THE ZARQA CAT
Note: this story is absolutely and completely fiction, and does not intend to depict any real persons or real life events. If it does, then it is unintentional and by sheer coincidence.
Amman - on a bus from Baq3a heading to Sweileh
Samir: "Let me tell you this joke .. there was once a cat from el-Zarqa. it fought against so many cats all over Jordan. No cat could defeat it. The Zarqa cat walked the streets with pride and arrogance, challenging the cats to duals, with no one to dare come near it. Until this one cat said to the Zarqa cat that there is an extremely furious cat in Somalia that no one can beat."
Samir: "So the Zarqa cat bursts into laughing ... 'a Somalian cat? hahahaha'. And so with nothing to do, the Zarqa cat decides to go to Somalia to meet this deadly cat that no one has ever taken down. So the Zarqa cat arrives to Somalia and meets the Somalian cat, which is laying on its side and looks like its about to faint. The Zarqa cat roars 'get up and fight me!', but the Somalian cat turns its head away ignoring the Zarqa cat and replies 'go get lost, i dont have time for you'. the Zarqa cat loses its temper and attacks ... but the Somalian cat, with one blow, strikes the Zarqa cat onto the curb almost killing it. the Zarqa cat is totally surprised and asks 'but how?' ... the Somalian cat replies 'I used to be a tiger, but the famine did this to me'."
Hasan: "I dont get it".
Samir: "What dont you get?"
Hasan: "What's so special about the cat being from Zarqa?"
Samir: "ah, you're not a local. Every person who lives in Jordan knows that the most furious and most savage men are from Zarqa. The guys in Zarqa will beat you up with chains and metal pipes for no reason other than being bored. No one messes with the guys from Zarqa".
[man interrupts ...]
Stranger: "excuse me to interrupt, but that's not true. I am from Zarqa, and the people there are kind and generous and loving. This is just a stereo-type, like the stereo-type that people from 6afeeleh are stupid, or that people from Khaleel (Hebron) have big and strong heads. So don't believe those rumors".
Samir: "Yes uncle, but you have to admit that the people in Zarqa are almost entirely Palestinian and poor to the dirt. Poverty and unemployment leads to aimless men screwing around and getting into meaningless fist fights".
Stranger: "That's just bullshit! Get this nonsense out of your heads. You can't generalize like this".
Hasan: "Uncle, you are entitled to your opinion but..."
[Samir interrupts Hasan...]
Samir: "I think we arrived ... we get off at this station. lets go. salam alaikum uncle"
Stranger: "wa-alaikum assalaam ... may God be with you".
[Hasan and Samir get off the bus and start walking under the hot sun]
Hasan: "Can we please take the taxi next time? That bus wasnt even air-conditioned, and people on it were smelly".
Samir: "Don't worry, we still have enough money to go back in a cab if we decide to skip ice-cream. let's just play the arcades and the babyfoot (foozball) and then we'll go back home".
Amman - Dhaahiyet Al-Rashid Police Station
Hamdan (Police Officer): "Tell me your name for the record".
Sajidah: "Sajidah Al-Rashaawee".
Hamdan: "hey Mas'ood, get her a towel to wipe the blood off her mouth".
Mas'ood: "Yes boss, right away".
Hamdan: "When did you come to Jordan?"
Sajidah: "Master ... I told you a hundred times already. I ran away from Iraq me and my husband and came to your kingdom as refugees just like the rest of the people who came here as refugees from Iraq. We couldnt get our passports as they have burned in the bombings..."
Hamdan: "Ok enough of this bullshit. Your husband is gone. Now do you want to see your sons or not?"
Sajidah: "Yes Master! By your honor, yes! Please let me see them!"
Hamdan: "Take the towel and wipe the blood off... drink some water. Ok good, stop sobbing now. I will let you see them, after you have done the interview. You will just read the script from the prompt. Do we understand each other?"
Sajidah: "I'll do the recording! Just let me see my sons!"
Hamdan: "You will see them after the recording. Now Mas'ood is going to lead you to the next room, where you will be filmed. Just follow his instructions and read the script verbatim..."
