TITLE: Accidental Victim EPISODE: 35
Where am I? Who are these people?’, Funmi wondered as
she gradually opened her eyes. She saw the blurry
outlines of a wooden ceiling and then what looked to her
like two women in abayas came hovering over her.
“She’s awake now”, she heard one of them say.
“She’s awake?”, she thought, “what happened to me??”
She blinked her eyes a few more times and the picture
became clearer. She remembered it all. She remembered
that she was still in the Taliban camp and that she must
“How are you feeling now?”, she heard the older of the two
women ask her.
Funmi looked towards the direction of the women
standing beside her and noticed that the one talking to her
was a doctor, or she looked like one. She tried opening her
mouth to respond, but she realized her throat was so dry.
“Wa-te-r”, she managed to utter.
A bottle of water was brought and the woman who looked
like a doctor opened it and brought it to her mouth. She
raised her up a little bit to allow free flow of the water to
“Take it slowly”, the woman said to her.
Funmi drank the water slowly. It was cold and refreshing.
“What happened?”, Funmi managed to ask as she
regained her composure.
“Are you hungry?”, the woman asked as she ignored
Funmi thought about it, then she nodded. The woman
signaled the other woman and she went out and came
back in almost immediately with a tray in her hand.
The tray was set before Funmi and on it was a plate
containing rice and meat, some slices of water melon and
a bottle of water.
“Please eat”, the woman said to her.
“Where am I? What happened?”, Funmi asked her again.
The woman ignored her once again, standing up from the
bed and leaving her alone in the room, as the second
woman had earlier left.
Funmi looked around the room, trying to take it all in. The
room was plain, with just a bench at the side and the bed
she was lying on. The floor was made with cement, but
there were already cracks and holes on the ground. The
ceiling was wooden, but there were several patches of
water-soaked parts, obviously from rain. The door was
shut, but she was sure there were guards standing
outside.Funmi was hungry. Very hungry. She couldn’t remember
the last time she ate, and as she felt her wrists, they
looked so frail and tiny. She decided to eat. ‘At least if they
wanted to kill me, they should have done that since, and
definitely not with food poisoning’, she thought.
As she took the first spoon, chewed and realized that the
food was tasty. She took the second spoon, and the third.
She realized she was rushing the food and then she
slowed down. She had since lost her sense of taste, but
she was gradually getting it back.
As she finished eating, she began munching on the slices
of water melon when she heard the sound of someone
walk in. She looked up and realized it was Al-Zawari, and
her heart skipped. She immediately stopped eating.
“Please continue”, she heard him say. But she couldn’t
continue eating, she continued staring at him.
“Should I go back and come when you are done?”, Al-
“What do you want?”, Funmi asked him.
“To talk”, he replied.
“About what?”, she asked again.
“Just talk…”, he replied.
“Look, after the misery you’ve caused me, I have nothing
to say to you, at least nothing good, so please, just go.”
“I’m sorry you had to go through all these, it was all for
the cause”, Al-Zawari said.
“What cause?!”, Funmi flared, “What does kidnapping me
have to do with any of this?? You kill and maim people,
innocent people, including women and children, because
you believe in a preposterous cause??”
Al-Zawari laughed. “A preposterous cause you say?
That’s a first”, he said, “you obviously have no idea what
we are fighting against.”
“Oh, you mean I don’t know you are fighting against the
propagation of western education, that you kidnap people,
bomb people, innocent people, who do not believe or
share your ideologies? Excuse me, but I believe I have a
fair idea of what you are fighting against”, Funmi said as
she crossed her hands on her chest.
“You see, now we are talking”, Al-Zawari said and smiled,
“now the obvious question should be what is our cause?
