Feb 23 2016

iGCSE Component 2- Transformation

Can you smell that?  The lilac? I’ve always found that it got up my nose, this morning especially.  As I made my way down Palestine Street, I couldn’t stop thinking about my wife. It’s the lilac. Her soothing voice. Her loving personality.

Deep in thought, I bumped into two blind men. They were dressed in worn out black rags, badly woven, their feet tired and arms saggy. It seemed their only footwear were a pair of dirty brown, battered sandals. Next to them lay a half eaten apple, one dinar and two decaying loaves of bread. As flying insects passed the two men, they stopped and swarmed around them.

“Sorry, I didn’t see you there,” I said.

Instead of speaking, they beckoned me over, letting out a chesty croak. Interested, I obeyed and sat beside them. “Bring me your hand,” one of the men mumbled, but started coughing viciously.

I patted his back and as I held out my hand, his hand was grey and ashy. It looked aged and tired. He studied my face. “You’re a foreigner aren’t you,” said the other man.

“Yes, yes I am,” I responded as my face started to burn in embarrassment. “H-how did you know”, I said slowly.

“Oh, just a lucky guess I suppose”, said the man, as he revealed their golden yellow teeth. Seeing the golden yellow shine, I reached into my pockets and pulled out two jet black dinars. Then the black dinars smashed onto the ground. One of the men aggressively smacked the dinars out of my hand. My mouth open wide, hands trembling. “How dare you,” screamed the man but tears streamed down his face.

What should I do? I just met these people, I thought to myself. I slowly picked up the dinars and looked around Palestine Street. Sounds of joyous shouts and cheers could be heard as a vibrant party was in full flow. Exotic yellow and purple infiltrated the air as smoke machines caused a colourful catastrophe. Yet I was here, on the hard floor, apologising and consolidating.

Time slowly passed as me and the calm man had to calm the sad man down. “I’m a journalist, reporting the events in Iraq,” I explained. Both beggars stood up and in perfect synchronisation, with swift, precise movement, and with excellent execution performed the salute of the Imperial Guards. A tear scrolled down my left eye. Pride and war exploded right at me. I could feel the pain and desperation from the salute. Cries from fighting soldiers and crying mothers could be heard. Now I remember. I recently interviewed a former member of Boko Haram. They described to me the horrendous acts they committed to the innocent Nigerian citizens; murdering, beating and… As my train of thought was chugging along, one of the men interrupted me. “We’ve seen brain blown to bits, innocent bystanders brutally murdered and vulnerable, young women raped. At times we… we were committing these despicable crimes.” His eyes grew closer and closer to gravity as he spoke.

Varying thoughts were swirling across my mind. Who, what, how did they know? Are these men spirits?

“We were private guards for Saddam Hussein”, the one of the men said. I gasped. Silence. 30 seconds passed. I broke the silence and asked why. As I asked, one of the mysterious men, stood up and came close to me, breathed heavily, their breath foul and said softly, “money, power and women; that’s all we wanted.” They didn’t look me in the eye, their piercing eyes, filled with shame.