Border Follies, Fear and Loathing in Syria

5
1000

Hospitality, Syrian Style

 

Khaled Mohamed Othman

 

THE STENCH OF URINE HIT ME ON MY NOSE AND STOMACH AS SOON AS I ENTERED THE ROOM.

THE STRUCTURE THEY HAD TAKEN ME TO WAS AND PROBABLY STILL IS, VERY OLD, THICK AND HUMID; IT GAVE ME THE INPRESSION THAT IT DATED BACK TO THE TURKISH EMPIRE DAYS.  I HAD BEEN TAKEN DOWN TEN OR TWELVE STEPS INTO A BASEMENT LIKE construction DOWN UNDERGROUND.

I WAS TOLD TO SIT IN AN EMPTY ROOM AND WAIT. TWO HOURS LATER five MEN DRESSED IN CIVILIAN CLOTHES CAME IN.

WAVING HIS HAND impatiently, ONE OF THEM TOLD ME TO STAND UP.  THEN, HE PULLED a black BLINDFOLD FROM A FEW HUNGING OFF A NAIL ON THE WALL AND PLACED IT AROUND MY EYES.

I HAD NOT NOTICED THESE UNTIL HE GRABBED it. I then HEARD NOISES BY what I thought was THE DOOR UP THE STAIRS. SOMEONE I COULDN’T SEE CAME IN AND SAT BEHIND THE BATTERED DESK I HAD looked at WHEN I first CAME in. HIS YOUNG VOICE ASKed me WHAT MY NAME WAS.

THEN HE ASKED ME WHERE I HAD COME FROM.





THEN HE ASKED ME MY MOTHER´S NAME.

THEN HE ASKED ME SEVERAL OTHER IRRELEVANT QUESTIONS.

FINALLY, HE ASKED ME TO TELL HIM THE STORY OF MY LIFE UP TO TWO DAYS AGO. I felt that AS HE PROGRESSED IN THE INTERROGATION HIS VOICE BEGUN GETTING LOUDER AND MEANER.  AS IF I HAD DONE SOMETHING WRONG.

THE FINAL QUESTIONS WAS “DO YOU KNOW A MAN BY THE NAME OF HUSSEIN AHMED KHALAF HUSSEIN”?

MY ANSWER WAS NEGATIVE.  UPSET, HE BANGED ON THE TABLE AND, NODDING I BELIEVE, GAVE AN ORDER TO ONE OF THE MEN STANDING NEXT TO ME.

THE GUARD HIT ME HARD ON MY HEAD NEAR MY EAR, DOWN TO THE GROUND, HALF PUNCH AND HALF SLAP.

BECAUSE HE SURPRISED ME, THE PAIN CAME RAPIDLY AND IT WAS WORSE.

LATER, DURING OTHER INTERROGATION -TORTURE SESSIONS I LEARNED TO PREPARE MY SELF FOR THIS “SURPRISE PUNCHES” TECNIQUE.

WHEN THIS HAPPENS YOU TRY TO TURN YOUR HEAD AND GET THE PUNCH TO LAND ON YOUR SKULL RATHER THAN ON YOUR EARS OR EYES.  KIND OF LIKE WHEN BOXING.

YOU PREPARE TO DUCK WHEN “HIS VOICE GETS UPSET”. IT IS A QUICK REACTION AT THE LAST SECOND MAKING SURE TO YELL IN PAIN TO SATISFY THE ATTACKER.

THE REASON I QUOTE WHEN I SAY “HIS VOICE GETS UPSET” IS BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME HE REALLY ISN’T ANGRY.

HE PRETENDS HE IS UPSET. BUT HE REALLY ISNT.

HE IS JUST “DOING HIS JOB”. AND TRYING TO GET A CONFESSION SO HE CAN LATER BRAG ABOUT IT TO HIS COMRADES, WHILE SHOWING NEW STARS AND EAGLES ON HIS CHEST. IT IS ALL A GAME… TO THEM.

AND YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO PLAY ALONG WHETHER YOU ARE INNOCENT OR GUILTY.

EXPECT NO MERCY, COMPASSION, CLEMENCY NOR CHANGES OF HEART AND IT WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER BECAUSE IF YOU DO THEN YOU ARE IN FOR A SURPRISE.

AFTER THE PUNCH, HE YELLING, ORDERED ME TO TAKE MY SHOES OFF.

THIS ALSO SURPRISED ME SINCE I WAS NOT FAMILIAR TO THE “FALAKA” NOR ANY OTHER “METHODS OF PERSUASION” USED IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

LATER, THIS BECAME ALMOST ROUTINE.

I TOOK MY SHOES OFF.  THEN, HE ORDERED ME TO TAKE MY CLOTHES OFF. WHEN I WAS ON MY UNDERWEAR, HE ASKED ME TO REMOVE THOSE TOO.

I WAS STILL THINKING ABOUT WHETHER… YOU KNOW… IS THIS LEGAL? …WHEN HE HIT ME ON MY NOSE OPEN HANDED.

I LANDED ON THE FLOOR AGAIN, FACE UP.  WITH A VERY LOUD VOICE, HE ASKED ME TO LIFT MY LEGS UP.

MY UNDERWEAR WERE STILL AROUND MY KNEES.  CONFUSED, I LIFTED MY LEGS.  WITH MY TORSO FLAT ON THE FLOOR AND MY LEGS UP IN THE AIR MY BODY NOW FORMED A ¨L¨ SHAPE.

WHEN I BEGUN TO WORRY ABOUT THE FILTH OF THE FLOOR ON MY BACK A SECOND MAN BEGUN HITTING ME ON THE BOTTOM OF MY FEET WITH A PIECE OF WOOD SIMILAR TO A SUGAR CANE.

THIS CANE IS CALLED ¨FALAKA¨. THE METHOD OF TORTURE IS ALSO CALLED “FALAKA”, THE SIZE OF THE STICK VARIES, BUT COMMONLY, IT IS ABOUT A METER AND 20 CENTIMETERS LONG AND ABOUT AN INCH TO TWO THICK. VERY SMOOTH PIECE OF WOOD THAT FROM A DISTANCE LOOKS HARMLESS.

LATER, INSIDE THE CELL, 3 OTHER PRISONERS WHOM I SHARED THE SMALL CELL WITH FOR THE NEXT WEEK OR SO TOLD ME I HAD BEEN HIT ME 124 TIMES. THEY COULD COUNT THEM BECAUSE THE SLAMMING ON THE FEET PRODUCES A DRY, LOUD SOUND. THEY COULD ALSO TELL BY THE TIMES YOU SCREAM EVERTY TIME THE FALAKA LANDS.

LATER ON, I COUNTED FALAKAS EVERY NIGHT AND BY THE NUMBER OF THESE, I KNEW HOW BAD THE CASE WAS AND IF THE ONE AT THE RECEIVING END WAS WEAK OR IF HE WAS PRETENDING WHEN HE YELLED FROM THE PAIN.

