes to my world. You can't make changes from your come, can you? Of course, not! No use in just reading books and then not take physical action – how stupid and pointless that would be! Oh how everyone loved me – because I was so utterly dedicated, determined to pursue every action right to its end! Every day, every waking hour, I would be with some group, planning, organizing and executing a disturbance that would soon be echoed by our mass media. And that's how you awaken the masses, who, then turn against the oppressors, and once the oppressors are eliminated, you have the perfect society! Humanity will come some day - and it shall be us soldiers of the great movement who will hand it over to the toiling masses!
CHAPTER 3: BEING AN ACTIVIST Gradually, we become ever more radical in our burning quest to uproot every conceivable element of the corrupting culture of the oppressors. We soon started to call these oppressors 'Pigs', because that is exactly what they were: overweight, bloated, filthy animals who live simply eat and consume all day, and who love to live in their own excrement. The Pigs had to be removed, because you cannot negotiate with a pig. It was so obvious to me! Some people did, indeed, argue that diplomacy and negotiations were the way to achieve our blessed equality-based society, but that was pure idiocy to me; because, for Heaven's sake, a pig will remain a pig and cannot become an 'enlightened' pig! These criminals, who are creating poverty, and who are killing people, because they do not allow them decent health services, must be completely eradicated, or else, ordinary people will continue to suffer. One day I heard Tony give a speech in front of a huge audience: "There's no point in cutting the tail of the snake. No, you must go straight for the head, and that's how you kill it!" And there ensued roars and cheers, from the mainly young crowd. "And, if someone is trying to kill you, what do you do? Negotiate? Talk to them? No,
you kill them first, that's what you do! That's who the Pigs are, my friends. They are out there killing you, and so many of you tonight are simply not even remotely aware that you are dying slowly – so, you must, first of all wake up, and realize that someone, somewhere, is draining out the blood of your life, and next you must identify the cancer that is killing you. So, who's the cancer?" Tony screamed, and the by now delirious crowds immediately responded with a thunderous and hate-filled, "Pigs! Pigs! Pigs!" "The Pigs talk and teach us about 'morality' and 'respect' and 'decency', and other subjects like that. That's laughable now, isn't it?! I mean, the blood stained mass murderer is teaching us etiquette here?!" "No! No!" roared back the audience. "Kill the pigs! Kill the pigs!" they suddenly and somehow instantaneously started to chant. So, I must correct what many people think about Tony, and that is, he 'invented' and popularized that phrase, 'Kill the pigs". No, he didn't; it was the audience that night who spontaneously came up with that really exciting and vibrant phrase! From then on, violence became more common along with the never ending chants – if not screams – of 'Kill the pigs!' Every day, and all over the country, the movement had flourished, and there were the most refreshing and gloriously destructive riots in almost every major city. It was at this time that I first heard a speech from Omar. We waited for the man to appear, but he seemed nowhere to be found. My God, I heard from so many people that he was the most radical in the deepest sense of the word! Apparently, he made Tony sound like a child! He also had a well disciplined party – unlike Tony. Here was a place that I can find the ‘cause of my life’! I could work for Omar and that would be the point of my life! The thought thrilled me – because I was already a convert to their ideas, but with Omar, there was a real party that was actively fighting the government, whereas Tony and other leaders like him were independent activists, but with no party behind them. Then, Omar suddenly appeared. He was of medium height, average looks - but it wasn’t long before you noticed his inexpressibly burning, fanatical eyes! I was about a few metres from him, and I could feel the sheer intensity of passion and rage within those eyeballs!
This man must have absolutely the words of truth, for no Man could look like that and be a liar! And then he gently spoke: "Kill the pigs, I hear you say. Well, that's not good enough for me. People like that make me yawn. And, I'm bored of yawning every day. We need more. We need to move on faster. I need speed. It's not just 'Kill the pigs', it's 'Kill the cops!', because the cops defend the Pigs and attack us every day; 'Kill the teachers!' because every teacher does nothing except to teach us with pointless information'. And, 'Kill every human being' who sides or serves the establishment!”. Omar’s eyes were literally able to stab right through your heart and soul simply by staring at you! I can well imagine that my reader will not believe me and will say it was because I was a convert to Omar’s ideas that I found his eyes to be so abnormally powerful – but, what do you say to all those people who did not like him, and who met him, and yet, they, too, all said that his eyes were profoundly piercing?! So, you see, reader, do believe me – it’s not because I was emotionally enthralled by Omar, that I am describing him to you the way I do! He had beautifully framed fingers – I don’t know why I noticed that! He had a rather longish nose – maybe, that was one defect in his face, but you hardly noticed that, given the other attractions in this man. And then he possessed the deepest, most guttural, and yet so sweetly melodic voice, that I had ever heard, and when he spoke, he simply entranced me – not to mention the thousands of others. Omar continued, beginning to raise his ragged voice: “And, so I order you, tonight, and tomorrow, and every day, to fanatically and ruthlessly exterminate every visible sign, agent, artist, writer, philosopher, painter, sculptor, journalist, teacher, professor, lawyer, doctor, surgeon, banker, engineer, everyone who works in the mass media like the television, every film maker, every scientist, and every single employer and employee of the Pigs." The audience now simply shrieked the verb, 'Kill! Kill! Kill!’ while Omar went silent, amidst this wild orchestra of hate being played out.
I noticed, that unlike Tony, Omar wouldn't gesticulate or move his hands at all. Actually, he just stood there, rock solid, like a statue while only eyes and mouth spoke! The man, I swear, looked like a 'human rock'! He was the absolute epitome of boundless hatred; of unrestrained defiance against the rulers ruling us! Yes, I do admit, and I hesitate to say so, but, yes, he almost did like completely maniacal – were it not for his self control and the beauty of his words! The audience relaxed. Omar waited until there was silence, and he continued: "Do you see the difference between what I am saying and what brothers like Tony say? People like Tony demand from us to uproot the pigs. But what Pigs does he, in fact, mean? Who does he mean, when he says 'Pigs'? He means the rich. That's it.” Now, Omar abruptly went silent. Tension. He was staring at us. I could feel that the audience felt nervous precisely because Omar was staring at them. Finally, he continued: “Can you imagine the limits of his intellect?! To Tony and his misguided followers, the solution facing the problem before us is simple enough: you simply wipe out the rich, and suddenly we have the beautiful society!" Omar was sneering, being utterly sarcastic in his voice and tone. "So is that it, Brother Tony? Is that all we need to do?” There, he stopped again, with a sarcastic, wicked smile on his face. The man’s body simply had no motion in it! I was waiting to see, if Omar would, at some point, move his body or his arms, but so far nothing! He continued: “My goodness, I never knew that the gigantic problem facing us was to be solved in such a simple manner! But, no, you're being fools. Or, maybe you're fooling your selves. Either way, I don't know, and more importantly, I don't care, because, as I told you all out there listening to me,” suddenly, he began to scream with his rasping voice:
â€œI'm a serious man, with a serious mission, and above all, I'm a man in a hurry!" Again, Omar went suddenly silent. I could sense, that he was deliberately teasing the audience, because they were obviously desperate for him to continue speaking, while he, would every so often stop speaking, thus adding to the tension in the atmosphere! The audience laughed, loving the biting sarcasm; obviously there were lots of rivalry and jealousies between the two camps, and so Omar's followers just loved to hear the buckets of insults being poured upon the followers of Tony. The mocking tone continued: "These fools are retarding our own path to victory! These followers of Brother Tony, are doing the dumbest acts that I have ever seen. I mean, what do you mean and what are you trying to achieve, when you have his followers going to restaurants and disrupting the place? I mean, is this what the definition of 'stupidity' is, or what?!" The crowd cheered: "Yes! Yes! Idiots!" "Listen here Brother Tony; I would like to say, 'it's all right, you're still young and you'll soon grow up'. But I can't say that. You know why?" The audience waited as Omar paused. He was staring at his audience. Suddenly, he erupted with his deafening scream: "I can't wait. Didn't I already tell you that? Didn't I tell you I'm a man IN A HURRY AND I'VE GOT TO DO MY WORK! DON'T YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE GET IT?" He roared, and the masses applauded furiously. "I don't have time, for children like Tony, and for his own little children, to stand in my way, and wait for them to grow up! I don't have the time, because I have an enemy out there, that needs to be completely, ruthless and fanatically exterminated, root and branch, do you now follow me?" "Yes! Yes! We follow!" screamed the masses. Silence. And then, Omar continued: "So, we know who Tony defines as the Pigs. What about myself? We must talk the talk of the brave. If you're scared, then get out of here. Why do I say this? Because this struggle requires the most ruthless behaviour on our part, and to be ruthless, you need to be brave, and to be rave means you have no fear." It sounded almost as if he were singing.
Or maybe it was my imagination. "So, who are the Pigs, you ask me? Simple. The Pig is a man, woman and child who has any Pig Attributes. What do I mean by 'Pig Attributes'? Very simple. Any human, who has in his brain, any idea, concept, believe and acceptance of any value from the rulers who rule us all. And, what are these 'values' that come from our dear rulers? They are ideas and values such as: there are the simple ones, like the belief in the right to profit, belief in the right of property, inheritance and so on. Then, there are the other beliefs, such as, belief in compassion for the rich, or cooperating with the rich or socialising with the rich. You follow?" The audience was silent. "That means, any human in our sick society, poor or not, who in any way, not only physically interacts with the rulers is a Pig himself, but also any human, poor or not, who has in his heart and mind, any empathy for the rich is a Pig himself, and so therefore, it follows â€“ and I hope you people out there are listening to me â€“ it means, therefore, that a poor human being who has any Pig Attributes, is a Pig himself, just like the rulers themselves. Do you understand?" Silence. And then he walked out. It was so sudden, because I expect a really screaming end from Omar, but to the surprise of everyone, he ended and simply walked out! But, I, understood what he meant. Basically, he was enlarging the definition of what it meant to be the 'enemy'. This struggle was now going to be infinitely more difficult. With Tony, the war was simple enough. We were 'right' while anyone belonging to the ruling class was 'evil' and that was it. Obviously, no member in the ruling class can deny that he's in the ruling class! They can even change their accents and their clothes, pretending to be poor, but there are computers and archives, such as birth certificates, school records, and it doesn't take long, to find out a person's origins. But now what Omar was proposing, that a Pig is any human being who interacts with the ruling class is evil.
Also, anyone who has any thoughts that have any Pig Attributes (for example, being pro-ruling class), are also evil, and therefore, had to be eliminated. In other words, the poor can be Pigs as well. I loved that, because, I was never comfortable with most other left leaders, including Tony, who only focused their ire against the rich. To them all the poor were ‘blessed’ and ‘sinless’, and I knew, from my own background, that they simply romanticised the poor, probably because they themselves were all rich people who had never lived one day of their lives in poverty. With Omar, being impure, or sinful could be anyone in society – and, your background or class didn’t matter. That was far more logical to me! But with joining Omar’s party, came other problems for me. How were we supposed to ‘find’ a Pig, or an impure person? How can we be sure if a person has the Pig Attributes in his mind? It seemed ludicrous to me! I had doubts because as attractive an orator that Omar was, once you went home and thought about what he actually said, a lot did not make sense. I had so many ideas that contradicted what Omar had to say. For example, can’t we achieve our goals by peaceful means – rather than choosing the path of violence? And if we must use violence, then why don’t we attack military targets and not civilians? Wasn’t it wrong to target civilians and civilian places – like factories, farms, and shops? There he stood; eyes blazing as ever. What makes eyes 'blaze' I wondered. They don't actually emit any light, do they? So how can one man have such penetrating, piercing eyes that go right to your innermost heart? Omar seemed to be made of steel. Or, maybe it was all in my imagination, as Sanji would always be telling me. It was his personality and also his body language: that stern, stiff way of standing, that seemed to be the epitome of defiance against the evil in the world!
His whole body seemed to be chiselled from the purest marble; there he stood, this heroic rock, against the tyranny of the storms and the oceans that were crashing on him; and still, there he stood, not only in supreme piety, but also, there he stood, waging a struggle against these very dark forces of evil. He will rid our society and our nation from evil, and one day, we shall live in a truly happy country. This nation and its sad people, this nation that has so many miserable, poor and unhappy people, will soon be able to live free, happy lives, without the burdens and the shackles imposed on them by the ruling elites. He spoke: "They need to be utterly, and without a shred of human mercy, be exterminated, or else, it is us, who will be exterminated! It is either them or us! We need to cleanse our entire body from these cancerous cockroaches. Don't you people understand? Call it 'murder', call it 'exterminate', call it 'butchering them' – I do not care; what I do care and what I need in order to breathe uncontaminated, fresh air, is to surgically and methodically and blindly eliminate the very existence of every Pigs on our land! That is why we have no choice but to fight. The criminals leave us with no choice. If they surrender their corrupting ways against our innocent people and if they leave power then we would have no reason to fight. My people, we do not fight because we ‘like’ to fight. That is idiotic talk that some extremists from our side do talk about – and people such as these are equally criminal; in their attitude. No we fight because the rulers leave us no choice. They continue to corrupt our society with their lethal form of cancer and so what do you expect us to do? Sir there and do nothing? That would mean we are letting the rulers go on with their murderous ways. And, morally speaking, where does that leave us? Imagine you’re witnessing a woman being raped. Do you walk by or do you utterly destroy the filthy beast rapist? Obviously, you seek to annihilate the rapist, otherwise you would be a partner in the rapists’ crime! And so, too, we are forced to annihilate the rapist rulers because if we don’t annihilate them, then we would be as blood stained as the rapists are! We are morally forced to annihilate the rapists – it is as simple as that!" Poor Humanity! Raped and abused for so long! But we shall save you and give you back to the masses!
Riots, disturbances, explosions, kidnappings – and, yes, murder began to be heard in the news, though I, myself, never knew anyone who gave orders to 'kill'. Yes, murders did happen, and I have to be honest with you: I did not mind at all. After all, what are you supposed to do with an enemy that is fanatically determined to wipe out your life? Obviously we had the right and the duty to kill them, before they killed us. It was as simple as that. And, even if they were not actively killing us, the entire infrastructure and establishment and institutions of the Pigs, were the direct enemy of the masses, and therefore, it was our holy duty to fight these evil structures, root and branch. So, when I heard that this Pig or that Pig was slaughtered, did I feel sorry for them? Of course not! What a stupid question. Be serious you readers out there! I mean, is killing a satanically murderous Pig a sad event?! My God, so many people are really idiots! Mind you, I’ve got to tell you, and that is, that I myself never ordered and never participated in any act of killing anyone. So, I know what you’re thinking now! You’re thinking that I must have had some moral reservations about the killings, otherwise, I would have participated in these acts! Again, I’ll be honest to you, because obviously, there’s no point in telling you my story, if I were to lie to you! All right, yes, you’re correct! I did have serious reservations about these acts of killing, and I kept these feelings deep within my heart. I mean, it did seem to me a little bit ‘wrong’ to kill people who may have nothing to do with those who are against us. Not that I felt sorry or sad for them – as I did say to you before. No, but I did feel that there was something ‘immoral’ when you kill a person, that you may not know for sure if that person is evil, impure, or whatever you want to call him. The target may be completely innocent – and yet Omar’s followers were killing them.
And what do you call such acts? Surely, the killing of innocent people is wrong? This all goes back to my original problem with Omar’s definition of what constituted the enemy: how do we know with precision if that man, or that woman, was an enemy or not? Omar tells us, if they have ‘impure’ thoughts, then they’re evil and therefore, worthy to be targets, but that was, to me, absolutely stupid! How on earth can we know what’s in a person’s mind?! Obviously, we cannot tell what’s in a person’s mind, and so the whole question for me was as thorny as it was utterly confusing. I decided to leave Tony's party and join Omar's party. It was an absolute emotional necessity for me. Why? Because Tony was no longer radical enough for me. I wanted much more serious action against the Pigs, and Tony's policies were simply too soft for my needs. It was at this time that also decided to sever all my ties with Sanji: if I were to be truthful to my beliefs, then Sanji cannot be my ‘friend’, precisely because he wasn’t radical at all. In fact, Sanji wasn’t even part of any movement that was fighting our oppressors; and, so therefore, as I was no hypocrite, I had to dispense with him. He was a ‘good’ man – but, our times demanded special types of people. We needed the death defying, heroic revolutionaries, who were ready, willing and able to happily surrender their lives for our blessed cause - and, obviously, Sanji was no such person. The stark and terrifying fact was that, our society a very sick society, and therefore what we needed was critical action.
Chapter 4: THE HALLOWED PURIFICATION PROGRAMME
One night, Omar began to thunder on: "No more of the disgusting concepts and ideas created by the Pigs! We should eliminate from our minds every single Pig that is influencing you, and I must say to you all, that I'm not seeing any progress." The audience suddenly went all quiet. Our leader was not satisfied with our emotional progress. We were not purifying our minds in a manner and speed that was satisfactory to the Great Noble Leader Omar. "I am looking at you all. I see you; yes, I, Omar, see each one of you. Your eyeballs seem to me to be unsure of what's behind them â€“ I mean, your brains." Omar's voice began to talk in a tone that was almost a whisper, whilst the vast audience strained their ears to catch his every precious word.
"And inside your brains lies our minds. Well, I'm talking about your minds, my friends. I'm not seeing progress. Yes, you do this riot; you kill this Pig; you burn this Pig school â€“ and all of these acts are crucial to our holy cause. But, what about you yourselves? What about your own minds? Maybe you, too, are tainted with some of the Pig mentality yourselves? Now, how about that? Yes? What do you think?" The audience gasped. Omar began to raise his voice again. He was taunting this audience. Mocking them. Sarcastic. "Why, you really are telling me, that you think and feel and believe, that you have the right to kill Pigs?" At this question, Omar stopped. The audience gasped louder. I knew what they were thinking. Is our Great Noble Leader questioning our faith in him and in the cause itself?! He screamed, almost blowing away the microphones! "Why, who gives you the right to be soldiers in this unforgiving, merciless and ferocious war we are waging every day against vastly superior forces? I'll tell you 'who' gives you that right." The audience waited in tense anticipation at our leader's answer. It was so silent in this vast stadium, you could hear a pin fall. "What gives every man, woman and child the right to be a soldier in this brutal struggle is when that soldier has the purest heart and mind. It's as simple as that. And to be 'pure', my friends tonight, is the one who has not a shred, and does not have one ounce of Pig matter. That's right, you heard. Pig matter. Any dog that has even a fleeting Pig thought, is a Pig him or herself!" The audience now began to whisper among themselves. They seemed to be receiving the light from the words being delivered by Omar. Many were saying among themselves, that, 'Yes, we do have Pig thought and ideas and emotions and feelings in our hearts.' Omar continued, in a soft voice, after allowing his audience to digest his last words: "Yes, that does come as a surprise to you, doesn't it?"
"Yes!" roared back the audience who now fully submitted to his question and answer. "So, I ask you – who are you?" he screamed! And the crowds immediately screamed: "Pigs! Pigs! Pigs! We are dirty Pigs!" Again and again, the crowd seemed to be going a little bit hysterical. Some began tearing off their clothes, as if they were trying to 'cleanse' themselves from their Pig thoughts! "That's right!" screamed back Omar, furiously and wildly staring with those maniacal eyeballs, like some trapped, ferocious animal, at his audience: "Why you yourselves are Pigs! That's right! Come on now! So, what are going to do about you? If you give yourselves the 'right' to kill Pigs, then why don't I have the same 'right' to order my best elite troops to kill you too?" "Save us! Save us!" screamed back the audience. "Save yourselves!" Omar screamed right back. "We are filthy! We are Pigs!" the audience began to insult themselves in all sorts of words and phrases. At this point, Omar was shrieking! "That's right! You are filthy Pigs yourselves, aren't you now?” The audience continued to scream and you couldn’t understand what they were saying anymore. Omar went just as suddenly silent. He just looked at his followers, and allowed them the need to express themselves. After some twenty minutes o this chaotic screaming, Omar became impatient and quickly motioned his followers to be quiet. Silence. He continued, with a soft tone: “So, I hereby announce the following." Once again the entire audience become tense. What was Omar going to order now? "I hereby allow you all, and I mean all our soldiers and not just those sitting with me here in this stadium; I order all of our soldiers to purify themselves of every Pig matter. You will have three months. And then, after that term ends, we will establish courts, to decide wether you have succeeded in cleaning yourselves from these cancerous and murderous feelings and emotions you have. Our courts and our hallowed judges will next decide, case by case, wether you are clean or not!"
Later, when it appeared that our mostly pathetic, dirty and sick 'soldiers' were simply unable to cleanse their minds from the Pig establishment in three months â€“ since they had no instructions or guidance - Omar, in his eternal grace, patience and humanity, decided to help them, by allowing classes to be held where one teacher would help each and everyone to 'cleanse' themselves. Personally, I thought that our Great Noble Leader was decidedly wrong in being so gracious to these so-called soldiers, because, in my opinion, this lot were not worthy of being in our party, and they ought to have been immediately expelled. "But, Sara," Omar would gently explain to me in his humble office, surrounded by his most trusted officers, "if we were to purge every undesirable element in the party, I would be left with practically nobody!" I took in his gracious words. and then thought about it. Why, he was correct, yet again, in his thinking! Indeed, if we did purify our party from the filthy ones, we would be left with little more than a handful of true, faithful and clean combatants and that, obviously, meant our selfdestruction! "You're right, Sir; as usual, I think too hastily. That's why you are the only leader for us; my God, if I, God forbid, were leader, why I would have destroyed the party and our eternally holy cause years ago!" "Indeed, indeed, my dear," Omar softly said, but he seemed to have already forgotten my words, and, he was already somewhere else, thinking deeply about another problem. And so I, of course, went silent, so as not to disturb him. "You know what?" suddenly he asked me, his eyes sparkling with passion. "Yes, Sir?" "These 'classes' I was talking about. You've studied psychiatry, and I believe that we must use psychiatric methods to purify my subjects." Suddenly a strange feeling overcame me; I found the word describing the party members as 'my subjects' a little bit odd. Also, didn't Omar call psychiatry a Pig subject for all those years? Indeed, he said everything they taught us at university was evil, and that even the institutions of universities were dens of evil.
And, yet, now, he was asking me to help him using what I was learning from my university days? "Yes, I can see the path I am talking about Sara. We need to get psychiatrists, like yourself, to tear out, yes, tear out, the filthiness in our party members." Suddenly, he got quite excited by his visions. "That's right, my dearest one, Sara. Yes, and I appoint you to supervise this programme of purification. That's right, and I shall call it by its simplest name, the 'Programme of Purification'!" Suddenly, I got excited as well, forgetting my previous disturbance. "That would be such a heroic move on your part, Sir." I gleefully told Omar. I feel that not only was he the saviour for our nation, but that he was also a personal saviour for myself. "Yes, I see my vision where it is leading us to. My dear Sara; you will set up these classes and you will bring the psychiatrists and you will purify the dirty elements in our classes." I got nervous again, for I just realized the magnitude of the job Saviour Omar was demanding I do for him! "And therefore, I Omar call for an immediate ceasefire against all Pigs!" Everyone in the office stood there in a state of shock! A ceasefire against the damnable Pigs?! Holy Omar could, of course, read our faces and smiled. "But Holy Sir," one officer softly asked, "how can we have a ceasefire against the most evil forces in the history of our country?" "And, Sir," asked another officer, "if we stop our eternally pure and humanistic battle against the disease-ridden pigs, wouldn't the latter take that as a sign of weakness on our part?" Next, saviour Omar raised his hand. Everyone went silent. He looked at us. There were no words from his mouth. We waited humbly. Geniuses take their time to formulate the right structure of words, not because they don't know what to say, but they do so that we fools can understand what they have to say. It is out of concern for us. Omar finally spoke: My clean, pure soldiers. We must declare a ceasefire, for I have no other choice. As a humanist, how can I allow impure
elements from our party to fight and kill Pigs, when they themselves are still 'impure'? Where is the morality in that?" Suddenly, I couldn't help but feel such fanatical love for this man; I can only describe his man and his words, as pieces of Heaven coming down to us inferior beings, and if we are decent, then we must grab every shred and piece that he utters, so we can, in turn, save our impure souls. "Beautiful thoughts indeed, my Gracious Leader!" I said. Then I turned to the listeners: "What's wrong with the rest of you? If, one of our 'own' party members was impure, then by what right does he and she have to fight and kill Pigs? We must cease all out activities, until we have a purified party! It's simple and obvious!" Thereupon followed silence. I was speaking the obvious. Finally, a voice spoke: "So, how exactly are these psychologists going to 'purify' the 'minds' of our party members?" Good question â€“ one that I had not thought about. Indeed, how, and by what means, were we going to purify the undesirables? And then, just at the right moment, Omar spoke his words: "Yes, that is a great question. There's no use giving orders that no one knows how they are to be carried out. You see, it will not only be the job of psychiatrists who will purify the filthy ones. No, we will force the filthy ones, to vomit out every filthy thought, feeling, and idea; and we shall make sure that all these impure thoughts and feelings and convictions will be screamed out of their minds." At that last phrase, once again, I found myself pausing and thinking, what an odd thing to say! I got lost in my thinking. After all, Omar always, and I mean always choose his words carefully, for he would always make it a point to be so careful with the choice of his words, so that his credibility would never be in doubt and so people do understand that that he means exactly whatever he says. I must confess, I was completely confused. On the one hand, I had such deep reverence, complete love and a total need for Omar, and then, there was a part of me, that simply didnâ€™t understand what he was talking about!
I remembered, once more, how everything was so nice and easy and simple with Tony. But, I assume, that Tony was a general doctor, whereas Omar was a surgeon, and so, with Omar, we had to face a far more complex situation. "What do you mean by that, Sir?" asked one of the officers, waking me up from my thoughts. "I mean, it shall be the duty of every party member to purify every other party member. We must all be psychiatrists! This will be done, of course, under the supervision of the leader psychiatrist in each class. He or she will guide you, as to how to get every party member to rip out every Pig attribute in our party members. It's as simple as that." At that, Omar gestured to indicate that the meeting was over, and so we left. I kept thinking that his idea was, I'm sure, utterly brilliant, but how in practice were going to do this? He left his office far too soon. We had too many questions to ask, and yet, by leaving us, Omar was, in effect, giving us a 'programme' to do, but without clear, precise orders. So, how were we going to carry out his orders? What did he mean that 'we must all become psychiatrists'! That was absolutely absurd! Untrained people cannot simply 'become' psychiatrists, even if they are 'led' by psychiatrists â€“ or to use Omar's words, to be 'guided' by psychiatrists. So, Omar's idea seemed to me, to be really a recipe for a catastrophe for our party. The more I thought of it, the more I found my mind asking myself the question: why was Omar insisting on this 'purification programme' in the first place? Couldn't the party and its members simply continue the struggle, without having to enforce this ridiculous programme? And didn't Omar realize that his insistence on us carrying out his orders to do the purification programme, was going to cause absolute chaos, disruption and ultimately mass desertions and expulsions from our party? In other words, Omar's sudden 'need' to 'purify' our own members seemed to me to be a self destructive act that would seriously damage the party.
The ceasefire announcement was barely noticed by the Pigs – which came as a shock to many of us. The government didn't seem to actually care at our ceasefire announcement. Indeed, the Pigs declared that what they termed as the 'social troubles' was, in effect, 'over' and so, therefore, the country could breathe a sigh of relief, and people could now be 'happy'. I didn't believe what the government was saying. I was of course nauseated by the hypocrisy of the Pig leaders, because, their pronouncements were lies, as usual, and they would of course, continue their merciless war against us, while we had to cease our fire. Yes, Leader Omar was probably correct, but I was damn frustrated, because it seemed to me, for the first time since I joined the party, that the Pigs may now well win the struggle. It was obvious to me! For how on planet earth could we 'win' a war, when we were not allowed to fight, while the same eternal enemy would continue his war against us?! Also, to be very honest, I'm not sure that we could 'purify' Pigs in the first place. It seemed to me to be a contradiction! I would simply have to swallow whatever Leader Omar ordered us to do. God knows, he's proven to be correct every time before, and maybe, he will confound us once more with his superior wisdom. Have faith, Sara, have faith! Never question the Great Leader, for he is superior to all of us; after all, that’s why he’s the ‘Great Leader’ in the first place! Keep the faith! How can we understand what a surgeon is doing, when we are, nothing more than doctors or nurses?! That’s right; we must listen and obey our Blessed Leader, no matter how strange, confusing or strange his orders were! Getting Humanity to the masses was getting to be more complicated that I thought it would be! As leader of the 'Programme of Purification' I set up the first class, as an example as to how we would proceed. I had absolutely no idea by what technique we were supposed to use, in order to satisfy our leader.
Of course, I pretended, I was supremely confident. There were about one hundred party members. I had one psychiatrist party member – and he wasn’t well educated , nor was he well trained, to be honest. I was frightened and really appalled at our absurd situation! I began the session by telling everyone what we were going to do: "Our leader, Omar, has commanded each and every one of us to purify themselves from the Pig attributes. That is something you all know. Either you succeed, or you will be expelled from the party. It is as simple as that. There can be no mercy, or soft hearts here. Any Pig attribute must be extracted, with or without anaesthetic. Suffering means nothing to us. I want results, and the results I am looking for are purified members, who will then be able to continue our holy struggle against the Pigs." Once again, I was just saying whatever came to my mind. My words had absolutely no substance to them. One part of me was nervous, since I had no clue what I was doing or saying; while another part of me was excited, because I was improvising anything I said or did, which gave me a sense of ‘power’. This sense of ‘power’ gave me a thrill. Next I ordered ten members to step forward. I demanded that they immediately and without hesitation tell me what Pig attributes they had. Sure enough, our members began to speak out whatever Pig attributes they may have, attributes such as being a liar, being deceitful, being materialistic and so on. "I have Pig attributes; I love money," said one member. "I admit, I admire and really respect some of our ruling class leaders." That wasn't enough for me. "I want you to criticize our party!" I yelled. Once again, they were nervous. Silence. Mumblings. "Go on!" I screamed, "I will not accept your silence! Or, you will be expelled! I know you have a lot of criticism for our party!" Suddenly, one voice rang out: "Why doesn't the party think of our own welfare; I mean, all we talk about is war and that's fine. But what about our pitiful wages?
Our living conditions at home? What's being done about that? Nothing, nothing at all." There were some gasps of shock that someone dared to 'critique' the party. "Yes, Dr. Sara is right; why can't we criticize the party and Omar? Aren't we free human beings? Or, are we slaves?" said someone else. There was some excitement now. Party members could feel the freshness and joy of freedom for the first time. "Why haven't we been allowed to criticize before?" asked one member. "Do we, or do we not, have the right to criticize?" Suddenly, several voices mixed together shouting: "Of course we have the right to criticize!" "Go on, then!" I prodded them. "Criticize!" "Why do the party leaders treat us like dogs?" "Why can't we even complain when these party leaders abuse us?" The voices started to pour out! They were aimed at the abuses our party leaders had inflicted on the ordinary party members. "Omar talks of our good attributes, such as love, humanity, compassion and all that, and yet, why doesn't he stop the physical and verbal abuses we suffer on a daily basis from party leaders?" "Yes! Where's the compassion and humanity within our own party?!" "We're fighting the impure, dark forces, and yet our own party is littered with the most abusive, inhuman dogs we've ever seen!" Personally, I felt like taking out a gun, and shooting every one of those unfaithful, disloyal and unappreciative party members. But, I had to pretend that I was â€˜appreciatingâ€™ the criticism. Meanwhile, the party members were becoming more confident as they spoke out heir feelings. "That's right, what does the party actually do for us, who work for the party? We are treated no different, than if we were employees in any ruling class company. Can you tell me what's the difference?" "When's the last time we got a pay increase?" "Never!" shouted someone else. "Why do we work so much more hours, than the supposedly 'evil' people out there?"
“And how are we supposed to know who is, and who isn’t, a Pig?” Actually, that was a good question! “Suppose, one man felt that that he wanted to get rich, and let’s say he admits that, does that then mean, we have the ‘right’ to kill that person?” “That’s right, how can we call ourselves a party of love, compassion and purity, if we believe that we have the ‘right’ to end a person’s life, based on just one Pig thought, as Omar says?” I felt really disgusted. My God, so these so-called members of our party really were Pigs after all! Omar was right! I just couldn't believe how many people spoke out their Pig feelings. But, I had to stay calm. They must now accuse each others of being liars!
"That's not good enough!" I screamed at these people. "You're lying to me, and to yourselves! You're unworthy of staying in the Party! Go on," I prodded them now, "talk to each now; forget me, and forget your psychiatrist. I want you to talk to each other, and tell each other what you really think of each other!" At first, the members were unsure and hesitant. But then, I kept screaming at them, to speak out what they felt about those around them. To my surprise, everyone began to accuse everyone else of being dirty liars, and of beings Pigs! Suddenly, party solidarity evaporated, as everyone become hateful of everyone else! Screams and accusations and insults began to be heaped at each other. "You repulsive person. You know you are nothing but a tool of the Pigs!" "You are a spy for the rich!" As so they went on, with their insults. The odd thing is that not one party member actually 'knew' the other! But, there you have it – reality was coming out, and that must have been the process of purification, pure and simple!
Within a few minutes, the party members were becoming highly aggressive, and I screamed encouragement: "Go on! You bastard liars! Filthy, unworthy Pigs! Tear out the lies and vermin from each other!" Soon, I saw endless finger pointing, wild manic eyes full of rage, and pushing at each other. "That's what I want to hear and see: Hatred! Let your hatred rip out every Pig attribute in each other! Hate! Hate!" I screamed joyfully. Most party members suddenly began to break down and cry uncontrollably. Weakling, I thought! How dare they cry! They ought to be shot – are these crying morons, what we call ‘soldiers’?! I noticed that the psychiatrist, assigned to be with me, was beginning to feel sadness and real compassion for our party members. “Dr. Sara,” he said, “can I just comfort them?” I looked at him with absolute repugnance: “You untrained moron! That’s not the way to tear out the impurities! We need to break down the impure hearts and minds of these squirming idiots, and you certainly DO NOT DO THAT BY GIVING THEM A HUG!” The poor psychiatrist was shocked at my sudden anger that was vented against him. But, I must admit, I absolutely loved having this power of casting fear, and humiliation to human beings! To be honest, I myself had no idea if, what I was doing was the ‘right’ method or not! But you must know that by now, reader, don’t you? "Kick them!" I shrieked, finding, to my complete surprise that I was now encouraging not just verbal violence but physical violence! I continued screaming: "Kick! Punch! Tear their Piginess right out of their brains! Don't be scared! Exterminate all Piginess!" And yes, to my exhilaration, serious beatings ensued and the rest began to get in hysterical sobs. After a certain amount of time, I ordered a complete halt to all activities, verbal and physical. They obeyed like dogs.
I stopped the abuse, not because I had had enough – no, I did it, because, I was scared there might be serious physical damage to our members, and that would then be a burden on our budget – since we would have to take them to hospital and pay for their stupid bills! The 'Programme of Purification' had now begun in earnest all over the country. But, it was strange to me, because when I was ordering people, I felt thrilled, but, when I inevitably got back home, and I was alone, I kept thinking again and again, what good was this going to do to the party and to our cause against the Pigs? Also, I felt really empty and unhappy. I was only satisfied or happy, when I was doing things or when I was physically active; but whenever I had nothing to do – I felt empty, sad and insecure! Wasn’t Omar and our party supposed to give me peace of mind and happiness all the time? I, myself, supervised several sessions like that, until I felt that it was now time for every class to be on their own, with only the psychiatrist at hand. To my horror, I discovered that every psychiatrist that happened to be a member in our party, was himself and herself, completely insecure, unstable characters that were, in now way, capable of practicing psychiatry in a professional manner! Didn’t Omar know about that fact? And the oddest thing, was that so many of our psychiatrists, actually got their degrees from the best universities in our country! So, how come, they were so lacking in the most basic knowledge in psychiatry? And who would award degrees to people who were themselves completely irrational, and mentally unstable? To me, that fact was really disturbing, because, I obviously began to think, about all those psychiatrists who were practicing in private clinics and in hospitals in our country. How could they be allowed to practice psychiatry, when they were simply not qualified to do so? And God knows, what emotional harm and damage they were inflicting on their own mental patients!
Anyway, I had to forget about problems like these. Within a few weeks, I had to order these so-called psychiatrists out. The party members were now to be on their own, and they were to continue abusing each other until I felt that we achieved 'purity'. And so, I left them and I awaited to see the results. And to my horror, I heard endless reports come to me, that these 'purification' sessions, were simply becoming, nothing more than members verbally and physically abusing each other. Nothing else was happening. I was hoping that somehow, following the abusive stage, people would become loving and compassionate That was what Leader Omar had told us would happen. But that didn't happen. Several more days later, I ordered all classes to cease, and all of those who participated were next ordered to the various Supervision Boards. I just didn't actually see what the point was for all these classes. Let the Supervision Boards judge wether or not these members of the party had been purified. Not surprisingly, most of these so-called party members' were deemed to be Pigs! Just as I thought! A Pig remains a Pig no matter what you do! This is what I had been trying to tell leader Omar, and we see the results to prove my point. More than 95% of our so-called 'members' were deemed to be pure Pigs and so they were expelled from our Party! But, did we have to go through all these arduous sessions in order to 'prove' that point? And more importantly, what good did we do by reducing out party members by 95%, since obviously, we were by now in a gravely weak position vis-Ă -vis the enemy? I would now see how Leader Omar would react and what he would do. The meeting was held in Omar's simple office. There were several nervous officers plus myself â€“ I myself, somehow, was not in the least worried. I think that Omar was already told of the results, because his face seemed unusually grave and serious. "Well, Sara?" he began looking straight into my eyes.
A thought crossed my mind: well, if you knew of the results, then what exactly are you asking me? "Sir, the results have been" and at this point, the leader raised his voice interrupting me. "I know what the results are. I do not need you to tell me what they are." "Well then why are you asking me?" I blurted out. The other officers were shocked at my answer and question. For some reason, and I just don't know why, I was not scared or intimidated at all. I mean I should've been deathly scared because I had heard that Omar had executed countless party members before; he would do so without even notifying the families involved: only the executioner would know. Thatâ€™s what I would hear, anyway. "Sir, I just wanted to tell you, that I knew that this programme did not succeed, because, in my opinion.." "You say that it has 'not' succeeded," asked Omar. "That's my informed opinion, yes Sir," I replied. "Why do you say it has 'not' succeeded? To me, the success is as obvious as the sun above your brains." Everyone was surprised, because this was the first time we had heard what Omar had to say about his purification programme â€“ and to him, it was an actual 'success'! "Sir, party members remained mired in the abusive stage, and we did not succeed in purifying them into the next stage, which would be the loving, compassionate and humane stage." I replied stiffly. Omar continued to stare at me. I sat there without a hint of emotion. Then, a soft smile broke across his serious face. "Exactly," finally he said something. 'Exactly what, Sir?" I asked, confused. "That is exactly what I mean, when I say to you, that we succeeded." "But, how did we 'succeed' Sir, when so many, 95%, had to be removed from our great party?" I asked. I used the word 'great' deliberately, in the hope of appeasing him and thereby reduce what I could feel was his anger against me. "Sara, listen to me. I actually thought that you would understand, but, regrettably, you didn't understand." I didn't like the tone of his voice at all. It sounded to me cold and rude.
