'Bill, Do you think you could do a favor for me? I invited Fazzi to talk to my class on the 1948 Syrian/Israel war. He wants to bring our 'debugging' friend as moral support. Do you think you could arrange permission for them to come onto the base?'
'I don't think you need me to do that. Just go to the school commandant and arrange it yourself. If he does have a problem with it then, tell him to contact me.' Bill said. 'I wonder what's going on between them? It looks as if there is more to the Fazzi-Allie connection than just old army friends. Very interesting. Do you mind if I attend your class that day? I should think that with a special guest lecturer coming, it would not be too unusual to have some outsiders there.
'Ordinarily I would think it would be OK but might not Fazzi recognize you from that midnight raid you and the police pulled at the estate awhile back?'
'I'm sure he did not see me. I stayed out of sight and I was not with the officers that grilled him then. I'm sure I never had any contact with him.'
'Then I think it would be OK and guests are not unusual at all. Some of the other instructors and the CO are always dropping in on my lectures. In fact, at my graduation, the school commandant himself invited Fazzi and his family to give lectures on Moslem customs and he asked Mary and Kassie if they would give lectures on the role of Moslem women in Arab society. He said he would be interested in attending any lecture Fazzi would see fit to give and if he came - I'm sure his staff would feel an obligation to come also. He would not even have to issue invitations.'
'Great! Then all you have to do is arrange the thing with him and inform him that I will be coming as one of his staff. Request that both Fazzi and Allie are picked up at the gate, processed there, and provided with transportation and an armed escort at all times. We don't want them wandering around base or getting the idea that security is lax. If they object-tell them that since Allie is from the embassy it is for their own protection, and the last thing the Army would like to see is a diplomatic incident happening on base.'
'O.K., I'll let you know when I set it up. It will most likely be this Thursday, 1300 hours.'
They parted and Joseph went to see the school commandant to arrange everything.
'Is all this security necessary?' Asked the C.O.
'Most likely not, but, I know it will impress my 'father-in-law to be' and Mr. Balbak is a foreign diplomat and as such is entitled to it. In any event, Agent Barns wants them to think it is and it will make them think that they are important.'
'Ok, but I'm going to have to run this over to the Commanding General and get his approval.'
'Excellent, sir. I don't think he will, but if he has any questions or objections have him call Agent Barns. You might also want to invite him to attend the lecture. I hear that some of the battles of that war are studied at West Point.' Joseph said.
'Yes they are studied, as are all the major wars in history. In fact if I remember right there was a retired American army officer, a colonel I think, that served with the Jews and was made a general on the Jerusalem front. His name was David Marcus and he was killed there and is buried at the Point. When I went to the Point, I remember quite a few lectures on American/Soviet weapons systems. A lot of that information was gathered from the Mideast wars.' The C.O. said. 'So, I hope your future father-in-law knows his facts as he will face a very knowledgeable audience. Yes, this should prove to be very interesting indeed and I'm glad that you were able to arrange this. It will earn both of us a few 'brownie points' with the General and I'm sure he would love to be here. In fact, I don't think I could keep him away if I wanted to.'
Joseph Called Fazzi later and told him of the arrangements and the Arab agreed to everything including the security. 'That means that my chauffeur will have to leave me at the main gate and wait outside.'
'If he is going to be 'packing' a weapon, he will have to give it up or park outside the gate. You better inform Allie also. The both of you will have to endure the security check and metal detection inspection. Once the two of you enter the gate, the Army will be in charge of your protection.'
'I was always comfortable with military protection, lov. After all don't I permit you and your little pistol to protect me when we are alone together? I feel safe in your hands and I'm sure Allie and I will be safe in theirs,' he said and then asked, 'Yussef, when are you coming home? I would like to go over my lecture with you before I give it.'
'That will not be necessary, I'm sure that you do not need to rehearse anything with me. However, I'll be home Wednesday evening and we will be able to talk more then. Lov you babe, see you then. Bye for now' And then he hung up.
He next placed a call to Barns and told him everything was set for Thursday at 1300.
Wednesday after class Joseph got into his car and drove over to Fazzi's estate. Using his key he let himself in and found Fazzi in the Library. He had just finished printing out some material from one of the English language Arab web sites.
'Just finishing my homework, Yussef. I will be with you in a few minutes.' Fazzi said as Joseph leaned over and kissed his cheek.
'Don't hurry my lov. If you are going to be seeing a teacher, you have to expect homework. However, I would not worry about your grades-I have already marked you all 'A' plus. Besides you have an 'IN' with the teacher.'
'There, I'm finished now. You want to eat out or should I ask cook to make you up some kabobs?'
