#33 An Arab Autumn

by Joshua Rigsby

The cup of cardamom coffee quivered in Ahmed’s hand. His young beard, scarcely brushing his collar, jostled with excitement as he spoke. The protests, the opportunities, the revolution. He pounded the table with his fist. He extended splayed fingers above his scalp, the way his father had done a generation before. Joyous, rapturous abandon to an idea. An ideal.

Ibrahim refused to look him in the eye. So much of the past had been hidden from the child. It unnerved him how much this boy was like his father. Ibrahim had not touched his coffee. He had not eaten. For days he had refused to respond to the questions and accusations Ahmed fired at him with machinegun-like rapidity. Ibrahim remained motionless. Emotionless.

“Why uncle?” Ahmed demanded, “You hate the regime more than me. Why are you silent? Everything will change—God willing. No one will threaten us again. We will rule ourselves with justice. Who can stand in our way? God is great!” Ahmed’s brow was damp. His eyes wide.

Ibrahim leaned back and pinched the tip of his beard, now silver with wisdom, unfurled to his waist.

The boy was strung too tightly. It was time to cut the line.

“Ahmed,” Ibrahim began, his raspy voice wavering, “Tyrants are the just revolutionaries of an older generation. Their dreams sour with age and wealth. Promises of justice shrivel like dates in the sun. I once knew a man who fought to overthrow a tyrant; you have never heard his story . . .”


Anjali said...

Love the imagery here, and the characters. Well done!

Sam Knight said...

Luke and Darth? I didn't expect that, I was waiting for words of wisdom. Nicely played.

Jade said...

I feel like this is just getting started. I'd like to hear more of what Ibrahim has to say.