"Look, when I ordered the Purification Programme, I did so, in order to uproot all members in our own party, who were themselves Pigs. You understand, so far?" Omar asked. I felt even more uncomfortable, because he was treating me like I was an idiot. "Yes, Sir, I understand you," I replied. "Good. Now you have seen for yourself, that a vast majority of our party members, are themselves no better than any other Pig, and, as a consequence, I expelled all those dogs out. Today, I am satisfied, that with a mere 5% of party members, we have a pure, elite, pure men and women, and it is precisely to these 5% that I now look up to, in order to restart and re-energize our party, and, therefore, our struggle." Omar finished with a self-satisfied smile. "Yes, but, Sir, with this pure 5%, how can we actually continue the struggle? We just don't have enough soldiers any more. So, what next?" I asked. "The 5% today will be 95% tomorrow," answered Omar as swift as lightning. His smile was now beaming, as he seriously gazed at all the other officers in the room. He struck me as being so over filled with confidence, that he was about to burst from his skin! "Do you now understand me?" he asked with a steely voice. I felt at a loss! Everyone in the room murmured words of support for Omar. What was he talking about?! He made no sense! I looked around me in the room, and no one dared to criticize the leader. For some reason, I felt compassion for all those party members who were so summarily expelled. "But, couldn't we have kept some of those we expelled?" I asked, sounding desperate. "I mean, Sir, a lot of those members weren't really Pigs in the full sense of the word; they were mostly decent, hard working men and women, who adored you and the principles we stand for, but they did have a few criticisms of the party." "That was enough for them to be terminated from the party!" declared Omar. "Enough for them to be expelled from the party?" I asked, almost pleading. "Sir, where's the justice, compassion and love in all
this? We expelled decent people; just because they had a few Pig thoughts, and just because they criticized the party, does that mean they deserve to be expelled so casually? No one is 'perfect', Sir, don't you agree with me?" Omar seemed bored with me. Casually, he replied: "No one is perfect, that is correct. That's why we need to keep the absolute purest human beings. If we kept those that were contaminated, then they may infect that blessed, pure 5% that remained in the party." "But, Sir, why do you say that all those expelled were like an infectious disease? They weren't! I knew personally so many of them, Sir, and I repeat, they were decent people, Sir!" "Yes, you are repeating yourself Sara," said Omar, and then looking at the rest of the members, he asked, "well what do you think of Sara's opinion? Should we have kept the vermin in the party?" Well, obviously if you phrase your question like that, no one accepts 'vermin', I thought! But, my whole point was that these people were not 'vermin'! Everyone in the room, answered: "No! No!" "Sara," Omar suddenly growled, staring at me with those fiery eyes, "I am a humanist, and when I see a human with a highly infectious disease, then I remove him. It's as simple as that. There's no room for 'compassion' here. Indeed, if I were to be 'compassionate', and keep this infectious person, then I would not be 'compassionate', would I â€“ since I would allow other people to get infected? Perhaps, your nerves are too weak. You may be too soft. But, that is what a leader must do. He must 'lead', despite the pain and suffering that comes from leading; if I were to waver and be scared or unsure of myself, then I would no longer be a leader, correct? Imagine an airplane pilot who's not sure if he's flying the plane correctly; how would that make you feel? You would dismiss the captain immediately. And, that is why I am a leader, and why you are not! And that is why you too are hereby dismissed from the party." I was stunned. But I didnâ€™t somehow absorb what he had just said. "Sir, I accept being expelled, but I beg you for one last question?" I asked, hoping, that Omar would rethink his decision to expel me. "Go ahead," replied Omar, without looking at me anymore. I was no longer worthy at being looked at!
"Sir, if one man or woman, simply had one Pig thought, such as the desire to have their wages increased, does that give the party the right to expel them?" I deliberately used the phrase 'does that give the party the right to expel them', when, of course, we all knew, the 'party' was Omar, but I didn't want to sound as if I was directly accusing him, and so I cushioned my accusation with the word the 'party'. "Yes," Omar replied casually. "And do you really believe that no one here in this room has had a single thought cross their mind that you would define as an evil thought?" I asked, knowing that this was my second question. "The pure have no evil thoughts." "Doesn't that make them similar, if not the same, as the Prophets â€“ that is, free from all sins?" "Yes." For a man who loved talking so much, I found it strange that now he was answering only in single words. "And for the new members who will be joining the party, who no doubt will be sinful, how will we, I mean you - since I am being expelled - how will you purify them, without getting the same results, which is 95% being expelled?" Silence. There was now no quick answer from Omar. Suddenly he raged: "If humans cannot be purified, then DAMN THEM! THAT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY! I HAVE COME TO CLEANSE THE UNCLEAN, BUT IF THE CANCER PERSISTS, THEN THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO EXCEPT TO REMOVE THEM!" "But how will we continue our struggle then? It seems that you're more interested in 'cleansing' party members, rather than fighting the enemy?" I asked, surprised that he was allowing me all those questions. Maybe he actually needed these questions, so he could think about them in his mind. Omar relaxed. "You do not have the 'right' to kill the impure, if your own side are impure." For once, he made complete sense.
What right do you have to fight an enemy, if your own side are tainted with the same attributes you are seeking to eliminate in the enemy?! Of course, where I disagreed with Omar, was his definition of what constitutes an impure person. "Well, my opinion," I continued. "Damn your opinion!" he screamed at me, suddenly standing up and looking more or less hysterical. "Damn my opinion?" I answered right back, while the horror of the listening officers intensified. "Then, if my opinion be damned, why do you, Sir, appoint me for your very own programme?" I felt somewhat dizzy because, to be honest, one part of my brain was talking and answering without thinking of what I was saying; the words just came right out of my mouth and that was what made me dizzy, and yet, I loved what that part of my brain was saying! "You revolting ape," the leader slowly spoke back. "Why you are another traitor just like all the rest!" Now the officers were getting nauseous â€“ because they felt that the leader may be implying, that they too were 'traitors' or perhaps 'apes'. "How can I be a 'traitor', when I enthusiastically carried out your orders for the 'purification' programme?" "What 'work' you did was nothing but destructive work," Omar quickly replied. 'Destructive work'? What on earth did he mean by that? "Yes, you, Sara, deliberately set out to sabotage my plans and orders for the 'purification' programme. You destroyed my blessed programme," he said with a supremely self-assured grin on his face, as if we had suddenly won the argument. "These are your words and your thoughts, Sir, but I was your most loving, adoring, faithful member of the party. But, it seems to me that you donâ€™t allow me to defend myself,â€?" "Defend yourself?!" he cut me off yet again, laughing out loud; "since when are common rats allowed to 'defend' themselves? Rats! Pigs! You hopeless idiot! Traitors have only one way to go and you know where that road ends, my dear Sara, don't you?" he found his words to be so amusing, he fell back on chair, laughing quite uncontrollably. I found myself looking at him as he went on laughing. I was not really sure how to interpret Omar's behaviour.
He seemed to be lost, in finding how hilarious it was for him to 'find' me to be a 'traitor'; well, even if I were a traitor and he is to be credited for 'finding' me out, how did that square with the unalterable fact that he, the Great Leader Omar, had decided on a ceasefire against the Pigs, and then deciding to go for this gigantic programme which had so miserably failed? He failed, not I; he failed and not the party members. After all, he's the Leader and he chose this path, against our wishes, and so how was he going to look at his party members now? Here he was laughing while the entire party could only look at him as a 'failure'. Or, maybe, it was only myself who saw him as a failure? "I hereby order" he quit his laughing and abruptly continued, "your expulsion from our dearly beloved party." Now with the 'expulsion' order, there usually comes other punishments; what were they to be, I wondered? "Sir, can I ask you another question?" "Sure," he replied casually. I was surprised by his generosity in allowing me to ask him so many questions. For some reason, I felt that I was a television reporter and he was granting our channel an exclusive interview! "To you the world is black and white?" "Not necessarily." I was surprised. I expected that he would actually say the world was black and white, because, all he ever talked about were the 'evil' ones versus the 'pure' ones. "So, who's in between?" I asked. "There are many creatures who are caught in conflicting emotions â€“ that is, between pure and evil." "So, how do you define them? And, would they be allowed in your party, or are they to be regarded as enemies?" "No, pure vermin. Pests. They need to be extracted." To him, he had a ready made answer for seemingly anything you asked him. He spoke with such an astonishing degree of confidence and a abnormally high sense of complete self-assurance; it seemed to me as if I was simply asking him silly questions, such as one plus one, and is the sun yellow!
The man simply had no doubts. And, I admit, even though he had just expelled me, and called me a â€˜traitorâ€™, I still utterly adored him for his emotionally strength! He was utterly entrenched in his thoughts and convictions. It was his strength of faith, and the purity of his character, and his unwavering faith in his convictions, that I myself desperately needed. I needed his strength, precisely because, I myself was so emotionally weak. "But, Sir, if we talk about our society today, if you are to win this struggle, then I presume that you intend to kill," and here I made a mistake in the choice of my words, "I mean, you intend to eliminate the impure ones, and doesn't that mean, according to your own statistics, that that means, the vast majority of our population need to be eliminated?" "Yes. If needs be." "But, aren't you contradicting yourself, Sir? How can you," "I know exactly what your question is," he said, interrupting me, "you want to know how we can win the struggle if we intend to eliminate the majority of society. You see, you assume incorrectly, which is very common for you, that when I say 'eliminate' I mean to kill. You are wrong. I mean, that once we defeat the ruling powers, then we must re-educate the masses, and that will be done by force, because the impure masses will not voluntarily desire to be purified. So, as I say, that will be another phase in our struggle: the forcible re-educating of the masses, and that will cause much violence and bloodshed." I was astonished. He never spoke to us about that plan of his. "You do not seriously think that ordinary men and women are going to let you 're-educate' them do you?" I asked. I wished he would hug me, and give me back that sense of pure and unending security. "No, of course not," he snapped back, his words and voice, almost biting me, "didn't I just tell your ears that I will need a lot of bloodshed? Or, maybe your ears decided not to relay my voice to your brain? And it isn't only men and women of course! No, reeducation and purification of society begins with our children. We need to re-educate our society the good, humane, loving, compassionate values and we must make sure that we extract any
evil attributes, such as selfishness, greed, arrogance, love of violence and so on." "And, in order to create pure, loving, compassionate, non-violent people, we need to engage in so much bloodshed, as you say?" "Of course. It is not my fault; what I am doing is to recreate Man as God intended him to be. Now, for thousands of years Man has been tainted and corrupted by vice and greed and viciousness. Then, someone like myself appears on the Stage of Life and History. That is, of course a chance, random event. I mean, I and my appearance in this life, is a random event. So, then I ask myself this question: what do I need to do, in order to recreate Man; to bring him back to his origins, when he was kind as a lamb? Well, I need to remove all the filth that has so deeply accumulated in the heart and mind and soul of Man; you see this putrid accumulations have been going on, as I say, for thousands of years, so, as you can imagine, there's a lot of it deep within Manâ€™s heart and mind. Now that I know the depth of the cancer and how much it has spread throughout the body of Man, I can now judge how much surgery will be necessary in order for me to remove the impurities. And, so, I can tell you that is why, so much blood will be shed, because humans will not be willing to have themselves re-educated; force will be needed, and if some persist in their refusal to learn, then they should know the consequences." For once, he seemed to be making some sense â€“ except for the 'forcing' people to be re-educated. "No human wants to be pure. Humans love to be evil. That is why force will be needed to bring them back to their pure origins. After all, how many pigs do you personally know want to learn about love, humanity, morality and beauty?" If it weren't for his violence language, he talked like so many other leaders. "But isn't it immoral to 'force' people to be re-educated?" I asked. "Isn't it immoral to allow so-called humans to have the freedom to do as they wish and act out their evil attributes, such as: deceit and lust and rape and arrogance and murder and violence and criminality?" "But," I said â€“ but he suddenly motioned with his arm that I may no longer ask questions. I sat motionless, as Omar motioned his secretaries to start writing down his next set of orders, which were then to be distributed to all party members.
"I further order the following. I demand that 25% of party members be expelled from the holy party immediately, because it is obvious that they collaborated with our Sara. Next, the great Purification Programme will continue. You may have thought that I would abandon this great humanistic enterprise to cleanse Man from his sins. No, my friends, for I was not born to surrender! No, my friends, the programme will continue but on a different basis. From now on, anyone, who will be reported to have Pig attributes, will be taken to our courts and let our genteel judges decide their fate. All courts will be held in secret and no news will come out: the guilty will be given their punishment whilst the innocent will quietly return to our ranks. Furthermore," suddenly he began to speak really fast as he rolled out order after order, as if he were 'cleansing' himself from his past failures, "I declare the ceasefire to be over. Next, I order, that we must now no longer restrain ourselves in any way, shape or form in our armed struggle against the ruling Pigs. No, the war against the ruler Pigs will now take its next logical turn, and that means we will fight Unrestricted Warfare; by that, I, Omar, order that we fight the Pigs by any means necessary. We will now see the end of the Pigs, precisely because of my Unrestricted Warfare Order. Thus, we enter the final phase of our military struggle. Next, I order that anyone who dissents, or who does not follow party lines, to be summarily dealt with," and at this last phrase, he grinned his famous grin, whereby everyone understood what he meant: anyone who is to be 'summarily dealt' with, meant more or less death.
CHAPTER 5: THE PARTY IS DESTROYED The meeting ended and I walked out not knowing my fate. I felt scared for the first time. Surely, Omar's people would be coming after me? And what about those others whom Omar had just expelled? They will be after my blood too! My God, I began to think all over again at his last speech. He demanded the expulsion of twenty five per cent of party members â€“ and God knows what would happen to them, whilst I, Sara, was the chief of the Purification Programme. Obviously, as the 'leader' of the programme and being 'found' to be a 'traitor', then I would meet the most brutal end? Maybe, I was being too paranoid. Maybe all this talk about killing was just idle threat used by Omar to intimidate us? But I was still scared and I needed to escape. I decided to leave my house; but where could I go? I knew that that there was no one better than Sanji, but since I did cut him off, where does that leave me? Will he accept me back? I went to his house and rang the bell. The sad fact as that I did not have one single 'friend' that I could depend on! Sure enough, there was Sanji. "Hi" I said shyly. "You're in trouble I assume?" As usual, he was right. He motioned me with a pleasant smile to come inside. "I mean, what did you expect from Omar?" Sanji asked me; "Sara you knew perfectly well what Omar stood for: dictatorship and murder. So who's to blame here?" "I do?" I replied sarcastically.
"With respect to Omar, are you seriously going to tell me that no one knew that he was a murderer?" I sat quiet. I didn't know what to say. "Well?" Sanji asked. "You knew Sara; you knew and yet there you were with him, and there you were carrying out his orders. So, who's pretending now Sara?" Again, I sat still. What could I say? To be honest, I didn't feel guilty about what I had done, rather, I was embarrassed because Sanji was right, and I couldn't admit it! "Look Sanji," I finally managed to paste some words together, "will you allow me to stay with you?" "Of course," the soft spoken Sanji replied. "My God, I know the dogs are out to get you, and I'm not going to leave you on the streets. You didn't have to ask." I was so utterly relieved, I broke all the rules, and now I was finding safety, and I couldn't help but hugging the somewhat startled Sanji!
With the declaration by Omar of 'Unrestricted Warfare', the government suddenly, under a newly elected leader, decided to go on the offensive against not only Omar's party but against any socalled 'illegal' party. The new Prime Minister was the most serious, straight-forward man that I had ever seen. He was determined to remove all the leftist parties and individual leaders based on the law, because, for him, the country had had enough of our ‘disruptions, illegal activities and chaotic actions. He declared in a speech on the day of assuming office that a new era will now begin in our country. "No more of these shadowy, secretive, cult-like so-called 'political' parties, for we shall chase them out and put the guilty ones straight into jail, which is their real homes. I pledge to you, as I did, many times, during my campaign, that we shall not be meek in the face of these disruptive and criminal characters; force will be met with force, and by ‘force’, I mean the law. I solemnly declare to you, the law shall not be undermined by these dangerous, subversive elements within our society. The law shall be preserved, and more to the point, the law will go into action, because, if we
do not seriously act, then the very edifice of our entire political and legal establishment will be at risk." So, the Pigs were now going to destroy all our parties – and all because Omar brought so much disrepute and disgrace to us. I felt scared from our new Prime Minister, just as I was scared from the gangs of Omar. And, yet, strangely enough, I couldn’t help but admire this new Prime Minister! How odd and paradoxical of me! I knew what attracted me to his character: his force of personality. He was a solemn, self assured man, who simply decided that our country needed bold, swift, decisive action against what he regarded as ‘irresponsible’ elements in our society. In that sense, he was completely different from the other Prime Ministers, who treated us, as nothing more than clowns and jesters. But, this Prime Minister was really right, when he ran his election campaign, based on his promise that he would get rid of us – and the people enthusiastically approved of his sincerity and seriousness in his determination, if elected, to wipe us out! The Prime Minister, continued: "And so, I say to you tonight that we too, shall initiate our legally based police action against these criminal gangs – yes, I deliberately call them ‘criminals’, because they are no different from any other gangs, such as, for example, narcotic gangs. For far too long, this nation has been far too patient in putting up with so-called 'freedom of expression' that these so-called parties espouse. Yes, but 'freedom of expression' does not mean inciting violence and destroying public property and randomly killing innocent men and women! I say, and thanks to you, the public, who voted for us to handle and solve this crises, I say to you all, that we shall no longer tolerate this state of utter chaos in our land," and his audience thunderously began to applaud and cheer, "we shall not stand one more minute for this sorry state of affairs. These so-called 'revolutionary' parties have only one principle and that is to create disturbances, mass chaos and ultimately violence. They are nothing but murderous thugs and clearly no civilized society and no self-respecting civilisation on this planet can possibly accept the existence of such criminal gangs and that is precisely why we shall use every legal method to completely eliminate these people.”
It was obvious to me, that we were no longer ‘popular’ with the masses. Otherwise, how did this bold Prime Minister get elected by such an overwhelming majority of the voters? No, I had to face the new reality, and that was our movement, was no longer acceptable to the majority of our people. And, it was completely our fault, because we began to behave with unrestrained lunacy, by hurting and endlessly insulting, using the most derogatory words against practically every segment of society, and by raging against every type of worker, from the rubbish collectors to the managers of factories, and to the owners of any business; by randomly damaging and destroying public and private property, especially what people most cared for, such as their homes, their cars and their businesses; by our endless chaotic riots and marches, that would disrupt and paralyze the business and every other activity – such as hospitals, for example - of an entire city. And then there were the random murders of innocent people, that we somehow decided were not ‘pure’ enough for us – that really offended our society, as well. Then, I noticed, the Prime Minister was still speaking: “And so, tonight, I appeal to you, the members of these ridiculous, criminal so-called parties. I calmly ask each and everyone one of you, men and women, to quietly leave your respective illegal parties, so as to save yourselves from further prosecution by our noble courts. I am giving you nothing less than twenty four hours to exit from these gangster parties. This will be your last chance to rehabilitate yourself back to decency and respectability. Now, this is my first day in office, and I am proud to be solemnly fulfilling my pledge, that I gave to my people, if elected - and I have been duly elected, and so to my pledge, I remain as faithful as ever. So, let this be my first and last warning to you members of these so-called 'parties': leave within 24 hours or else face the full might of our law, because, soon, all too soon, you shall soon see yourselves, and no doubt, your other comrades, in prison, and you will thereby be assigned to the dustbins of history. I tell you this much, and listen, for those of you who have ears: Your time is up! The murderous chaos that you have perpetrated is over! Resign or be bludgeoned by the forces of decency and morality; no more fear for all our law abiding men and women, who have been for far too long intimidated by the likes of you! Your insane, sick era is over, and I say to you members of these murderous gangsters, and
to all you decent, law abiding citizens, goodnight; for, tomorrow you shall see a revitalized nation that is finally safe from fear! Tomorrow, you shall all see a country that abides by proper laws and not a country that seemed to be going down the path of mafia rule!" Well, what a speech indeed. The time for our chaotic mischief was over. Obviously, I wasn't a fool; I fully realized that this was the first Pig government that was going to deal with us in a deadly serious manner. Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this Prime Minister is talking rubbish – like all the other politicians. Once they get in office, they betray every word they said during the election campaign. Well, actually, who knows? I felt depressed. Was this really the end of our great movement? Was it really 'true' the masses no longer 'liked' us? And if so, then why would they turn against us? After all wasn't our entire epic struggle for the masses? Why would they betray us; we were and are their only saviours and their only salvation, so why would they vote for this avowedly hard line politician and put him in office? I was completely confused; what was going to happen to our great struggle? Wasn’t our great war for the liberation of the masses from the claws of the Pigs? Could it possibly be that all our sacrifices shall now be in vain? My God, didn’t the masses, the people realize that we were fighting for them?! We sacrificed our entire lives for them, and now they were going to betray us? What does that say about Humanity?
Within a few days of the Prime Ministers' speech, it became quite evident that he meant exactly what he intended to do. Soon, the police were out in force, arresting anyone involved in the numerous anti-Pig parties.
All over the country, the police came after every known party member; they were arrested and sent to the police station, to await court. The same went for individual known leaders of the party. The courts were, themselves, very swift in deciding the verdict, since, I can only assume, it wasnâ€™t that difficult to see if a particular party member had committed a crime or not. Presumably, the police had kept numerous files on all of us and on all our individual activities? And, I must admit, that I was surprised at how lenient the courts were for the majority of those prosecuted were released as innocent from any crimes. Most were acquitted, but for those who participated in acts of public and private property damage, they were given a few months in jail. As for those who gave inflammatory, pro-violence, hate filled speeches, like Tony, were given up to one year in jail. However, Omar was in no mood to be conciliatory, which also surprised me. He went into hiding, rather than surrendering himself. He appeared in a televised appearance in front of about twenty of his followers. How different the scene was! For, hadn't we been used to seeing Omar in front of hundreds of thousands of screaming fans before? And now, he was speaking to a mere twenty or so of his followers! "Members of our party. Greetings to you all, ladies and gentlemen. Yes, I know that the people who are listening and watching, will be asking why I am not in front of thousand of our party members. You see, I'm aware of what you out there are thinking." My God, the leader is happily telling us that his 'knowledge' told him as to what we are thinking, as concerns why his audience is so small. And, he looked as if that was a great insight on his part! What rubbish! Any fool, would be thinking that! "Well, my followers, my true, faithful followers I shall speak the truth. Following our great, revolutionary self-cleansing programme, we discovered, as I, of course, had always predicted, that regrettably, amidst our own so-called 'party members', there
existed a huge malignant and spreading cancer. A lethal type of cancer. It was there right in the hearts and minds of quite of few of our so-called 'members'. Once our doctors discovered this fact, which I knew about, I decided to act immediately, ruthlessly and without hesitation. I had to amputate every cancerous form within the party and, I can tell you it was done superbly and with absolute surgical precision! Yes, we removed the cancer successfully, and today, our party members are completely free from any Pig attributes!" The small crowd applauded and tried to scream their pleasure, but it was a far cry from his previous speeches when the roar of the audience was deafening. Of course, my question was, what was point in what he was saying? The fact was that his movement and his followers were now no more! Omar was finished; his party was dead, and he’s happily telling us about ‘removing the cancer’?! I then noticed, that Omar was still talking: "Having cleansed the party, I, Omar, ordered a new type of warfare against the criminal leaders that rule our nation. Of course, these criminals are ruling our nation to its death. That is why we must wage this great, humanistic and eternally just war. I ordered a new phase: the Unrestricted Warfare principle and that meant, in effect, that we shall use whatever means it was necessary to gain the supreme victory. The new government of Satanical vipers now decided to fight us with a new ferocity that was thus far unheard of. In other words, no Prime Minister, has so far used such savage methods in the war.” What ‘savagery was he talking about?! The Prime minister simply used the police forces to arrest party members, and they then had to face the courts. Where was this most unusually ‘savage’ form of warfare? I snapped out of my thoughts: “But do not worry, because we soldiers are used to the most unimaginable viciousness on the part of the enemy, and their sick methods will not repulse us; on the contrary, these inhuman methods of war, will only strengthen our resolve, will and determination to exterminate this enemy no matter what it costs in blood and tears.”
Again, he was just repeating the same, old slogans, that were completely empty of any worthy content. “And so, you ask me, tonight, where are we in this war? Who's winning? I am happy to report to you: that our pure soldiers have moved from battle to battle, from victory to victory; and, all this is thanks to the purity within their hearts and souls.” What was he talking about!? I felt like screaming and laughing at the same time; for the sheer incomparable idiocy of Omar’s words, made him sound like an absolute professional maniac! “You see, only the 'good' can succeed against evil. You cannot beat evil when you yourselves have an army of evil, impure people. No, you see, that is why we are winning the war. Good defeats evil – it is as simple as that! All over the country, I can tell you, the government is losing this Great War. Therefore my friends do not worry about the future; the future is with us; the future is with the powers of 'good' and never with powers of 'evil'; we are this power that represents 'good' and so therefore, my friends, have faith in our victory. Thank you and God bless you all." Well, what a sick, brainless speech; it was absolutely clear to me that Omar, either had lost all contact with reality, or he was simply acting. But, if he was ‘acting’, didn’t he realize what an absolute idiot he looked to every sane person in the country?! The next few days proved to be one of the biggest shocks of my life. For in those two or three days, the new government succeeded in rounding up every single party member; the courts had speedily proceeded with all of these members; and, once again, the vast majority were exonerated. And remarkably, only four members of the party were prosecuted and found to be guilty of murder. The office of Omar was taken over by the police; to their surprise, they found no money – what they did find in abundance was, literally, hundreds of thousands of documents that had endless numbers of ‘orders’ on how to ‘purify’ ones mind! How odd! Then, there were a huge number of files on every one of us party members, giving detailed information on every aspect of our lives; our addresses; and on our characters! Obviously, now I knew, that’s how the police were so fast in catching every party member!
We had provided them with all the information ourselves! And soon enough, the leader himself was caught! After all, where could he endlessly hide? He was caught by the police, drinking in a bar â€“ what a heroic place to be! I couldn't believe what I heard and saw! The 'great' leader who was waging 'battle' after 'battle' and, of course, 'winning' the struggle, was prosecuting this 'great war' from a bar! How utterly absurd! I was dizzy with shock! What did this mean? My God, I felt sick to my stomach! At first, I couldn't think about anything, since I was glued to the television as the nation saw Omar being arrested in this bar and being taken to the police station. As he was about to enter the police station, handcuffed and surrounded by several policemen, he began to scream: "Followers of this great war; do not surrender! The war shall go on, for I have given instructions to every commander down to the smallest fighting unit, to do what is necessary to keep on the fighting. Don't think it is over! I may be in prison, but my mind can never be in prison! Never! And my orders shall go out and these orders will reach all units and so every unit will have exact instructions as what they must do; fear not!" I found it incredible that the police officers actually allowed Omar to give this quasi-speech and, at the same time, I was so dumbfounded to see that every one of those officers were either smiling or mildly giggling at Omar. It meant to me only one thing: they regarded him a buffoon! Suddenly, I could feel my blood turn cold with the sense of shock I was feeling. Wasn't this man the one I and so many others had venerated almost as a saint? Wasn't this man, Omar, regarded by myself and by so many others as a genius who could do no wrong? And wasn't this man regarded by me to be leading a 'war' against the 'pigs' and yet here he was; caught in a bar and that obviously meant that he was not prosecuting the war; and furthermore, he
seemed to so ridiculous and insignificant as he gave that silly speech surrounded by the officers! He seemed to me like a shrivelled balloon. And, I too, felt that I was nothing more than a complete idiot; a na誰ve fool; I had allowed my stupidity, self-deception to make a slave to maniacal leaders; and, yet, ultimately, what hurt me most, was that I felt myself to be completely and utterly empty, all over again.
Chapter 6: CONFUSED AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF MY ICON
I was really disoriented. That was putting it extremely mildly. My world, my ideas, my philosophy, my ideals went in a state of limbo. Without my ideals, my loves, my passions, my convictions and my beliefs, what was left of me? My entire life, heart, mind and soul was for the party and its concrete beliefs, and now that all that had evaporated, what was left in my mind?
Nothing was left. I felt lifeless. I followed dead beliefs. Dead ideas. I was wrong. But, infinitely more important than being â€˜wrongâ€™, was the hurt at being a nobody again. I was an empty human being all over again. "Sara, I just do not understand why you are still so shocked?" asked Sanji. I had no reply. "For God's sakes Sara, wake up! You tied your existence and your self to a group of ideas and that was the first mistake you did. Never mind, that those ideas and beliefs were wrong, but, you should never allow your mind to be ruled by one man's beliefs." "But Sanji, every person has to believe in the ideas of another person?" I said lamely. "No, that's why so many people make such serious mistakes in their lives!" He was so utterly focused when he spoke to you. You felt that as he was talking to you that he was giving his entire soul to you. It was such a beautiful trait that Sanji had! And yet, paradoxically, his eyes had another dimension to them- a look that seemed to be pensive. I know Iâ€™m not making much sense! But believe me, for a few seconds Sanji would be totally focused on your eyes, and then in another second his deep, soulful eyes would be somewhere else driven mostly in thoughts that no one seemed to know about except the thinker himself. "So, what's wrong in believing, emulating and being followers of any of the great thinkers and philosophers?" "Because, when you put your entire self, subservient to the ideas and opinions of one man, and then it turns out that that one man's ideas are wrong, then what happens to your own self, personality and mind that followed those ideas that turned out to be incorrect? Obviously, your mind and heart will be shattered because you allowed your mind to completely believe in the principles of this one man. When you tie your mind and your thoughts to the ideas of one man, then you risk hurting yourself should that
one man's ideas turn out to be false! Remember, Sara, all men are mortal and fallible!" "So what?" "I'll tell you 'so what'? You, my dear Sara, allowed yourself, to completely believe in what Omar believed in. It turned out that Omar's ideas were more or less false – mind you, not everything he said was wrong. All right, so your mistake was in believing Omar to be beyond human; not only you, but so many others, believed that Omar was almost immortal and free from any mistakes. And when you discovered that your blessed Omar was wrong and that he had, like so many other so-called ‘great’ men in History, totally over-extended himself, you were absolutely stunned. And why were you followers of this man stunned? Precisely because your false god Omar, turned out to be nothing more than a mere human being with more flaws than you could have ever imagined!! That was where you seriously erred. Omar was like any other man, and, yes, he did do mistakes, just as any other person would do". "Actually, you're right," I sighed. “You should have used your own mind far more independently of Omar. You should have relied on your own Self, but you didn’t. You surrendered your entire mind, rationality and logic to this one leader. You should have listened to other people; to other ideas. But, no, you forced yourself to listen and to believe in only one man and his ideas.” "This man was and is a common criminal; a murderer and he had simply fooled you naïve people. He was a charismatic man and we've seen how History has been full of charismatic men and women who seduced the masses into committing the most evil acts in their name." "So, I too am a murderer?" lamely I asked. Sanji went quiet. He knew what the answer was, but in order not to hurt my feelings, he was clearly thinking of the right words to use in his answer. "For God's sakes Sanji, just say it!" "Look, I would say that you were fooled by this man and that yes, you were complicit in his deeds." "For God's sakes, Sanji, what does 'complicit in his deeds' mean? Can't you just say it in a more simple way?" "Sara", Sanji answered feeling somewhat irritated and at the same still trying to be diplomatic with me, "Sara, you were being 'fooled'
by Omar, and, as a consequence you were in a trance like state. It was as though Omar drugged you â€“ and not just you; all of his followers seemed to be drugged by his personality, and so you carried out his orders, while being in a kind of drugged state of mind. Now you understand?" "But I carried out his orders. That makes me a criminal. Simple." "Yes, but don't you see, that the 'Sara' who carried out Omar's orders, is not the same 'Sara' in front of me now. It is like a drunk driver causing death to an innocent pedestrian. Yes, the driver killed the pedestrian, but he was under the influence, and therefore his mind was not with him, so to speak. You were 'drunk' and the courts will hold you responsible but, your share of being responsible for your actions was considerably diminished precisely because you were under the 'influence' not of alcohol, but of Omar himself." "Sanji, stop being a diplomat or a politician. You're just trying to be kind to me." "No, I'm not Sara, I'm trying to explain," "Explain what?" I interrupted, "You're not helping me, by hiding the facts." "Sara, first of all, you need to listen and relax. You cannot blame yourself," "Don't treat me like a child!" I interrupted the poor Sanji again. "I'm not going to listen to you, if you insist on talking to me like that! I committed acts that are evil, and I cannot hide behind anything; that's a fact. To use your metaphor of the drunk driver killing a pedestrian. You say he has 'diminished responsibility', because he was drunk, and that therefore his 'share' of his responsibility of the crime is thereby 'diminished'. Well, I disagree. His share is not 'diminished' at all. In fact, he is fully and completely responsible for the act of murdering an innocent bystander. Why? Because, Sanji, first of all, no one forced the man to drink in the first place, and secondly, no one forced the man to drink to the point of getting drunk, and thirdly, no one forced the man to do drive whilst under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, when he allowed himself to get into that precise situation, whereby he was drunk and driving, and then allowed his car to smash the bystander to death, he is fully responsible for the act of murder. You see, his responsibility begins with his choice and his decision to drink and get drunk. Therefore his responsibility in the crime isn't diminished in any way, because when he chose to
drink and get drunk, he was sober. Therefore, morally, he is completely guilty of the act of murder." "Well, Sara, I never knew that you studied law!" Sanji laughed. "Do you think you are funny Sanji? Do you think this is a moment to be funny?" I asked. "No, I'm not trying to be funny; I like the way you structure your thoughts, but I'm afraid, you are still wrong. To use my analogy, the drinker did not intend to 'kill' anyone; yes he drank, and yes he got drunk, and yes he drove his car, but there was no intention to kill. It was an accident. That is the meaning of the word ‘accident’. There is no ‘intentionality’ involved in an accident. Certainly, we can say that 'it was an accident waiting to happen', but you cannot say that he was a 'murderer', in the sense that he was 'intending to kill' someone that night." "Sanji, what on earth are talking about? Yes, by the time the driver was out his mind under the influence of alcohol, yes, we can say, that he didn't 'know' what he was doing. But, why do you choose to ignore the fact, that he originally chose to get drunk when he was sober and, therefore, that was a point in time – when he chose to drink in order to get drunk - when his mind was clear, and therefore, he was fully responsible for whatever action he would, or would not, take later?" “I don’t understand you, Sara,” said Sanji looking confused. “The drinker who was sober decides to drink. He decides to drink in order to get drunk. That decision of his makes him responsible for every action he takes once he does eventually get drunk. Do you understand me now? That means, since he chose to get drunk, then whatever action he does as a drunk man must be his total responsibility.” “But you’re being typically too simplistic! It’s not black or white my Sara! The fact that a person chooses to get drunk does not make him responsible for everything he does - once he is actually drunk! The fact is once a human being gets drunk, his entire mental faculties become faulty, and so he cannot be held completely responsible for his actions since his brain is far too impaired for a judgement on him.” “Good God, Sanji!” I exclaimed, “We’re going round in circles! I understand that the drunk has the brain of rat, but I hold that drunk responsible for getting drunk in the first place, when his brain was still sober! Don’t you get it?” "No, no, no!” Sanji replied, with equal vehemence. “Don't you see that intentionality is vitally important in judging 'right' and
'wrong'? To use you as an example; Sara, you, and not only you, but hundreds of thousands of men and women all over the country, were completely mesmerized by Omar. You were all, so to speak, 'under the influence'; not on alcohol, but on Omar himself. Whatever Omar told you to do, you did because your minds, your reasoning and your rationality, were basically overwhelmed by his charismatic, persuasive and hypnotising personality. Therefore, what you did was not the 'real' Sara', the 'real' Sara is in front of me right now. Can't you see that the Sara 'under the influence of Omar' is a completely different woman to the Sara right now?" "No, Sanji, I don't see your 'logic." For me, it was a time for serious self-reflection. I had so many questions that I just didn't know how to answer. What had happened to our movement? Why did everything seemingly just evaporate overnight? Why didn't our soldiers put up any resistance? Also, why did our soldiers fight so superbly for so many years, and then, almost overnight, our units surrendered overnight? What changed that caused this abysmal failure? What happened to all of our supporters? What happened to all those screaming, hysterical audiences that were willing to die for Omar? Where did they all vanish? Why didn't Omar supervise, coordinate and lead the prosecution of the war? Obviously, we all wanted to know what on earth he was doing in a bar when the new government unleashed its forces? Didn't he sense the danger facing him and the struggle? Didn’t he realize that so many of our lives were directly connected to his life? Did he underestimate the enemy? Or, maybe, he overestimated his own strength and popularity? Maybe we didn’t have such a massive support from the public? Was I so deluded? But how can I forget all those marches and speeches and screaming followers! There did exist so many followers of Omar! You know, reader, that I’m not sure of what I am saying. I’m confused.
To me, it felt as if an entire civilization, like the Aztecs or the Mayas, had simply disappeared overnight! I just had no answers. We had the most beautiful, sublime, humanistic ideals! We were going to give our miserable men and women and children a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life! We had the answers to poverty, unemployment, bad education â€“ we had the answers, and we had the solutions as to how to create the contended, secure, serene Man! And now, all of us, will have no hope of having such a meaningful life. Now, with the sudden and complete downfall of our parties, Man was left alone, to live out his life in sorrow, anxiety, insecurity and unhappiness. How would you my reader feel, if a struggle you gave your life for, suddenly disappears in two or three days? I mean, wouldn't you be utterly stunned?! I had no energy most of the time, but when I did, I would call the ex-members of the party that I had known. I would ask them these questions, and no one could bother to think too much about what happened in the last days of the struggle.
Chapter 7: GETTING A JOB AS A PSYCHIATRIST
At around this time, I realized, that I was living with Sanji and I still wasn't working, and so, that dear soul was having to work overtime in order to take care of me.
I swear Sanji never complained; not even a facial hint â€“ but, I to my embarrassment, I realized this fact! "Sanji I just want to tell you I'm so sorry for not working; I just want to," "Don't worry, Sara; you've been under stress and so I can understand. You've needed time to emotionally recuperate from the traumas of the recent past." "Yes, but stress or no stress, it's high time to work again. Don't forget, Sanji, I've got a psychiatry degree?!" "And, work will do you good. It will be a good source of distraction. Get your minds off this whole subject of the party, guilt, Omar and God knows what else!" "You're absolutely right, Sanji. Tomorrow, I'll be looking for any vacancies. I felt happy; I felt that finally I was going to be useful again. After all those years working for the party and feeling that I was being 'useful' and then discovering to my horror that I had been of absolutely no 'use', now I can say that I shall be useful to society. I will be respectable again. I will have a sense of direction in my life. A clear sense of where I'm going with my life, rather than just drifting like a jellyfish in the ocean. Sure enough, the next day I set off for the job centre, and applied for any vacancies for a psychiatry post. Within days, I received an offer for an interview at my local hospital. I was to be interviewed by Dr. Tajim, who was the Head of the Psychiatric Department at my local hospital. I went to the department, and there I met Dr. Tajim who was to interview me. Obviously, I was tense. "Good morning; how are you Ms. Sara?" said the elderly doctor. He looked frightening. "Very well, thank you," I replied. He was about sixty five; a bit overweight, and as I looked at him more closely, I pleasantly discovered that he had a really pleasant face and gently inquisitive eyes. I relaxed. I totally misjudged the character of this kind man!
He wasn't at all overbearing, or stiff or cold; in fact, he was a very welcoming old gentleman, and he made you feel utterly comfortable with him, so all your nervousness simply dissipated! I had heard that one of his own sons was suffering from depression and that he was in a hospital. I also had heard, that that fact really affected him a lot, and, at times, it seemed to emotionally exhaust him; and, yet he would persevere and he was known to be really loving, compassionate and deadly serious in his efforts to help not only his son, but all his patients to get over their depression. "Now, you do know what the job offer is about?" asked the soft spoken doctor. "Yes Sir; I am to be a psychologist for patients who are in Category 'C'." "I see, and you do know who are patients in Category 'C'?" "Yes, Sir. They are patients with mild to severe depression." "Good, that's correct. Do you have experience in working with depressed patients?" I thought for a quick moment. I couldn't lie. "No, Dr. Tajim; I have no experience, but I wish you would give me the chance to prove myself." "But that is rather strange. You are twenty eight years old, and you graduated age twenty one â€“ so, the obvious question, is what were you doing in those intervening years?" What am I supposed to do here? I needed Sanji to be with me. How can I tell Dr. Tajim that I was 'working' with so-called 'political parties''? I couldn't. He would never employ me if I told him which 'party' I had been working for. If I had worked for a decent, respectable party, then presumably, he would have had no problems with me, but working Tony and Omar?! I had to lie. Lie to survive! "Dr. Tajim, during those intervening years, I worked on a voluntary basis for charities broad, helping the sick." "I see, that's interesting; where did you work, and what exactly did you do for the sick?" Great! Now I had to dig the hole of lies even deeper! What else can I do?