IF I TRIED TO BRING MY FEET DOWN TO AVOID THE FALAKA HE WOULD HIT ME ON MY LEGS, WHICH WAS WORSE.
WHEN HE WAS DONE HE ASKED ME TO STAND UP, WHEN I DID I FELT I HAD GROWN ABOUT TWO INCHES TALLER.

MY FEET WERE NUMB, SO I FELT I HAD AN ADVANTAGE BECAUSE THEY COULD HIT ME MORE AND I COULD STAND IT…  I DIDNT FEEL THE LAST TWENTY OR SO HITS. MY FEET HAD FORMED A PROTECTION BARRIER.  BUT, THEY TOO KNEW THIS…

THE INTERROGATOR THEN ASKED IF I NOW REMEMBERED HUSSEIN. WHEN I HONESTLY ANSWERED AGAIN, A DOOR TO MY RIGHT WAS OPENED AND I WAS PUSHED OUTSIDE IN THE OPEN.

IT WAS FEBRUARY, SO IT WAS VERY COLD OUTSIDE. I WAS NOW ON TOP OF THE SEPTIC CONTAINER WHERE THE EXCREMENT AND ALL THE DIRTY WATER FROM THE PRISON WENT. IT HAD, OVER THE YEARS, BUILT A GREENISH SURFACE.

IT WAS SLIPPERY AND THE SMELL WAS NOW STRONGER.

THEY STOOD OUTSIDE AND MADE ME JOG AROUND THE WALLED SQUARE FOR ABOUT A HALF AN HOUR. I WAS FREEZING AND BECAUSE OF THE PAIN ON MY FEET, THE PAIN FELT WORSE.

MY FEET FELT AS IF I WAS JOGGING ON TOP OF THE AVID MOUTHS OF BEASTS WHO TRIED TO BITE OFF MY FEET.
I COULD HEAR THE OTHER BEASTS LAUGHING AND MAKING COMMENTS.

WHEN THEY ASKED ME TO STOP RUNNING, ONE OF THEM BROUGHT A BUCKET OF WATER AND SHOWERED ME WITH IT.

THEN ONE OF THEM HELD ME BY MY ARM AND BEGUN LEADING ME BACK INSIDE.

BUT BEFORE, HE DROVE ME INTO A SHORT WALL WHERE I HIT THE BONE RIGHT BELOW MY KNEE.
IT FELT AS IF I HAD BROKEN IT. MORE LAUGHS.

THEY THREW ME ON THE FLOOR AND HIT ME ABOUT FORTY MORE TIMES.
AT THIS POINT, SHIVERING, I SAID SOMETHING LIKE “CAN I HAVE A LAWYER”, THE GUARD WHO HAD LED ME INTO THE WALL SAID, “I´LL BE YOUR LAWYER”. MORE LAUGHS.

THE GUY I COUDNT SEE, WHO I BELIEVED WAS A LIEUTENANT, THEN ASKED THEM TO STAND ME UP AND ASKED ME AGAIN.
NOTHING. HE THEN SAID   “I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT IT, THINK HARD”.

THEY DRAGGED ME INTO THE CELL WHERE THEY DECIDED TO KEEP ME.

AS SOON AS THE GUARD BEGUN OPENING THE OLD DOOR I HEARD NOISES INSIDE THE CELL. WHEN HE OPENED IT AND PUSHED ME IN, I FOUND MY SELF INSIDE A LITTLE 8   BY 8 ROOM WITH A VERY HIGH CEILING. UP THERE, LONG TIME AGO, HANGED A LIGHT BULB.

THE THREE GUYS IN IT WERE STANDING UP, HANDS BEHIND THEIR BACKS, FACING THE WALL.

THAT’S WHERE THE QUIET NOISE HAD COME FROM, IT HAD BEEN THEM GETTING UP.

I LEARNT THIS RULE INMEDIATELY. AS SOON AS A GUARD BEGINS OPENING THE DOOR, YOU HAVE TO GET UP, FACE THE WALL AND LOOK DOWN WITH YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK.

AFTER HE SLAMMED THE DOOR SHUT  THE GUYS WENT BACK DOWN TO THEIR BLANKETS ON THE FLOOR.. NO PILLOWS, NO MATRESSES, NO TOOTH BRUSH, NO SOAP, NO TOILET, NO SINK, NO CHAIR, NO CIGARRETES, NO TOWEL, NO WINDOW.

IN THE CELL THERE WAS A BLANKET ON THE FLOOR, A BLANKET TO COVER YOURSELVE WITH, AN “ABRIK” FOR WATER AND ONE FOR URINATING.

I LOOKED AROUND ME AND SAID IN ARABIC “WHAT IS THIS?”

ONE OF THE GUYS ANSWERED ME BY BRINGING A FINGER TO HIS MOUTH, CALLING ON MY SILENCE.

THE GUARDS WERE STILL OUTSIDE AND THAT NIGHTS SESSION WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN.

SILENCE IS THE FRIEND OF FEAR AND IT GUARANTEES YOU ARE NOT BOTHERED. UNLESS OF COURSE TONITE IS YOUR TURN FOR INTERROGATION.

IN THIS CASE THE GUARDS WILL COME TO THE DOOR, OPEN IT, ASK YOU OUTSIDE AND LEAD YOU TO THE INTERROGATION ROOM WHERE THE LIEUTENANT IN CHARGE OF YOUR CASE WAITS.

I FELL ASLEEP SOON THAT NIGHT, IT HAD BEEN A LONG DAY AND I WAS IN PAIN AND FILLED WITH FEAR.   I FELT VERY COLD.

THE NEXT MORNING, AND EVERY MORNING A GUARD WOULD BRING BREAKFAST.  FOUR OLIVES FOR EACH ONE OF US AND A SMALL PIECE OF CHEESE.

HE WOULD OPEN THE DOOR THROW THREE LARGE PIECES OF PITA BREAD ON THE FLOOR, ASK US, ONE BY ONE, TO TURN AROUND AND DISTRIBUTE THE FOOD.

MANY TIMES, ROACHES WOULD COME RUNNING OUT FROM IN BETWEEN THE THREE LARGE PIECES OF BREAD THAT HE HAD THROWN ON THE FLOOR.

LUNCH WAS “BOURGUL” WICH IS A FAMOUS MEAL IN “BILAD AL SHAM”AND IS ACTUALLY VERY GOOD WHEN EATEN AT HOMES AND RESTAURANTS. IT’S A BUNCH OF LITTLE BALLS MADE OF WHEAT AND ACCOMPANIED WITH GOAT, SHEEP OR BEEF.
WE ATE IT WITH OUR HANDS.