Why are we fighting? What are we fighting for? Am I
“Wrong! My questions would be: First. Why do you kill
innocent people, including women and children, helpless
people who have no business with your cause”. Funmi
made the quote sign in the air by curving the index finger
and middle finger of both hands and raising them, when
she said the word “CAUSE”. “My second question is: Why
do you target your own people?l People you profess the
same religion with, people you share the same
geographical location with, people you speak the same
language with? It baffles me”, Funmi said, shaking her
head.Al-Zawari scoffed and sat on the bench in the room.
“Like I said, you have no idea what we are fighting
against. For the record, our group didn’t begin the
opposition of westernization and western education. Other
prominent politicians and academicians have done so in
the past, but perhaps they were not vocal enough that’s
why the trend continued. The British colonial masters
brought upon us a system which has taken a position
against Allah and made materialism and hedonism the
ultimate in life and this has subverted our traditional
Islamic values and replaced morality, that sense of right
and wrong which only consciousness of Allah confers,
with materialism which they are mostly concerned about.
This has become totally unacceptable to us and we just
had to fight against it.”
Funmi stared at him as he spoke with so much passion
“You seem to be a very intelligent lady. Of course, why
wouldn’t you, since your father is very rich and he can
afford to send you to school. What of the thousands of
children who have no rich parents to send them to school
and whose government, who is supposed to provide and
protect them, refused to do anything to provide succor for
them? What happens to those ones?”
“What has that go to do with the killing and maiming
people?”, Funmi asked with a frown on her face.
“Let’s just deviate a little. I’m trying to give you insight as
to how all these started. So answer my question.”, Al-
“I still don’t understand what this has got to do with what
you are doing?”
“Just answer the question. What happens to those
children who have poor parents and whose government
don’t provide for?”
“The last time I checked, since the beginning of time, there
have always been rich and poor people, so I don’t see why
people should use being poor as an excuse not to make
use of good opportunities that abound around them.
Besides, especially here in the north, the government have
tried really hard in providing good infrastructures, some of
which you’ve destroyed, in ensuring that people get free
“As compared to what?”, Al.Zawari asked.
“I don’t understand.”
“Do you know how much the government makes in
revenue annually? Do you know how much is lost annually
due to embezzlements and siphoning of government
“So some individuals in the government siphon funds
meant for the populace, how does that relate to western
education?”, Funmi asked.
“Don’t you see”, Al-Zawari continued, “if not from
educational institutions, where then is this decay and
corruption coming from? It is the western educational
system that has gradually and subtly eroded our values
and this has initiated us into a virulent materialism which
has weakened our social fabric and crippled our socio-
economic and political progress. This has resulted in the
concentration of the wealth of the country among
members of the political elite, mainly the Christian south of
the country. The only way we as a people can escape
from this culture of corruption and decay is to remove
every form of westernization among our people, thereby
restoring our core values and culture buried in our
abandoned and forgotten history.”
“In order words, you establish an Islamic State”, Funmi
“Exactly!”, Al-Zawari said in excitement, as he felt she was
finally understanding him.
“But you still haven’t answered my question. Must you kill
innocent people to make your point?”, Funmi quipped.
“You must understand”, Al-Zawari continued, “that we
didn’t start out as a violent group. Our former leader
established a group that took care of the poor ones, the
homeless ones, people who the government were
supposed to be taking care of but who were not. He spoke
against the corruption eating deep into the system. And
what did they do to him? They killed him! Like he was an
animal! Because he didn’t understand the language of the
government. Force! And that is what we are changing!”
“By killing innocent people?!”, Funmi shot back.
You say they are innocent”, Al-Zawari continued, “but
they are not. Anyone who abandons the prescription of
Allah as stated in the Sharia law is not fit to live.”
“Even children?”, Funmi asked.
Al-Zawari was about speaking when one of his lieutenants
walked in. “They are ready”, the lieutenant said to him. Al-
Zawari nodded and stood up from the bench he was
“Hold that thought”, he said to Funmi, shaking his index
finger at her direction, “we would continue this
Funmi nodded and lay back on the bed as he walked out
of the room…
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