Tell him that I was joking and that I never really worked abroad? Of course not, that would make me a fool. I really didn't want to lie. But what choice did God give me? "Yes, Sir. I worked in Uganda, in a village called Sanji", my God, of all names that came to my mind, I couldn't think of anything else except Sanji's name! "Yes, and there in that humble village, I acted as a nurse for the sick, in a really small infirmary." "Sanji?" Dr. Tajim asked, narrowing his eyes with incredulity. "Yes, Sir; as far as I remember, the village was called Sanji, but you know the odd thing about rural Uganda, is just how one village can have so many different names, since each tribe would have their own names, that differed from other tribes. So, you must excuse me, it was a little bit confusing." Rural Uganda! What on earth was I talking about! And did Dr. Tajim actually believe me? I was insecure, because I had no idea if Dr. Taji actually believed the lies I was saying. "I see; I ask because Sanji is not quite an African name." "Yes, Dr. Tajim; indeed, I may be completely wrong, but, as I say, there were so many languages in Uganda, that it was really difficult to communicate with anyone." God knows what I was saying! I was just saying whatever came out of my mind! "I see. Yes, there are different languages in Uganda, and indeed in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. But, I never knew that names of towns and villages would change, and certainly, no African tribe would give an African village 'Sanji' as a name. But anyway, maybe, as you say, the name may not have been 'Sanji'. Anyway, where did you get your training as a nurse?" Relief! Oh yes, but now I had to create another lie, in order to explain where I got my 'training' from. I was getting deeper into this lying game. But I couldn't now worry about the morality of that. I had to come up, with an immediate answer to his pertinent question. "You see, Dr. Tajim, I went as a volunteer to rural Uganda, to help build homes and help women in their daily lives, and the next thing I know, is when the local doctor asked me for help. When I
informed him that I wasn't a nurse, he said he would teach me. I soon learned the basic first aid medicine that was required. I guess, that I could be useful in the hospital in that sense too." "I see, Ms. Sara." Finally, Dr. Tajim paused, giving me time to think of what else he may ask me about my 'time' in 'rural Uganda'. "I see," he repeated, looking confused. Strange I thought, but this doctor would start every sentence with 'I see'. "So, for all those intervening years, you remained in this one village?" "Um, why yes, Dr. Tajim. I did spend all my time in Saji. Is that so strange?" My God, I called the non-existing village 'Saji', rather than 'Sanji'. Would he notice? "I see, but, I mean, as a volunteer, didn't your superiors relocate you to another village, or to another country, in all those seven or so years?" I couldn't understand why Dr. Tajim was surprised at the time, which goes to show what a poor liar I was. Of course, later I would learn, that volunteers to Third World countries would get stationed in not more than a year or two in any country â€“ let alone one tiny village! But, for that moment, I could only go on with my lies. "Yes, Dr. Tajim. I was posted for that village all those years." I simply stuck to my lie. Defend your lies, or else you drown. "I see, how strange. And now you are permanently back here?" "Yes, Sir." "I see," said Dr. Taji, looking uncomfortable. Silence, as he turned his attention to the papers on his desk. I felt that he was simply going to call me a complete 'liar' and to get out of his office. "Well, I shall get in touch with you. Give me a few days to get to a decision." "Thank you Dr. Tajim. I hope you will just give me a chance to prove to you, Sir, that I shall be really good at my job." What a surprise! With that, I got up and headed for the door. "Ms. Sara!" Dr. Tajim asked.
"Yes, Sir?" I hope I didn't look nervous or startled. "Yes, before I forget, do send me by email the relevant documents from your charity organisation that gives me the official notification of your time you worked for them. Like a Letter of Recommendation from them." Yes, now I was startled. I know the colour of my face must have turned red. Where on earth would I be able to get any document from any charity organisation?! I felt that I was now caught! Was I going to be caught for lying? "No problem, Dr. Tajim," that's what came out of my mouth. And I found myself leaving Dr. Tajim's office. As soon as I was a safe distance from the hospital, I began to think once more: how can I forge documents that are supposed to be from a charity organisation? And, even if I did forge them with some expert computer person, wouldn't Dr. Tajim simply call the telephone number of the charity organisation and enquire about me, and then he would obviously be told that I had never worked for them, let alone having me fly off to Uganda?! Back at home, I sat down, and realized there was no exit. I lied and so now I must take the risk that Dr. Tajim simply would not call the charity organisation. I would choose one of the biggest organizations who would have hundreds of thousands of volunteers, and even if he did check, I could say that their computers get it wrong! They didn't register my name because they have so many volunteers! But, no, that's stupid of me. If I supposedly worked for seven years for one organization, then they would obviously have my name in their computer files. I was being stupid. Too rash. No, that's it. I lied and so I must take the consequences. I would risk it. Well, I did forge a charity organization letterhead, and I wrote that I did 'serve' for seven years in rural Uganda.
Next, I scanned the document, and had it sent by email to Dr. Tajim. To my complete surprise, within a few days, I got an official letter from Dr. Tajim's secretary, saying that I was accepted by the psychiatric unit in the hospital! I was so thrilled, that to be honest, I couldn't in the least be bothered about my lies! I was now going to be a useful member of society! At last! I was going to be a worthy, decent, respectable person! ****************************************** As I got to work in the Psychiatric Department in the hospital, they began almost secretarial tasks to do. I would get 'introduced' to the depressed patients and, gradually, I was allowed more and more time to talk to the patients. I was really happy and pleased with myself, because I felt that I was, at last a 'respectable' person. For the first time since I had left, or rather since I was expelled from the party, I felt proud of myself; and perhaps, most importantly to me, was the feeling that I knew where my life was going. I would walk anywhere and, when asked, what I did for a living, I proudly reply that I was a doctor in the Psychiatric Department in our local hospital. It was at this time that I was watching television in Sanji's apartment, when the latter walked in and said: "You are not going to believe who is with me!" "Judging from the excitement on your face, it must be someone very important." I replied casually. "Yes, yes; so guess who?" asked Sanji. "Oh God, Sanji how am I to know? The Prime Minister perhaps?" I answered sarcastically. The next thing I know was that none other than Tony walked in! My goodness me! I was absolutely shocked and awed by his presence! What was Tony doing here?! This was the first time I had seen him since I left his party and joined Omar's party. And, I guess, he must have just left prison, because, it had been about one year, since I heard that he was prosecuted by our courts.
He had changed a little bit. He was much fatter â€“ which, I thought was a bit odd, since he had been in prison, and I thought that everyone in prison gets to lose weight! He looked older than his years. He had dark rings below his eyes, and for the first time in my life, I was really surprised, to find out, that he looked utterly dull, weary and tired. He seemed to have lost all that will power, charisma and charm. They were no longer part of his personality. "What are you doing here?" I managed to ask Tony. "And why not? Why shouldn't I be here?" he answered smartly. I got confused all over again. After all, what had happened to him since our entire movement collapsed? I never thought about what happened to Tony, or Omar for that matter. Selfishly, I just thought about myself. That was typical of me. "You look dazed, Sara," said Tony laughing. "Is my appearance that shocking to you?!" He joked. "No, not at all." I regained my composure, or at least, I tried to regain my composure. "It's just that, I never did understand, or know, what really happened to our movement? And what happened to you Tony?" "Sara is confused about the entire movement." Sanji said to Tony. "Well, what happened is actually quite simple," said Tony, "the new government decided to take legal action against us for the first time. Previously, every government never even took us seriously enough to warrant a concerted attack to eliminate us. To them, we were just clowns." I was shocked. "Clowns? What do you mean Tony? What do you mean previous governments did not take us seriously? Of course they took us seriously; Tony, we were in a state of war, remember? What's happened to your memory? We were fighting battle after," "Let me interrupt you, Sara; but you are so utterly naĂŻve and blind that I just do not know how to face you with the facts." What do you mean? What are you talking about?" I asked frantically. Suddenly all those memories from the party days returned to me; for the moment I completely forgot that I was a doctor at the
Psychiatric Unit; Tony had re-opened all my memories, anxieties and unanswered questions concerning those years. "Relax Sara, don't let your emotions take over your rational mind," Sanji said. "That's always been your problem. You simply allow your wildest emotions to highjack the rational part of your mind. I mean, you're supposed to be a psychiatrist and yet, you are so utterly impulsive in your thinking and in the actions you take." I knew Sanji was completely right. He was so rational and calm. "What 'battles' are you talking about Sara?" asked a perplexed Tony. Sanji laughed. "That's a good question Tony, go on, and ask her that one!" Tony joined Sanji laughing. "Why are you two laughing at me?" I asked. "The 'battles'! For God's sake! What is wrong with you two? The war against the Pigs? Did you forget all that? And you yourself Tony, how many times did you talk the ‘war’ and the ‘battles’?" "Sara, calm down, for God's sakes!" Tony quietly said. "We all spoke in flowery language, and yes, we all exaggerated wildly, but you cannot, or rather, no one was meant to believe in our every word that we actually said!" "Are you telling me, that you Tony was simply lying in all of your speeches? And all our activities were things I am just imagining? Are you serious, Tony? What's wrong with you?" "Sara, I think I ought to tell you what actually happened, because I'm not sure where you are coming from. Look, yes we had ideals and principles. That was no lie. Yes, we hated the Pigs. That was no lie. Yes, we had hundreds of thousands of fanatical and dedicated followers and that was no lie. Are you following me so far?" I nodded. "All right. We did decide to create parties in order to organize and coordinate our actions against the Pigs. That is true. I'm just telling you Sara what really happened as opposed top what did not happen. You understand?" Tony asked. For some reason, I felt like I was a patient in our Psychiatric Department and Tony was the doctor! "Yes, I'm following you. Go on." I said.
"All right. We did cause disturbances, such as demonstrations and causing chaos in supermarkets, banks and schools. That is true. We did cause property damage. That is true. That was the time when our governments did not take us seriously. We were just a nuisance. You understand? We were just a bunch of idealistic, wild eyed generation that wanted to change the world, and who really believed that these activities would 'change the world'!" But we were winning the war Tony, remember?" I asked, almost pleading with him to give me a positive answer. "Slow down, Sara. Just relax and listen to me", Tony said. I took a deep breath to calm my self down. "The next critical phase in this movement was the complete radicalisation of most parties. That was led by Omar, of course. I myself began to get depressed and I faded off the scene." "You got depressed? And where did you go?" I asked. "I just quit everything that had to do with our movement," said Tony. "But why?" "Because I began to feel that everyone was wrong. We were all wrong. And that was what caused my depression. At least, I think, that was one reason why I became depressed. So I left the city and lived in a nearby village. I didn't work. I couldn't keep up any job, to be honest." "And how long have you been depressed?" I asked, feeling really sorry for him. I began to lose interest in my original question, which was, what had happened to the party, and I found myself more interested in what had happened to Tony! I was surprised at myself for feeling so sad for him. "I don't know. I have no idea. I don't think about it. All I know is that I became a useless human. Everything for me was falling apart, because I was slowly realizing that all I had been saying was not quite true." Tony now began to be unsure of himself. Talking about himself was disorienting and confusing him. "I began to ask myself, did I actually believe all that I was saying? I felt, that 'no' at times, and 'yes' at times. It was really shattering to my optimism. And then, as the movement become more radical, I found myself unable to understand what was going on. My brain seemed to go dull and I couldn't understand events anymore."
He went silent. Yes?" I prodded him on. I could tell that Sanji wasn't happy at this conversation. "Well, then I thought maybe I didn't know what I was saying, when I gave all those speeches? What would that make me? A liar? Yes, a liar to every listener, but more importantly to me, I was lying to myself. And what did that mean to me? I thought about that question. If, I was lying to myself, then I wasn't in control of my mind, otherwise, why would anyone lie against himself?" Tony said. Silence. I could feel that Sanji was becoming uncomfortable. "And what happened next?" I asked. "Well, if I was lying to myself, then that also meant that I myself had no ideals, no principles, and no thoughts that were genuine to me. I was 'empty'. A 'nothing'. And that was what really scared me. I was just living," Tony said in a resigned manner. Silence. "Then, I was asking myself," continued Tony in a resigned voice, "who exactly am I, if I have no principles, no belief, no ideals? Am I just a body with a name on it? Yes, yes," Suddenly, Tony got excited. "That's all I was! I was just a human, who's name was Tony, but emotionally I was nothing. I was a mindless human. A 'nobody'." Silence again. Tony become subdued. Suddenly, Sanji's voice was heard by me: "So, what happened next to the movement?" asked Sanji. I knew why he asked that question: Tony was getting really introverted and sad, as I continued to ask him about his life and his depression. So, to get us back to what I needed to know â€“ that is, what happened to our movement â€“ and, to get Tony to forget his depression days, his question made perfect sense! "Oh yes, well next,' Tony said, looking slightly re-energized, "Omar started to call for violence against the Pigs. And yes, sure enough, this party member, and that party member, would murder this or that Pig person."
"Why do you use the verb 'murder', when you describe our war against the Pigs? We killed the enemy Tony, for God's sakes, why do you talk like a Pig yourself?" I said frantically. Suddenly, I found myself re-energised as well! "Sara, just slow down; just give me a minute of your time, and then form your opinion, whatever it may be. But, at least, listen to what I have to say. You know, I do have some knowledge as to what actually happened out there on the ground, as opposed to what happened in your imagination." "All right, go on," I replied. "As I said, few members did actually commit acts of murder, but they were, as I say, a handful of idiots. The majority of party members did no more than create a nuisance. At that time, Omar went, more or else, mental, because he was the most ardent supporter of violence, and yet, despite all his speeches and exhortations, very few from his own party actually committed acts of murder." "By the way, you're ignoring my question; why do you use 'murder' and 'kill' the enemy?" "Sara, you talk as if there existed a 'state of war' between ourselves and the governments? Are you being serious?" "Well of course I am Tony! What about you? Are you being serious? What about all those damn battles?" I was almost shouting at this point. "Sara, for God's sakes, there were no 'battles'," said Sanji as calm as ever, "that was just wild, stupid talk, on the part, not just of Omar, but by many other idiots like him." "Look Sara," asked Tony, "did you actually ever witness a 'battle'?" He got me there! No, I hadn't, but what does prove, I thought; I never saw many events in history, but I know they happened. "No, I never saw any battle. But so what?" I replied. "There never existed any battles Sara, don't you understand? It was just stupid statements and boasts and lies by idiotic people, that's all!" said Tony who seemed to have regained his vitality again. "Sara didn't you ever notice," said Sanji, trying to get me to calm down, "that no one said where these 'battles' took place? Didn't you notice, that there never was any videos or photos or reporters of these so-called 'battles'? How can you have any 'battle', when no one bothers to report it â€“ neither your people, nor the government,
nor the entire mass media? Think about it; how can that possibly be?" I thought about that. Yes, Sanji was correct; no one actually said 'where' any 'battle' took place; and there certainly were never any reports on these 'battles' by any one of the institutions from the mass media. Maybe Sanji was right. Tony and Sanji were now looking at me. They were, I guess, looking for a response from me. But I continued to think. If there were no 'battles', then that does really mean that I must have been absolutely mad to have believed it all those years? I must have been not only mad, but also idiotic, and a fool; and what does mean? That means I was a completely unworthy human. I must have a total human failure. "You mean," I finally replied, â€œyou mean to tell me, that when you leaders spoke of 'battles' against the government and against the ruling classes, there were no such things taking place?" Both Tony and Sanji nodded. "They were just figures of speech," said Sanji. "Like I say, we used the wildest language in our speeches, but you weren't supposed to take it literally," said Tony. "And that means, all that took place were the riots, disturbances and the disruptions we caused?" I asked. "Yes, Sara, plus, there did occur despicable and unacceptable murders, as I told you. But, no, there were no 'battles'," said Tony. "But when Omar said that he would start 'unrestricted warfare', what did he mean?" "Now, when we talk about Omar, as I say, he was a bit mental, but the people shouldn't have believed that crazy language, precisely because it was all crazy language, that had no bearing to the actual reality on the ground," said Tony, finally managing to smile. I assumed he was smiling, because he found Omar's language to be so ridiculous, so as to be funny. And, perhaps what was more funny and tragic, was that so many people actually believed his words in the literal form! Sensing that I must have looked distressed, Tony continued. "But everyone believed in those lies Sara; you were not the only one! Don't forget, we were all mesmerised by our silly ideals; we
were all completely blinded to our unrealistic ideas and beliefs. We were completely fooled for all those years. We were simply blinded by the charisma of it all. Rationality and reason were basically extinguished, while only our animalistic passions remained alive. That's all we really were: animals." "But Tony to be fair," said Sanji, looking at me with those thoughtful eyes, that I so adored, "you were a leader yourself. You are to be, to a certain extent, blamed for creating this tidal wave of complete hysteria. To take an example; you say that you deliberately used 'flowery' language, when you knew that you did not intend what you said. Very well, Tony, you knew that, but your submissive followers didn't know that, and they took your every word, as if it were literally holy words. That proves to me how insecure Man is, but that doesn't absolve you of saying those words that you knew would provoke your followers into doing quite abominable acts." I felt for sure Sanji was saying this, in order to lessen my feeling of guilt, for taking part in that movement, since he was now pointing the finger at, what was, after all, a major player in one of the major parties. "I do take responsibility. I agree with you. I was a leader, and I totally agree that I did exhort our members to do whatever they thought was right in the struggle against the government." Tony replied. "Yes, but Tony, you say you 'took responsibility', but what does that actually mean? Nothing! You look at Sara and she was a minor player in the game, whilst you were one of the major figures at the time, and the fact is, as you yourself just said to Sara, many innocent people were murdered by your members." Sanji continued. Tony looked uncomfortable. I felt more relaxed, as I watched Tony feel the heat turned against him. I thought, God bless you Sanji! "Again, you're right," replied Tony, "but what am I to do in order to 'take responsibility'? I guess, I should go to jail; what else is there?" He sounded a little bit pathetic here. "Look Tony, I personally have a deep rooted conviction, that I do not believe in giving judgement on anyone. I leave it up to you, and the legal powers that be and ultimately God to judge each
one of us. All I can, and will say to you, is that you were not only the leader of a movement, but that you exhorted your followers to kill, and your followers, or some of them, did kill in the most brutal way, and you never stopped these acts and you never once condemned them. That is what I have to say, so you judge yourself." Tony looked even more uncomfortable, while I couldn't help but smile. "So Tony," I cheekily asked, "how do you judge yourself after hearing what Sanji had to say?" I couldn't resist the pleasure of seeing Tony squirm. "Sara," Sanji immediately spoke to me in a strong voice, so as not to allow Tony to reply, "it is for Tony to decide what judgement he places on himself, and it is up to Tony to decide, how long he needs to think about this question. You have no right to ask him for an immediate answer. Morality isn't fast food you know." "No, Sanji, let me answer," responded Tony in a subdued voice. "I committed, or rather, I urged and incited people to kill. Pure and simple. But, I do not know what else to say. I am not happy at what I did. I feel deep regrets and remorse. But I don't know what else to do. But I do know, and I repeat, that I am fully responsible in the act of inciting people to do acts that ultimately resulted in the murder of innocent men, women and even children." "So, that makes you a murderer?" I immediately and impulsively asked with glee in my eyes. "Sara!" said Sanji admonishing me, as usual. "No, Sanji, she is correct," said Tony, in a voice that was by now no more or less a whisper; and then, turning to me he said, "yes, Sara; I was, and I remain a murderer." "So then," I said speaking, as usual, really fast, and with arrogant boldness, "we all agree that you were a 'big' murderer, whilst I was a blinded fool working within the movement. I guess, I have a lot less guilt to carry than you Tony," I said. "Sara, can you tell me, exactly how does that statement, or question of yours, help anyone?" asked Sanji; his voice getting a bit tougher on me now. "Well Sanji," I quickly replied, "my old friend; my question wasn't supposed to 'help' anyone. It is a question for Tony, and I think my question is simple for him to reply to." I replied with an equal sense of determination.
"You are asking me who has 'more guilt'?" asked Tony, while his eyes were staring at something on the carpet. "Is that what you want to know?" "That's right," I replied. "Sara, you just want revenge or what?" interrupted Sanji. "No, Sanji, once more, Sara is right. And to answer your question, yes I have an infinite amount more guilt than you do," answered Tony. I was thrilled! I had just defeated the once great leader Tony in a fair and square argument! So, perhaps, I wasn't so stupid after all? Perhaps I was a worthy person? Perhaps I wasn't such a useless person? After all, to subdue someone like Tony in an argument means that I must be really clever!
Chapter 8: AFIM: SICK OR NORMAL?
The next day I returned to my hospital for work.
I felt really confident in my abilities and I felt that I was living the correct path and that my life's purpose, apart from making money, was to help depressed people have a better quality of life. That is certainly someone I would call useful and worthy and respectable. That is certainly someone who was not wasting away his life in stupidities; no, my life was meaningful and I felt really proud of myself! Within a few days, for the first time, I was allowed to talk to a patient of ours and I was to give my diagnosis. I entered the patients' room. He was a 16 year old man, called Afim, who was sitting and watching television. "Good morning, Afim, my name is Dr. Sara," I introduced myself. He looked perfectly ‘normal’ to me; with combed, tidy hair; and his clothes were impeccable. He didn't budge, as if I never entered the room. I sat down next to him. He moved slightly, clearly uncomfortable at my presence. I knew that he felt I was 'taking over his space'. "Afim, I just want to tell you straight away, that I'm not here to bother you or disturb. I'm here to talk to you, and" "Not interested," he mumbled, interrupting me. "I hope you would at least listen to me." I stopped. I didn't want him to interrupt me. No response. "Do you want me to leave your room? It's no problem at all; there are others who need, not only a helping hand, but also a loving hand." I said with some determination in my voice. He moved his body a little bit. I knew that now I got his attention. "Afeem, I am here to love, care and be a sister – if you want me. But I can never be your sister if you don't want to be my brother. Am I right?" He smiled, though still looking at the TV. "Anyway, keep watching whatever it is you're watching. I work here till 4.00 AM, so if you want to chat at any time, call me." As I started to walk towards to the door to leave, I heard a quiet voice saying: "How can I 'call' you?"
"Of curse, you're quite right, Afeem; you cannot 'call' me; all you have to do is contact any nurse and they will contact me. And guess what, later, if you really like me, I'll give you my beep number and you can beep me at any time directly and I'll come to your room." He didn't answer. He played tough once more. But I got his message - and more importantly he got my message of being sincere and honest in my intentions towards him. I waited for a few days, and a nurse called or me. In knew it had to be Afeem. Sure enough, I was right. I walked in his room, and there he was lying on his bed and staring blankly at the ceiling. He was staring blankly at the ceiling, and, once again, he did move in inch when I sat next to him. "How old are you Afeem?" I asked. "Seventeen," he answered casually. "Do you know why you are here in this hospital?" "Obviously I do; I'm depressed. Actually that's what you doctors tell me". "What do you think of 'depression'? What does the word mean to you?" "Nothing," he replied. I was confused. Did he mean he didn't believe in the existence of depression? "So, if depression means 'nothing' to you, then why are you here?" "I just told you. It's you doctors who say that I am 'depressed' and that's why I'm here." "So, you do not consider yourself depressed?" "Jesus Christ!" he yelled, "don't you understand? What kind of 'doctor' are you?" I felt really embarrassed and stupid, because I really didn't understand what he was trying to say. "I'm sorry, Afeem; I'm new here; so you've got to be patient with me." I admitted. "Oh, so you're new! And what does that mean? Does that mean that you've got no experience in dealing with lunatics?!" he said sarcastically, laughing at his own comment. "Well, I am here to help you and you're here to help me," I said.
"All right; look, you doctors decided that I'm ‘sick’ with a ‘sickness’ you people call 'depression', but I, Afeem, do not understand, or see, or feel what that ‘sickness’ is all about. Now you understand?" "I see. So 'depression' is something psychiatrists created and, in reality, or at least as far as you are concerned, it does not exist?" "Well done, doctor!" he exclaimed. "Do you believe that 'depression' does occur in some people, or do you believe it is an imaginary concept?" "How do I know? All I can do is to speak for myself." "All right. Do you feel sad a lot of times?" I asked trying to get to the main point, which I assumed was his depression. "Everyone gets sad." "Yes, I know, but it's a question of frequency and intensity. How often do you get sad, and how sad do you get? I mean do you sometimes get incapacitated from being sad?" "Sure, doesn't everyone?" I began to get the picture now. He had no clue what 'depression' meant. "Do you sometimes feel that your life is worthless, and that there's no point to your life?" "Sure," he began to grin. "Do you feel, sometimes, that it's not worth it to work or to have friends or to study?" "Sure. You know you're funny!" he said, finally turning his eyes away from the ceiling and looking at me. "Why am I funny? I mean what's so funny about myself?" Again, I didn't understand him. Was I supposed to instantaneously understand him? Is that what a good psychiatrist must know? "Because you ask funny questions." "I see, I ask 'funny questions," I said without thinking about what I was saying. I was confused. The same question kept repeating itself in my brain: was I supposed to understand my patient immediately or not – because I certainly did not understand what Afeem was about. Was he serious? Did he believe what he was saying? Or was he acting a role? Did he consciously act this role?
Or not? Finally, I had to say something, so there wouldn't be too long a time of silence between us. "Yes, maybe they're 'funny' questions. So, you tell me that you get often get sad, and that your life isn't worth it; so doesn't that add up to being depressed?" "No." "How can you say 'no'; I don't understand you." "Doctor, if I'm to be classified as a person with 'depression' then so is the whole damn planet!" he said with a grin. "Well, that's not necessarily true Afim. Not everyone is constantly sad." "Of course everyone is sad. Which planet are you talking about?" "I'm talking about planet earth and not everyone is sad." I deliberately spoke with icy coldness, for the first time, because, somehow, I felt that this adolescent was ‘winning’ the argument, and I certainly did not like to be in that situation. "Really? Go and tell that to the people out there! Most people don’t want to admit it! Maybe, some people like to lie; others are embarrassed to admit it, others are unsure of themselves, but if every person were to confront reality, they would all have to admit it. Of course, I forgot, there's so many who are too stupid to realize the situation they're in." "All right, let's just say that you're right. Let's say that all people are really sad; the question remains, that the 'sadness' that you and I are talking about, and the one that you have is depression. And I use the term 'depression', because, as I said before, it is defined by frequency and intensity. Do you agree?" "All right, I’m not getting my ideas to you but, let’s just agree to what you’re saying to me and about me: so what? You doctors really love words and concepts! Call me 'depressed'. So what? What's next? Where does that take me?" I felt now we were going somewhere. Because, he had finally accepted the definition of depression and that it applied to him. Good. "Well, if you understand that you have a problem, then we can work on how to eliminate this problem from your mind." "But that's exactly my point, Doctor! You doctors call me 'depressed', and it is you doctors who say that I have a 'problem', but, I, Afim, do not see myself as having a problem!" Frustration!
We were back to where we started. I was getting bored, to be honest, with this stupid man. "I do not understand you; how can you say that you do not have a 'problem', when you admit that you're so sad, and when you tell me that you feel that your life is worthless?" I asked, feeling a bit exasperated. Suddenly, Afim's face turned really menacing; his eyes staring with hatred. "Go to hell you whore. Get out of my room," he said in an icy and deliberate manner. I was stunned by his complete mood change. What caused that? I quickly walked out of his room with another whole set of questions in my mind. Did I do something wrong? Or, was this 'normal' behaviour for a depressed person? Again, I thought, was he acting or was this his â€˜realâ€™ emotions? And, if they were his real emotions, then why was he so pleasant before that outburst? What was 'real' and what was 'fake'? And wasn't I, as a psychiatrist, supposed to know the answers to questions like that?! I felt weak in the sense of being a 'good' psychiatrist. I felt that I should've know what to do and what to expect from a patient; but the truth was I was completely lost at Afim's behaviour. I honestly had no answers as to why he was behaving like that.
I was sitting with Sanji when I confessed to him something that had been bothering me for some time. I wasn't able, or maybe I didn't want to admit it, but now I felt I had to tell Sanji my feelings. The latter was fully aware that something was bothering me, but, as usual, that decent and honest man, did not interfere and chose to allow me the time to speak out or not. "Sanji I want to tell you something," I said. "Finally!" was his reply. "Yes, I know you've known I've been burdened by something. Anyway, here it is. Remember when Tony was here last time and I more or less humiliated him?"
"Yes, of course." "Well, I feel awful with myself for what I did against Tony." Sanji smiled. "I mean, Tony came to see you in your house and I had no right to verbally attack him and," "No, no, Sara. Here you are wrong," interrupted Sanji, "you have every 'right' to speak on any subject in my house, but you ought not to hurt people. There is a huge difference. And, one more comment; this isn't 'my' house â€“ this is 'our' house." I noticed how he chose the phrase, 'you ought not', rather than the more commanding, 'you must not'. He was so considerate as a human being; he was forever kind to everyone. "You're right. It was awful of me to humiliate him. And, my God, I want to confess to you something more: it's been hurting me so, so much. Not only do I feel like a beast, when I'm supposed to be an educated and humane person, but also, I've been feeling so utterly sad for only; I mean I keep thinking of Tony and how he is doing and how he must be hurting." "Sara, I've told you before: you are an impulsive person. You do not think enough about what you say and also what actions you do. Only later do you regret the results of your impulsiveness. But, the fact that you are hurt by this impulsiveness, proves that you are indeed a cultured and humane person. It is those who have no remorse about the hurt they do, who are indeed 'beasts', to use your word." Suddenly, Sanji smiled giving me an impression that he 'knew more'. "Why are you smiling like that Sanji?" "Oh come on Sara! Why don't you answer that question yourself â€“ since we are, after all, in the mood for confessions?!" "What do you mean?" "Good God Sara! You really do need a helping hand, don't you! Sara, my dear; I hereby officially state that you are in love with Tony!" In love! What a shock! And with Tony!? "Are you serious Sanji? In love with him? I ought to be in love with you since you are such an honest and decent man."
"Oh Sara, but you know that love's roots are based on the flimsiest basis. But that's another subject â€“ in the meantime, think about it; I say that you are in love with Tony." How I would remember that phrase by Sanji on love: 'love's roots are based on the flimsiest basis'! That phrase, and all that it meant, would haunt me later to the point where I would feel I was being chocked to death. "Think about it, Sara," Sanji said. "There's nothing to think about Sanji," I replied. A few days later, Tony came over and I found myself suddenly apologising to him! "I'm so sorry Tony for what I did! I can't tell you how evil I feel," my words were coming at such a speed I myself had no control over what I was saying! "And I know that you obviously must feel a lot worse than the pain that I feel, so," "Relax Sara!" interrupted Tony. "It's all right. People say things they come to regret. There's no need for being over emotional." "Yes, I'm sure you're correct, but do you forgive me?" "Well of course I do! I mean you didn't commit a crime! Relax, and let's forget it!" said a relaxed Tony. "Sara," said Sanji, "you're doing it again." "Doing what?" I said, and then I knew the answer; "You're right, Sanji, I'm being impulsive again. You're so right. Anyway, et forget what happened." "So, how's your work?" asked Tony. "I don't think I'm all that good at it. I'm not really understanding what my patient is saying, and doing, and since I'm supposed to be a psychiatrist, I am supposed to not only to read his mind, but also to give an official report to Dr. Taji on my patient's mental state." "Well, maybe it's early days." Said Sanji. "Early days? I've been a little over a year in the Psychiatric Department, and obviously the bosses want something tangible from me, and so far, I haven't been able to do any diagnosis on my patient. I mean, I could lie and write whatever I want, but that's obviously immoral. But at the same time, there have been whispers and rumours, that they may ask for my resignation, in view of the glaring fact that I've been unable to diagnose my patient." "Well, I'm not well versed in psychiatry," said Tony, "so I'm not sure if I can contribute much here; but what I don't understand, is,
why is it that you cannot diagnose your patient? I mean, I think, all you have to do or say, is wether your patient is getting better, the same, or is getting worse vis-à-vis his state of depression? Am I right?" "That is right, Tony; my main unresolved question, that so far I am unable to answer is this: is Afeem, my patient, faking it, or are his actions and emotions real? Because, you see, if he's faking it, then he's clearly not depressed, and if he's not faking it, then he is clearly depressed; and since I really don't know what the young man is all about, I cannot therefore honestly write down a proper diagnosis." "Faking or not faking, that's interesting," said Sanji, "but isn't it the same with every person?" "What do you mean?" I asked Sanji. "I mean, the same question applies to every person, wether they are depressed or not? How do you, Sara, 'know' if I, Sanji, am being 'real', or if I am 'faking' my emotions?" replied Sanji. "Well, because I know you Sanji, and I know that you're a decent human." I replied. "She's right," Tony said, "I mean with ordinary people, you can tell if they are being sincere or not with their emotions and behaviour. But when you have a lunatic, how can you tell?" "First of all, Tony, the word 'lunatic' is objectionable." Sanji said. "I agree, our patients are ‘depressed’ Tony, and the word 'lunatic' is not appropriate." "All right," Tony continued, "call them 'depressed'; but my question remains. Ordinary people are not going to behave as weird as a depressed person will. These people, I mean depressed people, and people with any kind of mental sickness, will behave and act and say anything that comes to their mind, and so you can never really tell what they mean." "Yes, you've got a point there," I said to Tony. But I could see that Sanji disagreed. "I believe it is a lot more complicated than that, and I'm not sure if we want to get deeper into this subject about what constitutes mental disorders, as compared between the so-called 'ordinary' people and people with mental problems and how that all relates to our understanding of what constitutes ‘reality’.”
Both Tony and I quickly agreed, that that subject was a little bit too deep for us! “Let’s stick to the easy parts!” I said, to Sanji. “All I will say is this,” continued Sanji, “'ordinary' people are not any different than mental patients, when it comes to knowing themselves; and secondly, I totally disagree with you Tony, since I believe that, 'ordinary' people, more than often, do not control what they think, say, feel and act." "How can you say that?" asked Tony. How can you compare ordinary people to lunatics – I mean, I'm sorry - to people with mental problems. There's a huge difference! After all, if there weren't such differences between us, then why are they in mental hospitals in the first place?" "That's right," I said. "Now I am not talking about the seriously sick patients," answered Sanji, "let's get that clear. I am not talking about those who are violent or schizophrenics, or those who are severely deluded and violent – those people, clearly, need hospitalization. I am talking about those who people who are depressed – and yet are quite able to continue with their daily lives. I say, that those depressed people are not 'mentally sick' as you would call them; and, also, to answer your question, I'm not sure, if all depressed people should be in hospitals and furthermore, I believe, only those who are so severely depressed, that they cannot function and manage their day to day affairs, should be hospitalized. I certainly do know that, it also happens far too often, that there are far too many so-called 'ordinary' people, who do need to be in a mental hospital, and yet they are walking the streets right now. In fact, the vast majority of men, women, and children, in our sick society suffer from some degree of depression. But, that doesn’t that mean that all of these people should also be hospitalized?" "So, you say that depressed people need medication?" I asked. Sanji looked at me and I knew that puzzled look in his eyes. It was because my question had absolutely no connection to what he was just talking about! But, as usual, he answered anyway: "Yes, of course!" replied Sanji. "But taking medication does not mean they are 'mentally sick'. These are people who are reacting to our sick society, and to our sick culture, and to our dysfunctional daily lives, and that's why they become depressed." "So, who should be in hospital? Because you say 'some' of the depressed people should be in hospital. Which ones?" I asked.
"Yes, certainly, some should stay in hospital, and that's because they are severely depressed, and by that, I mean those who are no longer capable of carrying out their daily responsibilities, such as getting out of bed, talking, working or doing anything for that matter," replied Sanji. "I never knew you studied psychiatry?" asked a sarcastic Tony. "You don't need to 'study' psychiatry to say what I am saying Tony. I do think you're being a little bit superficial, if you don't mind my accusation." "Not at all! To be honest, I'm not sure I understood a word you said Sanji! Sara, did you get it?" Tony asked. "Of course," the reply came from my mouth without actually thinking. But, to be honest, I wasn't too sure myself, if I really understood Sanji. "So what did Sanji mean?" asked Tony. "Tony, you're being sly, and that is not fair," replied Sanji, quickly coming to my aid. "Yes, but how does this conversation help me in judging if my patient is getting better, worse, or is the same?" I asked. "I told you that we were going away from your question, if we were to discuss what ‘depression’ is and who is 'ordinary' and such like questions. Anyway, as far as I can see, with respect to your patient, you must use your raw intuition to feel wether that young man is acting, or wether he really is depressed. To me, one must use one's basic instincts in 'reading' a person. I do this with any person, wether they were mentally sick or not. It's called the art of reading people." replied Sanji. “Yes, but my ‘intuition is rubbish,” I admitted to Sanji. “But you say, Sara, that isn’t the whole point either. Look, the question for your patient is this: right now, as I understand it, he’s in hospital – am I right?” asked Sanji. I nodded. “Fine, that means that your Psychiatric Department must assume that your patient must be so depressed that he cannot function properly outside the hospital - am I right?” “I guess so,” I replied, without having a clue what the real reason Afim was in the hospital in the first place! “Fine, do you, Sara, think that your patient can or cannot function outside hospital?”
“Actually, he’s all right. All he does is watching TV.” I replied cautiously. “Fine, that makes him the same as 99.99% of the rest of adults in our society. So, anyway, if you believe, as a doctor of psychiatry, that your patient, does not need to be in hospital, then you ought to write your recommendation to your superiors.” “You’re right, Sanji; I never thought about that. I mean, why is Afim in hospital in the first place? Yes, he is depressed every now and then – but, then, so do most people. Indeed, he is a person who can live in society perfectly well. It’s not like he’s dysfunctional when it comes to the outside world!” I said. I felt relaxed. Suddenly, Tony said to Sanji: "So you apply the same technique with any person – mentally sick or not?" asked Tony. “I’m sorry, but what ‘technique’ are you talking about Tony?” asked a confused Sanji. I didn’t know what Tony was talking about as well! “You just said that you can ‘read’ any person, and you said, that you use your ability to read people by using your ‘raw intuition’. So, I’m asking you, whether you use this ‘technique’ to read every person you meet?” asked Tony. I wasn't sure if Tony was being sarcastic or not. "Yes, precisely Tony," replied a confident Sanji. "So, am I 'real', or am I being 'fake'?" asked Tony. I laughed at that question! You cheeky man! How can you ask him such a question? To my surprise, Sanji replied without a hint of any emotion: "Tony, I will not answer that question, because there may be a cause of embarrassment for you." "A 'cause of embarrassment'? Nothing embarrasses me Sanji and you know that!" replied a daring Tony. I admired Tony's courage. "Well, I would rather that we do not get into this subject," replied Sanji. "Yes, and that is because you cannot 'read' me! You don't want to admit that I am far too profound a character to be read like a book!" I knew Tony was right.
I mean how can Sanji say that he can 'read' any person, as if we were all black and white? To know someone, you need time and experience and only then you can understand him. "Sanji you are exaggerating, aren't you?" I asked. "No, Sara, I am not," he replied. I was in love. I finally had to confess that fact to myself. I was in love Tony. And how couldn't I be in love with him? He was not exactly handsome; in fact, he looked really pathetic. I guess, I was in â€˜loveâ€™ with him because I felt so much pity for him. This poor man, who was once going to be the leader of our nation, and today he looked like a homeless man. It wasn't long before I asked him if he were interested in me, and he replied, without blinking an eye: "Let's get married!" How simple it all was! I couldn't believe my luck! How many women would have given their right arm to get married to Tony! Yet, he chose me! He chose me above every other woman in the country. I say 'in the country', because Tony had travelled up and down the country and, obviously, he had met thousands of women â€“ and, yet, he chose me over them all, and, that could only mean one thing: that I, as a woman, was better than all these other women Tony had met! I was moving in the right direction; because I was finally getting married, and you need to get married in our society if you wanted to be respectable.
Now, I was more determined than ever to get a proper diagnosis of Afim, because it was essential that I remain working in the hospital. Everything was clear to me: keep my good job and stay with a husband. What else could I want?
Just as were moving into our new home, I went to the hospital to see Afim. I was going to be more resolute. There he was, yet again, sitting on a chair, staring at God knows what. To be honest, I didn't care what he was staring at. I was determined to write a decent, professional diagnosis of Afim so my superiors would be happy with me. "Good morning, Afim," I said. He ignored me. "Afim, I want to ask you a question. Why did you turn your rage at me last time we met?" He continued to ignore me. "Oh please, don't give me this ignoring me! I will not allow it. Do you understand me? Before, you were quite happy to talk to me, so don't pretend that you are ignoring me." He seemed agitated. Clearly, he didn't expect this firmness from me. This was a very different Dr. Sara, and he knew it. "So, what's your answer then? Look, I don't have time; I have many other patients who love talking to me and I love talking to them, so let's have a reply please," I said, lying, of course, because I had no other patient except Afim. “I was angry at you because, I am sick and tired of you psychiatrists who are ‘forcing’ us to accept that we are ‘mentally sick’ people. You have your agenda that you learned from university and you need us to accept it. You do not seek to understand us outside the boundaries of what you learned at university. There is no compromise for you psychiatrists: it’s either we accept your labels, or we go nowhere.” "Why do you say that? What wrong did I do to you? If I did anything 'wrong' then please tell me so I can correct myself." "You're doing your job that's all," he replied. “Of course I’ll get mad at people like you because all you want from us is to accept all your labels, wether we like it or not. You don’t come to my room to ‘talk’ to me. You are not here in order to have a proper, decent conversation. You psychiatrists come here to talk to us in order to convince us that we are ‘mentally sick’ and so then you work on us for a few months and then you get paid. After all, if I was not mentally sick, then you wouldn’t get your pay, would you?”
