Enab Baladi Issue # 92 – Sun, Nov. 24, 2013
“I’ll be home in ten”
“Ok, you’ll join us for coffee then, Bye!”
That was the part which was repeated in almost all daily conversations with my brother. Such a conversation is usually followed by family gathering and mom’s advice on the negative effects of too much coffee; however, what happened that day was completely different.
That evening my brother was only a few minutes away from the house; he stopped by the supermarket to bring some groceries. As he reached our building, a strange car stopped him, regime forces stepped out of the cars making much ado that caught our attention inside the house. Before any of us could comprehend what was going on, my mother was at the front door arguing with the officers who stormed into the house unannounced after “kidnapping” my brother, alleging that they need him to direct them to my other brother, a wanted activist.
I could not see my brother that evening, but I could hear his voice; it was clear, steady and calm. He was showing them his identifications trying to explain to them that he is not the one they are looking for, and asking for the reason for his arrest. “Ten minutes and he’ll be back”, said the officer in charge in an attempt to end the argument with my mother who sharply replied “That’s how your president instructs you to violate people’s privacy!” The officer was enraged and shouted “Our president and yours!” A few seconds after we heard the noise of the sudden burst of speed as the cars were leaving the neighbourhood.
We were certain of their deception, yet we harboured the hope of his return after ten minutes.. after half an hour.. at midnight.. a little after.. tomorrow morning.. the day after.. or the day after.
Lots of days passed before someone came by carrying some news about Ahmad that he is “fine” and he is in the custody of Air Force Intelligence. Six months passed before Ahmad’s return, during those months we remembered him every time we had coffee, every time a phone rang, and every time we used on the things he bought that day.
Ahmad came back from “visiting Mustafa”, as he referred to the time he was locked in the same dormitory with his friend who happened to be arrested one day before Ahmad. He came back joyous, cheerful and confident as he has always been; he came back holding soothing news about detainees to their families. Yet, he endured exquisite agony of being relieved of the suffering that Mustafa, other friends he met in the regime’s underground detention, and many many others are still sustaining.
The thing Ahmad posted on Facebook was “Thank God.. I came back after a long absence; yet the agony is that others have not…”; Ahmad came back to share coffee with us after “ten” minutes which lasted almost a half year.