There are some sounds that you never forget.
The first cry of a newborn as she struggles to take her first breath of air.
The laughter of your mother as she teases you while brushing your hair.
The gruff voice of your father telling you he’ll always be there.
And the sounds of shells streaking through the air…
A brief whistle
Then a moment of silence as long as a sigh
before it hits.
I talked to Mujaahid last night, the blockade is still in effect. The stores are empty, nothing is allowed in except for what a few local people can bring in on their persons- a half bag of flour here, a bit of sugar there. It is very difficult to leave the village as well. Knowing that one is dealing with a group of people who have no qualms about killing children and sacrificing their own families for good media play makes one hesitant to even try, though.
I ask my usual question, “How are you doing?”
“Alhamdulillah,” he answers. Meaning, all praise is due to Allaah alone. “We’re fine. We still have food.” On further questioning he clarifies this for me. For himself, his nursing wife, and his two year old son he has one kilo of lentils, one kilo of sugar, one-third bag of flour, a little rice, and a little wheat.
That’s it. And I am sure there are others in the village who have less.
“But we’re being patient,” he assures me. “It has to be over soon, insh’Allaah.” And he reminds me of stories of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allaahs’ praise and salutations be upon him, and his companions, when they were exiled with little to eat, or during the Battle of the Trench where they tied their stomachs to relieve hunger pains and ate leaves.
A couple of cats walk into the room where he is talking to me on the phone.
“Don’t eat them,” I tease him. He laughs, and says it isn’t that bad yet.
Word has it that the general, Ahmar, who split from the main army- this is the one who is causing all the bloodshed in Sana’a- is paying the Shi’ites to blockade the town. Other surrounding tribes have taken the side of the village, performing their own blockade on the Shi’i forces. With all the fighting going on throughout the country, it is hard to say if any of the higher ups in the government, or the protesters even, are paying any heed to my son’s village.
I remember when we were there with them, and there was no propane to be had. Food prices had skyrocketed. My husband was in America and we didn’t have very much money. We ate a lot of salad and bread, alhamdulillah, and we did okay, through the grace of Allaah. When the shells at night we sat tight and listened, waiting for the strike, for the house to shake a bit and settle back on it’s foundation.
This morning as I exercised I thought of Mujaahid and his little family. Far away I heard explosions- three of them, spaced a few minutes apart. My mind was back in the village, so immediately I thought “shell.” I listened for more, but heard only silence. “Not here, not now,” I thought.
I’m thankful that I have experienced some things that most Americans may never have to deal with. Maybe if I hadn’t gone through these things I would have more trouble understanding Mujaahid and what they are going through, and having patience and faith in Allaah that things will work out right in the end.
Until then, as always, we wait, and we pray.
For the first installment of this series click here.