FOR DINNER, A SOUP MADE OUT OF ZUCHINNI SLICES AND THE BREAD YOU SAVED FROM BREAKFAST… BECAUSE OF ALL THE TROUBLE ON GETTING SOMEONE TO TAKE YOU TO THE TOILET I AVOIDED THIS MEAL.

I LOST WEIGHT RAPIDLY.

WHEN YOU HAD TO GO DEFECATE, AND I MEAN YOU HAD TO, THE PROCEDURE WAS TO STICK FOUR FINGERS, THAT’S ALL THAT FITTED, THRU THE RECTANGULAR HOLE UP ON THE HIGHER PART OF THE DOOR. THE GUARD MAKING ROUNDS WOULD ASK WHAT YOU WANTED AND SOMETIMES TAKE YOU.

THE FIRST TIME I WENT TO THE BATHROOM I FOUND IT WAS A HOLE IN THE GROUND IN A SMALL LITTLE ROOM WITH A WODDEN DOOR THAT DIDINT SHUT. AS SOON AS YOU WALKED IN AND BEGUN PULLING YOUR PANTS DOWN THE GUARD WOULD START RUSHING YOU.

“COME ON!” “WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THERE?” “MASTURBATING?” AND SO ON.. THE FLOOR WAS ALWAYS OVERFLOODED SO YOU HAD TO AVOID THE SWIMMING TURDS. THE INEXISTENCE OF TOILET PAPER MADE YOU USE AN “ABRIK”,WHICH IS A PLASTIC CONTAINER, AND USING YOUR HAND, WASH UP WITH FREEZING WATER.

I SOON BEGUN GETTING PIMPLES ALL OVER MY BODY.

IN ADDITION TO THE  HOLE ON TOP THERE WAS ALSO A WINDOW THAT OPENED FROM OUTSIDE HEAD HEIGHT THAT THE GUARD WOULD OPEN WHEN HE WANTED TO LOOK INSIDE.  BECAUSE OF THIS WE SPOKE LITTLE IN THE CELL. BESIDES, NO ONE TRUSTED THE OTHER.

BUT I LEARNT MORE OR LESS ABOUT THEIR CASES.

ONE OF THEM WAS HASSAN. HE HAD BEEN THERE FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS. HE WAS VERY PALE.. FROM HIS FEATURES HE HAD ONE DAY BEEN A GOOD LOOKING YOUNG GUY. NOW, THE LACK OF VITAMINS, SUN AND  EXERCISE HAD TURNED HIM INTO A SAD SHADOW. HE HAD ONCE WORKED AT THE AIRPORT.

IN HIS CASE A PASSPORT HAD DISAPEARED AND HE WAS BLAMED.

THE STRANGE THING ABOUT THIS WAS THAT THE LOST PASSPORT WAS FROM AN EASTERN BLOCK COUNTRY, POLAND OR HUNGARY, I BELIEVE. WHAT WOULD ANY ONE WANT TO DO WITH A PASSPORT FROM A COUNTRY LIKE THAT BESIDES WIPING HIS ASS WITH IT AT THE TOILET?.

“I AM INNOCENT ” HE KEPT REPEATING. AND I BELIEVED HIM. A NICE GUY WHO HAD KEPT HIS SENSES AND WAS ALWAYS WISE WHEN HE SPOKE. THE SECOND GUY NEVER TOLD ME HIS CASE NOR NAME. HE HAD THIS BURLESQUE ATTITUDE. HIS EYES SHINED AND THE SMILE, MORE CINICAL THAN SARCASTIC NEVER DISAPPEARED. HE KEPT SAYING “WE HAVE THE BEST PRESIDENT IN THE WORLD”.

HASSAN ONCE TOLD ME HE HAD “DISRESPECTED HIGH POLITICAL FIGURES”. THAT’S WHY HE WAS THERE.  WHEN  HASSAN CAME HE WAS ALREADY HERE.

THERE WAS REALLY NOTHING TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT AND I ALWAYS STAYED AWAY FROM HIM.

THE THIRD GUY WAS A TALL, THIN GUY FROM LEBANON. HIS BEST FEATURE WAS THAT HE WAS A MASTER STORY TELLER. HIS NAME WAS “WALEED”, A “DURZI”. THE DRUZE ARE AN ISLAMIC SECT AND THEY, EVEN THOUGH ARABS, HAVE THEIR OWN ETHNIC WAYS OF LIFE.   HE WAS IN THE ARMY, AND HAD SUPPOSEDLY LOST HIS AK47.

ONE NIGHT I WOKE UP AT AROUND 2 A.M. AND SAW THE  DOOR WAS HALF OPENED. HE WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE  WHISPERING TO SOMEONE. “A SNITCH” I THOUGHT.

I HAD ALREADY NOTICED HOW HIS CONVERSATION WAS MOSTLY DIRECTED AT ME. WHEN HE COULD HE WOULD SPEAK TO ME ABOUT MY CASE.  HE WOULD ASK QUESTIONS THAT WERE SIMILAR TO THE ONES I WAS ASKED AT THE INTERROGATIONS ROOM.

ONE THING HE SAID KEPT RINGING ON MY EARS FOR A WHILE AND IT WAS THAT OBSERVATION  THAT GAVE ME THE CLUE TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY SURROUNDING THE QUESTION I  COULDN’T ANSWER.

HE HAD SAID “ BUT YOU KNOW THIS GUY”. EVERY NIGHT, AFTER DINNER, THE PLACE WAS EVEN MORE SILENT THAN DAY TIME. IT WAS TIME FOR INTERROGATIONS.

AFTER THE INTERROGATIONS SESSIONS WERE OVER AND DEPENDING ON WHO WAS THE SARGENT IN CHARGE WE WOULD SIT AROUND AND WALEED WOULD TELL US A STORY, OR RELATE A ADEL IMAM MOVIE. HE WAS VERY GOOD AT IT AND THE DETAILS WERE SO NEAT I WOULD FIND MYSELFE THINKING AWAY FROM THE MISERY WE WERE ALL IN.

THEY TOOK ME OUT FOR A SESSION A WEEK LATER AND THE SAME VOICE ASKED ME IF I HAD THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND IF I WAS READY TO TALK.

I SWORE TO HIM AGAIN I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THIS PERSON HE KEPT MENTIONING. IN THIS SESSION HE ASKED ME A NEW QUESTION AND IT WAS ABOUT “THE DRUG DEALS”. I KNEW THEN IT WASN’T A POLITICAL CHARGE AND IT GAVE ME SOME PEACE OF MIND.

WALLED HAD WARNED ME “TWO THINGS SEND YOU TO THE ROPE. ONE, TREASON OR ESPIONAGE. AND TWO,  CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT”. HE ALSO TOLD ME ABOUT A “PLACE DOWNSTAIRS” WHERE THEY KEPT THE MOST IMPORTANT CASES. PEOPLE WITH LONG BEARDS AND BENT BACKS WHO HAD BEEN THERE FOR SEVERAL YEARS.

