Page 47 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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his shirt.
“Marwan,” she said sleepily.
“Yes, dear,” he answered.
“Be careful today, please. Stay out
of trouble and don’t do anything stu-
pid. You have a wife and four kids at
“I know, I know,” he whispered as
he kissed her forehead.
Marwan opened the garage and
began to work. As his fingers fumbled
through the toolbox for a socket, he
raised his eyes and looked through the
window at Ahmed’s shuttered shop.
What had happened to Ahmed wasn’t
fair, he thought.
Predictably, as had become the
pattern in recent weeks, a demonstra-
tion once again made its way toward
the city center. And nearly as soon as
the tail end had passed his shop, pro-
testers began retreating, running back
with looks of sheer terror. Soon po-
licemen followed, swinging batons
and firing pistols. Bodies fell to the
ground as red streams of blood pud-
dled in the gutter.
Right in front of Marwan’s shop,
the police grabbed a young man who
began to yell. The two policemen
who held him began to beat himmer-
cilessly — on the head, about the
shoulders, in the stomach. His wails
grew weaker and weaker. Marwan
couldn’t look away. He thought of
Ahmed. He thought of his kids. He
remembered Leyla’s admonition that
The beating continued. Marwan’s
weight shifted from one foot to the
other as he swayed back and forth in
front of the window of his garage. He
put his hand on the handle of the door.
He pulled it off.
The boy slumped to his knees, and
the police continued to beat him.
Marwan was sweating. He seized
the doorknob, then paused and
dropped his head. His eyes settled
on his badly-worn black leather
shoes. A few of the stitches on the
left one had already broken, and the
sole was starting to separate. “Gotta
get that fixed,” Marwan thought to
himself, then nodded sideways once
and smiled weakly.
Lifting his head again, Marwan
took a deep breath, turned the knob,
and pushed the door open.
A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
There weren’t enough
jobs, and people
were getting sick of
suffering quietly.