So, this young man must have been using his brain quite a lot since I last saw him. That’s how he produced this latest argument. "What do you mean 'I'm doing my job'? There are people who are clinically ‘depressed’ and who do need treatment. I don’t see why you insist that all psychiatry is nothing but meaningless labels being forcibly imposed by us doctors on you patients so we can gain materially?” "That’s correct. You create idiotic labels with fancy names and then you ‘treat’ these imaginary mental diseases that you’ve created in order to get good pay.” "'For the money'? Are you serious? For your information, our pay is pitiful, so you're words are dead wrong." "So, why do you do this stupid job then?" he asked. For a second, I was stuck with no answer! "It is not a 'stupid' job first of all, and secondly, I do it, because I want to help people. Does that make sense to you?" I lied. Maybe, I was a bit too aggressive, but I had to be. The 'kind Dr. Sara' had to go, because my job was on the line; I was liable to be fired at any moment if I didn't produce a satisfactory diagnosis. "Oh, how nice of you. You like helping people? Really? And how are you going to help me? By talking to me about how wonderful life is?" he began to become interested in our conversation. "Well, that is precisely why I need to know how you feel; if I were to help you, I need more information from you. So far, we've spent weeks without getting to any clear picture as to how you feel, and relate to this world." "For example?" "For example, how often do you feel sad per week?" "Every other day." "How sad do you feel? I mean, do you feel that all your life is useless?" "Yes, sure." "And how often do you feel that degree of sadness?" I was asking questions one after the other, firing one after the other, and he was responding. "I told you already. Every other day." "So, just to be correct here, you feel that your life is useless every other day per week?"
"Yes," he replied softly. He was looking at me, as if I were going to give some magical solution to his depression. "Do you feel suicidal?" "No, never. Just lethargy and apathy about my life. There's nothing in my life that interests me or excites me. Everything bores me. Everyone bores me. Life is an unending bore." "Do you think of getting married?" I asked. "Why would I get married to a boring woman? So that two bored people can live in the same room? How dumb! It's hard enough being bored with my boring life, and with my boring self, and now you suggest that I add another boring human to my life?! It's nonsense Dr. Sara!" I felt humiliated by these words. He made look stupid. I didn't like that. “Do you feel that you can live and function properly outside this hospital?” I asked, feeling more than bored. “Yes,” replied Afim quickly, sensing my impatience. “If you think that you can take of yourself outside this hospital, then why are you are?” I asked, feeling exasperated, because, I felt I was going absolutely nowhere with this fool. “You’ve asked me that before!” exclaimed Afim, “don’t you remember, we’ve had that wonderful conversation before! You doctors decided are the ones that decided I was ‘sick’ and that therefore I had to stay in hospital! Did you forget again?!” Once again, I felt like a real idiot. My mind wasn’t focused at all. I was thinking properly. I wasn’t thinking properly, because, the truth was I really had no idea as to how to proceed with Afim, and, I was really bored with the entire process of asking this man questions. Or, with any other patient. I really did not know what I was supposed to say in order to ‘help’ these people get out from their depression. There you have it – I’m being as truthful as I can be! The whole idea of ‘psychiatry’ wasn’t something I had really thought about; I know that you must think that that sounds really strange, since I am a doctor of psychiatry! But, believe me, reader, even when I was a student, I never understood what my professors were talking about!
And, I never understood what all those useless, thick, one thousand page text books were trying to say to me! Yes, yes, and now I can hear you ask me: so, how did I pass my exams? Not only I, but all of us psychiatry students, simply memorized by heart what we were told we had to learn, and so on the day of the exams, I just wrote down what I had memorized. But there was no sense of understanding anything! What a paradox! I could see that Afim himself was, at this moment, getting impatient with my thinking, but I couldn’t care less. So, we all became psychiatrists, but who actually ‘understood’ what we had been taught? I can honestly no one! Not one of my fellow psychiatrists had any idea as what to do with our patients! Yes, you may be surprised and shocked – and yes, you have every right to be shocked, because we are supposed to be working to help those with mental problems, and we are supposed to help these patients become ‘normal’ again; while, here I am, telling you that most of us, have no idea what we are doing, and what we are supposed to be doing! “Dr. Sara! If you’ve got nothing to say, then what are you doing here?” asked an irritated Afim. Yes,” I continued, without apologising for my inattentiveness, ‘is there anyone ‘forcing’ you to stay here?” “Yes, my parents, especially my Dad. Actually, the word ‘forcing’ is wrong. My Dad asked that I stay here. He’s so over protective, it is just not natural. He is worried because I am so apathetic. To him, that is a very dangerous indication that I may be suffering from depression. And since he is so over protective, and always over anxious for me, he doesn’t want to take any chances. So, he asked me to go to this hospital in order for psychiatrists to evaluate me and recommend either for me to stay here and receive treatment, or, or if there was nothing ‘wrong’ with me, then I would be discharged. To be honest, if I didn’t love him and respect him, I would have walked out of this hospital. But my Dad is far too serious, decent, loving man for me to disrespect him. That’s why I stay here, because he feels I need to stay here, until the psychiatrists decide what to do with me, and so far, I’ve been getting the best evaluation reports. Actually, the doctors have been
hinting to me that I’m going to be discharged soon. As you can imagine, my Dad is really overjoyed!” replied Afim without a trace of anger in his voice. I expected he would be slightly angry at his father’s attitude towards him. “So, since you’re eighteen years old, why don’t you live on your own?” I asked casually. “Because I don’t want to leave my parents!” replied Afim, sounding a little bit desperate; “Why should I live on my own? I love my parents and my family! I’ve already old you how much I respect my family; and that I do not want to upset them. Especially my Dad, who obviously believes in what you psychiatrists have to say.” “Why do you say that your Dad ‘obviously’ believes that what we doctors here say is necessarily ‘correct’?” I asked. “Well, because he’s a psychiatrist himself, like you Dr. Sara,” replied Afim. “Aha!” I exclaimed happily, “So why do you disrespect us psychiatrists, while you tell you tell me that you respect your Dad, who is himself a psychiatrist?!” I got him! He was trapped! “My Father, whom I respect as a Father, is however mistaken in his professional opinions,” replied a calm Afim. I couldn’t answer that one! “I see,” I mumbled, “you –“ I had nothing to say! How embarrassing! I started with my words, and I just had no words in my brain! I really had nothing more to say to Afim. But - I had to regain my dignity: "All right, thank you Afim. No more questions," I said with complete indifference, as I prepared to walk out. "You know who you remind me of?" Afim asked. I kept walking towards the door. "Who?" I replied, without bothering to turn my back to face him. "A court lawyer of course! 'No more questions'! I like that! So, you're done with me now – what a joke you are, you and the whole damn system is!" "I'm not prepared to be insulted anymore; I think I've had enough of your sick insults," I said loudly, visibly angry and
disgusted with that patient of mine, "so I'll leave now, and I hope you will have a speedy recovery." As I walked out, he kept laughing. I felt nothing for that idiot. I went straight to writing my report. I can honestly say, that I felt cold as ice towards that idiot: had he committed suicide that evening, I wouldn't have cared one bit! I decided I was going to write whatever came to my mind, because, as I say, I personally had had enough of Afim and his idiotic behaviour, and, infinitely more importantly, I had to produce a diagnostic report, or else I would be fired from the hospital. I wrote that: "In my professional opinion, patient Afim K. is still depressed. His condition has not improved; however, I would have to say, that he has gotten far more depressed. As a consequence, I would advice that we would increase his medication dosage by five milligrams." I rushed my report straight to Dr. Tajim and waited for a response. Would he like it? Will he find my report unworthy of a doctor working for him, and thereby fire me? Within a few days, I was summoned to see Dr. Tajim. Obviously, I was nervous â€“ my job was on the line. "Good morning, Dr. Sara, please do sit down," said Dr. Tajim. I sat down, forgetting to say 'Good morning' to him! "I've read your diagnosis on patient Afim K. On what basis did you do your evaluation, whereby you recommend in increase in his medication?" he asked. Dr. Tajim seemed to be unusually concerned for patient Afim. "Dr. Tajim, I based my analysis based on the fact that Afim, who is a lovely young man, is still struggling with his persistent depression â€“ and, regrettably, there has been a marked increase in his feeling lethargic, sad, and suicidal and being uninterested in his
life. These are all, of course, indications of increasing depression. Also, Afim has far had far worse nightmares than before, and," "Wait a minute," interrupted Dr. Tajim, "from all the previous reports, patient Afim K. never had any episodes of nightmares. So, how can you say that his nightmares have gotten worse, when he had none before?" I knew I was talking without thinking, and now I got trapped. I had to say something to save myself, or else I would lose my job. No way, was I going to let that happen. My job meant respectability; it meant that I was living the right life; it gave a fundamental sense of meaning to my life. "Dr. Tajim”, I said with a strong voice, hoping to show that I was really confident, “I can only report on what I heard from Afim. What happened with other psychiatrists before me, and what Afim himself said to other doctors, is beyond my responsibilities. I can affirm, during my interactions with Afim, who, I must add, was extremely cooperative throughout our sessions, I can affirm, Sir, that Afim, did state to me on more than several occasions that his nightmares had increased." What rubbish I was saying! I was saying words without thinking of the consequences. My God, I didn't know that I could such a fast talking liar! “Apart from his nightmares, what signs do you see as evidence of his deteriorating condition? You said that he has exhibited greater signs of sadness, lethargy and so on. But what evidence did you see convinced you that what patient Afim K. is saying is really a reflection of how he feels, or maybe he is merely saying words he does not mean?” asked Dr. Tajim. I had to lie some more. “Clearly, his thoughts of committing suicide have increased dramatically!” “Yes, you’ve said that before, Dr. Sara. My question is what evidence do have that sustains your evaluation on patient Afim K.?” How embarrassing! I was talking stupidities again. Silence. An uncomfortable Dr. Tajim couldn’t wait for me to come up with an answer, and in an impatient manner said:
“Again, in all other previous reports, patient Afim K., for example, never indicated even having the thought of suicide?” inquired a sorrowful Dr. Tajim. I must go on creating more and more lies. Say something Sara! Lie! “I’m sorry, Dr. Tajim, but it seems to me that Afim may tell other psychiatrists other things. But with me, he has really opened up. It has been extremely difficult for him to do this. It’s extremely difficult to admit that you feel suicidal. But that’s exactly what Afim has been saying to me. He didn’t say this when I first met him. It took about two months to get him to open up his heart to me. That’s why, it has taken me so long to write my Diagnostic Report on Afim. It wasn’t because I was being lazy or because I was professionally incompetent – as many nurses and doctors have been saying here behind my back. I don’t care what staff say about me, Dr. Tajim; what concerns me is my patient and because Afim needed time to open up to me, I gave him that time, and that’s why it has taken so long to write to you my report. I know that I may have been removed from this hospital because I‘ve taken so long to write my evaluation of Afim. But, as I say to you, Sir, what concerned me was to get Afim to open his heart to me. I needed him to tell me his truth. And finally, after so long a time, he did open his heart to. And he did say to me the most worrisome words, emotions and feelings that all clearly indicated his growing depression. It would have been the easiest thing for me to write a fake evaluation after a mere few weeks on Afim. Any psychiatrist can write anything he wants. But I am a woman and a psychiatrist who deeply cares, Dr. Tajim. I wanted to report to you not my own words, but the words of Afim himself. And that is exactly what I am doing for you Dr. Tajim. My report are the words, and the pain, of my dear patient Afim.” Again, Dr. Tajim seemed to be deep in thought – it seemed to me to be rather strange that the old man would be so excessively concerned about patient Afim. It seemed to me Dr. Tajim’s behaviour was more than strange: why was he so concerned for this particular patient? "I see," said Dr. Tajim. He paused. The thrill lying was now over.
I waited for Dr. Tajim's response. "Recommendation approved," he said quietly, signed something on my report, and then turned to other files on his desk. "Does that mean, Sir, that you accept my report?" I asked timidly. "Yes, of course; I just said, Dr. Sara, your recommendation – meaning your recommendation for patient Afim K. – is approved by me. I’m just regret that he never mentioned that he was having these terrible feelings of committing suicide to anyone else before." "I see. Thank you Dr. Tajim." I was so grateful, I felt like kissing him! Dr. Tajim was almost embarrassed by my reaction. "Yes, yes," he mumbled, "you'll soon be given your next patient." "Thank you Dr. Tajim and I just want to say how proud I am to be working for you, Sir!" He was now positively embarrassed! He quickly motioned to me, that our meeting was over. I walked out of his office and called Tony. "He approved! He approved!" I was almost shouting, "Dr. Tajim liked my report and now I will get another patient!" "Excellent Sara! Brilliant! You're on the right path my dear,” said Tony. I closed the phone and sat - I didn't even notice where -somewhere in complete bliss. I succeeded! Now I knew for sure that I was going to be a successful psychiatrist! I was overwhelmed with joy! I, Dr. Sara, shall be the best psychiatrist in this hospital, and yes, why not, soon, I'll force Dr. Tajim to be removed by the hospital executives, simply because my work will be so much better than Dr. Tajim's work, they will have no choice but to promote me and kick him out! Remorse? Why should I feel 'remorse' for Dr. Tajim or for anyone else? These are the rules of life! In order to live happily, you need success, and in order to achieve success, you need to reach the top in your job, and in order to reach the top in your job, you must fight your way to the top and that necessarily means trampling on others!
That, my dear reader, is how you achieve happiness! If you do not become a wolf in the jungle, and you insist on being a rabbit, then you shall be eaten by the other wolves. But that's not all; you not only must be a wolf, but you must also be the best wolf, since there are other wolves who are competitors against you. And when I say you must be the 'best' wolf, I mean you must be the most tough, vicious, and opportunistic wolf, and that is the only way you will gain supremacy over the other wolves. And, once again, I say to you, my reader, that is how you create happiness in your heart and mind! You say to me, so where is ‘morality’ in this Game of Life? Oh please, reader, there is NO MORALITY in the Game of Life that God created for us human beings! The only law for our lives is the one I’ve already told you: either you are the fiercest wolf, or you will lose and end up in poverty, and you’ll be an absolute nothing; a nobody, and being a nobody is the most frightful thing possible. Therefore, I am forced to be the fiercest wolf, precisely because I utterly fear being an empty nobody! Indeed, I’m not sure I can emotionally exist being a nobody. I would rather die. -------------------
Chapter 9: HAVING CHILDREN
We had two children, a daughter we named LARA, and a boy we named NOOR. To be honest, I didn't want any more children because I wasn't sure how good a parent I would be.
I had plenty of doubts as to my abilities – after all, no one had ever taught me, or had guided, on the subject of how best to raise children. Indeed, the whole subject was a completely unknown field for me. At first, I blamed my parent for not teaching me on this subject, but over the years, I realized that my parents themselves probably had no guidance as to how to raise children because they were quite awful parents themselves! So I don't know who to blame – the parents or society itself or the educational system for not raising awareness on this supremely important subject. I myself had never thought on this subject until Lara was born, for suddenly, I was a mother, and I didn't have a clue what to do! So, when your baby cries endlessly, and it's in the middle of the night, what do you do? They tell me that she's hungry. So, I feed her. Still, she cries and cries. They tell me she's sleepy. I put her in her cot, but she refuses to sleep and crying continues. They tell me, walk around with her. So, I pick her up from her cot, and I walk around our flat. But she's still crying. At this point, I'm getting angry. I can't stand the screaming. Yes, after a while, the crying begins to sound like screaming. And, a while later, the screaming begins to pierce your ears. I don't want to admit to myself, but I get really angry towards my own baby daughter. I really want to abandon her. Leave her and let her cry her eyes out. I leave her crying. Then, I think what if chokes from her tears and dies? So, with complete frustration I return to her and pick her up again. Someone needs to share my burden! So, I call my sisters and they can't be bothered to help. I call other relatives; no one is available or interested. I call friends, and no one is bothered. I forgot that in our splendid society there is no such thing as a ‘family’ any more!
The ‘family’ in our world means the husband, mother and the children. And that is it! No one else!
So, I'm back where I started. My damned daughter is screaming and it goes on and on, and, now I'm getting sleepy myself. For some reason, I am feeling totally humiliated. Why? Because my stupid daughter is basically succeeding in completely destroying my night. I really hate that fact. I hate that a mere baby can completely destroy all of my efforts to shut her up. She has succeeded in thwarting my every attempt in trying to make her shut up. This piece of brainless meat wins while I am forced to sit there annoyed, frustrated, angry and humiliated – not to mention, sleepy. So everything people tell you is wrong. The baby will not stop crying until the baby decides to shut up. That's the awful truth. No one is going to be able to make the baby stop crying. Oh no; it is the baby who is the Master and you are the Slave. I was really sick of those seemingly endless moments when, Lara and Noor, would cry, or refuse to eat their food, or make a mess. Basically, whatever I told them to do, they would insist on doing the opposite. And, they would succeed in having it their way. Once again, they were the Masters, and I was the Slave. Why didn't God make babies and children obedient? Why did God have to them such awfully annoying, unbelievably irritating creatures? Aren't they supposed to be 'cute' and 'cuddly'? But they are not by any means 'cute' and 'cuddly'. They make it a point to ruin your life and, to be honest, my sanity.
Yes, my sanity! I mean, there were so many times, I felt like I wanted to scream at the top of my voice, in the middle of a street or in a supermarket! Why and why and why did God create and design babies and children to be so unbearable? I mean, I really felt that I couldn't take it any more. In the old days, when families still existed, when you got too exhausted, other members of your family and your extended family, would take over and help you. But now in our great society and our great civilisation, the family does not exist any more. It is dead. You are alone to bear all the pressures of raising babies all alone. People would tell me to be 'patient', but how can you be 'patient' with a screaming and shrieking child? How can you communicate with them? Obviously, you cannot communicate with them when they screaming and crying because their brains simply shut off. I mean, one time, Lara was screaming uncontrollably, "I want Mama! I want Mama!" and I was there next to her! You stupid thing, I screamed in my mind, can't you damn see me in front of you? So, why do you go on and on screaming that you 'want' me? I repeat myself, again and again: "I'm here Lara; I'm next to you. Please be quiet," but, the damned idiotic girl does not seem to hear me, and she goes on screaming and I feel like I want to tear my hair out. As this went on, I found myself, at times, actually hating my children. Really hating them. Despising them. I wished they could just die. Go away. Especially Lara. Her crying and her uncontrollable emotions were constantly threatening my sanity. There were times when I wanted to suffocate her to death. I know it sounds horrendous, but I must be honest to you. What else can I say? Lie to you? No, I'm not going to lie to you.
I felt like I wanted to shake her so badly that she would die and relieve me from my eternal misery. I mean, did God create me so that I would suffer like this, day in, day out, and all because of one child? This was absolutely unacceptable to me: one child – yes, one mere, single and meaningless child - was basically succeeding in completely destroying my entire happiness. Noor soon became controllable; a more or less normal child. Yes, sure enough, he would create misery for me, but no human being was causing me more misery than Lara. Lara made it a point to be abnormal – I say 'abnormal' in the sense that she would do everything to create distress and chaos. Going to the supermarket was a journey to hell; walking down the street with her was hell; eating in a restaurant was hell – the girl would simply would scream, or spit her food on the table, or throw herself on the floor and refuse to move an inch – she would do anything and everything to create a distressing situation for me. In school, she was the same. The girl was disruptive and would distract the other children. That's how it went - and there was nothing I could do about it. And then I would think, what’s the point of raising children if it means you must suffer to the point whereby you want to either kill yourself or your children? And what’s the point of raising children, if they leave you as soon as they become adults and you hardly see them again? In some countries and in some societies there still exists the family and the extended family structure, and so, your children remain with you or near you. That is simply not the situation where we live – and we’re supposed to be ‘superior’ to them! Chapter 10: OMAR AGAIN One day, I heard that there was going to be a televised interview with Omar. I hadn't thought of that man for years! Why would anyone be interested in reopening old wounds again? I guess, that there must be enough people out there, who are really interested in what that man had to say.
But, wait a minute, I was being a hypocrite. Because, I myself was really excited and couldn't wait to see what he looked like and what he had to say! The night arrived and the programme began. There was a woman who appeared, and she began the show by saying: "Tonight, we shall revisit a uniquely evil man; a man who was responsible for the most brutal deaths of an unknown number of innocent men, women and – yes – children. This man, called Omar, created a movement and a so-called 'political party' whose aim was the destruction of what he called 'Pigs'. Who were the 'Pigs'? Anyone whom he decided was not worthy of him. And so, each and every Pig, had to be killed in order for society to be 'happy'. He also began a programme of 'Purification' against his own party members. What did that programme entail? Well, the man you are going to meet, decided that killing the Pigs was not enough. No, Omar decided to 'purify' every party member who had, what he called, 'Pig Attributes'. The latter term meant anyone who had any thoughts, ideas or feelings that were not acceptable to him. So-called 'Pure' members of the party would physically and verbally hurt and damage so-called 'Impure' members until some of them were found dead; while others were so terrorized they ended up in mental hospitals. So harrowing and horrendous were the various ordeals ordered by this one man, Omar, that so many innocent men and women, lost their sanity in the process of this socalled 'Purification' programme. Indeed, this 'purification' often meant members becoming psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives – and today, we have countless former members who are still suffering from those fearful days when Omar ruled over their lives. It was a unique moment in our lives; indeed, in our history. One man succeeded in controlling so many men and women; one man succeeded in making ordinary human beings into mere slaves for his insatiably evil appetite. And so, after the murders, and after the torture that went on, what did Omar next decide to do? He went on a self destructive path, whereby he expelled more than 95% of his party members. That still left him with enough 'Pure' members who were ordered to continue what Omar called a 'Blessed War' against the Pigs, and so the random murders continued against anyone Omar did not accept. Finally, the government cracked down on this evil character, and within a mere 48 hours, ever single one of his gangsters were behind bars – including the 'leader' himself, Omar, who was caught by the police, waging 'his blessed war' from a bar! Tonight, you will hear for yourselves, what this man has to say for himself.
Indeed, you will see Omar for the first time, since he was caught in that bar: don't be shocked by his appearance, because he has changed quite a lot since those murderous days. And, he has changed for the worse. Welcome to our show; and please be prepared to see and hear what Omar is all about today, and you judge for yourselves who this is in the moral sense." I was really tense. The camera next motioned towards Omar. " Who is that man?!" I exclaimed to Tony. There was a thin man, with long, greasy white hair, that looked like it hadn't been combed or washed in years. He had a huge white beard and moustache that was equally unkempt and filthy. His face was covered with what looked like scars from a knife. Lines crisscrossed his face â€“ as if he had taken a knife and gently ripped his own skin in neat slices. The scars were not jagged; it seemed like deliberate scarring by himself, or by someone else, across his face, neck and arms. His teeth were more or less black with decay; only his eyes remained as fiery as ever; they seemed to be burning; absolute fire seemed to come from those eyeballs. "Look at Omar!" I exclaimed to my husband. But, my husband was more or less uninterested in seeing Omar. He was bored, yawning endlessly. I found that strange. Didn't he want to see and hear Omar? Well, obviously not. To hell with him. I was certainly interested and excited to see this man speak. "Good evening Mr. Omar," the lady said. "Good evening Madam or Miss or whatever you are," replied Omar. Now I heard his voice. It was the exact same voice - except, with age, there was that degree of a jagged, hoarse, rasping tone. "I'm sure you know that there are many people, up and down the country who are interested to see you, and hear what you have to say, for the crimes that you committed." "What crimes?" he said, speaking in a quiet tone. "Well, that is a good question, Sir, and I will ask you back: do you not consider killing innocent men, women and children, who did you no harm - do you not consider killing them an act of murder?" "No," he replied with a self-satisfied smile.
"Can you explain to me, Sir, how killing innocent human beings is not an act of evil?" "I cleansed society from evil human beings you dumb lady. You frame the question upside down, which is what I expected from a dumb pig-loving character like you." "Thank you for your kind words; do you find there's any need to be rude, Sir?" Omar chuckled. "Dear lady, you already decided to call me a 'murderer', and, so, I have the right to ask you: how many murderers do you know are 'polite'?!" And with that question, he roared with laughter. He found himself to be really amusing and witty. "I see; Sir; how did it come to be, that the killing of innocent people – for example the murder of a waiter in a restaurant – is an act of 'cleansing' in your mind?" Suddenly Omar erupted in anger – how easy it was for him to switch emotions! "Because, when I, Omar, remove a piece of bacteria from society, or in your example, when I remove that waiter, I am cleaning your society for you. I was nothing more than a 'cleaner' Madam; so you, and your dumb society out there tonight, should go on their knees and thank me, for cleaning up your sick society." "But how do you know that that particular waiter is actually ‘evil’ and therefore worthy of being murdered by you?" "That's precisely what makes a leader a leader - it is the unique ability to know who is pure and who is impure - and that's why the rest of society are nothing but a bunch of morons." "I still do not understand, how you can you somehow tell if a person is 'pure' or not when you didn't even see him?" "I can feel those who are evil," he replied with disdain. "And how far can your feelings travel? I mean, can you feel if someone is evil in another continent?" asked the interview with a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "Oh, I see, so you're trying to be funny now! The answer to your question, is a firm 'yes'. I know who is evil, even if they are at the ends of the earth." "All right. I do not understand how you can tell if someone is good or not, because you haven't explained to us humble people who are tonight listening to you, just how do you get to know who is good and who is not? So far, all you've told us, is that because
you are a 'leader', you have that intuition. Is that all you can say about that intuition?" "Yes, that is it. It is common knowledge, that most people can read or judge another human being – wether they are kind, annoying, and pleasant or God knows what. With me, I am endowed with a much more powerful ability to read the morality of humans. That is all." "Yes, I understand that. But, what I don't understand is how you can judge people, when you have never met them? Does your mind somehow, get to see people, even when they are hundreds of kilometres from you?" "Yes, that is an ability that I have been endowed with. My mind isn't bound by these flimsy, meaningless walls Madam Lady! To you, these walls are powerful barriers for your brains to overcome. But, to me, Omar, my mind goes to wherever I want it to go; get it? That's how I judge you humans wherever you are." Omar was deliberately mocking the interviewer by changing her title from Miss, to Lady or any other insulting combinations. “Can’t you judge people from History? And did you meet them? Of course not! You can judge a famous person from History even though he may have lived a thousand years ago. So, you don’t need to know a person personally in order to judge him.” I understood perfectly well why he was doing that: it was in order to intimidate the interviewer and to show the public that he’s in command and control of the situation. “But for too many people, there are so many veils covering their eyes, brain, hearts and minds. Everywhere they go, they are trapped by these barriers. They see people, and they judge them wrongly. Why? Because they are, in truth, blinded by these veils. They think of their future. What do they do with their lives? They come up with answers and solutions, but these answers they come up with are all completely wrong. They have some business plan, and it turns out to be a completely faulty plan. They love this person and it turns out that that person is a filthy person. What went wrong? They couldn’t see the person’s real face. Why? Because, as I keep saying, their minds are covered with veils and walls - and so their vision is completely obstructed from the Truth. And, if you cannot see the Truth, then you must always get the wrong answers. And for him who can see the Truth, then he sees the correct answers beautifully laid out before him! The rest of
Humanity are just sad, doubting, nervous, tense, distressed, insecure, faithless and aimless people who are groping in the dark for answers. And the truth is, they will never get to the correct answers”. "And what about children? How can you judge if a child has 'Pig Attributes', as you would say? Because you have murdered children as well." "Oh no, no, no. Don't get me wrong; no child is evil," Omar said, and then stopped for a few seconds to think. Next, he continued: "no, wait a minute here. Many children are, indeed, evil; by the age of 7 or 8; you can see it by their actions; children love to fight and steal and hurt. I’ve seen children who will happily rip out the eyeballs of another child. You don't call that 'evil'? Of course, it is pure evil; however, when you talk about children who are under the age of 7, I shall say to you, and to your viewers, that I regret the deaths of these children, but you must remember that in any war, and in any battle, you will necessarily get civilian deaths. What can I do about that? When you have Pigs amidst innocent children, what can I do? Obviously, were I avoid the deaths of these little angels, then I would have had to order an end to hostilities; obviously, our sacred struggle had to go on, and therefore, it is your society that forced us to continue hostilities, and hostilities meant, as I told you, the deaths of innocent children. Now, please notice – did we ever place children with our combatants? No, we never did. That's why, my dear, we never had children dying on our part. I remind you – it is your society and your politicians who placed children amongst the impure ones. I hope you understand me now." "When you use terms like 'war' and 'combatants', you sound as if you were waging a war; but what 'war' are you talking about? Up and down our country, you simply ordered your followers to murder innocent people." "Oh no, my dear woman Lady, that is far too simplistic. Some wars exist when opposing armies face other," Omar was talking to the interviewer as if she were a little child, "and, other wars are fought by different tactics; for example, yes, I would order my combatants to place a bomb here or there, and then allow it to explode killing the enemy; or, I would order my combatants to eliminate an office or a bank by killing everyone inside the
building – and, here, once again, we see that innocent lives inevitably must occur." The interviewer was getting nowhere. She wasn't able to corner Omar. He was ably answering her questions as if he were a 'real' freedom fighter or an actual combatant in a 'war'. "Who asked you to be the 'leader'? Who gave you the 'right' to 'read' people, and who gave you the 'right' to kill people?" "Oh come now, Miss Lady! What kind of question is that?! You ask me to be polite, and dear lady, I'm trying my best, to be oh so polite, but, if I am being looked at by a dumb human, what am I supposed to do? And, if I am being talked to by a dumb human, what do you expect me to say?" The lady interviewer was clearly uncomfortable. "Who gave the 'right' for any of your dumb politician to order the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people?" continued Omar, raising his voice to a harsh, bitter, revenge-filled tone; "Who gave the 'right' for any of your generals to order the bombing of villages, and exterminating every living being in that village? Every day, every hour, your politicians and your governments are butchering and mutilating innocent people all over our planet; haven’t you heard of cluster bombs? These are bombs that were created and designed not to kill a human – no, these bombs are designed to blow up your leg, arm or part of your face. In other words, some seriously sick scientist – who’s probably made millions from his sick invention - created them simply to deform and mutilate a human being. And, there’s more! The cluster bomb doesn’t necessarily explode on impact. No, many remain unexploded lying wherever they land, and then, years later, someone comes walking along its path, and by touching it, off goes a part of his body! What do you call that Miss? Who you’re your politicians the right to use these infernal weapons? And you dare to ask me who gave me the 'right' to retaliate against these criminal dogs?" The poor interviewer seemed confused. Every time, he would use the word 'your', he would violently stick his accusing finger, towards the interviewer, as if she were personally responsible.
"It is your society, my dear lady, and, it is your politicians that forced leaders such as I to fight back against your wars!" His voice was rising to a growl. And, his eyes seemed to be getting hotter with rage, as he suddenly stood up, startling the poor interviewer in the process, and began to shake his finger at the interviewer, who remained seated. Actually, it was a bit funny, I must admit, to me the speed with which Omar suddenly stood up, frightening the interviewer! I remembered that during our movement days, Omar wouldnâ€™t move an inch when talking, but now, he was all different. "So you listen to me, and I hope your listeners will listen to me. Your country has mass murdered and exterminated throughout its history; your history is nothing but a stinking, putrid bloodbath. Your society has killed and killed and killed everywhere and everyday; and then you have the nerve to dare and ask me why there exists armed resistance to your own indiscriminate butchery that your society and your culture and your civilization committed?" By now, Omar was screaming with his raspy voice at the poor woman. But then, suddenly, he shifted his maniacal staring eyes from the interviewer to the cameraman. Omar was now addressing anyone who was watching the interview, and he knew that. Of course, it gave him a sense of power, and, yes he loved every minute of it. "How many countries have you bombed and how many countries have you invaded and occupied and enslaved? How many men, women and children has your country murdered? Do you know the number? No, you do not and I don't blame you, because, guess what, I don't know either!" Once again, he switched from being a man in an uncontrollable, unrestrained rage, into a man who couldn't stop laughing at his own words! "And you know why? Because, you have been killing and mutilating and raping for so long, that youâ€™ve lost count! That is why there are no statistics on your butcher's bill. So what do you people out there, think of that?" Those eyes were quite simply murderous; like a near-starving predator about to pounce on an unsuspecting prey.
"So, do not be surprised or shocked, you people, when resistance fighters will seek your extermination; did you really believe that only your politicians and your generals have the 'right' to kill us? And, we do not have the right to fight back? Of course we have the right to fight back, and not only that, we have the absolute duty to fight back, and we have the right to happily butcher you just as you happily butcher us!" He sat down, just as suddenly as he stood up. "Now, wait a minute, but which government is killing your people? And who are 'your people'? I mean, you belong to the same country as we do, and I haven't heard that our governments are 'butchering' our own people here?" Finally, the interviewer gets a word in! "First of all, 'my people' are the pure ones, while 'your people' are the Pigs.” He spoke with unrestrained tension in his voice. “As to your next question, you must really be blind if you do not see what is going on here! I mean, everyday, our people are being hunted down by your politicians, and by your government, and by all of its institutions; and our people are being hunted down by every single multinational organization; and our people are being daily hunted by every industry and; and then you have the nerve to tell me that you cannot 'see' where they are killing us?!" Omar went calm again. Smiling as he talked. Still sitting down. For some reason, I myself was getting nervous whenever he would suddenly stand up with such ferocity! "All right, fine, but you didn't really answer me; can you tell me where and how did our government specifically kill anyone? Can you tell me a time and a place when our government sent its army to kill its own people?" "My dear lady, which dumb brainless idiot hired you in the first place? I mean, they certainly didn’t hire you because of your looks? Are you TV people supposed to be glamorous and attractive? I mean, you don’t have more than two senile brain cells, and you’re ugly – so on what basis were you hired?!" Omar was roaring with laughter at his own insulting words. “Maybe your Daddy owns the TV channel you work for?!” Again, Omar shrieked with laughter at his cruel, insensitive sense of humour.
"I don't think that all this is relevant, Mr. Omar," said the interviewer. "Oh yes, it is relevant! How would you like to be interviewed by one dumb, ugly dog like you?â€? The interviewer allowed Omar to continue laughing. Then, he continued. "I do not say that your criminal government sends out its soldiers to some place, and then sprays them with bombs and bullets; the way your society kills is through different ways. Your society kills by creating, or rather, by transforming ordinary, pure humans into impure, evil beings. And so, therefore, you see, that the 'pure' person, in my example, is 'killed', and you have a new person, who has become evil. That's the path by which your society begins the process of killing." "I see, so we do not physically kill." Omar started to boil again. His face was turning blue! "No, can't you just, for once, connect your few brain cells, and listen to my words, for God's sakes!" screamed Omar with a piercing ring that, I swear, could have shattered glass! "I said to you, that that is the path, by which your government and all of its institutions, begin the process of killing people. Next, and I'll keep it simple, your people become either evil, or they become demoralized with this culture, with the results that they either become depressed, or they kill themselves, or they become empty robots, who live out their lives in total emptiness." "So you believe that your response, or, your only response, as you see it, is to retaliate by physically killing these so-called 'impure' people. Am I right?" "No, that isn't accurate. I suggested to my followers to do what they thought was necessary to do. What they do and what they did is their responsibility. I never killed anyone. So, how can I be responsible for murder? Are your brain cells finally connecting!" "Are you always so rude?" I thought what a dumb question! I mean, why should she care, if Omar was insulting her or not? Actually, she really showed herself to be insecure, and more importantly, unprofessional...
"No, you see, I am always being realistic and truthful. And, should the truth or reality hurt you, or should my words of truth please you, then that is of absolutely no consequence to me." "But didn't you incite your followers to kill? And incitement to kill, makes you, in the eyes of the law, equally guilty of murder?" "Where did you get that piece of 'thinking', dear woman? I mean, if I tell my followers to jump off a cliff and kill themselves, and then they do as I said, then am I responsible for their lunacy?! Of course not Madam! Yes, I spoke in language that was fierce and strong – that, I admit – but that DOESN'T MEAN, THAT I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE IMMORAL AND MURDROUS ACTION THAT EVERY ONE OF MY FOLLOWERS DID!" "But why then did you continually use the most inflammatory language? Clearly, you must have known, that your followers would inevitably take your words literally and thereupon commit acts of murder?" "I had to use evocative, fiery language in order to wake your people from their deathly sleep! Can't you see, that I was forced to use that kind of language, if we were going to get the masses to wake up? Now, once they woke up, and they did wake up, they were supposed to use their brains and act accordingly. The fact that some of them acted as murderers does not make me responsible." "I see," the interviewer said, “but didn’t you tell me that you ordered bombs to be placed here and there, and therefore innocent people did die?” “I suggested to people to do what they thought was necessary to overthrow the rulers. What they then did, is not my responsibility.” She seemed to be lost for words. "And by the way," continued Omar, "how many murders took place? You talk as if I there were hundreds of murders; you know, or maybe you don't know, but the fact is, that according to your own police, there were no more than four murders. That's right: FOUR. And furthermore, those who committed those four murders were convicted by your courts and they were all found to be mentally unstable characters. So, where's my responsibility, when four lunatics go out and kill people? Am responsible for their lunatic actions? So, by the same logic, dear woman, every time a lunatic from your society kills an innocent person, then shouldn't you all be equally responsible? You have blown out of all proportion what our movement did; all you concentrated on are these unfortunate deaths. And, I don't expect anything different from your society."
"Do you have any regrets?" He got livid once again. He seemed incensed by that question. He looked at her with complete disbelief! For a few moments he just stared at that woman; his raging eyes seeming to say, you still go on asking me the same dumb questions?! "Regrets? What 'regrets'? Why should I have 'regrets'? Do you have 'regrets' for being a part and parcel of that mass murdering machine you call your government? Do you and your listeners have 'regrets' for being part and parcel of your country's continual killing people all over the world? No, none of you people out there this night, have any damn 'regrets' for the mass murders you are all complicit in, so why the hell do you expect me to have 'regrets'? How can you expect those that defend themselves to have 'regrets', when they are being slaughtered every day?" “How do you see yourself, now that you are going to spend the rest of your remaining life locked up in prison?” He smiled and narrowed his eyes, looking at the interviewer with complete pity. Pure pity, I have to admit. “Poor humans out there! I’m not in prison; you’re the ones in prison,” he said chuckling softly. “I’m in a physical prison, while you supposedly ‘free’, and ‘happy’ people out there are in a mental, emotional, spiritual prison that is starving your minds on an every day basis.” He smiled contemptuously. “You’re suffering every day with your persistent self-doubts; with your swarming insecurities, with your painful, fearful anxieties and worries. Not I. What worries do I have? None, of course!” He seemed to me, talking like a ‘religious’ man to a ‘sinful’ crowd! “You sad, sorrowful people out there. Do you admit that? Or, do you think and feel and believe that you’re happy’? No, my dear humans, you’re not happy; because you’re infested with fears and vices and illicit desires; but you can’t admit that, can you?” Suddenly he cracked up laughing at his last question! Then he went quiet.
He continued with his sit tone, talking to us, as if we were all sinners! “Come on, you know and I know; that all you creatures out there pretending to be serious, respectable, religious, conservative people, are nothing but people who love sin and vice and the prohibited in our world! So, to answer your question, dear Madam Lady, I’ll tell you ho I am; I’ll tell you my name, if you want to know. Because the name ‘Omar’ means nothing to me, of course. It’s just a title. I could be called ‘6754’ for all I care. No, you want to know who I am and why I was so successful in attracting you people to my cause? You people weren’t attracted to my cause because of my politics! Or because of my economic thinking on the rich and poor! No, you were attracted to me because I was nothing more than what you all wanted to be. What I had in my mind, you craved. And what is that I had in my mind that you so desperately craved and needed? Simple. I had rock hard emotional security; I had doubtless certainty; I had fanatical, unswerving faith; I had immovable strength – these were the qualities that your minds and hearts never had, and it was precisely these attributes, that you so needed for your empty selves. That’s what you wanted to be lovingly poured into your hearts; but, you couldn’t. So, you do the next best thing. You want to be stuck with me, because by being with me, you can feel some of my security and faith and emotional tranquillity that you so sadly and painfully lack!” In other words, the empty people need the secure people.
