ANOTHER COUNTRY BY M.M. Afrah
EXCLUSIVE TO BANADIR.COM
An extract from a new book by M.M. Afrah to be published
in Canada in the winter of 2002.
recalls the story of the immigrants and refugees who were
accomplished in their home countries as doctors, lawyers,
engineers, geologists, scientists, writers and computer programmers.
They thought their credentials were strong enough for anybody
to hire them.
the shock. All they could get were jobs as parking lot attendants,
grass cutters, snow shovellers, window cleaners, security
guards (watchmen) or garbage collectors. What they did not
know was that their resumes should indicate they should have
had what employers euphemistically call "The Canadian Experience."
They were not even given the chance to prove themselves.
as a waiter in order to be able to pay the rent, feed and
clothe my children," a Bangladeshi engineer told Keynaan one
day over a cup of steaming coffee and a doughnut.
Canada you don't have to look over your shoulders for the
secret police agents, militia gunmen or potential muggers,"
Keynaan told him, after sipping his hot coffee.
You're right. But when will the long dismal years of exile
would finally be end?"
process you may arrive at a breaking point, but don't loss
hope," Keynaan soothed the desperate Bangladeshi engineer.
reverie was interrupted by one of the Russian crews. Drinking
Stoli vodka straight from the bottle he told the family, in
tortured English, to fasten their seat belts and to wear life
jackets as they were to fly over the Indian Ocean, to avoid
land-based anti-aircraft guns. He is an Afghan war veteran
and looked more fearful than the Somali gunmen.
another question in Russian. He then rubbed his forefingers
and thumb together in the universal symbol of money.
did he say?" Marian asked.
us to pay him."
was so drunk he is reading the Canadian passport upside down.
da. Kanadeski. Nyet Amerikanski?" He made an obscure joke
about Americans and Canadians and hooted with laughter.
straw-coloured felt hat, he looked like a Devil's Island convict.
Former helicopter pilots who flew their armour-plated Hind
helicopter gunships in Afghanistan, no war was too dangerous
for them, no weather was stormy enough to keep them on the
ground, no landing strip too short or too rough to keep them
from flying their Soviet-era Antanovs and Topelovs.
have been several crash landings and shootouts with local
militia and insurgents, but they had survived.
are the daredevils of the African skies," Kenya's big selling
Daily Nation said in its editorial, after a giant Antanov
crash landed on a golf course after it was hit by a heat-seeking,
shoulder-fired Stinger missile. It was ferrying a huge cargo
of RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-launchers to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA
rebels in Angola in exchange for diamonds. The RPG-7 is a
compact, easy-to-carry weapon that weighs only 19 pounds and
has a maximum effective range of 555 yards on a static target,
and 330 yards on a moving target.
dubbed the Russian pilots as the new Red Mercenaries and gunrunners
in Africa, replacing the White Soldiers of Fortune of the
1960s. It described them as "Communists-have-been" They had
seen too much in Afghanistan to fear death. Their worst nightmare,
however, is unexploded ordnance, landmines and booby traps
in the middle of the dirt runways.
kicked his carryall bag under the seat in front of him in
impotent rage, trying to think something bad enough to say
to the drunken Russian.
drunk!" he yelled at last, and felt somewhat relieved.
thank God!" said the Russian in sodden voice. "Getting out
of Somalia without a bullet in your belly is a Red Letter
Day, and being drunk is halfway to heaven, believe me," he
probably right. I've always known that."
why did you come back to this hell?"
I find it impossible to do anything else."
to Somalia, the land of wars and famine," the Russian said
as he counted and recounted the green backs to be sure he
has got the right amount.
to the flight cabin and in less than few seconds another Russian,
the one with the fake Brooklyn accent, arrived with a bottle
of Stoli vodka, cans of Coca Cola and a bottle of Perrier
water. Keynaan declined the vodka but accepted the bottle
of Perrier water for himself and the Coke for the family.
the flight?" Keynaan asked him, just to hear again his fake
if we succeed and no help if we fail," he said, paraphrasing
an old KGB dictum.
happened to the KGB after the Prestroika and Glasnost?"
was then. This is now. Now, we are fine-tuning everything.
People in the West believe in Noah's Ark, they are very anxious
to tarnish Mother Russia's image even the Prestroika and Glasnost
in place. An old Armenian proverb says; "the mouse dreams,
dreams that would terrify the cat." The Kremlin oligarchy
is now dreaming a dream that would terrify the Americans,"
he said in whisper after looking over his shoulders.
does it feel to drop bombs disguised as colourful toys on
an Afghan village where you know is full of women and children?"
you were never told by the Western press that these same women
and children threw hand grenades or Molotov cocktails at our
brave Soviet soldiers and lynched some of my best friends
at the bazaars in Kabul, while the Mujahadeen sat there, smoking
marijuana, laughing. I stopped making friends after that."
diplomats in Kabul have been feeding the Kremlin reports that
the war against the Mujahideen is being won by the heroic
Red Army. The opposite was the truth."
is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that
you actually look forward to the trip."
heard that before. I bet you say that to everybody who wants
da, but I am usually right. Don't trust the Western media
and diplomats. You read me?'
the rot-gut from the bottle, the Russian related how the West,
specifically the United States and Britain ostracized the
newly born Soviet Union in the immediate aftermath of the
Great Bolshevik Revolution gathered momentum during World
War Two when Adolf Hitler had given secret orders to invade
Joe Stalin was caught with his pants down after months in
bed with that little Austrian corporal," he said it with laughter.
the marriage license was fake," Keynan said with a smile.
© By M.M.Afrah 2001 All rights are reserved