Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Little Woman in a Red Cardi

I was so angry last night. 
I couldn't sleep, and so I picked up my phone which was charging on the table beside my bed. I opened Facebook and then I came across a clip filmed from someone's phone. It showed a sordid scene. Beside a roadside was a little, round, inoffensive-seeming woman wearing a bright red cardigan. She was standing next to a low concrete wall, and seemed to be pleading with one of the several people standing over her. It was impossible to hear her words, the audio was all music and a man singing a prayer maybe in Arabic or some other Eastern language maybe, I don't know. There was dirty, scuffed snow, and pavement, and rather scruffy-looking men, all bigger and stronger and taller than her; they were standing around holding up their phones and filming her in her distress. 
She slumps down to a sitting position, her back still leaning against the wall. The men are waiting to film her death, they are recording it so they can upload it to social media. I thought, surely not, this is a joke this is not going to happen, but I couldn't stop watching, 
I wanted to see it not happen. I wanted to find out that she would be rescued, like in a novel or a movie, when a saviour might come, and while I am thinking these things, without any fanfare, without any warning at all, a man stepped forward from beside her on the footpath, and quite casually, he shot her in the side of her head, and she rolled sideways from the pavement onto the road, this ordinary little woman, entirely dead in her bright red cardigan.
I was so shocked. I was so angry at the banality of her death, at the way she was treated like a nothing, not even deserving of a bit of ceremony. I hated this world right then, and I hated those men, all men right then, and I hated everything in this world that allowed, nay, ensured, that this is our world, the world of patriarchy and murder, of viciousness and brutality, of violence.
Someone whose name I cannot read wrote a comment which said, "behind this roundabout there is a small building and an old landed (Arabic) house, my childhood is buried there, we were departed from there, the FSA departed our family along with a few hundreds more families (now most of them are besieged in Fua and Kefafaria), and hang their green flag on our building ... later FSA was kicked by Annusra who killed this lady (I don't know what is the actual reason) she just asked them to see her sons before she dies ... they didn't wait."
She just asked them to see her sons before she dies...
She was a mother of sons like me. Just an ordinary little woman in a red cardi.


  1. Getting rid of your anger by writing is positive. It's healthier than bottling it up.

    The person whose name you couldn't read is from Idlib, and from there he fled to Aleppo to get away from the terrorists.

    I wanted to write a story to that video. But when I tried, the image of a hundred thousand mothers and sisters killed until their blood rose in a wave, a flood, came to my mind. I am still going to write this when I can manage my emotions better.

    I love you, as you know.

    1. Thank you for coming here to share that extra information. I remain angry also. All those mothers and sisters, and daughters and sons who lost their mothers, they are all living in my mind too.

      The banality, the cruelty, the uncaring attitude of those men who, I suppose, would claim they were religious, righteous men got to me entirely. As I am sure everyone noticed.

      Anyway I will not forget her. Two of us are keeping her close. This is a good thing.

      And I love you too. Arohanui e hoa āttaahua.

    2. More of a shock to me, perhaps, than to the Americans who were commenting on your post. I was very hard on one of them I know but his flippancy was totally offensive. We don't even have the death penalty here for real criminals. Nor do our police normally carry guns except for special squads, although in extremity they can now get access to them if needed. Which they didn't used to be able to do. Kia ora.