we are all Abbas
Whatever the exact circumstance which triggered the bullet which rendered young Abbas brain-dead, that fateful bullet was anything but ill-fated.
A rural Egyptian killed under Khidevi
Ill fate didn't corner and take aim at young Abbas that fateful morning. Rhodesian policies did. Abbas was their rightly intended victim. The right scull, at the rightly intended corner, at the right time.
How else can we explain the route of a young man good with electronics, from a a deeply religious family, a devoutly conservative but suffering village, to a night guard at a revelers night spot?
Newly-wed Abbas was compelled to work the extra night job to eke out perhaps no more than a monthly BD 160 -180 on top of his day job as a temporary driver with a contractor at the oil refinery, itself paying less than 200, in order to to break even with the poverty line point for a family. By virtue of his place of birth and sectarian affiliation, these were the only Rhodesian doors open to him. Had young Abbas been Baluchistan-born, he would have slept easy with that double sum made in fewer month weeks and far shorter shift time as a new guard recruit at the Ministry of Interior. But that's not a Rhodesian door open to him
These are the same doors that consign young Shia girls to work in textiles sweatshops for less than BD 90 a month. The same doors that consign Shia young men from less than notable families (the Coloured class) to drivers, sweepers, security guards and other indentured jobs, while their peers on the other sectarian divide go on to at minimum trigger-wielding jobs and ministries.
Born in 1980, Abbas belonged to this country's X Generation. The X was the official state reactive policy to the country's Shia young and not so young. Applied gradually post Dec. 81 and in full blown swing after Dec. 94, Abbas generation borne the full brunt of a policy of near total exclusion and economic siege. No educational opportunities. No job opportunities. No upward mobility. Total neglect and near complete socio-economic disinvestment. Shia young had to fend for themselves. When and if they can.
Abbas was certainly one of those who tried hard. And it wasn't easy. At 18, he was first detained for three months in the midst of the 90's Troubles. He was detained another time and received a Ministry of “Justice” sentence for three years until he was released by the general “amnesty” of 2001. The Ministry of “Education” for her part, did not allow him a return to finish his high school diploma. He had to work in various temporary jobs. He was married three months ago, only when he seemed to have a started a semblance of stable living.
As we speak, the Ministry of Interior is turning the other cheek and only saying that it is still investigating. The victim is not one of their blue-blooded folk after all. Had the trigger been pulled by the other sectarian hand, we would have went to sleep early Friday evening under curfew, Shia areas under siege and search orders. Saturday morning would have seen Rhodesian al-Watan with red-blooded headlines and war-declaring quotes by uniformed high offices, as well as paid statements by Rhodesian societies from back to back. But as the scull involved was for a Shia, the paper saw fit to relegate the story to the bare minimum of 5 column centimeters at the very bottom of its first page and a muddied-water short story inside. It completely disappeared from its first page of Sunday. Abbas is obviously not a blue-blooded name. The killer is likely one.