THE MEANINGLESS EXISTENCE OF MY HUSBAND
It wasn't long before I began to realize that Tony was doing nothing. He couldn't keep any job for more than a week because he was lazy and argumentative. He couldn't take orders from anyone. Most of the time he was unemployed.
When I begged him to work properly, he would always give me the same answer â€“ that it is the fault of his bosses; his bosses were giving out 'wrong' orders. He was depressed and demoralized because he assumed, - and his assumption was, for a change, absolutely correct - that he was completely useless and unwanted. I mean, he was so idiotic whenever he talked. Take this example; he worked in a restaurant as a waiter, and sure enough, he came back home and said that he had left his job. Actually, he was probably fired. And why did he leave his job? "Because the manager was giving the stupidest orders," he would say. "How can a manager of a restaurant give 'stupid orders'? Can you give me an example of one such 'stupid order' that compelled you to leave your job?" What annoyed me was the fact that he was so casual in the way he spoke; he just did not care about getting fired. "Sure, I can give you an example of a 'stupid order'. Imagine that the manager ordered us to clean the dishes! What lunacy! We are 'waiters' and not stupid dish washers!" "Good God Tony! There was probably a shortage of a dish washer, and so the manager was forced to divert one of his waiters, and that happened to be you, and so you had to do the dish washing. Is that such a travesty on your rights that you were left with no option but to leave your job?" "Of course!" he would reply with a bored look on his face. I felt like punching him. "You idiotic individual! Who do you think you are? A heart surgeon? The Prime Minister? You're just a lowly waiter for God's sake, and, yes, sometimes, waiters do actually have to work as dish washers! Are you so stupid that you didn't know the fact that a waiter may do other jobs in the kitchen? And, suppose for one second, that you were not supposed to clean dishes; so what? Your manager asks you to clean dishes. You damn WELL CLEAN DISHES BECAUSE YOUR MANAGER HAS ORDERED YOU TO CLEAN DISHES! You leave simply because of that order? Don't you realize we need money? Or, do you think you're some millionaire so that we can live without yourself working?" "No, principles are principles. You are one individual with no moral scruples. Everything for you is about succeeding and
winning and getting to the top. That is not the way is see the world." "Tony you are so damn idiotic, I cannot tell you how idiotically pompous you sound." “No, I’m not idiotic. I was hired as a waiter and therefore it is not only unprincipled of the manager to order us to wash dishes, it is also a clear sign of an act of pure oppression on his part. It is absolutely another case of abusing the weak. No man with any principles, ideas and dignity would accept the supreme humiliation of being forced to do anything the manager tells you to do – simply because he is the manager!” Just listen to his language! ‘Pure oppression’! ‘Supreme humiliation’! It all sounded like those words and ideas he used to say when the leftist movement was alive. Except, of course, that now there was no audience except myself and there wasn’t exactly any charisma coming out of his greasy mouth. “Don’t you understand that it is perfectly within the rights of the manager to order you to clean dishes? Or are you far too stupid to understand that fact?” “No, it is not within his rights! If they intend to hire me as a dish washer, in addition to hiring me as a waiter, I would have accepted on condition that my pay would be increased. Otherwise, there is no way I can accept this example of unrivalled exploitation.” ‘Unrivalled exploitation’?! What fascinated me and made me sick at the same time was the undeniable fact that the man really had no idea how idiotic he sounded! The man I married was no longer the same man sitting in front of me. Therefore, how can I ‘love’ this totally different man? It’s completely illogical! To me, this man sitting in front me, is a complete stranger to me. A disgusting, repulsive intruder in my life. This isn’t Tony that I knew before. That ‘Tony’ died years ago. Tony was my life! And now, he was my death! If I think about it, Tony’s decline began when he became depressed with the movement and when he gradually drifted away from it.
He became a frightened, insecure person because he no longer had any ideals, principles and philosophy to guide him with his life. And it was obvious that since he found no alternative meaning for his life - he would continue his tragic drifting with his aimless and pointless existence. But going back to the question of marriage – what was I supposed to do when I find that my husband is unrecognizable? What am I supposed to do when I find my husband to have a disgusting lifestyle with some of the most offensive habits that I never knew about before? Love is really based on the flimsiest emotional reasons. Why? Because when you ‘love’ someone, you are already blinded to the realities of that person. There’s a paradox! Loving someone or an idea, by its nature, means you let your heart rule over your rationality. Mind you, when you love a philosophy, or an idea – at least you can read about it all you want. But when you love a person, where can you get information on that person that may not be favourable to that person? Yes, you’ll here and there from people, but who knows if these people are right or wrong in their judgement on the person you love? You just do not know if he person you love is really the person you imagine him to be. That’s the sad truth. Go on celebrate and have your wedding when everyone applauds themselves – but soon the truth will emerge. And you shall see the real face of the person you ‘love’. What makes it even more complicated when the person you love doesn’t know himself! You marry a person who has no strong, stable personality, and so, with the passage of time, his original personality gradually evaporates and a new personality takes over. And guess what? You hate the new, different personality. And so what do you now do?
And, on the other hand, what can the man you married do to help the new situation? After all, he will honestly tell you, that yes, I’ve changed with time, and what can I do about that? People do, after all, change with time. So we’re trapped in a loveless marriage! And you’ve got two stark choices: either get divorced or put up with this dysfunctional marriage. There was no point in talking to him. All right, so basically, I was working and bringing in the money, while Tony would just sit all day long doing nothing. Well, not quite 'doing nothing'. Apart from watching sports on television for hours, he would allow himself another thing all day. And that was to eat. And how he loved to eat! All day long his greasy fingers were being poked in some food or another; needless to say, the once muscular and slim man, had turned into an obese creature. Now I myself love to eat –but what really disgusted me with Tony was his unrestrained, insatiable appetite that simply did not cease all day and night! And the utter filth that comes with being obese. Never mind that there were always scraps of food around his hallowed chair. I say 'hallowed chair', because no one was allowed to sit on that chair, which, of course, faced his Mecca – I mean, of course, the television. And what a chair! It smelled like absolutely rotten, thanks to the hours he would sit and perspire on it, and thanks, no doubt, to the never ending bits and shreds of food that disgustingly accumulated on the chair over the years. This was life of my husband Tony. Sitting on his chair, eating and watching television. His personality was to put it bluntly: boring and disgusting. And that, believe it or not, was perfect for me, because when he did not talk, I would be relatively 'happy', but when he opened his
mouth, he would, as usual, speak the most stupid ideas and I would cringe with embarrassment and disgust at his profound levels of stupidity. Why, one time, he was trying to convince a friend of ours, that he had a 'great' idea. What was his idea? To sell whale meat for public consumption. That’s right – to sell whale meat! “And who told you about whale meat?” I asked him. “No one told me. It was my idea! You see, the poor whales are hunted just for their oil, and then the whole carcass is simply thrown away. So, who benefits? There are two beneficiaries in this equation: those who consume the whale oil and the fishes,” he spoke with such nauseating self-pride. “What ‘fishes’ are you talking about?” I asked the genius. “The fishes in the ocean of course!” Tony replied with a look and a tone of voice that was supposed to make me feel so stupid for not understanding his words. “What?” I asked. “The fishes in the ocean benefit from the whale because they eat the whale! Now you understand when I say there are two beneficiaries?” I just couldn’t stand it - when he would always use difficult words in order to make is entire argument academically heavy. “So,” he continued, “instead of the fishes being the primary beneficiaries, I suggest we humans become the first beneficiaries. Therefore, it becomes incumbent upon us to educate the masses to become beneficiaries by benefiting from the whale meat instead of the fishes. Very logical. Therefore, once the masses are educated about whale meat, they will then consume the whale meat and we get the beautiful profits!” “Has anyone told you what whale meat tastes like?” I asked. “No, of course not. That’s not important.” “It’s not important to know for sure wether whale meat tastes like beef or maybe it tastes like vomit?” “No, no, as I say, educating the masses will do job for us. So, please, you needn’t get over anxious on that thoroughly important question on your part.” I was so relieved that he answered in the most satisfactory way, because otherwise I would have been suffering from being ‘over anxious’”!
I felt I wanted to jump under the table from my sense of embarrassment. How many times, I would scream at him: "You stupid retard!" And what really got me even angrier was the fact that he never cared what I thought about him or what people thought of him. He was living in his own world and the rest of us were nothing, like air. All he cared for in this world was himself: Tony plus more Tony, and still a little bit more Tony. And how that made me sick to my stomach! He couldn't resist commenting on any subject. Never mind he knew nothing about any subject, because he read absolutely nothing. And yet, with supreme confidence, and with passion, he would talk to you about any subject he felt like choosing, and you would have to listen to his mind numbing stupidities. One day, our country fired a few missiles at some village that our government declared to be harbouring terrorists. So, the genius jumps to a conclusion: "Now you will see the consequence of this missile attack! You'll see that by tomorrow, our stock market will collapse â€“ well, not completely collapse, but it will plunge dramatically, and a recession will ensue!" "And how did you come to that conclusion Tony? I mean, why would a few missiles being thrown against some unknown village in some unknown Third World country cause markets to go down?" I would ask. I must admit, that, at times, I wanted to really anger myself, because I really wanted to hear more of his abysmal stupidities. "Simple Sara! Because, markets and stocks and bonds react to fear. You should know that, my dear." Oh how silly of me; I should have known that the markets will be trembling by tomorrow. "But anyway, now you know." "I see Tony; but why would financial markets that just happen to belong to our First World country, be scared from the missile attack against an unknown Third World village?" I asked, really waiting to hear just how stupid can our conversation actually get. I mean does 'stupidity' have a floor where no human can get any stupider? Or does stupidity have a bottomless pit?
"Sara, markets are existentially cowards. The fact that any attack no matter where will cause a coward to fear." What did he mean by using the word 'existentially'? Of course I knew perfectly well that the idiot had no idea what that word meant. Oh yes, that was another habit that really got me angry: his liberal use of words which he had no clue what they meant. "I see, so markets are 'existentially cowards'. But why fear an unknown town? Oh yes, sorry, you answered that one. How stupid of me. Because markets are 'cowards'." "That's right, my dear." I hated the dog. I hated him, but what could I do? Divorce him? Well, actually I could have done that, because I was the only bread winner in our family, so it wouldn't have made a difference in our lifestyle. And the children? Well, Noor was a little attached to him, so, maybe that was one reason, I did not leave that moron. Actually, it was more likely that I couldn't go through the process of getting married all over again â€“ it was far to emotionally difficult for me to contemplate that. I would rather live within the rot that I had, more or less, gotten 'used' to, rather than risk marrying someone I did not really know, and risk having to get used to a new lifestyle. I have to admit that it did shock me that love dies. I was stupid enough to believe that love is eternal. Thatâ€™s how I felt when I married Tony. Love is mortal! Love is not only mortal, but it is also extremely fragile, fickle and brittle. And it does tend to flow away to its death.
Chapter 12: THE STORY OF LARA
By the time Lara was sixteen or seventeen, she gave me a completely different set of problems. She was still unable to succeed in school, because she was never able to understand any subject properly, and, as a result, she failed her exams. The school asked her leave. I was saddened, while she was relieved, but when I gave this episode a little thought, I had to accept, that Lara was right. The girl simply was not made for school, let alone university. Little did I know that the girl was actually not suitable for life itself! So, I urged her to seek a menial job, like waitressing or working in any boutique. She tried to 'work', but, just like her father, she was kicked out for being unruly or lazy. And, soon, I accepted that my daughter was basically unfit to work in any menial job. To me, she little more than a replica of her father – not physically, of course, but in her attitude. I really resented her very existence. What ‘right’ did she have to exist when she did nothing? Doesn’t every human being have to do something useful for society in order to have the right to exist?
I couldn't admit that fact to anyone, but, yes, I hated that girl, who was supposed to be my 'daughter. Just like her disgusting father, she would simply sit at home all day; indeed, her father would overeat and watch television, while Lara would do nothing â€“ and, when I say 'nothing', I mean literally nothing. She would either lie in bed all day, or lie on the couch all day. Unlike her father, she would hardly eat anything â€“ I would have said that she was anorexic, except that, when she did eat, she would not vomit it out, as anorexics do. So, I knew that she wasn't sick, but I couldn't understand how she herself could just sit or lie around for days and weeks on end without doing anything. Boredom did not seem to reach her! She had no social life; no friends; she didn't like reading, nor did she have any hobbies; she hated television and the internet, and nor was she interested in fashion or make-up. In short, nothing really interested her. To me, she was like a severely retarded woman who was vegetating in my house. "Don't you ever want to go out and walk in the park?" I would ask Lara. "Don't you want to see human beings walking up and down the streets?" "No, I don't," was her answer. "So what are you living for? If you don't want to work, and you don't want to socialise with any human being, then what are you living for?" "Nothing," was her reply. That bland and her 'I couldn't care less about anything' attitude really made me angry. "So why don't you just kill yourself?!" I blurted out. "Well, that's a nice to say to me Mom, considering you are supposed to be a psychiatrist!" I forgot that I was a psychiatrist! It does happen to me, quite a lot, when I do, in fact, forget that I am a psychiatrist, because sometimes, my emotions overtake my rational mind. I'm not a robot you know. I do have feelings, and when I see a dumb girl just sitting there doing nothing all day long, my emotions do get the better of me, and I make no excuses at all. I was sick and tired of Lara; having Tony was horrendous
enough, and now, I must put up with this idiotic girl living like that? "Look at your brother Noor; he's doing money isn't he?" "Yes, and you know that every so-called 'job' he does is illegal," replied Lara. "What's 'illegal' to you, my dear, is perfectly 'legal' to me," replied a self-satisfied Noor. "Oh, what rubbish," replied Lara, "you're just another low life, petty criminal and soon you'll end up in jail, which is where you belong." Suddenly, out of nowhere, Tony's voice could be heard: "The concept of 'criminality' is a very deep philosophical question and, when in deep waters, tread carefully." 'When in deep waters, tread carefully'. I wanted to scream at that moron. I really felt pain in my stomach as I felt I couldn't hear anymore stupidities from Tony and Lara. "Oh, shut up Tony; just keep watching your television," I shouted. Turning to Lara, I continued, "Look, girl, at least Noor is making a living; he's able to support himself and he has a healthy social life. In fact he's always active, doing something. Meanwhile, look at you! What's the difference between a vegetable and you? You really remind me of a vegetable or a tree. You're just breathing, eating, excreting and you know what? That really makes me feel sick. When I have to look at you, I feel; sick to my stomach, because, there are millions of people out there, who work day and night, in order to put bread on their tables - while people like you just sit or lie there, like a plant." "First of all, your son is a criminal and I don't understand how anyone can 'defend' a criminal," Lara said. "He's not a 'criminal'!" I shouted, interrupting her. "He's doing jobs that not everyone may agree to do. And, why do you accept every word of the law? The law may call these jobs 'illegal', but the law isn't the final word on this subject, you stupid girl." I could see that Lara was hurt by my words. I could see her reactions when I insulted her, but, I believed, that I had to use the harshest language, in order to wake her up from her hibernation. "Oh, I see! A little bit of bias here maybe, dear Mom? Noor is not a criminal? What do you call a human who steals credit cards, and then withdraws money that does not belong to him? What do you
call a human who arranges for a prostitute to see a client, and he then gets money for doing that kind of work?" "It's called being a sensible and successful business man," said Noor. "Yes, I agree with my son, Noor," I said, "someone has to do these jobs. You may not like it, but that's life. If you don't like this world we live in, then, as I said to you, get out! If some idiot forgets or loses his credit card, and then does not call his bank in order to cancel his credit card, then such a person really does deserve to have his money taken away from him!" "Oh, I see Mom" replied Lara, "so if someone commits the 'crime' of forgetting his credit card, and doesn't notice that fact and thereby does not call his bank in order to cancel it, then that person actually 'deserves' to have his money stolen? Suppose that card belongs to an old lady? Does she 'deserve' to have her money stolen by some criminal like Noor?" "Yes," I replied, without thinking what I was saying. To be honest, I was so angry at Lara's existence, all could think of doing, was to hurl insult after insult against her. "That's right," Noor said, "if some old bitch makes a mistake â€“ then, if I'm not going to take her money, then someone else will. So, I must take her money, don't you get that Lara?" "Well, you're right; you go ahead and live happily in a world where the laws of the jungle rule, because you certainly are one predatory animal Noor," said Lara. She seemed exhausted. Weak. But, I was most pleased when I finally saw sorrow in her eyes. I finally got her! Maybe, she will now 'wake' up to the fact, that her way of living was absolutely disgusting and wrong. "This world has laws, dear girl;" I said in a harsh, cold voice, "and if you obey the rules, you succeed, and if you do not obey the rules, you fail and rot away like that idiot sitting in the next room watching television is doing. By the way, haven't you noticed that you and your father live identical lifestyles? You're both rotting, and, the sooner you're both dead, the better!" At this point, my daughter ran to her room crying. All I could think was, I hope she would now go work and do something with her life. Nothing else.
Chapter 13: GETTING TO THE TOP IN MY WORK
My work was going well. Soon, I was second in line, after Dr. Tajim. I was never satisfied with myself. Sure enough, my home life was awful â€“ with a decaying husband and a brainless daughter; but, at least, in my work I was proving to be doing very good. I remained respectable. I was moving in the right direction â€“ and that meant I was continually being promoted. I needed to get to the top, and that meant that Dr Tajim had to make way for me. I will tell you, my reader, that I felt absolutely no sense of guilt, as I sat there, calculating as to how I would get him sacked. Anyway, he was getting old. But more to the point, that was the Laws of Life. In life, you need to succeed. In order to succeed you need to go to the top of the ladder. Why do you have to go to the top of the ladder? Because, first of all you will make more money.
Secondly, by being at the top in your job, or in my case, by being the Chief Psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Department in the hospital, I will get the most amounts of prestige, respect and admiration from people. And that means, people will be in awe of me. When I speak, everyone will listen to my words, precisely because I would be Head of the Psychiatry Department! Therefore, I am forced, by the Laws of Life, to go for the top, and, that means I need to do whatever it takes to remove the existing Head of the Department, Dr. Tajim. Notice, reader, soft emotion plays no part here. There is no mercy, or compassion or kindness here. In life, these emotions will retard your path. In work, you need to by icy, brutal and without a shred of softness, as you seek to engineer a way, whereby you get rid of your superiors. I sat for days on end, thinking of ways to remove that obstacle. My final obstacle! My final hurdle â€“ I would be in total command of the entire department. Just thinking about it, made me get dizzy with excitement! Maybe, now you can understand why I really detested my husband and my daughter â€“ because they were the precise opposite to what I was. I felt myself to be like a lioness, while they were a mere vegetable. One day, I found myself in Dr. Tajim's office. It was my night shift and I was on duty. I looked at his table and saw his numerous files. Suddenly, I realized that he did not lock them up. I grabbed some of them, opened them up and here I read his reports. So what? I thought for a minute or so. How strange he didn't bother to lock up his files. I mean anyone walking into his office could read any file on any patient. But, then again, what can I do about this situation? Wait a minute. What if I photocopied some of his documents; took them home and rewrote what he had to say. What if I would write material that would incriminate him?
I mean, what if I wrote in his report material that would be medically unethical? But how would I do that? I looked at the file of patient Afim. Dr. Tajim wrote: "Patient Afim K. is doing excellent progress. Medication Recommendation: daily Venlaflaxine 700 mg to be continued. No increase required. No change required. Patient Afim K., in my opinion, may be discharged within one to two months." And so the diagnosis went on. I couldn't be bothered to read all of it. And why should I? Although, I must admit I was a little bit surprised that Dr. Tajim had apparently decided to go against my recommendation of increasing his medication. What if I changed his diagnosis? What if I wrote the following: "Patient Afim K. is doing excellent progress. Medication Recommendation: Reduce Venlaflaxine from 700 mg. daily to 75 mg. daily." That's it! That would obviously make him not only wrong in his MR (Medication Recommendation), but criminally negligent in his conduct! After all, a decrease in Afimâ€™s medicine from 700 to 75 mg. would make the young man psychotic! So without thinking anymore, I took the file to my office. Then, I thought why should I photocopy the file? And why should I go home and thereby waste time? No, I was being stupid. No, I would simply take a paper with Dr. Tajim's letterhead and simply rewrite what I had in mind in my computer. I did that. I wrote the incriminating material. Next, I walked swiftly back to Dr. Tajim's office and put the fake diagnosis in patient Afimâ€™s file and shredded the original diagnosis. Perfect.
But, now I need Mr. Dani, who owned the hospital, to read the file. Somehow, I must get him alerted. But how do I do that? Obviously, I cannot alert him because, that would look too suspicious. What about other doctors or nurses? Wait a minute – no staff member can alert the superiors, precisely because, no staff member is allowed to read anything in Dr. Tajim's office and so therefore no one can speak about Afim’s file. All right, forget the 'alerting plan'! How silly of me! I was thinking too fast. Wait here - I know how. It was regrettably more immoral, but I couldn't see any other way. I would do exactly what I recommended for Afim vis-à-vis his RM. That meant, that I myself would have to administer Afim’s medications. But that was the job for nurses, and not doctors like me. No, I know what do. First, I needed to wait for Dr. Tajim to go abroad on a psychiatric conference – he would go to these events every four or five months, and they would last around three weeks at most. That would be ample time for me to carry out my plan, without Dr, Tajim being there. Why? Because, for some odd and inexplicable reason, Dr. Tajim, had a special concern, care and interest – and I had to say, it was most unusual for a doctor to be so involved in one patient in patient Afim, and I knew, that if he was in the hospital, he would immediately order the nurses not to reduce the medicine. So, listen to the rest of my plan: I would put 75 mg. of Venlaflaxine in Afim’s cup at 9.00 AM – time for medication for all our patients. Should the nurses ask me why I was administering patient Afim’s medication, I would answer that every time Dr. Tajim goes abroad, he would ask one of his doctors to personally administer the medication.
Why? Because, as everyone knew, Dr. Tajim was especially concerned for Afim, and when he would be away, he preferred to have us doctors administer the medication, rather than nurses. Next, I would expect that when Afim’s behaviour begins to visibly deteriorate, the nurses in charge would begin to question, what is going on? Then, Afim gets worse and worse, and it would be a matter of time, before, the nurses or other doctors would ask to see Afim’s medical files. Next, they would obviously see for themselves that there is a clear recommendation to reduce Afim’s medication. The doctors and nurses will then inevitable ask: why, all of a sudden, was Afim being given only 75 mg. as opposed to his usual 700 mg.? When the doctors and nurses finally realise that it was 'Dr. Tajim' himself who had recommended the massive reduction to 75 mg., then there would be no questioning; since, everyone assumed Dr. Tajim knew best, and so the nurses in charge would then simply continue to carry out Dr. Tajim’s recommendation to administer the 75 mg. to Afim. Once they see that Dr. Tajim is himself ‘responsible’ for the reduction, then I would allow the nurses to administer the medicine. What a hellish plan! Hell can be beautiful! Sure enough, Afim was being administered 75 mg. instead of the 700 mg. Within a few days, he had become severely depressed. Within a month, he had become psychotic. It was time for me to make a move. I contacted the secretary of Mr. Dani – Mr. Dani was the owner of the hospital - and told her to relay my message that, patient Afim, who was under the supervision of Dr. Tajim, was in a very serious mental condition, and I stated that Dr. Tajim seemed to be unconcerned. Dr. Tajim was summoned by Mr. Dani and he asked him, what was going on with Afim? Why had his situation deteriorated?
Dr. Tajim was shocked by the news that his patient had taken a turn for the worse. "But, he is full of promise," Dr. Tajim said, looking utterly bewildered by this news on Afim, whom everyone knew, he especially favoured. "Dr. Tajim, what are you talking about? Don't you supervise your patients?" The poor man was at a complete loss, and didn’t know what to say! I just sat there, feeling absolute joy, as I watched the man struggle with this new and unexpected situation. "I mean, patient Afim K.,” struggled Dr. Tajim, “has been doing excellent for the last six months, and I just recently diagnosed him, and I recommended that no action needs to be taken with his medication." "Dr. Tajim, since your last diagnosis, did you see patient Afim?" That was the question I was waiting for. "I'm afraid not," Dr. Tajim stammered with his words. Clearly, he behaved wrong, by not seeing Afim. "But, that wasn't because of my negligence," Dr. Tajim explained, "if you allow me; you know, Sir, Mr. Dani, who Afim is to me, and I’ve been supervising the boy for eight months now, and by the second month, he had recovered from the worst. So, I have been fully confident, that patient Afim would continue in his progress. In fact, I was planning to recommend that he be released within a month or two." "Dr. Tajim, you see to be talking about another patient. We are discussing here in this meeting, patient Afim K. Are you aware of that?" I could see that Dr. Tajim was really hurt by that question, since obviously he – Dr. Tajim – was certainly talking about the same patient, who was Afim. But, I couldn’t understand why Dr. Tajim was so emotionally upset whenever he would take about Afim? Mr. Dani, who was himself uncomfortable, struggled to continue with his questions. What on earth was wrong with Mr. Dani? Why was he finding it so utterly difficult to ask Dr. Tajim these questions? Was it because he had too much respect for Dr. Tajim? "Yes, of course; I am also discussing patient Afim K.!"
"Well, Dr. Tajim, the fact that you did not see him after your last report is, indeed, an act of incompetence. Secondly, his situation has dramatically deteriorated, whether you are, or you are not aware of that fact. Thirdly, we noticed that you did, in fact, recommend that Afim’s medication be reduced from 700 mg. to 75 mg. And, yet, you just indicated to us, that, in your last report, you recommended that no change needs to be taken with respect to his medication? How do you explain that?" Dr. Tajim was now getting really emotional – he was on the verge of tears. "What do you mean a reduction from 700 mg to 75 mg.?! That's criminal!" he asked, sounding completely mystified at these statistics. "Dr. Tajim, here is your last report." Mr. Dani handed 'his' last report and Dr. Tajim nervously read it. I was staring at the old man’s face. Right into his eyes. "I am shocked!" he exclaimed loudly; "I did not write this! This is not my recommendation!" "Dr. Tajim, are you telling us that someone else wrote this report?" asked Mr. Dani, who was as careful and gentle with his words. "Well, I just don't know, but how I could I possibly recommend a reduction from 700 mg.. to 75 mg.? That would be not only criminal of me, that would be idiotic of me! And, after all, you’re talking about Afim for God’s sake!” "Dr. Tajim, unless you can provide us with evidence that someone tampered with your report, then we must necessarily believe that these are your words." Dr. Tajim stuttered some incomprehensible words. He had nothing to say. He was so confused by the suddenness of this event, that his mind couldn’t put up any proper answers. He simply couldn't explain how this 'problem' had come about. "Well, Dr. Tajim, how could anyone gain access to your report?" asked Mr. Dani. It looked to me, as if Mr. Dani was really trying to ‘help’ Dr. Tajim find a way out of this problem. "No one can," he said, and then he realized that he never locked his doors or filing cabinets, "but, I guess, you know, people can walk in my office."
"How can anyone walk into your office? That statement sounds astounding," said a puzzled Mr. Dani. "Well, I admit, I never locked my office." Now, I knew, that he was going to be expelled. "Dr. Tajim you do not lock your files?" "No, Sir," he replied in a resigned voice. I think he, too, must have known, by now, that he was finished. "Dr. Tajim, if you do not lock your room, that means any person can walk in and read for himself the entire medical reports on our patients.” Mr. Dani seemed really uneasy as the question and answer session continued. I just couldn’t understand why Mr. Dani was so soft on Dr. Tajim. I was getting tired at the slowness of the questions. Mr. Dani, looking as distressed as ever, finally continued: “That is, in itself, negligence that is extremely serious in its nature. I am left with no other option but to have you expelled from the hospital, with this order to be enacted immediately. Furthermore, the hospital will have to pass your case to the Medical Council who will investigate wether or not there was criminal negligence on your part." Silence reigned. Dr. Tajim walked out, a crushed man. Mr. Dani looked confused – as if, he couldn’t believe what he had just said! I walked, overjoyed – to say the least! With the top man gone, it was only a question of time before, the top post would be filled, and I would be the Head of the Department. I was so happy those days of waiting that I cannot remember much about my family life – yes, my husband had a stroke and we took him to hospital and he recovered. So, it wasn't a big story really. Actually, Lara and Noor took him to the hospital. They told them he was too fat and had to stop smoking. I laughed when I heard that! What else does an obese, heavy smoking human who lives an immobile existence expect? To be rewarded with a healthy life? Lara was crying incessantly, and I had no idea why.
She came to me once and said: "I'm so sad; I just don't understand what the point of my life is?" I was shocked by the question. "At your age, and you are 19 years old, my dear child, you ought to know what you want from life. If you still have no idea what you want, then you really shouldn't be in the game of life. Therefore, if you want to help yourself, you need to get a job. Obviously it is late for you to go back to school, sine you left school – or, to be more accurate, since you were expelled – from school since you were 16 years old and you have no qualifications to go to university. Therefore, dear child, you have no choice but to get a menial job. Now, you tried working these jobs and you succeeded splendidly in getting yourself kicked out from all of these jobs. Therefore, what else can you do to get rid of your sadness? Well, not much. I mean, you cannot hold a job, and you cannot have friends, and you cannot socialise with people and that means you're stuck at home all day. Therefore, you are a prisoner and your sadness piles up. All I can say, is that in order to alleviate your situation you need to do something, anything." "Mom, you see robots are taking over the jobs that people do," Lara said softly. "Yes, and what does that have to do with your initial question?" I interrupted. "Do you think one day there will be robot psychiatrists just like you?" Sarcastic idiot. I just walked away. What's the point talking to an idiot? Within a month or so, news came, that a decision has been made and there would a new head of our department! "It is with pleasure that we nominate you, Dr. Sara, to be the Head of the Psychiatric Department," said the Mr. DANI, owner of the hospital. Actually, Mr. Dani looked unusually tired, and he didn’t seem to be happy at all in awarding me the top position in the Psychiatry Department. How strange?! “Sir,” I asked, “is something wrong?” “Well, I’m extremely upset at seeing Dr. Tajim have to go. I cannot tell you how utterly upset I am,” Mr. Dani said. I couldn’t believe my ears!
Had the owner of our hospital gone mad?! Dr. Tajim had committed an offence that was worthy of getting expelled from his post – so why was Mr. Dani so upset? The only reason I could think of, was maybe it was because of Dr. Tajim’s age. He must have felt sorry because Dr. Tajim was an old man, and it’s never easy to have to remove someone old. "Thank you Sir; thank you so much. It is a decision you will not regret. Indeed, with my presence, I hope that we shall modernise and reform our department further." I said to Mr. Dani. "I hope so; once more, please accept my congratulations." Mr. Dani said in a really soft voice. He was completely lost in his own thoughts. I guess, he was probably thinking of Dr. Tajim. "I have just one more point, Sir, I would like to mention," I said. I felt it necessary to try to ease the pain for Mr. Dani. "Please, go ahead." "Let us realize that, perhaps, Dr. Tajim was getting a little bit too old and perhaps, we should not be so harsh on him. He is, Sir, 76 years old, and, at that age, people do tend to make mistakes." Finally, Mr. Dani snapped out of his thoughts, and looked at me: "You know I am really touched by your concern for Dr. Tajim. I, too, like any human, am not happy to see him go; it is not a sense of cruelty that forces me to remove him from the office. As you yourself know, Dr. Sara; rules are rules, and perhaps the medical guidelines are even more strict, since we are dealing with human beings. Dr. Tajim could have caused the ultimate suicide of Afim and you that as well as I do. Had the hospital department not intervened, and had poor Afim continued to be given only 75. mg., he may well have died. So, Dr. Tajim's actions were potentially life threatening. Therefore, I had to remove Dr. Tajim for the sake of the safety of our patients, and not because I am a vindictive person who simply wants to remove this or that doctor. Now, at the Medical Council, I hope they will take into consideration his age as a factor in his lapse of professional conduct. I believe that they will take his advanced age into consideration; but what their final judgement will be, I do not know." Silence, as I had nothing to say.
Then, Mr. Dani continued in his resigned, depressing voice: “But you know what Dr. Sara?” “Yes, Sir,” I replied acting humbly – but, in reality, I was faking it! I could only think of that fact that I had removed that old man! I had finally succeeded in being the Head of the Psychiatry Department! And, then I heard that dull voice of Mr. Dani continue: “I have to be honest to you and to myself. I just do not understand how on earth could Dr. Tajim do that to Afim – especially to his Afim, or for that matter to any other patient?” “Well, Sir, maybe, as I say, his advanced years made him mind a little bit confused,” I replied. Mr. Dani didn’t seem to hear me. Silence again. Then I thought of something to say: "If, Sir, the Medical Council decides that Dr. Tajim was professionally negligent, then what happens?" I asked. "You make a mistake here Dr. Sara,” Mr. Dani answered promptly to my question, “with your use of phrases. Language is extremely important here: I removed Dr. Tajim on the basis on professional negligence. It is now up to the Medical Council to decide wether or not Dr. Tajim is to be judged as criminally negligent. And, if he is deemed to be criminally negligent, his file would then be handed over to the police. The police will then have to send Dr. Tajim in prison where he will await his court hearing. It may either be judges who will decide or jurors. Either way, if he is found 'guilty', he will, of course, face a prison sentence." "And do you think the jurors will find him guilty?" "Once again, Dr. Sara, I am really astonished by your care for Dr. Tajim, because in all my professional years, I've only met a handful of doctors who care as much as you do – especially for someone found to be professionally negligent. But, to answer your questions, I'm afraid, in most cases, once the hospital and the Medical Council deem the accused to be 'negligent', then a sentence of guilty will almost certainly be passed on." I walked out, feeling nothing less than pure ecstasy! And, yes, reader, if you’re going to ask me if I felt any remorse for Dr. Tajim, my quick and confident answer is: no! For, these were the Laws of Life. I, Sara, did not create these laws. Therefore, I have no guilt.
Chapter 14: SUCCESS & EMPTINESS
I was now the Head of the Psychiatric Department. I had reached the top. I succeeded. My salary was so good, that we I was finally able to move out of our small rented house, after I bought a lovely, spacious house in one of the best neighbourhoods in town. Of course, now my job had far more responsibilities than before. I was to control and manage the entire Department, whereas before, I would be given three or four patients and that was it. To me, I felt confident, that having reached this far, I would be ale to be an excellent Head of the Department. One of my first tasks was to see our Chief Accountant.
"Good morning, Dr. Sara, my name is Mr. Swami. I'm Chief Accountant for the Hospital, and I'm here to give you our latest report on spending, costs and profits thus far" "Good morning to you, Sir, and I'm happy to hear your report." I said, with absolutely no enthusiasm for the subject, as I had never had to deal with the subject of 'accounting' before! Mr. Swami was quite a good looking man. He had a very healthy, energetic looking face; with sparkling eyes and beautifully chiselled face. "Dr. Sara," began Mr. Swami with a surprisingly dull, monotonous voice that somehow made me sleepy the minute he began talking; "our studies indicate that, thus far, in the last quarter, meaning four months, Dr. Tajim, your predecessor, overspent what the budget allotted to him. This overspending, for example, took the form of buying medications that were costlier than needed to be; you will, of course be given our report, and you will read it for yourself. However, going back to what I was saying, there are several cases when overpriced items were bought, without finding cheaper sources. Another problem we encountered, is that several patients and their families did not pay the fees,. And surprisingly no one bothered to chase these families through the proper legal channels â€“ such as the fee collecting companies. As a result, further losses were incurred." I couldn't help but notice how this Mr. Swami ever got to be the head of an accounting company? His utterly emotionless behaviour really surprised me, because he looked the complete opposite! His behaviour really made me so sleepy, that I seriously thought of telling him to just hand me over the report and let me read it on my own. I mean, who could deal with a human like that? Obviously some people, who had the right positions and had influence, must have liked him; otherwise who would promote a dead character like that? As he continued to talk, I began to think, was he married? Was his wife boring like him? She must be, because, I would gladly strangle myself rather than have to 'live' with this nonentity. He was such a bland, banal, colourless creature that seemed to me to be absolutely unbearable for normal humans with a shred of emotion to be able to interact in a satisfactory manner with him. "Mr. Swami?" I interrupted him. I couldn't hear this man go on anymore.
"Yes, Dr. Sara?" "Can I ask you a question?" He actually showed an emotion – happiness – because, I suspect that he thought I was so interested in what he had to say. "Are you married?" I asked. He seemed startled at my question, and the faint smile on his wipe was immediately removed! "Well, as a matter of fact, no, Dr. Sara, I am not married," was his uncomfortable wife. Well, I'm not surprised by that answer! "Do you have any hobbies," I asked. He seemed agitated by my questions. "Well, actually, eh, no, not really, because I don't have the time you see." He was fidgeting, obviously uncomfortable at my non-financial questions! "How come you don't have the time, Mr. Swami?" I suspected he was lying, because he didn't want to admit to me that accounting was his life and that he had no other interest in his life. "Because I work all day and when I take the bus and go home I work again in my home on the finances of the hospital until I sleep.” He smiled, looking really proud of his answer. “Well, Dr. Sara, do you mind if I ask you a question?" he asked. I never knew that any human can have no emotion in the tone of his voice. And I never saw a human with expressionless eyes – Mr. Swami looked like a talking rock. "No, not all, please go ahead." I thought maybe if we have a conversation, the atmosphere would become a little more pleasant. "Yes, thank you. But why are you asking me what I consider to be a little bit irrelevant - and, I do hope you are not offended by that word – questions, when we are here to discuss my report on the finances for the hospital?" "Well, surely you must know, Mr. Swami, what we psychiatrists are like!? We just cannot resist trying to learn about the hearts and minds of people who happen to be sitting in front of us!" I replied. I felt like adding: and we especially are interested in understanding non-entities like you…
He nervously laughed a fake laugh. "I see, but can we first of all proceed with my report, because, as you know, Dr. Sara, time is money?" I smiled and shook my head! I couldn’t resist finding more about Mr. Swami. “Tell me, Mr. Swami, on holidays, or when you do not have work, do like to go shopping or to the cinema?” I asked. This specimen of Humanity had to be studied by myself! “Well, Dr. Sara, no I don’t like the movies or television in general. And when I shop I do not enjoy it. Shopping is a means of buying necessities for me to exist. I find such activities rather boring.” “I see, Mr. Swami, so do you mean to tell me that there are activities you consider to be enjoyable?” The man was clearly agitated and utterly uncomfortable. “Well, I like bird watching Dr. Sara, if you really must know.” “What exactly do you do in this hobby?” “Well you go to watch birds.” Was this man alive or dead? Can we call Mr. Swami a human or not? “I’m sorry I don’t understand you. You go out in the streets looking for birds and then when you see them what happens? Do you get excited?” “Well, exactly. Or, to add to the joy, I take pen and paper, and I record my observations. Like what type of bird I saw; at what time and where exactly and,” “And this really excites you?” I interrupted the bland figure in front of me. “Why yes, of course! That excites me terribly!” “I see,” I said. I had nothing more to say. Suddenly, Mr. Swami asked me: “Dr. Sara, can we go back to our discussion on the finances of the department?” "No," I said rather abruptly. "Excuse me?!" Mr. Swami seemed incredulous at my answer. "No, Mr. Swami; I'll read your report on my own," "But, surely it is imperative that," I had to interrupt him.