WALEED ALSO EXPLAINED THAT SOON, THE INTERROGATION OFFICER WOULD ASK PERMISSION  TO USE “AL SHIDDA BIL TAHKIK” WICH MEANS  “TO USE MORE UNCONVENTIONAL METHODS TO EXTRACT THE TRUTH”.

WHEN I TOLD HIM THAT I WAS ALLREADY BEING EXTREMELY TORTURED HE ROLLED HIS EYES AND ASKED ME..

“HAVE THEY USED “AL BIRKA?”

HAVE THEY USED “AL KURSI AL ALMANI?”

HAVE THEY USED “AL DULAB?”

HAVE THEY “BUSAT AL RIH”

SURPRISINGLY, AFTER I DENIED KNOWING ANY THING ABOUT DRUG DEALS THIS TIME THEY GAVE ME ONLY ABOUT SEVENTY FALAKAS  THEN THE OFFICER WENT OUTSIDE AND A FEW MINUTES LATER WHEN HE CAME BACK IN THE ROOM THE GUARDS TOOK ME INTO AN ISOLATION ROOM.

HE WENT AWAY  FOR ABOUT A MONTH .

DURING THIS MONTH I BEGUN A HUNGER STRIKE THAT WENT UNNOTICED;  I RAPIDLY LOST MORE WEIGHT.

THE GUARD ON DUTY WOULD COME  AND  SEE THE PREVIOUS MEAL UNTOUCHED.

THEN SAY “DO YOU WANT FOOD?” AND BEFORE I WOULD ANSWER HE WOULD SHUT THE DOOR WHILE LOUDLY SAYING “LA TIZI”?  WICH MEANS “TO MY ASS”  WICH ACTUALLY MEANS I DONT CARE.

I WOULD WALK AROUND A LITTLE ON MY THIN LEGS. BUT THEN GET BORED AND TIRED QUICKLY.

I BEGUN CARVING ON THE WALL A SCENE OF UFOS LANDING ON THE PLANET.

ONE OF THE GUARDS KEPT ASKING ME FOR MY LEATHER JACKET AND EVERY TIME I TOLD HIM TO TAKE IT HE WOULD CLOSE THE LITTLE WINDOW AND WALK AWAY.

THEN ONE DAY HE CAME INSIDE AND BECAUSE I DIDNT FOLLOW PROCEDURE HE SLAPPED ME A FEW TIMES.

SINCE THE BEGINNING I HAD NOTICED HOW THE GUARDS LOOKED AT MY EXPENSIVE CLOTHES. ALONE IN THAT CELL A MILLION THOUGHTS WENT THRU MY MIND. I KNEW THAT IF CAME OUT OF THIS I WOULD BE A DIFFERENT MAN. I REALIZED THE VALUE OF CLOSED ONES AND ALWAYS KNEW MY FAMILY WERE  DOING THEIR BEST TO GET ME OUT.  NOTHING MUCH WENT ON FOR THAT WHOLE MONTH EXCEPT FOR THE USUAL BORED GUARD WHO WOULD SPIT ON YOUR HAND WHEN YOU WANTED TO USE THE BATHROOM OR A SLAP HERE AND THERE.

SLOWLY, I BEGUN LOSING FEAR.

WHEN IT TURNED DARK I WOULD PREPARE AND LISTEN.  THE CELL  I WAS IN NOW WAS THE CLOSEST TO THE INTERROGATION ROOM AND I COULD ACTUALLY HEAR THE ARGUMENTS.  I WAS NOT CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE SAYING..
BUT  BY THE TONE,  STRONG, AUTHORITARIAN AND DEMANDING KNEW  WHEN IT WAS THE INTERROGATING OFFICER TALKING.

I ALSO KNEW WHEN IT WAS THE PRISONER.

IT SOUNDED LIKE A CHILD BEING REPRIMENDED BY HIS TEACHER.

THERE WAS AN EDGE BY THE MIDDLE OF THE DOOR WERE I WOULD STEP  AND REACH HIGHER AND LOOK OUT THE LITTLE HOLE WHEN THE GUARDS PASSED BY ON THEIR WAY BACK FROM BRINGING A PRISONER TOWARDS “THE ROOM”.  I COULD LOOK AND SEE THE FACES OF THE OTHER  PRISONERS.  THE GUARDS, MOST OF THEM TALL, WOULD WALK PAST ME SO CLOSE I COULD SPIT ON THEIR EAR.

ONE DAY THEY CAME AND TOOK A PALE OLD MAN WITH GREY HAIR AND A BENT BACK.
HE WAS SHORT AND WEAK.IT WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE SIX GUARDS, WERE THE MAXIMUM NUMBER I HAD SEEN COME TO GET A PRISONER.

HE WAS IMPORTANT, I THOUGHT.

AFTER THE USUAL QUESTION –ANSWER DIALOGUE THE INTERROGATOR YELLED TO THE GUARDS TO BEGIN.

THERE WAS NO SOUND OF FALAKAS THIS TIME SO I GOT MY EAR CLOSER TO THE HOLE.  I COULD ONLY HEAR THE OLD MAN HUMMING IN A SUPPRESSED WAY.
ONLY HUMMING AND YELLS.

BUT NO FALAKA SOUND!

THEY DID THIS FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES AND THEN SOMEONE SAID, “TURN IT OFF AND TAKE HIM BACK”.
MY HEART FROZE. I REALIZED WALEED HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS ONE.

I STEPPED DOWN QUICKLY, GOT UNDER MY BLANKET IN THE GROUND AND NEVER AGAIN WENT BACK UP THERE.
ABOUT FORTY DAYS LATER THEY TOOK ME TO AN OFFICE OUTSIDE THE BUILDING.  I HAD NOT SEEN THE SUN IN AS MANY DAYS.  MY EYES HURT FOR A LITLE WHILE AND THE FRESH SPRING BREEZE, THOUGH COLD, FELT GOOD.
WE CROSSED THE WHOLE CAMP AND AS SOON AS I WALKED IN, SOMEONE SLAPPED ME.

THEN SURPRISINGLY HE TOOK OFF THE BLINDFOLD OFF MY FACE AND SAID “YOU THINK WE ARE SCARED OF YOU??!!”
HE WAS SHORTER AND OLDER THAN I THOUGHT. HE HAD A MOUSTACHE AND WAS LOOSING HIS HAIR. AS HE WALKED AROUND WITH HIS HANDS IN HIS BACK HE EXPLAINED HE WAS ON VACATION AND THAT HE HAD NOT FORGOTTEN HIS DUTIES.
LOOKING ON THE GROUND HE SAID “BEFORE, YOU TOLD ME YOU WENT TO COLOMBIA AND SOLD YOUR FATHERS HOUSE… GIVE ME SOME OF THAT MONEY AND WE WILL FORGET ABOUT THE WHOLE ISSUE”.