Sajidah: "Yes Master, whatever you want..."
Hamdan: "Dont interrupt me while I talk ... You will read the script verbatim. And stand up now ... Mas'ood is going to wrap a belt on you. When prompted, you will stand up and hold this wire, and spin around once, and you will sit down. And remember, read from the script verbatim. Once the recording is done, you will see your sons. Now, go".
Sajidah: "Oh Master, Let me kiss your hands ... thank you ... God bless you".
Hamdan: "Ok ok ... now go ... take her".
Amman - (two weeks later) - at a coffee shop in Sweileh.
Shakir: "For the love of God. Ahmad, come see this".
Ahmad: "What? ..."
Shakir: "Hushhhhh ... watch".
TV: "... the fourth suicide bomber has been apprehended only a few days after the terrorist attacks. She's Iraqi, and her name is Sajidah Al-Rashaawee. She was with her husband, both strapped in explosives and blew up the wedding at Ratisson Hotel, but her explosives did not work and she left running with the crowd. We have an exclusive interview with her as she confesses the exact details of the plan and the attack. And now to the interview...."
Ahmad: "I dont understand .. why the fuck would el Zarqawi target a Muslim wedding in Amman?"
Shakir (gazing into the TV set, and half absent minded): "I dont know ... There must have been Jews in that hotel, or even in the wedding".
Ahmad: "Abdallah! Another glass of tea! ... ya Shakir, this is just nonsense ... there is a conspiracy in all this"
Shakir: "Could we please talk about this after this Iraqi whore is done with her interview?"
Ahmad: "Ok fine".
[news interrupted with commercials]
Shakir: "Ok now why the hell would you think it's a conspiracy? I mean you do remember Iraqis attacking the Jordanian embassy in Iraq. Only because some Jordanian TV reporter referred to one of their terrorists as a martyr. And you'd think they would actually be happy that we refer to their terrorists as heroes!"
Ahmad: "That's my point you dumb ass. The Iraqi puppet government was the one who was so upset about the Jordanian reporter using the word martyr, and a day later, the Jordanian embassy is attacked by ... who? .. Zarqawi? Why would he be upset if we called his agents martyrs? He would be happy for that! And what happened after the attack on the Jordanian embassy, which was flaunted as Iraqi civilians expressing their anger over calling suicide bombers as martyrs, the Jordanian television and government apologized for using the word martyr, and now they just say suicide bomber or terrorist. Listen to yourself! You have used the word terrorist a hundred times already!"
Shakir: "Ok you're seriously screwed up. Why wouldn't you believe that Zarqawi attacked the hotels? And that this Iraqi bitch tried to blow herself up? Zarqawi himself confessed that he did it!"
Ahmad: "ya Shakir ya Shakir .. What fucking Zarqawi are you talking about? This guy is hidden in I dont know where, fighting against American troops. He leaves the battle ground in Iraq and sends four Iraqis to attack Muslim weddings in hotels in Jordan? ... And this Iraqi bitch ... Look at her face! Can she be any more convincing? She looks so numb .. she looks like my grandmother! not like a Zarqawi operative! .. I mean, she says she was running out of the hotel! ... Running? Does she look like she can even walk? ... But think about it this way ... what better way to make the Palestinians, in Jordan especially, change their view on suicide bombings and on promoting resistance against Israel and the US? Could you ever even dream of seeing a mass protest in Jordan, led by the government, protesting Zarqawi and what he stands for, namely, suicide bombings and 'terrorism'?"
Shakir: "Man, you and your fucking conspiracy theories".
Ahmad: "As long as there is chaos in Iraq, the Americans will have a reason to stay for the so-called security of the democracy or whatever shit like this".
Shakir: "As long as there is chaos in Iraq?!! Haha! Let me guess your next conspiracy theory ... 'Americans blow up the Shiite golden mosque and blame it on Zarqawi just to start a civil war' ... right?"
"Together with the international community, we will wage a war of ideas to make it clear that all acts of terrorism are illegitimate, to ensure that the conditions and ideologies that promote terrorism do not find fertile ground in any nation,"
- US Government's National Strategy for Combating Terrorism