"Mr. Swami, what my predecessors did was fine and good, but I am now the new Head of the Department, and with a new leadership, comes a different style of leading and operating, and therefore, I wish to thank you for coming here, and I ask you to give your report to my secretary, and I hope to contact you soon. I'm afraid, I do have other meetings to go to. I would like to repeat that I'm so sorry that we couldn't continue with this meeting, but, as you so rightly put it, time is money. Thank you and goodbye." Sure enough, a somewhat bewildered Mr. Swami finally left my office to my relief! Soon I was settled in my job at the hospital. And, yet, I couldn't help have this really annoying mixture of feeling lonely, bored and unhappy. I could not tell anyone of these feelings, because, if I did, people would laugh at me. How can you be bored and lonely and happy when you're so successful? And that was exactly the same question I was asking myself. And what annoyed me so much, was that I just had no answer to it! Yes, I socialised with friends, who were really nice people, but I was still unsatisfied. So much in me was 'empty' or 'missing' or God knows what word I ought to use. I no longer 'cared' about Tony, so there was no source of irritation there for me anymore. You see, by then, whatever stupidities that man would say or do, he no longer bothered me. I agree that he was like having a bloated elephant in your house, so to many people it would be hard to 'ignore' him, but, I guess that I got used to him and so I really no longer even felt his presence. He was a nobody to me; he was invisible. And by the way, when I use the word 'care' about Tony, I in no way mean 'care' in the sense of 'liking' him or 'loving' him. No - that was dead years ago. No, by using the word 'care' I mean that he no longer irritated me with his stupidities. And talking about 'care', I no longer noticed Lara's existence. She was the same; crying or being depressed; a solitary human; a hermit. She was invisible to me, just as that bloated man sitting in front of the television was.
As for Noor, I was actually proud of him. He was by then a moderately successful man, with a wife and children. Sure enough, he never once visited me, nor did his wife bring my grandchildren to see; but, then again, I myself, did not have the desire to see Noor and his family! So, where was the source of my anxieties? Why wasn’t I happy? I felt empty. My life had a predictable and utterly boring routine. Nothing changed. I hated that fact. I wasn’t interested in what was happening in our world. I know it sounds cold, but that was me. I couldn’t care about poverty, wars, diseases like AIDS, famines, cancer or anything else. My God, you must find me to be inhuman! Well, I’m being honest reader, so I have to say these truths. I only cared about my self-promotion. Apart from that I honestly did not care even for my friends. Wether they were happy or not, or even if they were sick or not. And the worst thing was that I felt unhappy. Within a few days of taking over from Dr. Tajim, I decided that we needed a completely new approach, as far as the budgeting went. I studied Dr, Swami’s report and I found it really disgusting that Dr. Tajim was overspending, and therefore, our department was making huge losses. I noted carefully, where that idiot had overspent: He overspent on pricey medicines and other hospital equipment. He would maintain our fees, and simply did not raise our invoices. Basically he was financial idiot. So, with my typical determination, I set about to reverse everything that man had done. I ordered a meeting of all the relevant managers, including that uniquely boring Mr. Swami.. “First of all,” I began the meeting, “we are no longer going to buy overpriced medicines. We’re going to buy the much cheaper generic products.” There were audible gasps from everyone.
“But, Dr. Sara, these generic medicines aren’t of equal quality,” said the manager in charge of medicine buying. I’m not sure, if I actually asked for your opinion,” I said, half joking and half meaning it. “But, since you do inquire on this point, here is my response: we need to cut costs if we are going to avoid running a deficit. Therefore, cutting costs must include reducing what medicines we buy. And, you’re wrong: generic medicines are just as good as brand names. Don’t be so foolish to think that a ‘label’ somehow makes the product superior.” I looked around for any comments. There were none. I could see that these managers weren’t used to a tough style approach such as I was doing; obviously, they had gotten used to the useless and financially catastrophic style of Dr. Tajim. “All right, next, I’ll discuss specifics vis-à-vis economising. With respect to patients: we are going to increase the use of tranquilizers, and reduce the quantity of generic antidepressant medication.” Again, everyone looked at me with shocked eyes, but, I chose to ignore them. “Tranquilized patients save costs. Obviously, they reduce the hours that our staff needs to spend with them, and so we spend less on staff. Secondly, tranquillized patients don’t consume like those who are awake and so costs are lower. Next, I notice we have 56 nurses. I’ve been doing my calculations, and I’ve decided to reduce that number to five,” and, at this point, the managers couldn’t suppress their howls of protests. “What? Only five nurses? The department cannot function with just five nurses?” “All right, be quiet; relax, and let me finish,” I said, with steely voice. The managers went quiet. “If you will allow me to finish, you’ll see my logic. I do not propose that we will function with a mere five nurses. No, we will offer jobs to twenty nurses, thus making the total number of nurses at 25.” “So why do you want expel 20 nurses, if you want to re-hire them?” asked one of the managers. “Please, stop interrupting me,” I replied really angrily, “I’m getting to my point.” Again, I looked at the managers, with what I hoped was a ‘fierce’ look, in order to show my displeasure.
“All right, I propose to hire nurses from Third World countries, such as Kenya, Gambia, and the Philippines and so on. They will obviously be paid less, and therefore, that’s another way, we will reduce expenses. I realize that nurses from these countries will not be as qualified as our own, but in time they learn like anyone else. Anyway, most of our own nurses and doctors are leaving this country and working abroad.” “And that is precisely because people like you, Dr. Sara, are reducing wages and increasing working hours!” said Mr. Swami. “These are the Rules of Lie, Mr. Swami, like it or not. Economising means following rules, and I am just following these rules.” “What ‘rules’ are you talking about?” exclaimed Mr. Swami showing some emotions which took me by surprise! “These are the ‘rules’ that you choose to elect and then enforce!” “No, no my dear,” I replied dismissively, “these are rules that I did not create. We need to economise! Doesn’t that statement enter your mind, Mr. Swami? Shall I repeat it for you?” He finally went silent. I felt, the managers wanted to hurl stones at me!
“Next, I notice that we have 48 cleaners. I propose that we keep only ten. As for the kitchen. We don’t need 8 chefs. Three will do. And, as for the rest of the kitchen staff, I note that there are 47 members. These will be reduced to 20. Also, with respect to food. I see that under our respected Dr. Tajim we had been buying expensive food. No more. We’ll be buying the cheapest food available. Cheap food, I must remind you, does not mean, that it is bad food – it’s just cheaper. You can buy one kilograms of potatoes ten times or twenty times more expensive if you were to go to an expensive seller. So, if you can buy it cheaper, why not? It is the same quality potatoes. I admit that in other types of food, economising will mean that yes, our quality of food, will be reduced. But, as you know, reduction of costs means reduction of the quality in certain departments.” “Bad food will demoralize our patients! And you must know that good food is a source of joy for our patients!” Mr. Swami said. “Do I need to remind you that we’re not in the business of running a restaurant Mr. Swami?” The poor man was shocked by my question. “Oh, didn’t you realise that Mr. Swami?” I asked sarcastically.
No one laughed or even smiled. “Dr. Sara,” continued Mr. Swami, “you are reducing our department into such a degree of awful quality and service so that no patient would dare to come here. You’ll be creating the worst reputation for our hospital.” “Oh no, it won’t be that bad! Control your emotions, Mr. Swami, don’t get panicky.” “I’m afraid, I’m not satisfied with your answer!” said Mr. Swami. Again, I was really surprised that this idiot did have so many emotions! “And so what if you’re not satisfied with my answer Mr. Swami?” I asked challenging him. “I will complain to Mr. Dani that this is simply not good enough. You will be destroying the excellent reputation of our hospital. I will not accept this situation that you are proposing.” Mr. Swami’s face was all red by now. “Go ahead, be my guest,” I replied casually. I knew that Mr. Dani was behind my economising programme. I paused, smiled and again looked at the shocked managers. “By the way,” I continued, “please note, that in the coming months, if we find difficulties, then I will certainly re-hire staff, but, the same rule will apply: all staff members will be recruited from Third World countries.” I looked at the frowning managers. “Any comments?” I asked with no hint of emotion. They were getting used to my style, and, not surprisingly, they said nothing. “Fine, in view of the drastically reduced number of staff, I therefore propose, in order to maintain standards, that we must increase the number of hours they must work – with no extra pay, of course. Next, there will no longer be any non-essential maintenance and repair work in the department; for example, I’ve decided to not to order our painting company from painting our walls every six months. We don’t need these luxuries: we’re a hospital, and not a five star hotel. Take furniture: we will no longer be buying new furniture on a 6 monthly basis. We shall keep the same furniture, until each and every piece of furniture can no longer do its proper function. In other words, if a bed is rusty, creaky and wobbly, but it can still support a patient, then we’re
going to keep that bed. Obviously, as I’ve said to you, essential repairs will b continued – so, there, you can be relaxed.” I ended my report. “Any comments?” I quickly asked. “It seems to be quite obvious that your only interest and concern for our department is financial, and I just don’t see any hint of the human, caring aspect of our profession?” said one manager. I looked at the idiot who made that observation. “That is exactly correct! How clever you are!” I replied caustically. There was uncomfortable silence. “Money is the oil for any enterprise or company. Do you understand that fact? Money is priority number one and not care. If you are emotional, or oversensitive to these Rules of Life then you should leave this profession.” “Money is important, Dr. Sara,” said another manager, “but you are destroying the quality of professionalism that we are supposed to give to our patients!” “These are necessary casualties. There’s nothing I or any other human being can do about that. You see, if we were to continue to over spend like Dr. Tajim was doing, then the department will close down due to bankruptcy. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, the question before you becomes this: either we go down the path of bankruptcy and unemployment for all of us, or we economise, reduce quality, but continue with our Psychiatric Department, and, of course, we all get to stay in our jobs! What do you choose?” Silence. “Any other questions?” There was none. “Very well, goodnight, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” I was getting bored with my job. How strange! The truth is I simply did not believe that psychiatry could do anything for patients with mental health problems. By ‘psychiatry’ I mean the act of talking to mental health patients. This process of endless talking simply will not ‘heal’ the wounds within the minds of these patients. Medication was the answer. Chemistry and not talk! The saddest thing about our business is when our patients really believe that our conversations are going to heal the chemical imbalances in their brains!
The fact is people with mental health problems are people who have neurochemical imbalances in their brains. And to try to re-structure the neuro-chemical imbalances you need chemicals, or medication to do that. How can mere conversation change chemical imbalances in oneâ€™s brain!?
Chapter 15: THE SHOCK "Dr. Sara, a telephone for you," said my personal secretary. "Who is it? You know I'm busy now!" "I'm afraid it is extremely urgent, Dr. Sara." "Well who is it for God's sake?" I yelled. "It's the police from your neighbourhood." The police from my neighbourhood? That phrase froze my blood. "Let me speak to them," I ordered. "Good evening; is this Dr. Sara, Head of the Psychiatric Department?" My heart pounded. "That's me, yes, what's the matter?" "We need to see you at your local Police Station," replied the voice of a policeman. "But what's the matter please?!" I asked. "I'm afraid I need to see at the Police Station for me to discuss the subject matter with you." "Fine," and I put the phone down; I asked my secretary to call for me a taxi. What on earth could it be? What possible crime or illegal act could I have done? I cannot explain to you how nervous I was. I couldn't think properly. My thoughts could not be arranged in any logical and rational manner. "Taxi's here!" called my secretary. I ran down the stairs and walked into the cab, telling the driver the address. "Please hurry up, driver!" I begged. "I'm afraid there's a bit of traffic in the ay we're going. There's nothing I can do about that," replied the taxi driver. Why did the police need me? What did I do?
Did I commit a crime? But what crime? They couldn't possibly be asking me to see them because of my past activities with Tony and Omar? Yes, I did 'illegal' acts, such as the Purification Programme. My God, yes, I forgot, I was the Head of the Purification Programme! Think Sara! Think! And didn't the Prime Minister at the say that anyone who had committed anything 'illegal' would be prosecuted? And, obviously, that is why Omar ended in jail for life. But that was more than ten years ago. Would they actually churn up the files of all those years ago, and see that I was indeed the Head of the illegal Purification Programme? Could that be why my local Police Station wants to see me? I felt really scared now. Well, that means prison for me. It's obvious. I did commit illegal acts, and so I am going to end up like all those who committed illegal acts, and be sent to prison. And my reputation? My prestige? My honour? Can I actually live in prison? After reaching the highest position in the in society, how can I live in the lowest position in society â€“ which is prison? Finally the taxi arrived. I ran straight inside. "I'm Dr. Sara, and I've been asked to come here." I rushed my words to some police officer. "Yes, thank you for coming. Please follow me," replied the officer. "What is it?" I asked. "I'm afraid only the Chief Officer is allowed to talk to you," replied the officer, with a bored tone. He knocked on the door where a plaque read: Chief Officer. I had finally arrived. I walked in, and there were several people inside the office. One officer stood up, and extended his hand: "Good evening, Dr. Sara, my name is Chief Officer Sami."
"Good evening. What's the matter, please?" I asked. "Please sit down, Dr. Sara," said another man, not in uniform, "I work as a psychiatrist for this Police Station." I sat down. "Could you please tell me what I have done?" I exclaimed. Dr. Sara," said Chief Officer Sami said in a very subdued voice, "I'm afraid we have bad news for you." "What?!" I almost screamed. "Please try to relax; take a deep breath," said the psychiatrist. The gentlemen looked at each other, and someone nodded, whereupon, Chief Officer Sami began to speak: "I'm afraid, your daughter Lara is dead. She committed suicide." "Is this a joke?" The words just came from my mouth. "I'm afraid not; she was found today at 7.20 PM, having slashed her wrists." I sat there emotionless. I felt nothing. I could not understand what they had just said to me. The next thing I know was the following words came out of my dulled mouth: "All right, so what do I do know?" I could hear the psychiatrist whisper to Chief Officer Sami: "She's in shock; I recommend Diazepam to relax her." I immediately answered. "I don't need anything, thank you." "Dr. Sara," Chief Officer Sami asked, "do you understand what I have just told you?" "Yes, I do," I replied; "my daughter, Lara, has killed herself. She's dead. What do I do now?" "Well," replied a somewhat surprised Chief Officer Sami, "you may go home, if you wish, or you can speak with our resident psychiatrist who can," "I don't need anyone," I interrupted. "Do you know anyone in the funeral business?" asked another man in police uniform. I stood up and started to walk away. I felt no desire or energy to answer or talk or think. "Dr. Sara," called Chief Officer Sami, "are you sure you're fine?" I walked out. I took a taxi back home. There was Tony, crying intensely. I wished he would be somewhere else.
I went to my room and just lay on the bed. Suddenly, like an avalanche, I started to cry like a maniac; crying, shivering and feeling.
Why did Lara kill herself? Yes, I knew she was desperately unhappy in her life, but, that doesn't mean you kill yourself! Killing yourself must mean that your life is so awful, it must be unbearable. I mean, actually, I'm guessing here, since I never even desired to kill myself; so how can I place myself inside the brain of the suicidal human? I had no answers â€“ to be very honest. And this 'honesty' hurts me, because, I feel that I am supposed to 'know' why my daughter killed herself! But, why am I 'supposed to know'? Simply because I am her mother? Yes, I was her mother, but I couldn't communicate with her, and she couldn't communicate with me. So, what difference does it make that I am her mother? Blood means nothing here. We were two people who never understood each other; and I, for my part, can say, that I simply did not understand why that girl was sad in the first place? It was at this time, that I found a letter in one of my cabinets. I opened it, and realized it was Lara's handwriting. It was dated the day she had killed herself. It was a suicide note. It read: "Dear Mom; this is actually my first and last letter to you. By the time you read these words, I shall long be dead. I decided to end my life. I have lived a life, that has been filled to the brim with mental anguish. I am desperately trying to collect my words properly, so you hopefully will be able to understand what I am trying to say to you. I have been suffering from a disease of the mind â€“ and to me, it doesn't really matter much what that disease is called â€“ well, that
disease has caused to me feel such fear, such horror, that I feel I need to extinguish this fragile candle, that has been my life, so far. They come suddenly, and so I call them an 'attack' on my mind. And when this attack comes, I become completely under the control, of this really lethal mixture of utter fear; a fear I cannot describe in words â€“ I guess, if you can imagine someone slowly ripping out your fingernails, that may give you some indication of how scared I get. I feel hysterical, because I need to scream like a maniac. I feel that I'm going mad, and that I'm going 'lose my self control'; I feel that I may harm myself, because I have a sickening 'desire' to kill myself. I feel my vision is blurred; some colours shine so much brighter than others. The floor seems to shake, so I'm scared to walk, because I feel that I will keep on slipping. I was hoping that these attacks would subside, but they haven't. On the opposite, my very own dear Mother, they have increased in intensity and time wise. Every day, these attacks; some for minutes, others for hours. The fear within me in unimaginable and certainly indescribable. That is why, I was never able to study, socialise or to keep a job. These attacks would come again and again. Perhaps, God never intended me to live in His world. But, then, why did He create me in the first place? I don't know. Questions, like these, used to obsessively gnaw on my mind, but now, it doesn't matter anymore. Do you have any fears or phobias? If you do, (and I hope you don't), then that's what it is like to have these life-threatening attacks. Once the attack comes, there's no way out from them. You must suffer the utter torments of murderous hell, until God decides to take them away from your flimsy sanity. My emotional devastation leaves my entire soul in rubble. I see and feel nothing but un unbearable black ocean vastness of sadness that overwhelms me and subjugates me and threatens my own unidentified, scattered Self. Dearest Mother; donâ€™t despair because of what I have done. Please know that for some of us people, the grief is far too overwhelming
to ever be bearable. I am sure that you yourselef must have seen far too many patients who felt equally hopeless like myself. We,, for us ‘hopeless’ patients, what solution is there for us? My life is pointless. The people I meet are all thieves, liars and criminals. The world is not just a jungle – that is bad enough. The world for me is an uncontrolled, maniacal insane jungle. I don’t want to live in this cage with maniacal beasts. This isn’t my world. It’s your world. I'm sorry for all the pain and the trouble, the embarrassment and irritation I gave you, and anyone else. I know that my time has come to leave this world, and let all of you sane, ordinary people get on with your lives, without having to put up with disturbing and distressing nuisances like myself. Please tell Noor to change his lifestyle and to serve decency, humanity and morality. So, I did just that. I've exited your world. I say 'your world', because I never could feel, that this was 'my world', because 'my world' was nothing less than Hell itself on earth. I hope God will not send me to Hell for my sins; anyway, all I can say is, dear God, forgive me, but you know, I've already spent enough years in Hell on your earth. And so, dear God, you really mustn’t let me go to the Hell above, and allow me to rest in peace in your Heaven! God bless you all. I will always love you, my dearest Mother for having to put up with me. God bless you. Love, Lara." Well, what could I say about this letter? As a psychiatrist, she must have suffered some form of Panic Attacks. But, why didn't she tell me about it?
But, if she felt it was best for her to go, then I guess, it was best for her to go.
Chapter 16: THE TRAP
One day, I got a call from the secretary of some Chief Officer who said he wanted to see me. And so I went, and walked into the officer's meeting room. "Good evening, Dr. Sara, please do sit down" he said. "Good evening, Sir," I replied. "You don't remember me?" he inquired, with a smile. "No, Sir, am I supposed to 'know' you?" I asked, pretending to be utterly bored. He grinned, clasping his hands unusually tightly. "I see; well, you were in this same room, about, seven or maybe six years ago." "Really?" I asked, sarcastically. Actually I honestly couldn't remember the officer, nor being there at all. "Well, if I told you my name is Chief Officer Sami, would that get your memory back?" "No, Sir, I'm sorry. Now, may I ask why I am here?" I asked, getting really impatient with this idiotic buffoon. "Very well," he said, smiling as ever, "allow me to confirm that you are Dr. Sara, residing at the following address; and that you are the head of the Psychiatry Department at our local hospital?" "That's correct, that is me." I replied, with disgust in my voice. I wanted to show him I was superior to him. "All right, Dr. Sara. I'm afraid, we need to ask you some questions, because we have been alerted that there seems to be some things that are not quite right." "What do you means by 'things are not quite right'" I asked, getting edgy, for the first time, although my voice was quite condescending to the officer.
"You shall see, Dr. Sara. Just, be patient with me. Now, the first thing I need to inform you, is that you have the right to call your lawyer here, before you answer any questions, and should you have no lawyer, we can provide you one, at no charge to you." "I don't need a lawyer," I replied sharply and with an obvious offensive tone in my voice. Actually I was a little surprised, that the officer didn't rebuke me for being so rude! "Fine, also, it is my duty, to inform you that our question and answer session, will be recorded." "Fine, fine, let's just get on with your questions!" I replied rudely. "All right; I'm sure, being Head of the Psychiatry Department, you must be a very busy person, and believe me, I respect the fact that you must be in a hurry, given the duties that are facing you." Next, he started to put papers here and there, taking this file, and putting away another file. "All right, we now begin our first session," the man aid. Finally, I thought; the idiot was ready. "Dr. Sara, it has been reported to us, that you had provided your hospital with a document from a charity organization which was written in their name, and in which it states that: "Dr. Sara worked for our organization for seven continuous years. She worked in a village in rural Uganda, and we recommend her work". Do you recall working for such an organization?" the Chief Officer asked. My God! My heart started to beat faster. "Well, yes," I stuttered. But I didn't mean to say 'yes', because my mind wasn't sure to confirm, or deny that supposed 'fact'. "Maybe, not," I spoke again. The Chief Officer looked confused. "What do you mean, Dr. Sara? Did you, or did you not, work for this organization?" "No, I did not work for that charity organization," I said, suddenly regaining confidence; "and, with respect to that letter, it must have been some computer error on their part. You know that charity organization is quite big, and so there are possibilities of computer errors." "I see; but how do you explain that the letter was sent to your hospital?" "I guess, you ought to direct that question to the charity organization people themselves. It seems to be an error from their
part," I replied I in an arrogant tone, as if by using such a tone, I would be 'proving' my words to be factual! I became respectful of the Chief Officer, as I began to realize, that someone, somewhere, had managed to open my own files at the hospital, and that there must be a police investigation against me, and I could be in trouble if I didn't answer properly and convincingly. "I see," said the Chief Officer, who was by now simply concentrating on the documents in front of him. "Sorry, but may ask you, what your name is, Sir?" "Chief Officer Sami", he said, without looking at me. Clearly, he was no longer interested to know if I remembered him or not. And, I still couldn't remember that name. "All right," Chief Officer Sami continued, "Were you, or were you not in charge of a patient, at your hospital, called patient Afim K.?" I remembered Afim. He was my first patient. So, there could be no denials here. "Yes, Sir, I confirm that I was supervising patient Afim". "Very well, did you or did you not, recommend that patient Afim's medicine dosage be increased?" "Yes, I did, Sir." "Fine, now according to other documents we have, patient Afim K. was actually improving and therefore, why did you recommend that his medication dosage be increased?" "Because, if my memory serves me well, Sir, and you must realize that I do not have my files here with me, but, I do recall the opposite of what you indicated. I recall that he had gotten worse, and therefore I recommended the increase." "What we have here, is that patient Afim was simply uncooperative with you Dr. Sara. Apart from your own diagnosis, the other documents indicate quite clearly, that Afim was getting better, and with respect to his relationship with you, he was simply being uncooperative." I was startled by all these statements! It sounded that other doctors had also been monitoring Afim. Could that have been possible? Now I was repeatedly told, by Dr. Tajim, that I was the only one to supervise Afim.
"Therefore," continued the Chief Officer, and disrupting my thoughts, "it seems that your diagnosis may not be sustainable." "Well, Sir," I said respectfully, "that was my diagnosis, and if I was wrong, then that may well have been the case. But there was never any intention of malice against patient Afim." "I see," responded the Chief Officer, still focusing completely on the piles of documents in his hands and his table, "but you must understand, Dr. Sara, that had the hospital increased patient Afim's dosage, that would have been very unhealthy for him?" I felt angry. I felt really angry, because, I suddenly realized, that it must have indeed been the case whereby other doctors were supervising Afim - and that that bastard Dr. Tajim had lied to me. Indeed, the other doctors had conspired against me, because they never told me, that they were also supervising Afim. And now, I hear from this police officer, that the hospital did not actually carry out my recommendation because they did not increase Afim's dosage! The lying bastards! And all those years I believed in them! "Dr. Sara, did you hear me?" asked Chief Officer Sami. "Oh yes, excuse me, yes, I'm sorry; I heard what you had to say Sir," I said, as I quickly snapped out of my thought processes. “I will now reconfirm what I just told you. You recommended that patient Afim K. has his medication be increased, when, in fact, other doctors, including Dr. Tajim himself, saw that there was no need for that increase, since his behaviour was, in fact, improving. Indeed, Dr. Tajim himself ordered that your recommendation is to be ignored. Do you understand?” “Yes, Sir,” I replied lamely. "All right, Dr. Sara, we now have here the gravest issue with respect to your behaviour at the Psychiatric Department. There is a document here in which Dr. Tajim, supposedly recommended a dramatic decrease in dosage for patient Afim from 700 mg. to 75. mg." I didn't like the word 'supposedly' here, because it implied that, maybe, that old man didn't in fact write that recommendation. "Yes, Sir," I said. "All right, now it would be utterly absurd for Dr. Tajim to recommend the decrease in the dosage of the medicine for patient
Afim, unless if the latter wished to kill patient Afim. I say this because a reduction from 700 mg. to 75 mg. is just far too absurd to be believed. It looks like only a simpleton would write such a 'recommendation', and Dr. Tajim's record for over 45 years, shows not one error on his part. In other words, he was certainly no simpleton. Nevertheless, if, we were to assume that Dr. Tajim did write that diagnosis, then we must thereby assume, that Dr. Tajim intended to harm Afim. Are you with me?" "Yes, Sir, of course," I replied, feeling fear once again. Where were this officers' questions taking me? "Now, Dr. Tajim was forced to face trial for criminal negligence, but to the surprise of all professional observers, he was acquitted by the jury. In other words, Dr. Sara, the jurors simply did not believe that this man, Dr. Tajim, could have written such a foolish, indeed, such a criminal 'recommendation. All right?" "Yes, Sir," I answered. Maybe this officer was going to trap me with his questions? I remembered that the session was being taped, and so every word I say, can be held against me. And by now I was really regretting saying that I didn't want a lawyer, it was typical of me: impulsive thinking. I really needed a lawyer now to help me through with this, because my anxiety was making me unable to think clearly. "All right," continued the CO, "we next found, that in Dr. Tajim's personal computer files, contained several incriminating issues against you, Dr. Sara." I began feeling hysterical, but I tried not to show it. "In Dr. Tajim's files, he had already written, during his first interview with you, in which, he asked you to send him an official letter of recommendation from the charity organization. You responded, at the time, that you would oblige him, by asking 'your' organization to send him such a letter. A letter did, in fact arrive, which stated that you supposedly worked for that charity organization. He did, in fact, check on the veracity of your statements, and he contacted the charity organization in question; Dr. Tajim was informed, by the charity organization, that you, in fact, had never worked for them. Do you understand what I am saying Dr. Sara?" Without thinking, I just nodded. "Therefore, Dr. Sara I say the following to you: first, that during our questioning today, I did ask you, about wether you worked for
a charity organization, and you clearly told me that, no, you never worked for that charity organization. And, when I asked you about the letter of recommendation from the organization, you stated that the letter that was sent to Dr. Tajim, must have been a computer error. Fine. But, according to Dr. Tajim's file notes, he wrote all the following notes, all those years ago: "Dr. Sara stated that she did work for the charity organization, and that she would provide documentary evidence from the organization itself which would indicate the truthfulness of her statement. The letter I subsequently received, from the charity organization, turned out to be entirely false, since I had contacted the organization, and they denied ever hiring such a person.' Therefore, it seems, Dr. Sara that you did in fact tell Dr. Tajim that you had worked for 7 years in that charity organization, and secondly, it seems that a letter was sent, supposedly written by the organization itself, in which they 'recommended' you, but that turned out to be another lie, because, as I just indicated, Dr. Tajim checked the facts, and found them to have no bearing to what you claimed. Do you understand, Dr. Sara?" I was breathing faster, as this avalanche of information was being hurled against me, from all those years ago. "Sir, it is a case of wether you believe Dr. Tajim or myself; I mean, it's a case of 'his words, against my words'; I mean, Dr. Tajim was clearly playing games against me, trying to frame me as a liar," a said, and yet, feeling that I was speaking absolute rubbish. Did my words make sense to the officer? I'm sure, that he took notice, that I had become extremely agitated, and that can be interpreted as a sign of guilt. "Very well," responded the Chief Officer briskly, "how then, Dr. Sara, do you explain the document from the charity organization, that you supposedly worked for, stating quite clearly that you never worked for them? It seems obvious, to say the least, Dr. Sara, that someone had written this Letter of Recommendation in the name of that charity?" "Sir, all I can reply, is that I have no idea who sent that Letter of Recommendation. And, as for Dr. Tajim, I have no idea, why he would write lies about me." "Yes, indeed, that is a superb question Dr. Sara!" the Chief Officer's voice suddenly grew loud, and he cast his eyes upon me again.
I was beyond nervous. "I mean, why would Dr. Tajim who had just met you, write lies about you? What incentive would he have? He was simply interviewing you, to see wether your were feasible to be a psychiatric doctor or not. Why should he create all these lies against you? Obviously, if he found that you were not competent enough, he would not have hired you, and that would have been the end of the story?" "Well, why would Dr. Tajim have hired me in the first place, if he found me to be a liar? Doesn't that prove that he must have concocted this up? Doesn't that prove, Sir, that Dr. Tajim was lying, and not me?" I felt that was a good question! I regained a bit of my confidence. "Well, Dr. Sara, here's your answer, written by none other than Dr. Tajim himself. He wrote, and I quote: 'I chose to hire Dr. Sara, despite her lies, since it has become, regrettably too common, to see our unemployed doctors lie about their previous job experiences, since practically all of them have no previous work experience. If we ignore that lie, I believe that the applicant, Dr. Sara, would be acceptable in our hospital â€“ on a trial basis.' There's your answer for you Dr. Sara â€“ it is almost like he is defending himself from his grave!" "What do you mean by that Sir?" I asked, confused. "Well he's dead, isn't he? Or, didn't you know?" "No, Sir, I didn't know. I'm sorry," I said. "Yes, he had a really massive heart attack, right after the jury acquitted him from all charges of criminal negligence. Strange isn't it;" suddenly the Chief Officer began to remember Dr. Tajim and what had led to his death, "here you have a man being completely exonerated by the law, and then he dies from grief. I say that, because all his family and close friends did state that his emotional anguish began when he was expelled from the hospital; following that, he was grilled by the police who found him to be criminally negligent. Next, he was forced to undergo what would turn out to be the final trial of his life, and, as I say, by the time the verdict came in, and he was absolved from all guilt, his heart could no longer stand the humiliation, and the loss of his prestige and reputation as a decent, hard working man who contributed his entire life to help those people with mental problems and, in the end, it was too much for him to endure. And, that's how he died."
There followed silence, as the Chief Officer temporarily seemed to be lost in thoughts or memories. "He was such a fine man; what a damn shame," said the Chief Officer. "Yes, indeed, how sad," I lied. "Anyway, going back to your case, Dr. Sara," said Chief Officer Sami, his voice gaining back its strength, "we can take your case to court, but I have to tell you, that you have a very weak argument. Clearly, Dr. Tajim had no motive or incentive to create all these lies about you. On the other hand you certainly did have the motives and incentives to lie, since obviously you wanted the job." I felt exhausted. "All right, so I lied, so what?" The words just came out. I just admitted to the police that I had lied! Stupid Sara! Why did I surrender?! How could I? Anger! Anger at myself now! "Fine; the question now is, who wrote the recommendation that patient Afim has his medication reduced from 700 to 75? That is the question. Dr. Tajim clearly wrote in his computer files that he recommended no change from the 700 mg. since patient Afim K. was doing excellent progress. Indeed, patient Afim K. was doing such good progress, Dr. Tajim recommended that Afim may well be discharged from the hospital. So, who benefits by re-writing his recommendation? Obviously, why would he recommend an instruction that may well kill a patient, while obviously you, Dr. Sara, would benefit if you rewrote that recommendation so you can have the old man removed and thus you would become the replacement of Dr. Tajim?" I chose not to reply. “Furthermore, Dr, Tajim happened to be abroad, attending a psychiatric conference, when you personally administered patient Afim K. the massive reduction in his medication, and, as a result, the young man suffered severe depression.” “Yes, Sir,” I responded, barely audible even to myself. “And, as we all know, you then alerted Mr. Dani on the case of patient Afim K. Correct?”
I just nodded. “Now this event is far more serious, from the legal point of view, because, had patient Afim harmed himself, or had he harmed anyone else, then we would have had potentially a case of homicide on our hands. Thankfully, you alerted Mr. Dani just in time, and Afim was given back the correct amount of medicine that he needed. That does not change the fact, that what you did could have caused the harm of Afim or harm to others. Therefore, that is clearly a case of professional negligence, which, in turn means your expulsion from the hospital.” Chief Officer Sami finally put all the papers and files on his desk, and his eyes turned back on me. Silence. I could hear the birds outside. For some reason, they caught the attention of my ears. I wondered if Chief Officer Sami also noticed the birds outside? "Dr. Sara,” said Chief Officer Sami in a grave tone, “there is enough evidence here to take your case to the courts, and let the jury decide, wether you did, or you did not, commit an act of criminal offence or negligence. Do you have anything else to say?" "No, Sir." "All right, you may go," the Chief Officer said. As I walked out, I heard his voice call me. "Dr. Sara!" "Yes, Sir?" "You still do not recognise me?" "No, Sir," I replied in an apathetic manner. "Do you remember when your daughter Lara committed suicide?" "Yes, Sir." "Well, you were brought here. It was I who told you the sad news." Suddenly, vivid images returned to my mind. "Of course, Chief Officer Sami!" I exclaimed, "Now I remember!" I was in such a daze, "I'm sorry for not recognising you."
"Please, do not apologise. I can understand the pain and anguish you were in. The last thing you were going to do was to remember that terrible day." And, I walked out.
Chapter 17: THE PUNISHMENT A few weeks later, I was summoned by Mr. Dani. "Please do come in Dr. Sara, and do take a seat," he said. This time Mr. Dani looked really angry. There was no more of that sadness, as was the case, when I last saw him. "Thank you, Sir," I replied. "I think, you must know why you are here to see me?" asked Mr. Dani. "Yes," I replied, without thinking. Robotic Sara. Waiting for the higher authorities to give me my verdict. Powerless Sara. "I'm afraid that, having read Chief Officer Samiâ€™s report on your conduct, that I have no choice but to have you removed from this hospital with a dishonourable discharge." "Does the term 'dishonourable discharge' have and legal ramifications against me, Sir?" I asked. "You need to ask a lawyer; but, what I do know and what I can tell you, that you may not legally work for any medical institution any more and, related to the first order, your title of 'Doctor of Psychiatry' will be revoked. In other words, you are no longer a 'doctor', and therefore, you can no longer practice as a psychiatrist." I was horrified! I really didn't expect that at all!
"I see that you are surprised!" said Mr. Dani, "please Ms. Sara," This was the first time I was referred to as 'Ms'. Sara and that really hurt me. "You must consider yourself extremely lucky," continued Mr. Dani. "'Extremely lucky'? How can you say that? I am no one now! I am nothing!" I pleaded, as if, by the act of pleading, Mr. Dani would give me back my title and my job. "Ms. Sara, don't you realize that tonight you are going home?" asked Mr. Dani, who himself was surprised at the fact that I was so shocked! "And so damn what?! Of course, I'm going home tonight, so what?!" I asked far too aggressively. "Relax now, and do not raise your voice," Mr. Dani said in a cold, stern voice. "I'm sorry," I replied, quickly changing my attitude. "Ms. Sara, you may well have been in prison tonight, only were it not for the fact that Chief Officer Sami chose not to send your file to the Medical Council. And, I can honestly tell you, that had your thoroughly disreputable file, gone to the Medical Council, and had you stood there in court, I can tell you, without a shred of doubt, that you would have been found completely guilty of committing criminal several offences of criminal negligence, by a unanimous jury vote, and that is why you would then have been sent to prison to serve a sentence of life without parole," said Mr. Dani angrily. "So, why didn't Chief Officer Sami send my file to the Medical Council?" I found myself asking Mr. Dani. I felt happy, because I was challenging his ideas. "Well, that's a good question and it is one you must direct it to Mr. Swami himself, don't you think? All I can say, is that he may felt compassion for you, just as Dr. Tajim felt compassion for you all those years ago. Ha! Poor Dr, Tajim, if only he knew, that by hiring you, he would end his life much earlier than had he never hired you!" “I just don’t understand?!” I exclaimed. “Look, Chief Officer Sami wrote in your file that you were removed from the hospital, but that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a case of Professional Negligence. Therefore, he made
sure that your file wouldn’t go to the Medical Council. He was also clever and worried enough, that once you were expelled from this hospital, you would simply end up working for another hospital. Obviously, he was worried that should you again work as a psychiatrist, your darker side may repeat itself all over again on an unsuspecting doctor or patient! That’s why , to make sure that you would never work in the field of medicine and psychiatry, Chief Officer Sami wrote explicitly that you were being expelled on the basis of an Dishonourable Discharge. That meant that you wouldn’t face the Medical Council, but, at the same time, you would not be able to practice as a psychiatrist for the rest of your life.” "I don't like your words," I feebly protested. "Oh come, now, Ms. Sara; do you still try to pretend that you are innocent. Please! There's no court for you anymore – so, don't be scared now! I mean, everyone knows about your crimes!" "What do you mean 'everyone knows'?" I asked. "I mean exactly what I said! Everyone who knew you, knows what crimes you committed!" said Mr. Dani with utter contempt for me, "we all know that you lied about working in a charity organization; we all know, that you lied about Afim and that you just wanted to write a Diagnostic Report, because you were still on a trial basis, and without writing a report, you would have been fired, and so you hurried and created the report, filled with lies about Afim’s mental condition deteriorating, and then, you recommended increasing his medicine dosage which was harmful; because, of course, Afim did not need to have his dosage increased; furthermore, we all know that it was you who wrote, in the name of Dr. Tajim, recommending that patient Afim has his medicine be reduced from 700 mg. to 75. mg. which was absolutely lethal, but you didn't care of course and, instead, who took the blame? Poor old Dr. Tajim! And we all know, what happened to that man, and what did you do about it? Nothing. Of course, had you lifted a finger and said something in his defence, the man would not have had to be dragged through all the mess he was forced to get into; I mean, do you not realize what you have done? The enormity of your crimes? And to think, that it is only thanks to Chief Officer Sami, that you are not in jail this minute! To be honest, I’m really angry with Chief Officer Sami. What a damn travesty of justice, but that's life."
“I cannot understand why you all choose to believe Dr. Tajim?” That’s all I could say in my defence. I knew that the evidence was overwhelmingly against me. “Really, Ms. Sara? You’re surprised?” asked a thoroughly disgusted Mr. Dani. I stayed silent, as I had nothing to say. “I mean, despite the fact that all the evidence is piled up against you, let me ask you one further question: how many fathers do you know, who were as decent, respectable and honourable as the late Dr. Tajim was, would order the killing of his son?” “Excuse me?” I asked. Did I hear Mr. Dani correctly? I felt the man wanted to spit at me. “What’s the matter? You didn’t hear me?” “Did you say,” I asked, stuttering my words, “That patient Afim was the son of Dr. Tajim?” “That’s correct!” shouted a really vindictive Mr. Dani as he slammed the palm of his hands on the table. I felt absolutely numb and stunned beyond belief. Mr. Dani kept staring at me. He waiting for my comment. “Sir,” I spoke, with a quivering voice. Mr. Dani sensed that I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything. “That’s right, Ms. Sara, Afim was the son of the late Dr. Tajim. And that’s another glaring reason why it is highly unlikely that a man like Dr. Tajim would write what you claimed he wrote.” I walked out in disgust. How UTTERLY IDIOTIC COULD I HAVE BEEN? I should have understood why that old man was so passionately concerned for Afim! I went home.
Chapter 18: THE BARMAID AND ALCOHOLIC CONVERSATIONS
I say I went 'home', but, soon enough, it wouldn't be my home anymore. Since I had no job, I couldn't afford the taxes and the other utility bills, such as electricity, that went with it. So, I sold it and I moved to a much smaller rented flat in a lower class area. I had returned back to where I had come from. I say that 'I' moved, because, I forgot to tell you, that Tony died of a heart attack, or a stroke or God knows. Yes, I know you can tell, that I didn't care. You're absolutely right. He was already 'brain dead', as far as I was concerned, yeas ago. All that actually 'died' was his rotting, bloated body. And thank God, that he died! He was such an unbearable burden on me â€“ remember how much I had to pay for his unlimited amount of food consumption, and his never ending doctors and the medicines that inevitably follow the doctors! Tony was just a bloated mass of disgusting flesh that required endless amounts of money to maintain, and so, when God finally finished him off, obviously I was extremely happy, because I no longer had to see his uniquely ugly presence and secondly there were fewer bills to pay for! So, I was left alone.