I SUSPECTED IT WASNT MONEY HE WANTED BUT A CONFESSION SO MY ANSWER WAS NO.

HE  WALKED AROUND WITH HIS HANDS BEHIND HIS BACK AS HE SPOKE, AND EVEY TWO MINUTES OR SO HE WOULD COME CLOSER IN A THREATENING MANNER AS IF HE WAS GOING TO SLAP ME AGAIN.

SUDDENLY HE SAID; “YOU ARE AN ISRAELI SPY”.. HE SURPRISED ME WITH THIS ONE. I SAID,  “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” “TELL ME THE REASON YOU CAME INTO THIS COUNTRY!!!”. “I ALREADY EXPLAINED THIS ..I CAME FROM THE U.S. TO JORDAN WHERE MY FAMILY LIVES AND LATER INTENDED TO VISIT RELATIVES IN THE WEST BANK. BUT BECAUSE I WENT INTO JORDAN USING MY JORDANIAN PASSPORT THE JORDANIAN BORDER PEOPLE WOULDN’T LET ME GO IN  USING MY SECOND PASSPORT, A COLOMBIAN ONE… I HAVE A COLOMBIAN PASSPORT BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE I WAS BORN… THE ISRAELIS GIVE ALL FOREIGNERS A THREE MONTHS VISITORS VISA AT THE BORDER. BUT JORDAN SAID NO BECAUSE I HAD ENTERED JORDAN AS A JORDANIAN.

JORDANIANS NEED TO GET A VISA AT THE ISRAELI EMBASSY IN AMMAN, THE CAPITAL.

IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO DO THIS BECAUSE THERE ARE LONG LINES. .WHEN I TRIED TO TRAVEL USING THE COLOMBIAN PASSPORT THEY SUGGESTED I LEAVE THE COUNTRY AND COME BACK AS A COLOMBIAN. THAT’S WHY I CAME TO YOUR COUNTRY. TO COME IN AND BACK  INTO JORDAN USING THE COLOMBIAN PASSPORT. .. I DIDN’T COME INTO YOUR COUNTRY TO STAY…”

“YOU ARE A MOSSAD AGENT, YOU SONOFABITCH!!” “ABU ALI!!” HE YELLED OUT.

A LARGE GUY WITH A THICK MOUSTACHE CAME IN AND THE OFFICER ORDERED HIM….. “IYILDU!” IT MEANS, “SKIN HIM” .. A COLD RAIN HAD BEGUN.  ABU ALI TOOK ME TO “AL DULAB”.

THAT’S THE PLACE WERE MOST OF THE FALAKA AND OTHER AMUSEMENTS GO ON. “AL DULAB” IS ACTUALLY ANOTHER METHOD OF PERSUASION. THEY STICK YOUR LEGS AND ARMS IN A SMALL TIRE, TURN IT OVER AND HIT YOUR FEET WITH CABLE WIRES. ABU ALI, AN EXPERT, DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THIS.

HE THREW ME ON THE WET GROUND AND BROUGHT HIS OWN FALAKA, A LARGER, THICKER STICK.

HE HIT ME A COUPLE OF TIMES AND THE LAST ONE LANDED ON THE BIG BONE RIGHT NEXT TO THE FAT TOE. THAT ONE REALLY HURTAND I THOUGHT, “THAT’S IT “I LIFTED MY ARMS UP AND SAID “TAKE ME BACK TO HIM”
“ARE YOU READY TO TALK?”

“YES, I AM”

WHEN WE WENT BACK TO THE OFFICE HE WAS ON THE PHONE CALMLY TELLING SOMEONE “MASHA ALLAH, THIS RAIN IS SO GREAT”.

HE KEPT TALKING WHEN ABU ALI  WALKED ME IN, THEN ABOUT TEN MINUTES LATER HE HUNG UP THE PHONE AND CASUALLY SAID, “SO, ARE YOU READY TO TALK?”
“YES, SIR” CAME MY REPLY.

“ARE YOU AN ISRAELI SPY?”

“YES SIR I AM”

“AND A DRUG DEALER?”

“YES, YES”

“VERY WELL, THEN, TAKE HIM, GIVE HIM  SOME PAPER AND A PEN SO HE CAN WRITE THE TRUTH AND THEN HAVE HIM SIGN IT.. OH.. AND DON’T LET ANYONE BOTHER HIM” “I CANT WRITE ARABIC” I SAID, “IT DOESN’T MATTER, THIS BRAVE NATION IS FILLED WITH TRANSLATORS”.
AFTER WE CROSSED THE CAMP BACK TO THE BUILDING  I SAT IN THE INTERROGATION OFFICE AND WROTE IN ENGLISH.
I WROTE A BUNCH OF STUFF ALL MADE UP.  THE MORE FANTASTIC, THE BETTER, I THOUGHT.  MAYBE THEY HUNG ME RIGHT AWAY AND THIS NIGHTMARE WILL BE OVER WITH QUICKLY.

SINCE I HAD ALSO “ADMITTED” TO HIM THAT I WAS AN ISRAELI SPY,  I HAD SOME TROUBLE WRITING ABOUT IT. WHAT COULD I SAY?

WHAT HAD I COME HERE FOR?

WHAT ABOUT CONTACTS?

WOULD THINGS GET MORE COMPLICATED?

I WROTE I HAD COME TO COUNT HOW MANY TANKS WERE

THERE  BETWEEN THE CAPITAL AND THE AIRPORT. I ALSO WROTE I HAD BEEN TRAINED IN ALABAMA AND THAT WE HAD BEEN FLOWN IN HELICOPTERS FROM ORLANDO TO SACRAMENTO, NO STOPS.

I SIGNED IT AND HANDED IT TO ABU ALI WHO WAS STANDING THERE WITH HIS CROSSED ARMS RESEMBLING THE GENIE FROM ALLADIN.

HE TURNED ME IN TO THE OTHER GUARDS AND WENT AWAY BACK TO HIS COMMANDER.
BACK IN THE CELL I FIGURED IT ALL OUT.

HOW COULD I BE SO STUPID?
I HAD A FRIEND IN THE ARMY BACK IN 1980 AND HIS NAME WAS MOHAMED AHMED KHALAF HUSSEIN.  BUT THE OFFICER KEPT ASKING ME ABOUT HUSSEIN AHMED KHALAF HUSSEIN.
THEN I REMEMBERED THAT I HAD BEEN TO HIS HOUSE THIS LAST TRIP TO JORDAN TO VISIT AND ASK ABOUT HIM.

I HAD SEEN HIS BROTHER. HIS BROTHER´S NAME WAS HUSSEIN.
WHEN I ASKED HUSSEIN ABOUT MOHAMMED  HE TOLD ME THAT HIS BROTHER HAD DISSAPEARED A FEW YEARS BACK AND THAT HE SUSPECTED HE WAS IN EITHER  IRAQ OR SYRIA.
HE HAD ALSO TOLD ME THAT MOHAMMED HAD STOLEN HIS PASSPORT  BECAUSE IT HAD A VISA TO THE U.S.
I REMEMBERED ALL THIS AND THEN KNEW WERE MOHAMMED WAS!

