Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Sad Man Of The Taliban

For children, some sins are unforgivable, unconfessable. In such a case, one must bury the sin deep inside - so deep that even the sinner does not know. But even then safety proves elusive; a mad dog stuffed into a closet barking and growling to be released - and will eat you alive in revenge. The terror is never far and the guilt a heavy weight. Can you keep the beast inside forever? It only grows angrier by the day. Gradually, all life is bent to barring the door shut.

Omar had such a sin. Worse, he wanted to curse Allah for this sin. "Why was I not made normal like other children? Life would be so easy if I had been! They say I must love Allah but how can I when this has been done to me?" The sin of Omar was truly unspeakable: he hated doing his daily prayers.

Prayer time for Omar was as to be on a bed of needles: never comfortable, always pointed, both movement and non-movement proving painful. No one else seems to have the problems he has. Outside of the calls to prayer Omar stayed in desperate denial, posing no problem on heeding the daily ritual for life. At times, even he would be confused on how anyone could have a problem with salat. But the answer was brutally provided each and every time by a sharp rejoinder of pain.

Omar just wanted to be free.

I got better things to do with my time!

Alone, isolated on his own island with endless water in every direction, what Omar did not realize was it was the world who was at fault, that the world committed sins unforgivable and unconfessable thus forcing him into silence; that mankind was nothing more than an endless series of knives held to throats in a perverse social contract of mutual despair waiting for that one wrong utterance that justifies the kill. But all Omar heard was "Praise be to Allah!" day after day. These must be good men who've created a good world, he assumed (and hoped). As for Allah, I hate the fucker.

Omar's anger became his best friend. True, it tortured him but only it understood - or even knew of - his pain. The anger was a silent partner in life's dealings, always getting its cut. Omar resented this but what could he do? If he ever confessed to his disdain of prayer the knife at his throat would slice him to pieces without hesitation and be called the will of Allah. How would he ever find respite or hope in this world?

Omar had no doubt he was a complete moral failure. How could anyone claim to love Allah while loathing the daily prayers? Even though it was mostly out of a sense of camaraderie, most others boys rushed off to salat as a valued social event. It was also an easy way to gain parental approval; the ability to buy the stairway to heaven the eternal seduction. But for Omar the choice was clear: prayer or his self-respect.

The shepherds knowingly led their flocks astray; betrayal their vampiric lifeblood. Yes, I know the evil I do but do they resist? That proves my righteousness! My evil deeds are blessed. "Praise be to Allah!" It is those furthest from God most in need to be seen of God, just as a traitor always speaks loudest for patriotism. The sheep, desperate to believe in the shepherds (despite evidence to the contrary), praise their deliverers to evil in hope of finding salvation. The day Omar realized the leaders were conscious of their evil changed him forever.

He knew he must become one of them.

Omar's ambitions - and fear of revelation - drove his zealotry. And from his zealotry flowed great praise. He was seen as a pillar of virtue, his eyes blazing with the fire of a true believer it was said. "Death to non-believers! To let one live is the same as letting a diseased cell remain in your body. Who would want that? We must purify ourselves if we are to live. Praise be to Allah!" So spoke the most diseased cell of all.

But none of this prevented the pain of daily prayers he so reviled, sticking in his gut like a burning rock. Blaming his misery on "infidels", the idea of coming clean faded from memory, vanished as even a hope; in fact, now a reviled fantasy met with sharp rebuke. Omar deluded himself this was "growing up". The frustration of his dishonesty only fueled his most ancient and dreaded fear, whose voice echoed louder every day: who could love a man such as he?

"No woman may leave her home unless escorted by a male relative. Education is for males only. What a man does in his own home is his own business, no woman can complain." On and on went the rules implemented by Omar, now top man among the deviants. Every time he felt the pang of insecurity a new rule was issued as if from divine providence. How else could he hope to keep a woman? How else could he hope to be deemed moral?

What Omar never knew was what he and his allies each had in common: a hatred of religion. Had Omar been a simple man with simple needs religious duties would be just another event during the day with no more significance than any other requirement for living on earth. But as one who needed to be free, he must be one who rose by sin or fell by virtue. He and his fellowship of fallen souls never spoke of which they wanted most. No rule, no rhetoric, no revision, however, could erase the sadness from their hearts

CODA: The two angels made their report: "Each one holds a knife on another. If any one speaks of what he truly wants his throat is immediately slit. They claim this is necessary to maintain order! It makes sense only in the twisted logic of a society based on a lie. And that only makes sense because they claim the truth will never work. In other words, the death they threaten to ensure life only ensures their death. If nothing is done, they all die. Will we intervene?"

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