I had returned to live, where I had originally lived. I was back in poverty, and living in a disreputable area. I worked as a barmaid in a bar. The pay was just enough, to allow me to pay the rent and feed myself. And what else could I do? With my awful record, no decent company would hire me, and so I was forced to work in a menial job; a job whereby no one cares what you did in the past. Actually, I did learn quite a lot from being a barmaid. The job itself was easy enough – you just served whatever drink the customer asked for. But that wasn't where I would learn anything of course. No, I learned by watching people and by listening to their talk. Almost everyone who came in, at first, was stiff, rigid and rather awkward. Conversation and body language was wooden, stiff and people were fidgety. Then, as the alcohol started to take its effect, why slowly, you would see the people becoming more relaxed, and the words begin to come out at a faster rate. People talk sensibly enough, and there is intelligence in what they have to say. Then, when the alcohol affects the drinkers to the point where they are 'drunk', people begin to shout at each other – even though the drunken conversationalists don’t notice that they are shouting at each other rather than speaking to each other - and the conversations become a bit of a sloppy. Next, and in the final stage, the alcohol takes over their brains. So, the two drunks talk completely idiotic, meaningless sentences, and yet they are perfectly able to understand each other, even though no one is actually saying anything with any meaning – and what is so much more fascinating, is how two drunks conversing, can continue to ‘understand’ each and respond to each other – even though, as I say, to the sober listener, they are both talking complete nonsense! Now I’ve seen many animal programmes on TV, and some of these scientists try to ‘understand’ the language of the animals. But no one has ever, to my knowledge, attempted to analyze the drunken language of us humans, and how we humans, when drunk, are perfectly able to ‘understand’ this new language!
You witness a scene from a mad house because everyone is conversing with everyone else, but no one is making any reason or sense! It was really fascinating to me! I mean how can you understand a completely meaningless question and then have the ability to answer back with an equally meaningless response that has no connection to the subject matter of the first question?! Is this 'fun'? I ask this question, because you would see the same crowd coming in night after night. They would come to the bar after their work and there they drink until they get drunk. So, presumably, that was their 'enjoyment', otherwise they wouldn't come every night, would they?
One night there were two gentlemen who always arrived by 7.00 PM. One was a lawyer, the other a businessman. They looked the same, dressed the same, and sounded the same. They ordered their drinks, and they started their conversation. Very well dressed; very well behaved. I couldn't help listening. Actually, what else was I supposed to do? I mean, my entire job entailed was to serve drinks, and once there were no orders, what was I to do? "So, how's work?" the businessman asked his friend. I never got to know their names, and it didn't really matter what their names were, because I was more interested in the anatomy of their conversation. "Boring, as usual." "Any news?" "No, everything's the same." "Same here. Case after case that I take. Some idiot kills for some reason or another, and then he is begging me to 'save' him, and, if he's worth it, I'll take his case, and I'll defend him â€“ but, they're all the same. Just change the characters while the situation is more or less the same."
"How do you actually 'know' if the defendant is guilty or not?" The businessman looked puzzled. "Money! If the defendant has money, I'll defend him even if he's the son of Satan himself!" The lawyer found that question so silly – to him, the answer was obvious! "But, wait a minute, if you're defending a murderer, and you win, and he's back on the streets, and he kills again, doesn't that affect you?" "No, of course not! After all, it is the fault and responsibility of the judges or jury who acquitted him and not me. So, how can I be blamed? I'm just a lawyer; I do not give the verdict!" The lawyer was supremely confident of his words. "Yes, but you, presumably, 'convinced' the jury or judge that your defendant is innocent?" Now, realizing that since the question was a little bit harder, he narrowed his eyes, and replied slowly and deliberately, as I could tell he was thinking of what to say in his reply: "You cannot say that with precision. After all, maybe the jurors or judge decided that the defendant was innocent due to the weakness of the prosecutor's arguments? Or, maybe, there simply wasn't enough evidence to convict him? Or, maybe those called upon to testify against the defendant, did so in a stupid, clumsy and unprofessional way, and ultimately that becomes favourable for the defendant? Or, maybe the jurors were biased or stupid? Or, maybe the jurors were both – I mean, both biased and stupid at the same time! And, the same can be said about the judge; maybe the judge was biased or stupid in giving his verdict. Or both? So, you see it isn't as simple as you think! Blame can be divided to everyone – myself, the prosecutor, lack of evidence, those called upon to testify against the defendant, the jurors, the judge - and you ought to know that, when blame becomes divided, blame becomes diluted, and so, my share of the blame becomes inconsequential." They laugh out loudly. I’m not sure why they laughed? Nothing was funny – at least to me. But, I wasn’t part of the conversation, and what mattered were these two conversing gentlemen! I had a question the businessman didn't ask the lawyer: yes, blame can be divided, but the fact is, he was defending someone he knew for certain was a murderer, while the others ultimately were
mistaken in their assumptions; therefore, the blame on the lawyer is infinitely greater than on the others? Morality? Next, the businessman spoke: "You're right. For my customers, depending on their stupidity of course, I always try to convince my customers that what I'm selling them is superior to any other similar product and that and that it is a unique product, and that is why I am 'forced' to ask for such high prices. Of course, what I am selling them is nothing unusual; they can buy the same product at a much cheaper price." It was the turn of the businessman to smile with supreme confidence. To me, he was trying to show the lawyer how much brain cells were needed to cheat customers. "Yes, but that is the nature of business, isn't it? I mean you buy, let's say, a television for a price, and then in order to get a higher price, you must lie to customers in order to make them believe that your television is somehow 'superior'." The lawyer replied, trying to show the businessman that business hardly needed any brains. As I say, at this early stage, the alcohol hasn't gotten into the blood stream properly, and so, the conversation is a bit stiff and cold. They change subject. "I see, and whatâ€™s happening with the kids?" "They're a nuisance, as usual, but they're all right." "Same here. They keep on fighting and nagging us." "Yes, me too. My kids keep complaining and they're always wanting more and more." "Really?" "Yes, really." "I see." Now, comes a pause. Embarrassing silence. They nervously think of what to say next. After all, silence means being a failure as a conversationalist. "So, anything new with your work?" The businessman fidgeted as he asked that bland question.
"No, as I say, nothing's new at work." The lawyer replies, with a slight angry look in his face. After all, the businessman had already asked that question. And so, this dry, boring conversation goes on until, by 7.30 PM, the alcohol begins to take its first effect. "You know, I never understand why, countries rich with resources are still poor?" The lawyer opens a subject that is a serious subject that has nothing to do with their jobs. Being less inhibited â€“ thanks to the alcohol â€“ the conversationalists dare to discuss subjects such as these, where the extent of their knowledge and information is terribly limited. But remember, that alcohol, makes you take risks! "You know, I also don't understand it. I mean, if you take countries like Zimbabwe, or Nigeria, who have oil, diamonds, and lots of other minerals, so why are they so poor?" "And, does it make sense for other rich countries to give countries like these more money?" "I think it must be a wrong idea, because that will make the local people simply dependent on money handouts, rather than exploiting their own wealth." Silence. They had nothing more to say on the subject of why countries with lots of resources happened to be perpetually poor to the point of famine. Finally, the lawyer opens up another subject: "I say, did you hear about that politician who was Chairman of the Anti-Vice Department?" There's another sudden change of subject. "Sorry, but what does 'Anti-Vice' mean? Asks the businessman, embarrassed by his limited knowledge of the English language. "Well, it is a department within the Department of Justice, that works, you know, against prostitution and all businesses connected with these immoral places." "Oh yes. And what about that politician?" "Well, imagine this, you have this moron, who is the Chairman of the Anti-Vice Department, and guess what?" "What?"
"The police caught him – yes, you guessed it, with a prostitute!" The lawyer laughed at the hypocrisy of that politician, but the businessman didn’t quite find this story funny enough this time. "Typical!" "No, but it's not that typical,” replied the lawyer, getting excited, “you see, this man was in charge of the department for seven years, and he's been going to this brothel for six years! He was a regular customer of this brothel for six years, while, at the same time, every day you would see him on television, prosecuting owners of brothels and prosecuting pimps and such like people! And, then you find out that he himself is a customer of a brothel, that he's supposed to prosecute and ultimately shut down!" “The hypocrisy makes me sick, and you always hear these stories over and again with our esteemed politicians.” The businessman was repeating himself. By this time, around 8.30 PM, the alcohol finally begins to make the two conversationalists drunk. And so, the alcoholic conversation begins in earnest. "You know what's the worse thing when you're with a woman?" "What?" It doesn’t make a difference who is saying what anymore. "Well, when she's talking about a really boring subject, and you're trying not to yawn, but the more you repress that yawn, the more your face contorts and twists, and so your face begins to look as if you’re suffering from some kind of torture, which inevitably prompts the poor lady, who’s getting a bit embarrassed and a bit worried from your abnormal looks, the question: 'what's the matter with your face?' Are you in some kind of pain?' And, of course, you can't tell her he truth!" The other man explodes in laughter that is out of all proportion to how 'funny' that last remark was. "You're right! My God, I've been in that situation before! But guess what's even funnier?" "What?" They're now completely at ease with themselves and with each other. And their conversation becomes even more loose. "One time I had a bad case of diarrhoea and so I had to go to the toilet like ten or twenty times, and this stupid woman keeps asking me, why do you keep going to the toilet!" "Didn't she guess, that moron?!"
Shrieks of laughter. The conversation is becoming more degrading by the minute. "I mean, what did you tell her every time you had to go back to the toilet? You’re a lawyer, I’m sure you could’ve come up with some brilliant explanation!” "Yes, I can come up with one brilliant explanation, or maybe two brilliant explanations, but, my God, how can I come up with over ‘ten brilliant explanations’ as to why I found it necessary to excuse myself to the toilet!” “Stupid woman! Didn’t she guess what you were going through?” “Poor woman, she talking endlessly, and she was so happy and excited to talk; I guess her hobby must have been talking and I obviously was no good for her since, every 15 minutes, I would excuse myself by saying, 'I'm sorry, miss, but you'll just have to wait for a minute'. And she was getting really frustrated, because I really could see how just much unlimited joy and pleasure it gave her to talk endlessly, and without any interruptions on my part, and so obviously I was getting more embarrassed, by having to force her to cease what she so loved to do, which was endless talking!" "So why didn't you tell her the truth then?" "'Tell her the truth'?! Have you gone mad? How can I tell a woman I hardly know that I've got diarrhoea?!" “And you know what I just thought about?” “What?” “I guess you could have told the woman that, while you had diarrhoea, she had an awful case of verbal diarrhoea!” Again, shrieks of convulsive laughter, that was out of all proportion to how ‘funny’ their words were. And then, they relaxed. Silence. "You know what?" Asked the businessman. "What?" "I was just thinking Zimbabwe." We're back to Zimbabwe! Typical drunks; notice how the subject matter keeps changes in a second. "Yes, and what about it?" "Well, remember that question you asked?" Asked the businessman. "About who?"
"No, no, not about 'who'. It's a question of about 'what'." "What?!" The lawyer was totally confused - not that he was aware of himself being confused. "What's the matter with you? I'm asking you about the question you were asking me about why rich countries with no resources are so rich? Remember?" The businessman to mangle the question. But, never mind! "What question?" The lawyer was confused. "Zimbabwe, man, Zimbabwe! Are you getting deaf?!" Perhaps, the lawyer no longer recognized the name of Zimbabwe. "Who's that?" Asked the lawyer, beginning to get embarrassed for his inability to answer the businessman’s query. "It's not 'who's that', it's 'what's that'?" Explained the businessman. The smiles began to recede, as both were getting frustrated with their inability to get out of this mess. "You forgot? It was your damn question!" Roared the businessman! "Why do you keep talking about this 'Zimbabwe'; is this a type of dance or what?" Asked the equally angry lawyer. "No, it's a country. Zimbabwe is a country and," "Oh, I get it," suddenly the lawyer remembered his question, "yes, that's right; I was asking, why a country that is so rich in resources can be so poor?" "No, you said, why is Zimbabwe and Nigeria who have no resources and are so damn rich." The businessman proudly ‘corrects’ the lawyer. "No, you're getting it wrong. I said, Zimbabwe has resources but is poor. And remember that it is my question, so I can do whatever I like with it!” Answered back the indignant lawyer. 'So, if it has resources, how can it be rich?" Obviously the businessman didn't hear a word the lawyer had just said. "Isn't that where all the brothels are?" Asked the lawyer, creating anew concept to the conversation.
The conversation - if you can imagine the conversation being an airplane - was now beginning to go downwards at a rapid rate. "What brothels are you talking about? I thought we were talking about Limbabwe and why everyone's so rich there?" The businessman answered. Names are a normal casualty of alcohol, not just thought processes. "That's exactly what I am talking about! You're not listening! Limbabwe has got all these brothels that politicians go to." The lawyer was, once again, indignant. He was tying one part of a subject with another completely unrelated and unconnected subject. "Really? Is that where this politician of the Vice Anti-Department Chairman of the Department of Limbabwe went to the brothel where prostitutes in this country, whose name now escapes me, live in? Isn't that terrible?!" The businessman suddenly completely understands the lawyers’ meaning, even though to me, there is no meaning. "Why do you talk about ‘prostitutes’? What do prostitutes have to do with what we are talking about?" The lawyer doesn’t understand the connection between ‘brothels’ and prostitutes. "You just said that all the politicians in Limbabwe go to brothels. You remember?” The businessman struggles to help the lawyer. "Brothels live in prostitutes! That's the connection! Now, you understand?" Asked the businessman. "And what has 'the brothel that lives in the prostitute' has to do with Limbabwe and the politician who lives with lots of resources and is rich?" The lawyer was talking Drunk Language that was way beyond the comprehension of he poor businessman. Suddenly, they both stop. They take a breath. Words and their meanings were no longer properly connecting. Memory was suffering badly. Ideas were half evaporating, so you had a mixture of half ideas floating in their brains in a haphazard way.
The alcohol is making it too difficult to connect one sentence to the other. "Do you work?" Asks the businessman. "Yes." "Really?" "Yes, really." "That's really impressive." Says the businessman, looking impressed with the lawyer. "What's so impressive about that?" Asks the lawyer who is completely unimpressed as to why the businessman would be impressed in the fist place. "I don't know." Replies the businessman. "So why did you say its impressive then?" The lawyer jumps back at the businessman. "I think it is impressive, when you go to work, and you find out that you have work, which is in itself, impressive.” Finally, the businessman finds a ‘reason’ as to why he was ‘impressed’ with the lawyer. I think, that by now, the businessman has forgotten his original question – which was ‘what’s so impressive about working’ - and he's already forgotten what the word 'impressive' means. “I’m sorry, but I don’t understand a single word you just said.” Replies the lawyer. "What I am saying, is that you’re impressive when you’re talking to me, or maybe when you’re asking me questions.” Replies the businessman. "Amazing! I think I'm brilliant; you know why? Because I say things and then people don't know what I said, and then, they tell me that they are impressed with what I said!" Suddenly, and finally, the lawyer has connected with what the poor businessman has been trying to convey! This is where I find it to so incomprehensible t me: how did the lawyer somehow ‘understand’ the completely meaningless gibberish of the businessman? "Yes, you're so truly impressive when you go working." Replied the joyous businessman. "No, no, no! You keep getting it wrong! I’m saying to you, that I am impressive to you, when I talk, to you." The lawyer was trying to correct him. But, he was himself struggling with meanings and purpose in the fragile ‘conversation’ – if we can call that a ‘conversation’!
"Yes, impressive, isn't it?" Replied the businessman. Words have by now absolutely no meaning and context. "Do you work in brothels?" Of course, he no longer remembers what that word – brothels -means. "What? Me? I can't remember. Honestly, maybe I did. Have you?" "Yes, in Limbabwe. You cannot believe the money." "What do you mean 'I don't believe money is important', of course I believe in money." Asked the businessman. "I never said 'I don't believe money is important'," replied the lawyer. "Yes, you did. You were talking about Limbabwe. You see, I remember!" "Yes, I said, I was with Limbabwe making money and you should have seen us do money!" Replied the lawyer. Zimbabwe, which was deformed into 'Limbabwe', and has by now become a 'person'. "Really? You knew Mr. Limbabwe?" "Everyone knew that great man. A man of statue like genius." Replied the lawyer really proudly. 'Statue like genius'? What did that mean? Nothing, of course. "Yes, of course, me too, I knew her. I made brothels with her. I mean, we manufactured them in a plant, not far from this bar, you know," replied the businessman – he couldn’t allow the lawyer to be the only one who had the ‘honour’ of knowing Limbabwe. Limbabwe has now suddenly become a woman. "Really, I never knew he worked in manufacturing prostitutes?" Limbabwe was now a man; and a woman, while at the same, he and she, also ‘manufactured’ prostitutes! How it comes to be, that a man, or woman, can ‘manufacture’ prostitutes is, of course, another fascinating question – but, I’m afraid, you’re not likely to get near to any sensible answers for that question!
"Yes, and she loved men. I know that from experience. I know you are not going to believe me, but I experienced that case," continued the lawyer, as he sipped more from his cup of wine. "The 'case' of who, or what?" Asked the bewildered businessman. "The ‘case’ I was in, when I was in the Bank of Brothel, and Ms. Limbabwe was really impressed with me," continued the lawyer. "And why was Ms. Limbabwe so impressed with you, when you did nothing that was impressive, except for the fact that you were inside the Bank of Brothel?" The businessman couldn’t allow the lawyer to get ‘more honour’ than himself. "Because I happen to impress people, without needing to actually do any impressing at all. Did you already forget that?" Responded the lawyer indignantly. "I see," replied the businessman. "We do that, you see." "Who's 'all of us'? I thought you were alone with Limbabwe?" The businessman smiled, feeling he caught the lawyer in contradicting himself. "No, we were the people from the delegation of the Chairman of the Vice Department in the Bank of Brothel. What's wrong with you?" “But you told me that you were alone with Limbabwe! But now, you’re saying ‘we were the so called people with Limbabwe’. What’s wrong with you?” The lawyer was trapped. But, in Drunk Language, that hardly mattered! "Yes, and so what? All of you had diarrhoea?" Replied the lawyer. To me, the conversation was completely incomprehensible. But to our two drunk conversationalists they were communicating just fine. "No, no, no! That's how we made money! Don’t you understand anything?!" It was mildly amusing for me, to see a drunk, get righteously angry with another drunk, for not understanding what he had to say, even though what he ‘had to say’ made no absolutely sense in the first place! "I thought you manufactured work?" "No, I told you my work is impressive when I see it."
And so it went on, until both drunk men were no longer able to talk. This is the final phase. They’re just 'look' at anything. But they're not focusing on anything, because the alcohol doesn't allow their brains to focus on anything. Next, they finally stagger home. Next evening, by 7.00 PM, we begin all over again. What pointless lives these idiots were living! In the day, they were, on the face of it, respectable members of society, and then by evening, they become incoherent morons! And, note, I do say, ‘on the face of it’, they were respectable people, during their working hours, because, in reality, they were in fact, unscrupulous, indecent people, who cared nothing more than making money. And yet, I return, to the fact, that they were living, what seemed to me, empty lives. Making money by any means during the day time, and then getting their brains destroyed in the evenings; is that what life is all about? Could these people actually be happy? Can anyone living this lifestyle be contented? No way, because they didn’t seem to be happy to me. And you see all the other people; they do the same thing. Everyone comes right after work, and proceeds to get drunk. Is this what ‘happiness’ was all about? And so I stayed on as a barmaid for several years. I never got to see Noor; I expected nothing else. I heard that he was in prison, but I was never sure. I wasn't, of course, happy at being a barmaid when I was a psychiatrist, but what could I do about that? Nothing. Was I happy? No, I wasn't. And how could I be when I was once the Head of the Psychiatry Department? How would you feel in my place? I mean, I had a spacious, beautiful villa; I earned an excellent salary; I had all the luxuries I wanted and I was a doctor – do you
know what prestige that means? Everyone respected me and now, what was I? Who am I now? I am nothing but a barmaid and the social value of a barmaid is zero. Therefore, people look at me as nothing; I am nothing. Doesn't zero equal nothing?! So, you, my reader, I ended exactly as I started when I first began my story. Do you remember? Do you remember when I began my story by telling you that I was a 'nothing'? Well, reader, now you see how I really am a 'nothing' A 'human zero'!
Chapter 19: OLD AGE And so, now, as I talk to you, reader, it is my final years. Being old isn't easy in our society. Sorry, I should correct myself here. Being old and poor is a truly tortuous existence. I wouldn't even call it 'existence' It is 'surviving'. That's all we're doing. No one looks at you. In fact, everywhere I go, people look at me as if I have an infectious disease. In the bus, no one stands to let me sit in their place. And when I am seated, everyone tries to sit somewhere else but not next to me. If they do sit next to me, it is because there are no other seats. I, out of loneliness, I talk to someone next to me, they answer back with coldness and disgust. If I keep on trying to carry a conversation, they will either give you one word answers, or they will pretend that they did not hear you. Being old, is being an outcast. We are a category of the human race that ought to be separated from the rest of society. I really feel that the rest of society would love to see us old people being sent to old people's homes, so we can never be heard or seen.
No, I am not wrong in my feelings; I can feel the disdain and the disgust people have for us old people. I know they would love to segregate everyone of us. I say this, because every time I try to communicate with someone younger, they turn away. Even children are disgusted from us old people! I mean, we have so much wisdom why doesn't anyone want to listen to us? I say that we have 'wisdom' because we have accumulated so much experiences over the years, and those experiences we care share with you out there but no one wants to be even 'close' to us! Actually, maybe it is a good idea to go an old people's home. At least, there I would be able to socialise with people. The reality for me now, is that I live all by myself. And loneliness really hurts hard on me. So, why don't I go to an old people's home? Because I hear so many cases of neglect and abuse, that it scares me away. I myself have heard, over the years, so many cases of the tyranny over the elderly in those homes, that I was put off the idea even when I was younger. And how do you explain that I myself never heard of an old person being satisfied by being in these homes? Mind you, may old people have told me, that yes there is an awful lot of neglect, shoddy service, awful food and extreme disrespect by the staff over the patients, but it is a million times preferable to being alone in your home. And what a strong argument that is! I myself just did not have the will power to go to these homes. I'm being honest to you. Fear of these homes was too great in my heart. Whereâ€™s Humanity, I ask you all? It was a struggle to put my clothes on; and, so, unlike before, I would put on anything I would see in front of me. Now, you know why the old who are poor dress so shabbily! It was getting difficult to keep the tiny apartment clean. And so, the apartment was getting dirtier over the years. It was a struggle keeping myself clean â€“ like taking a shower was for me a physical ordeal. So, inevitably, I would find myself dirty here and there.
Going shopping was a struggle for me. So, when I did have to out to shop, I would buy the bare necessities, as it was too painful for me to walk all over the supermarket to get every item I wanted. Feeding myself was a struggle â€“ for cooking was no longer easy for me. Gradually, I began to buy ready made food. Just put it in the microwave and it gets ready in a minute. Of course, the nutritional value of these ready meals is lower than fresh food. And, in turn, this obviously affected my already weakening health. Paying bills and other documents had become really difficult for me. So, many times, the telephone or water or gas companies would call me and tell me that I haven't paid my bills. And I would hen have to look around for my last bill, and remember that my eyesight wasn't all that good in the first place! Just think of this simple fact: changing bulbs. This act was becoming difficult for me, and so my apartment was usually dimly lit, which, of course, added, to my misery. My eyesight and hearing were getting worse. I couldn't write anymore. Basically, I was becoming more and more obsolete. What use was I to society any more? I was just a living and breathing and eating animal. As my body slowly began to fail me, I felt that I was dying. I was 'dying' because day by day, I was getting weaker and weaker. So, I was just 'waiting' to die. That was now the essence of my existence. Now, you may say to me, that this is also the case with everyone else. After all, everyone is getting older day by day, and so we are all dying. But that is not correct. You see, when a human is active, and has things to do, and has things to think about, they remain 'alive'. But, as long as a human has no mental or physical activity, he becomes a human just waiting to die. And it is precisely this 'waiting to die' that so awfully hurts the heart and mind. I cannot humans were created for the purpose of doing nothing.
No, that is what, I believe, separates us from animals. A human who has nothing to think about and who has nothing physically to do, is a dying human. And, no one can understand the emotional torture you go through, when, you are living, just waiting to expire. That's why I tried to distract my self by reaching out to people â€“ young and old. I desperately tried to escape this abysmal horror of waiting to die by trying to distract myself. I called so many schools, to see if they would like me to talk to young students and talk to them about life. No school was interested. I tried to get an ultra-menial job where I, as an old person, could. But no one was interested. I tried and tried, but no one was interested. I was seemingly stuck in my tiny, ugly, shabby flat. Why does society treat us like that? What crime did we, the elderly poor, do to deserve this fate? Surely, as we old people enter our final years, shouldn't we be rewarded by society by at least having a comfortable life? Why does society, in our final hours of life, give us two choices: either we allow ourselves to be under the 'tender' mercies of living in abusive homes, or living all alone? I mean, don't you think it is paradoxical that in our final years, which means when we are in our physically and mentally weakest stages in our lives, society completely abandons us to defend for ourselves? It does not make sense, but, then, that's the way our society and our culture and our traditions and our civilisation is. Take it, or leave it.
Chapter 20 SEEING NOOR I was pleasantly surprised to see Noor visiting me one day. I hadn’t seen him in years – I can’t remember when I last saw him. It was an awfully rainy day; dark clouds cast their depressing shade on our city. And the howling wind frightened me – I kept thinking how vulnerable I was. “Nice to see, son,” I said. “Yes, me too.” I prepared tea. We sat down and I felt a bit of tension in the air. “So, what brings you hear, son? I asked. “I believe the last word in your question gives you the answer,” replied Noor. What?! “Sorry, I don’t understand you Noor,” I responded. “I’m your son, remember? I’m supposed to see you!” “Oh I see! That’s right, you are my ‘son’, but you haven’t visited me in so many years and I think that my question is still unanswered,” I answered firmly.
“That’s right, I’ve been busy,” replied Noor with a flat, unemotional tone. “Busy for ten years or more to visit your mother, my dear?” I asked sarcastically. ‘Yes, that’s right!” answered a confident Noor. He was being confrontational. “I see, so what is the point of your visit?” I asked coldly. “Well, being an old lady, I thought it decent of me to see how you were getting on. Because, you know how the single, old people live in our country – all alone and being vulnerable.” “Oh how kind of you to ‘care’,” I replied with ever more sarcasm in my voice. “So what is it really like being old, alone, poor and with no friends and family, Mom?” Noor emphasised the word ‘Mom’ in a sarcastic way, obviously suggesting to me that I am no ‘mother’. “I’m doing fine, my dear.” I replied curtly.
“Do you enjoy living like this?” “I’m not sure if I have any other choice, Son, so your question is a little bit ridiculous.” “Oh no, my dear lady! I do not think my question is ‘ridiculous at all! Because, you see you were living like a queen at one time, didn’t you?” I was getting bored with Noor. “You see, dear lady,” “Why do you call me ‘dear lady’”? I shouted at him. For some, reason, the fact that Noor was calling me ‘dear lady’ really got on my nerves. Noor was completely relaxed, unaffected by my anger. “I see, that your temper certainly hasn’t eased with age! Anyway, to answer your question: it is because I’m being polite; that is why I’m calling you ‘dear lady’.” I was getting furious with this man. “Look, I think you should go now. I’m not sure if we have anything useful to talk about.” “My God – your temper has actually gotten worse with age! I never thought that was possible, given your towering rages!” He laughed out loudly. I really wanted to throw him outside, but, how could I?
“Look, I call you ‘dear lady’ because I cannot in my heart of hearts call you ‘Mother’ because you were never a ‘Mother.” He finished his sentenced and paused to see my reaction. I remained silent; to be honest, I felt like throwing my empty cup of tea right on his face. “So, to be polite, I call you ‘dear lady’. If you want, I can call you Sara.” “Get out!” I growled. He just laughed. He knew perfectly well I could hardly kick him out physically. “You see you’re living in this miserable, pathetic situation and it is all thanks to one person’s work: and that’s you!” I just sat there. “Oh come now, Sara, don’t be angry with me! I’m just here telling you the truth. And I’m not stupid to know that, my God, you’ve always hated ‘truth’, haven’t you? So, I know that you aren’t comfortable with my words; you and the ‘truth’ have been enemies ever since I can remember you.” “How long do I have to sit and listen to you? I can call the police you know?” “Go ahead, call the police; you know me, dear ‘Mom’, being a crook I know when to get out of a house when I sense danger!” When he said the word ‘Mom’, there was nothing but dripping hate in his eyes. “You destroyed your own success. You committed criminal acts and you were thrown out of the hospital. You have never been able to listen to anyone without being impulsive, irrational and biased. Add, of course, add your maniacal temper, and you have a lethal personality! You never were able to rationally, calmly and fairly judge people or situations. You always went with your impulses and your instincts. And, sorry to say, your instincts have always been on the dark side.” “Really?” I asked without a hint of interest. If he was going to be confrontational, so was I. “And you’ve never changed, dear Sara – that has been another formidable attribute that you had. Actually, it is more correct to say that that attribute possessed you. You never could change your ideas, your opinions or anything else about yourself. Your brain is made of steel, and,” “How long are you going to talk?” I interrupted Noor.
“Oh, I know, you’re bored aren’t you? Do you have any regrets and remorse for all that you have inflicted upon people?” Silence. Remorse? For what? I had nothing to say to his meaningless question. Silence. “You’ve really got nothing to say for yourself, do you?” Again, I had nothing to say. And so, I remained silent. “Do you think that giving love, attention and showing interest in your children is important to being a parent?” Where did that question come from?! “You look surprised,” inquired Noor. “What do you mean?” I asked back. “Well, I think the question is quite clear! Do you believe giving love is an important part of being a parent?” “Yes,” I replied dismissively. “Do you think you showed love to your children?” “You’re assuming that I thought of myself as a ‘good’ mother, my dear Noor. That is where you are wrong. I never said I was a ‘good’ mother and therefore, to answer your dull question, no I never did show my love to my children.” I felt really satisfied with my answer. I smiled. Noor looked at me with anger and disgust. Poor insecure man. I’m sure he had no idea what he wanted to do with his empty life. “What effect do you think you had on your children?” Another boring question. “What effect did I have on my children since I didn’t give them love – is that your question?” I asked. Noor nodded. “Well, I supposed that they had no love as they grew up.” Noor looked shocked. “Are you being serious?” “Has it ever occurred to you, Noor, that you are an awful interviewer? Is that what you’re trying to be? A television interviewer, so you’re practicing on me? Well, I can honestly tell you, you are absolutely boring, stupid and dull.”
“Yes, my dear, I may be ‘boring, stupid and dull’, but it is you who part fascinates me, and part makes my flesh tingle with fear and disgust. What kind of so called ‘human being’ would admit that she never gave love to her children, and would then go on to say that by not giving love to her children, her children therefore ‘had no love as they grew up’. You know, I’m not sure if you’re a psychopath or just a cold blooded murderer?” I laughed as Noor was talking. “You damn well destroyed the essence and the soul of your children’s lives, dear Sara, didn’t you know that?” Before I could get in a word for a reply, Noor continued in his angry tone: “Oh, I forgot! Do excuse me please; for when did you ever care if you destroyed the lives of your children? What an idiotic assumption of me! You’re absolutely correct, Sara dear, I am so dreadfully stupid!” “Well, at least you finally manage to understand my point of view,” I replied with disgust. “You do not care whose lives you damaged. Yu do not care whose lives you killed. You are Sara who is only concerned with Sara. Never mind Dr. Tajim. Never mind Lara.” I was bored, and I made sure Noor sensed it. “But, I guess how can I condemn you for lacking the most normal attributes - like love, decency, morality - that makes a human a human, when your brain simply does not have these attributes in the first place?” “Oh what a bland, two faced idiot you are!” I erupted. “And what right do you have to call me evil, when you yourself were never more than a crook and a fraudster?” “Bravo Sara! Bravo! You are partially right!” Noor’s eyes glowed with joy. “Yes, I was a dirty, filthy thief – that part is correct. But if you ever bothered to check on the life of your only son, why you would have long ago discovered that I gave up that life a long time ago. And I have long since repented and I’ve been working for charities that help young criminals to give up their lives of thievery.” “That’s very good,” I replied in a supremely dull voice. Silence.
“Would you like some more tea, or are you finished with your talking?” Noor smiled. “I would like to remind you that I was a thief – that’s true – but I was never a murderer like you.” “Oh please! I am not a murderer you silly fool! If idiots chose to kill themselves, like your sister, then that is no fault of mine. And, since you seem to know about that other idiot, Dr. Tajim, the fact that he died of stress or emotional exhaustion, is not my fault. No one told him to be the Head of the Psychiatry Department. It is a stressful job and if you don’t have the nerves for it, then you shouldn’t be in that job.” “What preposterous rubbish! You were directly responsible for Lara’s suicide! How can you believe what you are saying? Are you so idiotic or are you acting? And, if you’re acting, once again, I ask doesn’t it hurt you knowing what an important part you played in your daughter’s suicide?” “You stupid soul,” I said casually. “All our childhood you abused us verbally and physically. Especially Lara. You never once hugged us, or played with us, or even showed your smile!” Noor began to get emotional and agitated. “You would look at us with hate. You would look at us with contempt. And that is when you did look at us, because most of the time, you never did look at us. You treated us like we were the most loathsome insects conceivable! When you weren’t ice cold, you were screaming at us. And how I used to fear - really fear that screaming, screeching, bestial voice of yours! I could feel it physically hitting my ears! And how many times did you throw whatever was in front of you at us, and at Dad? And how many times did you slap us? And punch us? And use your filthy shoes to beat us with?” Noor paused to take a breath, while his eyes didn’t move away from mine. “But you know what really hurt the most?” I had no words. “You know what hurt the most? It wasn’t your incessant beatings and your daily shrieks at us. It wasn’t all that. No, it really damn well tore my heart to shreds when you were at your most typical. It was when you were cold as ice. We would be in the same room with you - and you were sitting there ignoring us. That
mixture of ignoring us and having not one shred of loving human emotion made you a really lethal creature. The unbearable tension was there everyday of our sick, cancerous lives. We were tense because of your coldness. The oxygen seemed like molten lead – that’s how hard, it felt, to breathe when you were in the same room with us. We were not just scared of you; we were petrified because of your ignoring us. We were hurt because of your hate-filled eyes. That was the sad, fear-filled life you created for your own children.” “I did the best that I can, given my own difficult circumstances,” I replied. “So many times Lara and I tried to talk to you. Nothing interested you. Not one subject interested you. We bored you. And, when, somehow, you would respond to what we were talking about – you would within a few minutes explode in a frenzied rage and scream hideous insults at us! Is that what you define as ‘life’ for any human being to go through? No, woman, that is not ‘life’ as defined by any normal human being. That was pure, unrestrained torture for us. You were a truly skilled, brilliant and professional in giving us every single day, and every single night, buckets-full of the filthiest filth any sick human can imagine.” “If I screamed, it was because you were annoying idiots,” I replied dismissively. Silence. “Do you consider yourself to be a ‘human’ in any way? I mean before you go on to ask me ‘what do I mean by that question’ - I mean, how do you characterise what it is to be a ‘human being’?” “A human being is one who follows the Rules of Life and tries to succeed. Anyone who doesn’t at least try to succeed is a nobody to me. He’s not a proper human.” “I see,” said Noor, sounding slightly sarcastic, “and what exactly are those ‘Rules of Life’?” “These rules simply tell every individual that he or she must succeed in life. They must rise above the rest. It is as simple as that.” “I see, so you consider a person with a modest income and who is also a loving, compassionate and thoroughly decent person not to be a ‘proper’ person?” “Exactly. He’s an idiot who doesn’t realize that he’s an idiot.” “I see. How fascinating,” said Noor, his sarcasm increasing.
“But this ‘idiot who doesn’t realize he is an idiot’ is a decent, moral, loving, caring person who is also loved and liked and respected by those around him. Does that still make him not a ‘proper’ person to you?” “Exactly!” I responded, getting slightly interested in the conversation for the first time. “You see this sad idiot ought to realize that Man, in order to be a Man, must rise above his pointless, miserable, boring existence. He must rise above and beyond his ignorance and his stupidity. He must tear down the blandness if his life! He must aspire to greater heights, if he is to be classified as a true ‘Human’ in the proper sense. Otherwise, he remains living like an animal. He just lives to eat, drink, reproduce and die.” “So, a person with all the decent attributes cannot be classified as a proper ‘human’ precisely because he does not try to be richer?” “No, no, no,” I said frustrated at the stupidity of Noor, “a person must not only strive to be rich in the material sense, but also in the spiritual sense. This person, in your own example, does nothing except working and living. He must study himself, his mind and his soul. He must find the depths of his soul and only then can he be truly happy. Otherwise, the ‘happiness’ that you talk about is nothing more than a machine, robotic-like ‘happiness’.” Silence. “By the way, you never asked me?” “Ask you about what?” I replied. Noor got ready to leave. “You never asked me, just what made me repent and leave that life of criminality and become a decent, caring human being?” “I’m not sure if I care, but if you insist, go on, do tell me.” Noor smiled. “You sad, sad woman. A woman who was never able to change one shred of her repulsive characteristics. The word ‘stubborn’ is far too mild to be a characterization of yourself.” “Are you just going to stand there and stare at me?” I asked angrily. “Oh yes,” continued Noor, “my question! Well the reason why I repented my dear old lady is when I heard the news of the suicide of Lara. That really blew my hearts to shreds. And you what? I was so surprised by my reaction because I never cared for Lara – never!” By now he was shouting with emotion.
“And once I heard the news, you what old woman? I felt like I wanted to blow my brains out! That’s right. Blow my brains and my entire existence from this sick earth of ours. And that’s when my Humanity just exploded out of my heart. A Humanity that had been buried within me. A Humanity that I never even knew that I had in me. A Humanity that I want to give to troubled people.” Noor had tears in his eyes. For whom were these tears, I thought?
THE UNEXPECTED VISITOR One day, there was a knock on my door. Feebly, and in pain I got up to answer. Who could it be? I mean I haven't had a visitor in years! I opened the door and there was a dignified old man standing there. "May I help you?" I asked. "Don't you remember me, old Sara?" the gentleman said. I felt that somehow I did 'know' him, but I just didn't have an answer.
"I kind of recognise you, Sir, but I can't remember exactly who you are," I replied. "Oh come on Sara! It's me, Sanji!" "Sanji?!" I exclaimed. It was him! Sanji! I had disconnected him all those years ago, and now, here he was standing in front of me! "Come inside, Sanji!" I was almost shouting. I felt such joy – I couldn't believe my luck! I mean, I thought that he was probably dead! Soon, I made tea for the both of us, and we settled down. He was obviously much older, but he had aged with absolute grace. He wasn't haggard or undignified looking – like so many old people. "Sara," Sanji said, how could you?" "How could I what?" I replied. "How could you cut me off, as if I was of no value to you? Do you remember all those years we were friends? And then you cut me off, when you joined those lunatic leftist movements? And then you came back to me, when you stayed in my house all those years? And, then, you decide to cut me off again when you became rich at the Psychiatry Department? Why, Sara?" "Well, I don't know Sanji, my dear, it's been over twenty years ago," I said, feeling his words to be really offensive. "Twenty seven years to be precise! Did I deserve that?" "No, of course not, Sanji, but you know, when you're married with children and you have a job, most people tend to separate," I said angrily, “and the, did you come here to interrogate me?” "No, of course not, dear Sara. Don’t get angry! My God, your temper hasn’t relaxed in all those decades!” “Thank you,” I said coldly, feeling I got back the respect I deserved. Silence. “I think some respect is called for,” I said coldly. “Yes, of course, I guess you're right,” continued Sanji, “friends to tend to die off, once you get married, have kids and get a job. You're right," the old gentleman said. He was humbled! Actually, he was right.