IT WAS MOHAMED WHO WAS IN JAIL AND HE HAD FOOLED THEM INTO CONTINUING TO BELIEVE HE WAS HUSSEIN WHEN THEY GOT HIM. THEY DIDNT FIGURE OUT THE PASSPORT WASN’T HIS.

AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF FALSE DOCUMENTS WOULD MAKE THINGS EVEN WORSE FOR HIM.
BUT WHY HAD THEY ARRESTED HIM?

AND MORE IMPORTANT…

¿WHAT DID I HAVE TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS?

AND HOW HAD MY NAME END UP AT THE BORDER?

THAT NIGHT, NIGHT NUMBER 55 OR SO I WAS TAKEN OUT OF THE BUILDING AGAIN, BUT FOR THE FIRST TIME THEY PLACED HANDCUFFS ON ME.

THREE GUARDS TOOK ME OUTSIDE AND TO THE LEFT.

IT WAS IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION OF THE OTHER OFFICE. THEN WE WALKED INTO THE ONLY FOUR STORY BUILDING IN THE COMPOUND AND UP THE STAIRS. WE WENT TO THE THIRD FLOOR AND THE GUARD MADE ME FACE THE WALL WHILE WE WAITED FOR AN ORDER FROM INSIDE FOR ME TO BE BROUGHT IN.
I FIGURED THIS WAS SOMEONE IMPORTANT WE WERE GOING TO SEE.  THE CHIEF HIMSELF PROBABLY.
I WAS EXCITED BECAUSE I HAD A DIM HOPE THIS PERSON INSIDE HAD MORE SENSES THAN THE ONES I HAD MET UNTIL NOW. I HAD A STRANGE URGE TO URINATE ON MYSELF.
THEN THE ORDER CAME OUT AND I WAS BROUGHT IN.
SOMEONE VERY LARGE MOVED IN HIS CHAIR AS IF CROSSING HIS LEGS, THE CHAIR SQUEEQED AS HE TRIED FOR A BETTER POSITION AND HIS VOICE CAME OUT “SIT HIM DOWN”. THEN A STRONG, AUTHORITARIAN YET RELAXED VOICE SAID..

“WHAT IS THIS I AM READING, SON”

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SIR”.

“THIS, YOUR CONFESSION. I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU A PIECE OF ADVISE, DON’T OPEN DOORS TO PLACES WHERE YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO COME BACK OUT FROM LATER, I WANT THE TRUTH”.

“SIR, I TOLD THEM  THE TRUTH AND THEY BEAT ME. THEN I TOLD THEM LIES AND THEY BEAT ME, WHAT AM I TO DO?”

“TELL ME THE TRUTH”.

“THE TRUTH IS SIR, I HAVE BEEN AWAY TO AMERICA FOR ALL THIS TIME. SINCE 1985 UNTIL TODAY.
“ I WAS NOT  INVOLVED IN NONE OF THE EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE, WHATEVER THEY WERE” …THIS MAN YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT, IF HE IS STILL AROUND, SERVED THE ARMY WITH ME AND WAS A FRIEND OF MINE FOR THE TWO YEARS WE SERVED THE ARMY”

“WE WENT OUT TOGETHER DURING THE TWO DAYS BREAKS WE GOT EVERY WEEKEND”

“AND THAT’S WHY HE REMEMBERS MY NAME AND LAST NAME, BECAUSE THEY READ THEM OUT LOUDLY WHEN THE CLERKS HAND OUT THE PERMIT SLIPS”

“AND BY THE WAY THE ONE YOU GOT IS NOT HUSSEIN BUT MOHAMED. MOHAMED STOLE HIS BROTHERS PASSPORT BEFORE HE WAS CAUGHT DOING WHATEVER HE WAS DOING”.

“IN OTHE WORDS, HE HAS BEEN FOOLING YOU ALL THE TIME HE HAS BEEN IN JAIL”

HE WENT CRAZY WHEN I SAID THIS.

“SHUT UP” “NO ONE FOOLS US!”

”EXPLAIN THIS AGAIN, BUT REMEMBER IF WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS A LIE I WILL HANG YOU MYSELF!”
THEN I SAID…

“IF YOU WOULD GIVE ME ONE PHONE CALL I WILL HAVE MY FAMILY IN JORDAN BRING MY COLLEGE DOCUMENTS THAT WILL PROVE I WAS NOT IN THE MIDDLE EAST AT THE TIME”.

AFTER I EXPLAINED MY HIPOTHESIS AGAIN, HE SAID..

“THAT WILL NOT BE NECESSARY,WHY DIDNT YOU TELL THE INTERROGATING OFFICER THIS”? HE ASKED MOVING AGAIN IN HIS CHAIR.

“HE NEVER LET ME SPEAK OUT, BESIDES HE WAS ASKING ME ABOUT A NAME I COULDN’T  REMEMBER”

“LIKE I SAID, IF  WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS A LIE, I WILL HURT YOU..I AM GOING TO BRING HIM AND FIND OUT ..TAKE HIM AWAY”..

BACK IN MY CELL  THE GUARD WHO ALLWAYS KEPT ASKING ME FOR MY JACKET,  OPENED THE DOOR AND TOLD ME I WAS GETTING OUT VERY SOON•”

I DIDN’T BELIEVE HIM AND WHEN HE WENT AWAY TEARS ROLLED DOWN MY CHEEKS..

THE FACT THAT I HAD BEEN TAKEN TO THE BIG GUY OFFICE ONLY MEANT THAT THE CASE WAS BEING RUSHED FROM OUTSIDE AND IT GAVE ME SOME HOPE.

THE NEXT DAY I WAS TAKEN TO A ROOM  WHERE A DIFFERENT OFFICER TOLD ME TO STAND QUITE THEN MOHAMMED WAS  BROUGHT IN.

I HAD LEARNT TO LOOK FROM THE SIDE OF THE BLINDFOLD AND SAW HIM.

HE WAS IN HIS UNDERWEARS. HE WAS SHIVERING AND WET.

THE OFFICER ASKED HIM:

“SO, THIS GUY, WAS HE INVOLVED WITH THE DRUGS CAUGHT ON YOU?”

“NO SIR, THE GUY´S NAME IS AHMED MOHAMED HAMDAN AND HE IS FROM IRBID”.

“VERY WELL, TAKE HIM AWAY”.

WHEN THEY BROUGHT ME BACK INTO MY CELL  I FOUND A GUY LAYING THERE. HE WAS OLDER  I DIDN’T KNOW HE WAS AND SINCE  I WASN’T ADMITTING TO ANYTHING WRONG I TOLD HIM EVERYTHING.. IF HE WERE A SNITCH IT WOULD ACTUALLY HELP ME, I THOUGHT.

