• A Girl, A Gun, and A Plea

She shivered ever slightly as she stared down the barrel of an M-4 carbine, a shorter version of the M-16A2. The warmth of the grandpa’s embrace seemed heightened at that very moment as he kept muttering "La ilaha ill Allah" again and again with a nervous confidence under his breath, unsure of the language being screamed at him as his eyes blinked between the elongated seconds

What four year old must face this fate? Why is this man here and so mad at us? She was just asleep on grandpa’s round belly just seconds before the front door was kicked in by the mysterious man holding the long, cold, hard gun. There was no invite, nor did the man holding the gun feel a welcomed guest; propaganda had bought them to this point and only God knew what the written outcome would come to be.

It was three in the afternoon, only a half hour before the third prayer of the day, Asr, so, a nap was being taken by a grandfather and his beloved "hubub" which means cereal in Arabic. Grandpa called her that because ever since he could remember, she always wanted to share a bowl of cereal with him whenever she came to his place to visit. A large royal blue glass bowl sat on a adjacent table with a wooden spoon resting along the rim, remnants of Almond milk and sweet wheat remained; they had just finish sharing a bowl right before they napped.

"PUT YOUR HANDS UP, SCUM!" The man with the gun yelled as grandpa and hubub sat motionless at the base of the brown suede couch they’d just been startled off of. There was some radio traffic on the Motorola radio attached to his hip, the extended mic secured to the upper left breast of his desert camo colored fifty pound armour plated vest, which clung to his body like the moon to the night. He whispered something into it, turning his head to the right to complete the transmission, all while his hazel colored eyes brimmed red with rage. "I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU AGAIN, YOU PIECE OF ****, RAISE YOUR ****ING HANDS, NOW!" He screamed again, pointing the gun directly onto the forehead of hubub.

"la min fadlik, LA MIN FADLIK!" "No, please", grandpa was pleading in his native arabic tongue, as he saw death in the eyes of the man with the gun, ever tightening his embrace of the precious and only granddaughter he'd had.

"****ing Terrorists!" He yelled as he opened fire on them both. Nine shots.. Point blank range. Three into her, Six into him. They both fell on their right sides, bodies near each other, gone in a millisecond; two souls taken by a man they never knew, who never knew them, but hated them nonetheless.

He called in the incident, told his superiors he thought he had a gun, and feared for his life. Radio exchanges occurred. Others arrived on the property. The bodies viewed with no remorse, nor empathy, a cover story was established. The two people who died never existed. Instead... They became....what they became, who we all are told we are: enemies to the west. Muslims. Even those of us born and raised here... Nonetheless, the new boogie man.

National media picks up the story:

CNN headline reads: Two terrorists killed in Kholm, Afghanistan.

Fox News: US Military Hero kills two armed Terrorist in Afghanistan.

MSNBC: Terrorists, potentially armed, killed in a small town in Northern Afghanistan.

Grandpa was a retired pianist, whom had sent all of his children to college, two of which had graduated, with the youngest just beginning his first year of college. His oldest daughter, the mother of hubub, was an environmental lawyer and had bought hubub over earlier that morning because she had to go out and finish some last minute research in neighboring Gadi, for a case she was preparing. Grandpa was 70. Hubub, 4.

Grandpa was renowned for his kindness and generosity. Feeding a different homeless person everyday for lunch in his own home. He spent the last few years of retirement learning Qur’an, spending time with his granddaughter, and learning about pottery. He loved pottery because of the discipline and beauty it entailed and also the patience it required. It reminded him of life, in its most primitive state. But on this day, he had no life, hobbies, friends, goals, accomplishments, education, family, interests, nor heart. To the brainwashed, he was a terrorist.

Two days later, the same media outlets will admit the house raided was a mistake. Miscalculated coordinates. They were supposed to hit a town fifty miles east. Wrong intel. American’s don’t care, we killed some of them terrorists!

A month later, the man with the gun prepares to return home, armed with medals for Valor, Honor, and Sacrifice, a successful tour of duty according to those standards. He sits on the C5 heading west feeling uneasy, lost, and relieved, but happy to return home to his six year old daughter, and wife of two years.

More than anything, he was ready to see his loving grandfather and best friend who he affectionately called 'papa' whom he’d missed so much during his eight month tour. He walked through the airport in Baltimore and the people clapped for him.

They offer to buy him drinks. He's called a hero. They thanked him for fighting for his country and for their freedom. He shakes hands firmly and smiles and accepts the praise. They'll never know what he truly did.

On the flight from Baltimore to Boise, he couldn’t rest. Hadn’t rested very much in the last month. In the coming months he won’t be able sleep right, period. With that he’ll developed a ambien addiction and a drinking problem. The eleven lives he took while there, will begin haunting his dreams and his days.

Hubub always seems to be there right before he awakened in the morning....always saying "Salaam," which means Peace in Arabic, right before he pulls the trigger, killing her again. Before she falls, he always awakens in a panic filled sweat, knowing that his day will now begin as it had the last thirty: with her saying salaam. The word always haunted him. He found out what the word meant the first morning he awakened to the vision and it’s puzzled him ever since. "Why would she say peace to me....right before that...moment?

The plane lands and now, he must prepare to meet his family. He gets his "moment," walking out the gate at Boise International Airport, to a hero’s welcome. The local paper, The Idaho Statesman is there, along with his squadron, family and friends. He sees his wife and hugs and kisses her with passion and care. He nearly chokes his daughter by how hard he embraced her. She had never been more beautiful he thought. He has full on tears flowing by the time he gets to papa. They hug for what seems an eternity, he missed his friend.

Ironic, because some 7,040 miles away, a family was destroyed, with not even a care. No apologies, no avatar flags on social media, no justice for_________ insert name here, nothing. Just jingoism, and praise for those who’ve "killed the bad guys to keep us safe".

Yet, there sat an empty bowl on the same table, of the same house, where the same two people laughed and shared some Cereal together. A representation of not only a finished meal, but life in these parts of the Muslim world.

To those whom subscribe to the propaganda of western nations, these Muslim people don’t love, laugh, cry, read, teach, sleep, play, work, hang out and study like they do. They are portrayed as evil people who kill and should be killed. Thieves of freedom. We raid their towns and bomb their homes, making them refugees, yet, complain when they come asking for help…as refugees, treating them even worse.

I made up this short story sitting in class today, but just think how many thousands of innocent people and families this has actually happened too...

No apologies, no warning, no regard for their lives. They never get their moment.

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