I did, after all, discarded him overnight. I never even thought about him. "So, how are you doing?" he asked. "It's difficult, you know what it's like for old person who is a woman and who is poor. It's a double burden on me. I've got no one." I replied. "Yes, I know. As you can see Sara, I'm not young myself! But, at least I'm not that poor. Though, mind you, I'm by no means rich either. I'm just surviving," Sanjay said in soft voice. "Yes," I replied, not knowing what else to say. There followed silence. Strange, because we were so close for so many years, and now, I really didn't know what to say my best friend. But I wasn't nervous during the silence, like I would be with so many other people. Actually, I remembered, Sanji was the only friend that I ever had in all my life. "Do you have a social worker who comes and helps you?" asked Sanji. "Yes, but he's awful," I replied, "I can't even bother to remember his name. He's not abusive or anything that bad. He's just careless and obviously bored with his job". "Most social workers are like that," replied Sanji, "you know, I've always wondered, why do staffs at old people's homes and social workers, who take care of the old who live in their homes, almost always tend to be bored, unheeding, and inattentive to their work? I mean, no one forced them to do that work?! It seems so strange, don't you think?" "I totally agree with you Sanji. I mean you don't see taxi drivers who mistreat the people they pick up? And you don't take see postal workers, or bankers abusing their customers? Maybe, a little bit stiff at times, but you are so right, because social workers, wether they work at old people's homes, or wether they physically go to old people in their homes, all tend to be neglecting the poor." I said. "Yes, they really hate their job, and in particular, they tend to hate the object of their job: which is us old people! Why do they hate us so? I myself visit many of my old friends, at these so-called 'care homes', and I've seen for myself, the total neglect the staff practice on a daily basis, leaving the poor patient in their filth for days on end, until their skin gets covered with inflammation; and who can
you complain to? The bosses? Well, the bosses are themselves just as spiteful and uncaring as their staff are!" "It means we old people are already trapped in Hell, Sanji, before we have even died! Isn't that sad!" "Surely, society can wait for us to die with dignity, and then, the Lord can decide, wether to send us to Heaven or Hell," said Sanji laughing. I laughed too. I realized that I hadn't laughed for a long, long time.
"But no," I said, "no, our civilized civilization, in all of its endless and immeasurable humanity, has decided that the elderly poor, must spend their last years on earth, in Hell!" Silence. "But, why is that Sanji? Why are elderly poor people discarded like rubbish?" I asked Sanji. "Well, because we have no voices to back us up," said the ever so gentle, decent man, "So, part of the answer is political. I mean every group of people in our society has its advocates, or a 'lobby'. The homosexuals have a huge and powerful lobby, that supports and protects every homosexual person, with respect to any problem they may face in their lives. Even pets have societies and lobbies that protect them!" "It's crazy, isn't it?" I asked. "Well, there's no sense of moral proportionality in our society. You have societies that put stray dogs and unwanted dogs in 'homes'. You have societies that protect pet mice, rabbits and God knows what other pet. And yet, we the elderly humans, who happen to be poor, have no voice behind us; and, nor do we have a lobby that supports us and takes care of our problems. Our society has no proper sense of what 'morality' is all about. In my opinion, Sara, our culture, has a very distorted vision of what morality, ethics and humanity are all about." I felt sad and isolated. "You're right, Sanji. How odd; at the end of our decades long journey of life, and we find ourselves completely alone, with no one to help us, or to take care of our feeble selves."
Chapter 22: A CONVERSATION WITH MY SOCIAL WORKER
As usual, my social worker came, at 9.00 AM. He was a young man, maybe in his thirties. He looked completely average. Very boring looks and boring clothes. He was just another human being in my life. He was always in a rush. You could hardly speak with him; or have a conversation with him.
On that day, I really needed to have a chat with someone, just anyone. My God, if the walls could talk. Or at least listen, I swear I would have talked to them! I was just so desperately lonely. "Hello!" I said to the social worker. "Hi," he said quickly. He came inside, and looked around for ay major faults. "Electricity is fine; water is functioning;" he said, murmuring to himself. He went on, looking to see for any faults. Within a few minutes, he was done. "Would you like some tea?" I asked. "Tea?” He seemed shocked. “Did I say something wrong?” I asked. The care worker quickly shook his head. “Well I’d really love to, but I've got many more customers to look after," replied the social worker. "You call us 'customers'? I thought you social workers were supposed to actually spend some time wit us old people, and not just inspect our homes. I mean that's a job for the plumber, electrician and such like people. Am I right, Sir?" I asked. The man was surprised by my question; I guess he wasn't used to an old person talking like that. "Yes, well," he said, "we've all got opinions." "What's you name, Sir?" "Who, me?" he asked. "No, the Prime Minister's name," I replied. I'm not saying he was dumb, but he ought to have known I was asking for his name. As I say, he was always in a rush. He tried to 'laugh'. "My name is Afim," he said. For some reason, the name rang a bell. "Afim?" I asked. Thinking, I was a bit deaf, he replied almost shouting: "AFIM, that's right!" Wasn't that Dr. Tajim's patient? "Mr. Afim, have you heard of a well respected psychologist, called Dr. Tajim?" "Yes, of course, I do.” Afim suddenly looked really pensive.
Finally, collecting his thoughts, he replied slowly: “Yes, he was my Father, God bless his beautiful soul.” I felt shivers in my spine. There was the same Afim, who was the son of the late Dr. Tajim – and, all those year, I never realized that my uncaring social worker was Afim himself! Obviously Afim had no idea who I was! I was petrified to think that Afim may realize that I am the same doctor who got his father in trouble! “I’m sorry to hear that about your Father. He was such a decent man,” I said, nervously. “My Father was killed by some psychiatrist that wanted to get his job. How come you mention my mention my Father? Afim asked. I was feeling really insecure. Not only did I get Dr. Tajim into trouble, but I myself nearly had my own patient Afim killed! The fact that he was now standing next to me and talking to me really scared me. This was the same man that I nearly killed. After all, if, I didn't alert the staff that Afim’s mental condition was in a very grave condition, he could well have killed himself, or God knows, he could have killed another patient. But, I did alert staff just in time. Of course, I was lucky because I had no idea when to alert staff. When he was in his psychotic stage, and he remained in that situation for a week or so, he could well have harmed himself and others. But, as for my own self interest, I needed Afim to be psychotic for a 'reasonable' amount of time for Dr. Tajim to be properly indicted. It was during that period of time, when Afim was in a psychotic state, that I risked the fact that he may harm himself. And, I did not know what constituted a 'proper amount of time' for Afim to remain psychotic before alerting Mr. Dani. At the time, I judged it to be a risk, that was necessary in order to get myself promoted. "Are you alright?" asked Afim. "Oh yes, I'm sorry, I was just lost in thought," I said, snapping out of my memories.
"Is something wrong?" Afim was looking at me as if I were a senile person. "Well, yes," I said, "I mean, no, nothing's wrong. It's just that I knew Dr. Tajim very well." "In what capacity did you know him Miss Sara?" "He was one of my best friends, Mr. Afim," I said, "but, if I may, can I ask you a question?" "Yes, of course," answered Afim. Suddenly, the social worker, whom I only knew as 'a man in a rush', seemed 'human' to me. I say 'human', because I suddenly felt what pain he must have gone through when his medication was reduced. In front of me, was a man with feelings, emotions, hurt and pride. He wasn't the shadowy, cold worker. Suddenly, I heard a voice. "Ms. Sara? Are you all right? Asked Afim. How embarrassing; I kept drowning in memories. "Were you close to your Father?" I asked. "Well, it’s been a long time now, since he died. But, I’ve got to tell you, Ms. Sara, that yes I was very close to my Dad, because we had so much in common. But more importantly, he was so unusual, so different from most other people I knew," Afim said. “What do you mean when you see Dr. Tajim was so ‘unusual’?” I asked. “Well, he was a real human,” Afim began talking with passion and conviction, “he was considerate, loving, caring, unselfish – tell me, Ms. Sara, how many people do you know who have these beautiful attributes?” “You’re right, Mr. Afim. You don’t get to see people like that any more,” I replied. I noticed that Afim seemed to always, or nearly always, begin his sentences with the word 'well'! "And, who was that psychiatrist who tried to kill him? You know, Mr. Afim, I heard about that vicious woman too. But, was it a fact or just rumours?" I asked. To be honest, I was more honest in what he knew about 'that psychiatrist who wanted Dr. Tajim's job' than in knowing anything about his own suffering. "Well, no, Ms. Sara, it was true. This psychiatrist re-wrote my father’s recommendation for some patients' medical dosage," Afim replied.
I wondered, did Afim lie, pretending he wasn't that patient himself, or did he genuinely not know? "Well, she reduced this patients' medication to the extent that he nearly died. And then, the hospital sacked my innocent father, since they believed my Dad was guilty. Well, next the old man, who was a really sensitive person, had to go through the humiliation of being called a 'murderer' in courts. I don’t like to remember all the details, because I myself was so upset at the time, but all I know is that my Father had to go through a lot of hurt. And, then all the television people came all the mass media; and that only added to his humiliation," and then, Afim began to speak so softly, I could hardly hear him. He was once again lost in his thoughts and memories. Suddenly, I realized that I myself felt absolutely no remorse for what I had personally done in the past. After all, here was the man I nearly killed, and now, I had to admit, my only fear was if Afim remembered who I was. I simply did not feel any sense of ‘guilt’. Why, I wondered? The only reason I could think of, was that these were the Laws of Life. In order to succeed you have to be ruthless and all I know is that I did not create the Laws of Life. So, how can I be blamed? "But, why was Dr. Tajim so humiliated?" I asked Afim, deliberately pretending to be dumb, so he would talk more. "Well, Ms. Sara, can you imagine all the newspapers and the news on television calling you a 'murderer'? I mean, it was really humiliating to all of us, but, obviously, he took it the hardest. I remember, that he once told me that everyone around him must have second thoughts him. “ "What do you mean by 'having second thoughts'?" "Well, I'm sure his friends, and relatives, must have thought, maybe, just maybe, that my Dad did it; you understand?" "Did what?" I continued playing dumb. "Well, did the crime, of course! I mean people must have had doubts." "And then what happened?" I asked "Well, he was actually acquitted by the courts, but that long ordeal took years and by then, his heart just gave up. Poor man." Afim spoke with a mournful voice.
People say that Dr. Tajim had ‘rights’ and that I abused ‘his rights’. But what does ‘rights’ mean? What does it mean, when someone says to me, that this man has innate human rights that no one else is allowed to trample on? Do ‘rights’ they exist? If ‘rights’ exist, then where do they exist? What folly! How can I believe in such abstract concepts such as ‘rights’? And, if ‘rights’ don’t exist, then what crime did I do against Dr. Tajim and Afim? Nothing. In the absence of the existence of abstract concepts, such as ‘rights’, then they cannot exist. And if ‘rights’ do not exist, then what am I guilty of? Nothing. Therefore, I am in truth, totally innocent. "And what happened to that psychiatrist woman? Was she caught?" I asked innocently as I could be. "Oh yes, she was caught in the end. Evil bitch! She got him in the mess in the first place; and why? Just to get his job. You see what money, prestige and greed do to you, Ms. Sara?" asked Afim innocently. For some reason, I was surprised that he knew the words like 'prestige'. "How did they find out about that psychiatrist?" I continued. "I'm not sure. But I think it was the police who got enough reports and witnesses and evidence that this woman was actually responsible for the whole thing. I'm not sure if she got jail, or what." I found it amusing to see how patchy Afim’s knowledge was! I felt an evil urge to tell him who I really was and that I knew who he really was! No, such feelings are wrong. Completely wrong. Why did I feel them? But are they really 'wrong' feelings? Who knows? Actually I didn't care!
"And now you work, caring for the old?" I asked. "Well, yes. It pays the bills. But it's a nasty life out there. I'm not sure you know that, Ms. Sara." "What do you mean?" I asked, playing dumb again. "Well, Ms. Sara, it's a dog eat dog world. The big fish eat the little fish. It's a jungle out there. The survival of the fittest. I mean, well, probably, back then in your days, people were really nice to each other. That's what I'm always hearing from old people. Society used to be so much kinder and more human back then. But, now, Ms. Sara, you just don't know what it is like! I mean, because you don't really go out anymore, and you don't see what people are like! Well, consider your self lucky! You are so damn lucky to have lived in such a nice world, back when you were young. But now, Ms. Sara, people are wicked, Ms. Sara; I mean, you got to be totally selfish and completely ruthless if you want to survive in this city, you know what I mean?" he asked. Well, for a man who was always in such a hurry, he was now talking almost at a frantic pace! "There's no more friends anymore. Everyone is out for themselves. Husbands hating their wives, and wives hating their husbands. Parents abusing their children. Verbal abuse; physical abusive and sexual abuse. I don't know anyone who's married and happy. Everyone is committing adultery. It's the normal thing now. I mean, friends will steal from friends. Brothers will talk the worst words against brothers. Sisters will stab in the back their own sisters! There's just no more decency; no more morality. God knows, I wish, I really wish, I could live like in your days. Just like the old movies! You know what I mean? The old movies, why they're the best! No cursing, no violence; no disgusting scenes. Today, it's all about drugs, drunkenness; promiscuity, random violence, hooligans, gangs with knives and guns; no one bothers to go to school; is this the way, you think, God wants us to live? Of course not! We're just animals, all of us. We think we're 'humans', but we're not." "So, you've got a very dark, bleak vision of society," I said. "Oh no, Ms. Sara, it is not 'me' who has the 'bleak vision of society', as you put it. I'm just describing the scenery out there for you! The world outside is indeed a place full of irresponsible, vicious, lying, back stabbing, hypocritical people. If you ask me, 'why is it like that?' I would answer you by saying I just don't know why that is, but that's the real portrait of Man. On the outside
people may look beautiful, glamorous, charming, pleasant, but, for the vast majority of them, on the inside, they are evil, manipulative, predators who will happily steal from you and say the foulest words against you". "And where are the decent people Mr. Afim?" I asked. "They are in the minority. For all practical purposes, they don't exist. Why? Because, you are extremely unlikely to actually meet a decent person; I mean, you have about the same chance of seeing a pink elephant as you would seeing a good, humane person." "So, how do you manage to live, on a day to day basis, when you are surrounded by all these foul people?" "Well, you've get to get your skin thicker. You've got to be cold, heartless yourself, otherwise, if you're too soft, you'll just live all your live in sorrows, anguish and anxiety. I know people like that; well, I say to myself, they're actually better off being dead than suffering as they day, every day of their lives!" I thought of Lara. "I mean," continued Afim, "you talk to people, and their personality changes from month to month. They don't even really know 'who' they are? They take on, or steal this personality, or that personality, and then they discard it and take on another personality." "But, why?" I asked, confused. "Why? Because, when you don't 'know' who â€˜youâ€™ are, and when you have no personality, what do you do? You must create a fake, false personality." "But, so what if you do not have a personality? I mean, you don't necessarily have to take another personality and thereby become a fake person?" "You're right, up to a point. If a person with no sense of personality doesn't take a 'personality', and let's say he stays with no personality, then what does that person become? Or more, accurately, who is that person? The answer is, that person is a nobody. And here's the difficulty: it's very frightening to look at yourself, and stare into the emptiness inside yourself. It's really emotionally distressing to 'realize' that you are 'nothing', an 'emptiness'. Not many human beings can put up with that. And that's why it's infinitely more safe and secure to simply steal any personality, and pretend that it is really your own." "So, you're talking to 'fake' people? Is that the way you would phrase it?" I asked.
"Yes, fake people talking to other false people. And the rubbish people talk is in itself really mind numbing! You can talk to your friend for hours, and then you leave and you feel just as empty as when you started the conversation in the first place! People talk in large amounts but there's no content to their words and ideas; there's no nutrition for the mind, if you know what I mean. It's just bubble gum talk. You can chew and chew all you want, but that bubble gum simply isn't going to nourish your heart, mind and soul." "You know, Mr. Afim, can I ask you a personal question, since you're talking so nicely?" "Of course, Mr. Sara." "Well, I've known you for years and you always come here in a rush, and you never say a word, you never even look at me, and you just want to leave my house; and, yet, your job as a care worker is to talk to us elderly people. And, yet, today you amaze me, because you're talking to me, and so, what's changed?" Afim burst out laughing! "Oh dear!" I said, "Did I say something funny?" "Oh no, no, Ms. Sara, but what a 'question'!" "Why?" "Because it's you who looks at me like I'm vermin! It's you, Ms. Sara, who has such cold, angry, hating eyes whenever I come to your house and that's why I'm always in a rush!" "Really? I never knew that?" I said, not sure if I was speaking the truth. "Oh dear me, Ms. Sara, you must look at the mirror more often! You don't seem all that friendly to me! I mean, do you remember ever asking me if I would like tea?" I was caught. "No, you're right." "Do you remember ever asking me to sit down with you?" "No." "You see? In fact, all you did was screaming at me, complaining that I was 'awful' at my job! Are you going to deny that?" "No," I said very quietly. He was right. Maybe I was thinking that he wouldn't remember. "I mean, how on earth can I do my job properly if you wouldn't let me talk to you in the first place?" he said, smiling with no hint of anger in his voice.
“Well, you must be right,” I replied getting angry with this idiot. Obviously, he was right. Finally, and to my immense relief, he got up and walked towards the door. As he was leaving, he turned to me and said: “Oh, by the way, Dr. Sara,” Did he say Dr. Sara?’ “Sorry, what did you say?” I asked “Oh come on, Dr. Sara!” I froze. What was happening? “Well, actually, you were a doctor, but not any more!” I felt nauseous. Sick. “Still pretending that you are just an innocent, little old lady? You just don’t know when to stop, do you? I guess that has been one of your major problems,” said Afim utterly casually. “What are you talking about Mr. Afim?” I asked, nervously. Afim laughed. “You know and I know what I’m talking about. All your life is steeped in lies, self deception, and delusions. You just follow your impulses without ever thinking about morality, decency and any other decent attribute. Isn’t that a very, very sick way to live your life? You just become a slave to any murderous, vicious and inhuman idea and then you fanatically, ruthlessly and blindly follow that idea or person until you get to hit the wall. But that’s not even the worse thing about you. No, what’s even worse about you, is that you never seem able to confront your own Self. Probably, you never wanted to confront yourself. You could never look at your own, real Self. Like I said to you before - try to look at your own face in the mirror.” He knew who I was. My blood turned ice cold. Would he call the police? Will I go to prison in my final days? “You’re right Mr. Afim, I am Dr. Sara,” I said, confessing. He looked at me with an absolutely perfect mixture of disgust and pity. “So, why haven’t you called the police, if you knew me all those years Mr. Afim?” I asked.
“Oh, Ms. Sara, please, you are being yourself again. Are you so worried that the police are going to take you to prison? Well, relax, because no one is going to do that. My father taught me to be decent, principled, humane, loving and truthful to myself and unto others. Let others judge you. I am not here to put you in prison.” “So, why did you come and work for me, if you knew who I am?” “You didn’t hear I word I just said, do you Ms. Sara? I just told you that I am a man of morality, decency and care. But all you think about and worry about is yourself.” “And why were you talking to me so nicely now? Why, when you know I nearly killed you and I did what I did against your father?” Afim stood up. He stared at me with ice cold eyes. “I was hoping – just hoping – that maybe I would hear one word, one hint of any remorse you may have for what you did. But, I guess, not surprisingly, I heard none. I was telling you about how evil people were; their selfishness; their hypocrisy, greed and other vices that infest Man, and I was hoping, that maybe you could actually say to me, that yes, you too had some of those evil attributes. But, no, I heard nothing from you. No confessions, no remorse and no admitting that you have any negative attribute. What do you think that that says about who you are Ms. Sara?” “It means I’m selfish,” I replied. “Oh, yes how true! But, the sad truth is, Ms. Sara, is that you don’t mean a word that you say. You do not feel what you speak. You have no feelings of guilt or remorse when it comes to your favourite subject – and that is yourself!” I had nothing to say. “Well, good bye, Ms. Sara, I’ll see you soon! And, oh yes, I really wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the precious cup of tea – not bad, one cup of tea after I’ve served you for nine abusive years!” And, Afim left, smiling. I felt like I wanted to spit at him.
Chapter 23: MY VISITOR RETURNS One day, there was a knock on my door. As I opened the door, there was the old gentleman again: Sanji!
How my heart leapt with joy upon seeing this wonderful, decent, gentleman! "Come in, dear Sanji!" I nearly shouted with excitement! "Oh my, what a wonderful reception!" smiled Sanji as he walked in. I prepared tea, and soon we settled down. "So, how are you, old woman?!" asked Sanji. "Well, this old woman is just surviving," I replied, sipping my tea. "Aren't we all, Sara?" "Aren't we what?" I asked. "Aren't we all just surviving? I mean, we are supposed to be 'living', and by that term, I mean aren't we supposed to be actually enjoying this life?" "Exactly! We're just drifting from day to day; busy with the never ending bills; busy with this or that breaking down in the house; busy watching really boring television; the only thing we're not doing is actually 'enjoying' it all!" I said. "Yes, indeed, but mind you this is only for us middle class and poor people," said that thoroughly decent man. "Of course! The rich don't have to worry about these problems. I guess what they 'think' are their 'problems', would be like which country shall we next visit? And, what type of jewellery should I buy next? What dress will impress my friends the most?" "Actually, I would put that one a bit different: 'what dress should I buy that will make my so-called 'friends' drool with jealousy?!" We both laughed! "You're right! Do you think the rich have decent, real friends?" I asked Sanji. "Of course not, Sara! Do you really think that money makes a human 'real', decent or moral? No, the rich are just like the poor, except that they have cash that stack up as high as the Himalayan Mountains!" As Sanji was talking, I noticed, how much thinner he had gotten since I last saw him. No, I'll say more: he looked positively frail. I suddenly felt scared and lonely; because I thought if Sanji, God forbid, were to die, I would be left completely and utterly alone in this God forsaken city. Actually, the more I looked at him, the more I saw what looked like an awfully sick man.
He looked really tired, weary, and sick â€“ and in so short a space of time! How could that be? A soft voice was reaching me. "Sara? Sara? Where are you?" It was Sanji. "Oh, I'm sorry Sanji," I replied, "but I've got to tell you," "Yes?" "You do look awfully tired," I said. I didn't want to use the more direct word of 'frail'. "Oh, don't be like a politician or a diplomat to me, Sara!" "Why?" I asked, watching the old man smile. I wondered, just how he was able to keep that never ending smile all those years! "Well, you don't have to say words like 'tired'! I know, that my health has declined in the last few months. But who can blame me?" "Why? Has something happened to you?" I asked. "Oh dear, Sara, since you cut me off, all those years ago, I got married and had kids, who are now grown up, and obviously life gives us problems, but as you get older, it becomes more difficult to handle these problems, and that, in turn, has a terrible effect on your already weakening body". "You're right. The burdens are there, but our shoulders are getting more brittle day by day." "So, what can an old feeble person to do, except to despair? I mean, you can't run from your problems!" Strange, but that was the first time I heard Sanji use the word 'despair'. "I mean, look at my daughter. She's married, with kids and has a boring, low paying job." "That's normal, isn't it?" I chuckled. "Absolutely! Yes, but, you see, she's not normal! At least, not in my dictionary! Why isn't she 'normal'? Well, what do you call a person, who prays and does her religious duties, and is so sweet to her friends, but is verbally and physically abusive to her children?" For the first time, I was seeing Sanji getting agitated. "How abusive is she?" I asked.
"Well, you judge, old Sara; when the so-called 'mother' is beating her nine year old boy, with the heel of her shoe, which is made from very hard material, four or five times, on his head â€“ is this considered 'abusive' enough to you?" "Of course!" I said sounding shocked. "Is it considered abusive, when the so-called 'mother' or 'father' scream at their children every day with the most profane, disgusting insults? Is it abusive, when they daily slap their children on their face?" "Of course," was all I could say. "And do you know what's disgusting to me? It's the fact that my daughters' friends believe she's an angel! Why do they believe that? Because, when these friends come to see my daughter, the latter does really behave like an angel! Whenever there is an outsider, my daughter transforms herself into a loving parent! Imagine how that revolting hypocrisy makes me feel? And so, the sad children become traumatized; they feel insecure, hurt and frightened, from this sick situation, and I assure you when they grow up, they will, in all probability, be emotionally dysfunctional characters themselves, and so, the cancerous cycle goes on and on." "And where's the father in all this?" I asked. "The 'father'? What 'father'? So, you presume that just because my daughter got married and produced children, that makes her a 'mother' and her husband becomes a 'father'? Rubbish! There is no 'mother', Sara, in this family. You have two unloving, uncaring, cruel, ice cold creatures, who happen to be biological parents to my grandchildren." "How sad," I mumbled. "Do you know that, just the deliberate denying love to a child creates an enormous amount of stress, sorrow and fear, in that child?" asked Sanji. I thought of Lara again. "How dare so many married men with children, call themselves 'fathers'! And how dare so many married women with children call themselves 'mothers'! The fact is that these creatures are not 'parents'; and, more to the point, these creatures are destroying he emotional lives of their children. That is a crime that is being repeated every hour and every day and every year of our lives. And what does our so-called civilized society do about this problem? Well, of course, our civilized society does not even see that there exists a 'problem' in the first place! Therefore what doesn't exist, needs no remedy."
I had nothing to say. Sanji was pensive. I felt as if I was watching him giving his final testament before he dies. "What is 'morality' in our society anyway? It is nothing. What is God? Ethics? Decency? Humanity? Love? Compassion? Where have they gone? Well, I don't know where they have gone, but I do know that they're dead. Well and truly dead. We live in a civilization that has no rules, no morality, no decency â€“ in short, nothing in the positive sense. What we do have in plenty, is immorality, hypocrisy, hatred, brutality and a country ruled by nothing more than greed, vice, promiscuity, violence, drugs, and a belief by practically everyone that, 'I will do anything, no matter how immoral it may be, as long as I think, I will not get caught by the law. If, I feel there's a chance I'll get caught by the law, then I won't do it.' Now, to me, these types of people live on the safe side of the law; I mean they don't get themselves in trouble with the police and the courts. But then, there are a vast number of men and women who think, 'I will do some immoral things, even if there's a chance I'll get caught by the law and end up in jail'. You see it everyday; some owner of a huge company is caught stealing money from some account that doesn't belong to him, and so he ends up in jail. Well, my question is, if you're a multi-millionaire, then why on earth would you risk damaging your life and family, by going to prison, simply to increase the number of millions you have, to the already existing billions of dollars that you already possess?" "I think it is as you say; there's no morality any more," I said, not knowing what I really meant. I was more interested in listening to Sanji, rather than having myself to think about what to reply. And yet, I'm not sure, I was absorbing everything Sanji was saying! â€œOur movies, television, glossy magazines, are all plagued by the most corrupting characteristics. What is our sick culture made of? Itâ€™s made of promiscuity, drugs, the glorification of random violence and that is it. Our civilization is all about alcohol, the bar, the disco, fashion, the latest technological appliances such as mobile phones; our civilization is about discussing the latest version of cars and motorbikes. Our civilisation is when so many women discuss what hair style they will have for the next party.
That is a question of grave concern to so many people! Where is Humanity in all this? Where is our sense of Morality in all this barren and desolate landscape? We need to discuss subjects that are so important such as: What’s the latest movie? What’s the latest gossip on our film stars? What’s the latest news on our singers?” Sanji took a deep breath. “Is that civilisation?” I asked a tired looking Sanji. He looked to me to be so old for some reason. I felt really sad. How I adored that man! No one will ever know – least of all, Sanji himself. I never could tell anyone. No one knew how much I loved that unique soul. The truth is, I couldn’t say it to myself. “Sara, people live their daily lives thinking about empty things and doing empty things. By saying ‘empty things’, I mean acts and thoughts of absolutely no value. People think that their lives are filled with high drama – but, with Time, hopefully, they will realize how empty all their lives had been. My brother had a terrible argument with my sister - and then the whole family gets involved. And then the passions overflow, as each person has this or that exaggerated attitude towards the contest between the brother and his sister. Obviously, I’m just giving an imaginary example here Sara. And, so the fighting goes on for weeks until peace is restored. And then, we come up against another high drama, which is once again filled with unrestrained emotions and that takes up more of our time. But, as these events recede from the present and drown in the past, sensible people ought to realize that all these events were completely worthless and unworthy of all the attentions and emotions spent on them!” “You’re right, we make a grain of sand into a mountain.” I said. “And then, hopefully, the sensible person should, at some point, say to himself, that I have been doing nothing but spending my thoughts, energy, passion and emotions on the most worthless things. Have I used my reason? No! Have I used my intellect, my logic? No!” Why is that we humans do not use our intellect? Our rationality? Isn’t that what is supposed to make us so different from the animals? “We must ask ourselves questions like: ‘What have I done that has true meaning to my own Self? And: ‘What have I done to improve
my own character?’ And: ‘What have I done to understand where my life should be going?’ In other words, done absolutely nothing to my own soul! I have succeeded in distracting myself from my Self! And the consequences have been devastating: for, in the final analysis, throughout my life, I have been basically an unhappy person!” Sanji closed his eyes.
Chapter 24: ISOLATION And so, I was alone.
Completely alone. An old woman living in a dilapidated, small house. Getting older and weaker by the day. With no family and no friends. Strangely enough, old as I was, my memories are as vivid as ever! It’s my present day existence that is so boring, that I find myself easily forgetting what I did, and I have to do! People will easily mistake me for being senile, but they are wrong. You see, reader, if my life had some stimulus or some activity, then my brain would re-employ my memory department, but, because my life is so indescribably empty, what use is there for my brain when it concerns my present life? However, when I think of the past, and how many things happened to me, well, that’s where my brain has plenty of work to do! Yes, you’re right, I’m simply living in the past, whilst my day to day living is spent in emptiness, and all the while, I’m just waiting to expire! Lovely situation to be in! I was a spectator to the world around me. Actually I was a mute spectator. I guess, those high school students were right when they used to tease me for studying so hard! Didn’t they laugh at me and warn me that my studying will ultimately get me nowhere? I studied hard and I did this and that, and in the end, I ended up working in a menial, low paying job as a barmaid. And now I am an absolute zero. And throughout my twisted life, was I happy? No, I wasn’t – if you want to hear the truth. Yes, of course, there many moments and days I felt thrilled and ecstatic about the way my life was going, but these moments and days were short lived. Even, when I was most successful job wise, as the Head of the Psychiatric Department in my local hospital, I was never satisfied, or felt secure. There were so many things in my heart and mind that were missing.
Yes, I was respected and even feared; yes, people listened to me, when I spoke. Yes, I was a successful and useful person in our society and that was reflected very well in my salary. But, I was somehow still frightened, anxious and tense. Why? I don’t know. What made me frightened, anxious and tense? I don’t know either. I still don’t know. I achieved everything I wanted to achieve and yet I was still a sorrowful creature! My God, I couldn’t be more successful, could I! After all, I was at the top of the Psychiatric Department! There was nowhere else to go! I had money and really influential, important, intellectual friends. I had a beautiful, luxurious villa. I mean, look how at how far I had come from where I started my life – which was in an awful, filthy part of town, and look where I had reached! And, yes, reader, I was still unhappy. I never had that sense of serenity that Sanji or Omar had! And I really hated myself for never being able to achieve that state of mind! I often wonder how I will die? Will I die in pain? Will the pain last long, or will the pain be for a short time, and then I’ll die? Or, maybe I’ll die peacefully in my sleep? Can it be possible, that I’ll be having a dream and then I die? Imagine that! My dream being interrupted by my death! Will I die at my home or at hospital? Will I fall in and out of consciousness, as I die? Will I be alone or will someone be near me, when I die? Will I be scared, or will I accept my dying with serenity? What if I wake up and I find myself alive in my tomb? If someone is near me, will I feel a need to say my ‘last’ words? Will anyone care to hear my last words? Do I have any answers to these anxieties of mine? I just don’t know.
When I was able to go outside my house, all those years ago, people often used to ask me, if I feared dying, and my answer is, I don’t know. But now, that I can no longer move, and as I am so much older, and therefore, so closer to death, I can now say, that there are many moments of terror, that I do experience, simply because I do get afraid of dying. Isn’t it odd, now in my final days, I think so much more about life, death, morality and so many subjects that I never gave enough time to before – simply because before, I was too busy to think. It sounds sad, doesn’t it, to say, that I was ‘too busy to think’ during all my physically active years? I was too busy to think about anything because I was so impossibly impulsive. There were so many questions that I couldn’t be bothered to think about. Like: What did I want from my life? When I was young, I wanted to change my country with a new political system that I believed would make everyone happy. Did I ever seriously analyse if the ideas of the leftists could actually achieve ‘happiness’ for the masses? No. Did I think at the impracticality of what I was doing? No. Did I just sit down with myself and reason with myself wether those so-called ‘revolutionary’ leftist movements could really take over our country? No. Did I try to think that maybe, just maybe, people like Omar and Tony simply didn’t have the power or the support from the public to change our country? No. Did I think of the fact that some leftists were committing immoral acts? No. Did I care that the leftists harmed, hurt and punished a lot of innocent people? No. What values were the most important ones for me?
To achieve success in whatever I did. But at what price? Any price. Even if it hurt other people? Yes. To me, success meant happiness and therefore I believed I had to achieve success, or else I would be doomed to being miserable. Did I ever stop to think if such ideas were correct? No. Did I ever stop to think of how much hurt and emotional damage I caused to other people? No. Did I care for those I hurt? No. What can I do about my impulsiveness? What can I do to restrain my lack of logic, rationality and thinking untainted by emotional bias and excesses? Did I ever try to control my irrationality? No. Did I ever try to think about my lack of reasoning? No. Why did I mistreat and abuse Lara? Did I ever think at how utterly cold, unloving and savage a mother I was? No. Didn’t I see how emotionally devastated Lara was by my inhuman behaviour towards her? Yes. Did I care? No. Did I ask myself, how could I hurt an innocent human being? No. Did I have any remorse when she killed herself? No. So what does that make me? Or maybe I’m being too hard on myself? I don’t know. And so the questions go on and on.
I have nothing to do, except to think. You ask me, what else do I think of? For example, what is the â€˜meaning of my lifeâ€™? Did it have any meaning? Does life have a meaning, or not? And if it does, did my life serve any purpose? Or, did I live for nothing? I did believe in Tony and in Omar and in the leftist ideas when I was a university student. That gave me a purpose and a direction and a meaning to my life. I felt that I had a duty to do, and I when I was doing it, I felt fulfilled, and satisfied that I was living a meaningful life. I was someone important, respectable. I felt that I was living a meaningful life, when I set my ambitions on becoming not only a psychiatrist, but on becoming the boss, the chief, and the head of my psychiatric department. But, then again, during those years, as I told you before, I was still somehow unhappy! So, it seems to me to be a paradox! After I was expelled from hospital, my life went downhill. I was forced to welcome back that bitter, humiliating debilitating enemy of mine â€“ poverty. What purpose did my life serve in those years? Nothing, of course. I was just serving people drinks and watching my life pass before me, while I was achieving absolutely nothing. I became, yet again, a nobody. And, how I really hated being a nobody! It was so utterly embarrassing and humiliating for me to know that I was a nobody, a nothing; people simply regarded me as nothing. So, my life had some meaning, I guess, but for the most part, I have to say, that no, that my life had no meaning. But, then, I think, does it matter? Yes, it does matter. It has to matter. I mean, how can you live a life with no aim, with no direction, and with no purpose? If life has no meaning, then why live?
After all, for the majority of us, the pain will exceed the joy, and therefore, if life has no meaning, then you may as well kill yourself in order to avoid all the pain that you will have to endure. Life must have to have a meaning! But, what is the meaning?! Tied to this question, is this one: does morality exist? This question did bother me a great deal because, if morality exists, then, yes I did many immoral things throughout my life. But you see, reader, I never felt, or sensed the existence of morality, and therefore, I never believed morality existed! To me, it was as simple as that! How can I believe in something that I cannot see, feel, taste, hear, touch, breathe, or connect to in any way? How can I believe in morality, when my emotions cannot feel its existence? How can I believe in the existence of morality when my fundamental essence, my inner core consciousness, the entirety of my mind, my awareness; my entire sense of my identity; my knowledge of my personality; my personal subjectivity; my fundamental beingness of what constitutes who I am - cannot relate in any way, shape or form with it? That’s why I couldn’t believe in morality. But, without morality, then isn’t anyone free to kill? Or rape? Or steal? So, logically speaking, if morality didn’t exist, then we would be living in a world where Laws of the Jungle apply! Our country would be ruled by chaos, mayhem, murder and total; destructiveness! So, maybe, morality does exist – because, otherwise, everyone would be killing everyone else! No, I was being far too naïve. People don’t kill each other, not because they believe in morality! That’s nonsense! People, for the most part, don’t kill each other, because they fear the law! Yes, that’s correct – I mean, I am correct in thinking - and I’ll prove it you, my reader.
You see, if there was no law, our world would indeed go back to the Laws of the Jungle! And what about the other concepts such as love, compassion, decency, compassion – do they exist? Isn’t that why all the Prophets were sent to us? Didn’t the Prophets tell us to be loving, fair, compassionate, and equitable and so on? After all, if we humans were ‘good’ people, then there would be no need for any Prophet to come and preach to us! What corrections would the Prophets have to do if we humans were of perfect character? No, it is obvious that the Prophets were sent precisely because we humans are despicable, vile and basically evil creatures. Most of us Humans are basically evil by nature. It is much easier for Man to be decadent, debauched and evil rather than being decent, moral and loving. You may say I’m being too pessimistic, but that is my opinion on Man, given what I have seen and experienced in my long life so far. And if, as I firmly believe, the vast majority of humans are evil, then how I can live, survive and succeed if I am to remain moral and decent? You cannot succeed in life when evil surrounds you and you insist in being moral! You yourself need to fight the immorality of this world with immoral acts and deeds! And that is why some people see me as being immoral. How do I, Sara, know or feel, that concepts such as justice, human rights, love, and decency exist? Maybe, they are just like morality? How can I relate to, or feel the existence of ‘justice’ or ‘decency’ or ‘values’? I cannot. That’s the truth. That’s my truth, anyway. I, Sara, cannot feel, or relate to all these concepts. They’re all just abstract ideas. And whatever is abstract to me, has no relevance to me. I’m only talking about myself now. Do you feel the existence of ‘decency’ or ‘values’ reader?
And, every morning I wake up, and to be honest, I’m so weary and I say to myself, ‘Why hasn’t God taken me?’ And then again, when I get sick, I panic, that I may die! So, yes, I know: contradictions. Do you, reader, think that I am evil? I wonder what you really think of me? Or, maybe you are like me? Maybe you don’t care?! That would be so funny if you were just like me! I would have loved to met you! But, it is, of course too late now. No, I mean, it would have been so delightful for me if I met you when I was younger! But, I never did have that opportunity in my miserable life. If you were like me, you would, of course, comfort me and support me and love me! How wonderful that would be! It would be so much better than all these idiots I’ve known all my life who can only moralize and philosophize about humanity and all those meaningless subjects. What a dying shame that I never met you reader! How odd that as I get nearer and nearer to God, I still don’t feel his presence! The more our world develops and gets modern, the less Man happy Man becomes. In our twenty first century, I live in one of the supposedly richest countries in the world. I live in a First World country. And yet poverty surrounds me. And life is miserable for the majority of people. So, isn’t that a paradox? Aren’t we supposed to be happier as our civilisation advances into modernity? With all the advancing technology why aren’t we happier? We have no certainties. No belief in anything. Wanderers with no aim. All my icons are dead to me – my parents; Tony; Omar; the leftist cause; being a psychiatrist; being successful; marriage; children – all these are now one forever from me.
I am yet again forced to be with myself.
I now know that I was a slave of my impulsiveness. My awful temper. Actually, I’m wrong when I say ‘my impulsiveness’. These impulses that were within me actually controlled myself, and so, I did not own them or control them; it was the other way round. The impulsiveness and the lack of self control on my thinking, logic and rationality; and my complete inability to control my temper were all sick characteristics of my mind. I knew that these terrible emotional traits controlled my Self. But, I never did care for one moment about that fact. To me, that very fact was completely unimportant - and that’s exactly where I was so terribly, terribly mistaken. How can anyone exist in his life when his thinking, rationality, logic, are controlled by unrestrained passion and irrationality, illogicality and complete irrationality?! Sometimes, I forget what day it is. And I get really panicky because I think I must be getting senile! But then I think to myself: silly Sara! HA! What difference does it make to someone who is practically invalid like me - what day it is?! So, if today is Thursday or Tuesday – what difference does that mean to me?! Nothing, of course! Stupid Sara! It’s all part of living an empty and boring existence. What does the man in solitary confinement and sentenced to a life sentence care about what day it is? Or what year it is? He’s just waiting to die – like old Sara! Are you still reading, my reader? I have no idea. Will I be alive tomorrow? Who cares!