UPON FINISHING MY STORY WITH ALL THE DETAILS, HE SAID “YOU WILL BE OUT SOON” I DIDNT BELIEVE HIM.
“WHAT ABOUT YOU?” I ASKED HIM.

HE TOLD ME HE WAS A SARGENT WHO HAD LOST HIS ARMY ISSUED RIFLE AND THEY HAD BROUGHT HIM FOR QUESTIONING. HE SAID IT HAPPENS OFTEN, GUNS AMMUNITION AND RIFLES ARE STOLEN AND SOLD IN THE BLACK MARKET IN LEBANON.

I  COMPLAINED ABOUT THE BEATINGS, HE ADMITTED THAT SADLY THAT WAS THE SITUATION IN HIS COUNTRY. HE ASKED ME TO COME TO HIS COUNTRY ANYTIME IN THE FUTURE AND THAT I COULD STAY IN HIS HOUSE. ALL THIS HE SAID IN AN APOLOGETIC MANNER.

HE SAID HE SERVED VERY NEAR THIS COMPOUND AND THAT ALL THE GUARDS KNEW HIM.
I ASKED HIM ABOUT THE BIG GUY IN THE THIRD FLOOR.

HE TOLD ME HE WAS A VERY EDUCATED OFFICER WHO READ ALL THE TIME AND THAT IF THE CASE HAD REACHED HIM IT WOULD BE SOLVED SOON.

I NOTICED THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THEY TREATED US INMEDIATELY BECAUSE OF HIS PRESENCE IN MY CELL.
HE ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO TAKE A SHOWER. I LAUGHED WHEN I HEARD THIS.

A GUARD CAME TO THE DOOR AND I BEGUN TO GET UP. HE HELD ME DOWN AND TOLD ME NOT TO WORRY ABOUT THAT. THE GUARD THAT CAME IN SHOOK HIS HAND. THEY SPOKE WITH A STRONG ACCENT, I COULD BARELY UNDERSTAND.

HE ASKED HIM TO TAKE ME TO THE SHOWER AND FOR THE FIRST TIME I TOOK A HOT SHOWER. WHEN I CAME BACK THE GUARD HAD BROUGHT TEA. THEN HE BROUGHT ORANGES.

I RECALL THE FEELING I GOT FROM AN ORANGE I ATE. I PLAYED WITH IT AND  KEPT SMELLING ITS AROMA. I TWISTED, FELT IT AND MADE LOVE TO IT FOR ABOUT TWO  HOURS BEFORE I ATE IT SLOWLY. THE TASTE OF THE CREATION..

THEN CIGARRETES WERE BROUGHT IN I SMOKED ONE AND REMEMBERED THE MOVIE WERE DANNY DE VITO SMOKES  ONE AT THE END OF THE MOVIE THE “WAR OF THE ROSES”.

DAY FIFTY-NINE AT EIGHT P.M. A GUARD OPENED THE DOOR AND ASKED ME TO PUT ON MY JACKET.
ABU HUSSEIN GAVE ME A HUG AND TOLD ME I WAS GOING HOME.

I DIDN’T BELIEVE HIM.

I WALKED OUT WERE THE GUARDS SITTING ROOM WAS.  THE SARGENT  HANDED ME MY BELONGINGS WHILE TELLING ME  TO CHECK THEM.. THE ISRAELI,  AMERICAN AND  JORDANIAN MONEY WAS STILL IN THERE. THE COLOMBIAN AND  JORDANIAN PASSPORTS.

AND THE ISRAELI PHONE CARD WITH THE PICTURE OF KING HUSSEIN AND ISSAC RABIN SMOKING CIGARRETTES.
“IS EVERYTHING IN THERE?”

“YES, SIR”

“NOW FOLLOW THE ROAD AND WALK OUT THE MAIN DOOR”

“AND ANOTHER THING DON’T LEAVE THE COUNTRY FOR A FEW DAYS UNTIL WE CLEAR YOUR NAME AT THE BORDER, OTHERWISE THEY WILL BRING YOU BACK HERE AGAIN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

“YES SIR” I SAID.

“AND NEVER, EVER COME BACK TO THIS COUNTRY AGAIN”

THAT SENTENCE I FOUND UNNECESSARY.

WHEN WE WALKED OUT ONE OF THE GUYS TOLD ME  HE WAS GOING DOWNTOWN AND HE WOULD LEAD ME THERE.
WE WAITED ON THE ROAD AND HE PAID THE BUS FARE.

WHEN WE GOT OUT I TOLD HIM I WAS STILL AFRAID THEY WOULD FOLLOW ME. HE SAID, “DON’T WORRY, IF THEY WANTED A SHRED OF HAIR OF INFORMATION FROM YOU,  YOU WOULDN’T BE OUT HERE”.  AND THEN HE DISAPPEARED. THERE ARE SEVERAL HOTELS AT “AL MARJE SQUARE”. I PICKED ONE AND WENT IN. THE OWNER GOT ME A ROOM AND AN “ABRIK” OF TEA. I ALSO ASKED FOR A PACK OF MARLBORO´S.

I TOLD HIM MY STORY AND ASKED HIM THAT I WANTED TO CALL HOME.

I DIALED THE NUMBER AND AFTER A COUPLE OF RINGS MY MOM ANSWERED THE PHONE.. I SAID “ MOM ITS ME, I AM OUT”

MY MOTHER COULDN’T STOP REPEATING MY NAME BECAUSE SHE COULDNT BELIEVE SHE WAS HEARING MY VOICE.
“I AM OUT AND EVERY THING IS O.K., PLEASE MOM, CALM DOWN”.

“WHERE ARE YOU”

I GAVE HER THE NAME OF THE HOTEL AND SAVED THE DETAILS FOR LATER. THEN I WENT TO MY CHEAP HOTEL ROOM WICH FELT LIKE STAYING AT A HILTON.

THE NEXT DAY, I KEPT  WAITING AND LOOKING EXPECTANTLY,  UNTIL I SPOTTED THEM.

I MET THEM RIGHT BY THE ENTRANCE TO THE HOTEL.

MY MOTHER HAD LOST MORE WEIGHT THAN I HAD.. SHE COULDN’T HELP IT AND SHE GOT ON HER KNEES SO DID MY YOUNGER BROTHER AND  I. WE EMBRACED AND AFTER THIS EMOTIONAL ENCOUNTER WE LOOKED FOR A BETTER HOTEL AND BEGUN MAKING INQUIRES ON HOW TO ACELERATE THE PROCESS OF GETTING MY NAME CLEARED AT THE BORDER.

