Stories from 2012 that keep running into my head: The man who kept me awake
As my friends always advice me to write down my diaries, keep the moments and the lessons I gain from life on day to day bases, I decided to start publishing some of these stories. To share with my readers these lessons or even emotions. Basically once you read my stories I would like you to try to be in my shoes, would you react the same why I did or differently?
In April 2012 at Syracuse, USA I was part of a one day workshop on developing consensuses to reach agreement. I believe I was the only and the first Yemeni those people ever met. Except one Irish American man in his 50s or 60s who later told me that I am the only Yemeni he meets “Alive”.
During the training I was loud as usual and made some funny comments so during the coffee break some of the attendees walked towards me to get to know me better but the that man waited until the crowed went back to their seat then he approached me. I knew he would say one short sentence that I won’t need to comment back to as he chose to talk to me at the very last minute before we start the session again. . And yes my assumption was right but I got to admit the one short comment he made kept me a wake for days.
“Hey, I am … I want to apologize, I used to kill your people for living” He said expressionlessly.
I had a smile bending on my face. It’s the smile that I have at all times. A smile that was prepared as I expected him to say a nice complement like the others, to my surprise, I had no response to that but the same smile that I finally released.
As everyone else were setting down, I asked him “Why do you tell me this?” I needed to know what benefit or gain he would have from apologizing with n emotions for killing.
“Because I can’t sleep fighting this feeling. I was obeying the orders when killed those people without even knowing them” he simply answered. He explained more that he joined a civil movement against American drone strikes after his retirement from the army, and that he has been raising awareness on how painful and ugly to simply kill others for some reasons you don’t even know.
Although he looked indifferent of the impact of his words I had one smile left for him, still don’t know if it was the right reaction at the time. I found myself saying “It is awful indeed, what matters now is that you regret it and do the right thing”, at that point the trainer voice got louder asking us to get back to our seats.
I went back to my seat and lost my previous mood and my focus too. I kept catching him staring at me; I never understood what is it that made him share this information with me. Once the class was dismissed I looked at his seat but he was gone already.
I went back home that night with my friends celebrating one of my friends birthday with very limited food, I kept thinking all night why did he tell that moreover I kept thinking if I said it was right what too, Who am I to accept this apology on behalf of a nation? Was it really my choice? And if it was should not I be more aggressive? doesn’t he deserve to be killed for the same guilt he just admit in public? Is “sorry “enough to bring back the dead? I would always choose peace over aggression I just don’t know if it was right or wrong though.