MY FAMILY HAD CROSSED THE BORDER FIVE TIMES LOOKING FOR ME.  EVERY TIME MY MOTHER WENT SOME WHERE THEY WOULD SEND HER TO A DIFERENT PLACE.  SHE EVEN WENT TO THREE OTHER CITIES.
WHEN I MENTIONED THE NAME OF THE PLACE WHERE I HAD BEEN MY BROTHER SWORE HE HAD BEEN TO THAT PLACE TWO TIMES.

THE NEXT DAY WE WENT TO THE MAIN POLICE DEPARTMENT.

WE COULDN’T SEE THE COMMANDER BECAUSE HE WAS A “VERY BUSY” MAN.

THEY TOOK MY PASSPORT. LATER, WHEN WE ASKED FOR IT IT  HAD MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED.
EVERY MORNING I WENT THERE AND ASKED ABOUT MY SITUATION. NOTHING.

NO BODY KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT THE PASSPORT AND IF THE NAME HAD BEEN CLEARED.

FINALLY WE WENT TO VISIT AN OLDER LADY WHOSE NAME HAD BEEN GIVEN TO MY MOM IN AMMAN TOLD US WE HAD BEEN TO THE WRONG PLACE AND THAT THIS PEOPLE WERE JUST PLAYING GAMES..

EVERY TIME I WALKED INTO THE POLICE STATION THE POLICEMEN WOULD START ASKING ME FOR CIGARRETES AND ONE TIME ONE OF THEM EVEN TOOK THE WHOLE PACK.

WE ASKED THE OLD LADY WHAT TO DO AND SHE SAID WE NEEDED TO FIND A “WASTA” OR INTERMEDIARY WHO COULD  HANDLE THE CASE THRU MILITARY CHANNELS.

MY MOM REMEMBER THAT THE CHOFER WHO BROUGHT HER FROM AMMAN HAD TOLD HER HE KNEW SOMEONE AND HOPING HE WASN’T LYING TOO WE WENT AND LOOKED FOR HIM AT THE TERMINAL. LUCKILY HE HAD JUST COME BACK FROM ONE HIS TRIPS. HE INMEDIATELY TOOK US TO A MAN WHO OWNED A STORE.

WE EXPLAINED  THE SITUATION AND THE MAN TOOK ME TO A MILITARY
BUILDING WHERE WE MET A COLONEL.

THE COLONEL CALLED THE BORDER POLICE WHO TOLD HIM THE MILITARY MAIL HAD ARRIVED AND THAT MY NAME WAS CLEAR.

NOW,  WE NEEDED THE PASSPORT. WE WALKED TO THE POLICE STATION AND THE STORE OWNER WALKED STRAIGHT TO THE GUY BEHIND THE DESK WHO HAD TAKEN THE PASSPORT.  HE  OPENED A LOWER DRAWER
AND MAGICALLY MY PASSPORT APPEARED. IT HAD BEEN SITTING THERE ALL THAT TIME.

THIS GUY, THE STORE OWNER WAS NOT ONLY IN THE “PARTY” BUT WAS “ALAWI”,  THE RULING SECT IN THIS COUNTRY. THE PRESIDENT AND ALL THE HIGH SENSITIVE GOVERNMENT POSITIONS ARE HELD BY “ALAWITES”.
HE TOLD US TO SEND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS WITH THE DRIVER WHEN WE GOT TO AMMAN. THIS WAS A VERY HIGH NUMBER BUT WE WERE TIRED OF ALL THIS AND JUST WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE.

THE NEXT DAY AT THE BORDER  I HELD MY BREATH WHILE THE OFFICER AT THE EMIGRATION OFFICE WENT UPSTAIRS TO CHECK.

AS WE BEGUN GETTING AWAY TOWARDS JORDAN  I KEPT LOOKING BACK STILL AFRAID.

AT THE JORDANIAN BORDER I WALKED INTO THE EMIGRATION-INTELIGENCE SERVICES OFFICE THE OFFICER THERE ASKED ME WHAT HAD I HAD BEEN DOING NEXT DOOR I SIMPLY ANSWERED “VACATIONS”.
WHEN IT WAS MY BROTHERS TURN AND HE WAS ASKED TO EMPTY ALL HIS POCKETS, THE OFFICER NOTICED A COPY OF THE CLEARANCE TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY NEXT DOOR.

THE OFFICER ASKED HIM “WHOSE IS THIS?”

MY BROTHER HAD TO TELL HIM “ITS MY BROTHERS”

THE OFFICER CALLED ME BACK IN, TOOK MY PASSPORT AND SAID, “YOU ARE TO PRESENT YOURSELVE TO THE JORDANIAN INTELIGENCE SERVICES AS SOON AS YOU GET TO AMMAN”

“GO ON, GET OUT OF HERE,” HE SAID,

“ YOU ARE LUCKY I AM IN A GOOD MOOD OTHERWISE I WOULD ARREST YOU FOR LYING”.

THIS ISSUE WAS SOLVED BY “WASTA” IN AMMAN.

I MET MOHAMED A FEW YEARS LATER AND HE BEGUN CRYING.

HE TOLD ME HE HAD MY FULL NAME WITH PLACE OF BIRHT IN HIS AGENDA.

HE EXPLAINED THAT BECAUSE HE HAD WRITEN “FROM  COLOMBIA” IN IT THE INTERROGATOR INSISTED THAT THIS WAS AN INTERNATIONAL CELL AND THAT I WAS THE MAIN GUY. HE TOLD ME THEY BEAT HIM SO MUCH HE HAD TO AGREE WITH THE STORY.

BESIDES, HE THOUGHT I WOULD NEVER COME BACK FROM THE STATES.

HE TOLD ME HOW HE HAD BEEN DESPERATE TO GET OUT OF JORDAN AND WHEN SOMEONE OFFERED HIM TO TRANSPORT A KILO OF HEROIN TO TRIPOLI IN LIBIA FOR FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS HE AGREED.
HE FIRST STOLE THE PASSPORT WITH A VISA TO THE U.S. HE PLANNED TO MOVE THERE AND START A NEW LIFE.
HE SAID IF IT HAD BEEN ME UNDER THEIR HANDS I WOULD HAVE DIED.
I BELIEVED HIM FROM HIS TEARS.

I HAD NEVER SEEN MOHAMED CRY BEFORE. I BELIEVED HIM.  HE HAD BEEN BLESSED WITH A VERY STRONG BODY.
I IMAGINED HOW HARD THEY HAD BEEN ON HIM SINCE HE WAS ACTUALLY CAUGHT RED HANDED.
A MONTH OR SO LATER THE JORDANIAN GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO CHANGE THE RULE.

YOU COULD NOW GO INTO ISRAEL FROM JORDAN REGARDLESS WETHER YOU HAD COME IN AS A JORDANIAN OR AS A FOREIGNER AS LONG AS YOU HELD DUAL CITICENSHIP.

Author Details
G M
This is a general posting account for VT
ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy

Comments are closed.