'No Kabobs tonight lover, I want you to be in tiptop shape tomorrow for class. It would not look good if you showed up with your ass torn apart before the lecture.' He joked and then continuing in the lighter mood said, 'what do you say to my taking you out this evening. Let's do the burger and fries bit tonight. A little American fast food for once won't kill you. Just so you don't over do it and get fat.'
'That's no joke, I have to think about keeping my figure right and trim for my lover.'
'If by lover you mean me, habibi, you can eat all you want during the day, I will just whip you back into shape at night in bed. Besides if you put on a pound or two, here or there, --- there will be just that much more of you to love.'
'Yussef you are going to spoil me.' He said standing up and taking the soldier into his arms and kissing him. 'Before she finds out you are here and cooks up a banquet, let me just tell the cook we are going out to eat. I know she will be disappointed not being able to cook for you, but she will recover. You go upstairs and get dressed----- and before you ask---No, not in the Tux this time!' he laughed, ' this time, informal attire.'
Joseph ran laughing up the stairs and changed into a sport jacket and pants set and then returned to the library where Fazzi after giving him a close inspection said, 'habibi, you know how much I adore seeing you in uniform but I now find you to be just as sexy in civilian attire. Hey, maybe we can go to a movie after the burgers. I can use an evening of relaxation for once.'
'Great idea. We can sit in the rear, share a bag of popcorn and make out-if there is no one there.' Joseph said. 'Just like ordinary lovers on an ordinary date.'
'Then we better pick a theater out in the - the, how do you Americans say it- Ah yes, the boondockies, someplace where we are not known.' Fazzi warned. 'IshAllah, you almost make me want to throw caution to the winds and go dancing with you.'
'The word is 'Boondocks' habibi and that dancing idea of yours is not altogether impossible. I have given it a lot of thought and I have an idea. We just have to find a place that has Arabic line dancing. We would blend right in.' Joseph said. 'But first, you would just have to teach me, if you didn't want me stomping on your feet.'
'That my love is a great idea. It is really not that hard to learn and it would be a very good thing for you to know how. Nothing gets you into the inner circle of Arab society better than dancing a 'Dabbke'. All I need to teach you is a tape of one of the tunes which I know I have somewhere around here and we can start tonight.' Fazzi said as he went to the stereo and rummaged through a pile of tapes, selected one and placed it in the tape player as the room burst into the thumping beat of goat drums and the high pitch of recorder music. Taking Joseph's hand he demonstrated for him the basic stylized complicated dance steps and jumps. After tripping over his feet a few times Joseph finally began to pick it up. 'See it's not so hard to learn. All it requires now is some practice.'
'But I feel so stiff and uncomfortable.'
'That is what makes it easy to learn. It is the basic part of learning to do the Dabbke. You have to keep your upper body stiff and let your feet do the work. It is somewhat like those Irish dancers, only stiffer and without the tap dancing. From what I can see it won't be lone before you have it down pat. All you have to do now is to feel the music in your soul. Let your body react to the music and don't look at your feet. Just 'go with the music'. A few more lessons and then we will just have to dig you up a 'gambaz' and a 'kaffia', the robe and headdress. With that to cover your blond hair, no one would ever take you for anything other than a born Arab. I don't think it would be too difficult to conjure up an outfit for you somewhere around here.' He joked. 'We can practice every night and by the time we have that Bazaar, you will be an expert and we will be able to celebrate our union by dancing together in public. And I guarantee that the community will not only approve but they will cheer us on and join in our dance.'
'I think that I would get a kick out of that.' Joseph said. 'Maybe I could even teach Rich and the three of us could cement Arab/American relations. I'm even sure I could get his father to join us.'
'Oh speaking of dancing and the Worthingtons - I almost forgot-Dina called and said that she is looking forward to your dancing with her at the Bazaar in two weeks. She said it could either be like the dance you two did at the cafe when Sara and the two Richards were there or perhaps something new.' Fazzi said. 'She asked if that would be O.K. or do you want special lessons at her home.'
'Call her and tell her that I think what we did at the cafe will be fine. No private instruction will be needed.' Joseph said, clearing his throat. 'Now let's go to eat.'
'Yussef have you noticed that lately our relationship has been changing? Not in big ways, but small endearing ways. In the beginning you were this hot Crusader who came to my tent as my conquering knight and I was your Muslim slave lover. We were both formal and reserved. Now we are both equal and relaxed with our relationship.'
'Yes I have noticed it, but I did not want to mention it for fear that you might think that the relationship was becoming less passionate. Believe me, Fazzi, the passion is still there but now it is more refined and I find that I like this more... There is no hurry, no war between us or even that inner war within myself. I don't need to be the conqueror, the lord and master and I don't find the need to prove my manhood. I have accepted the fact of what I have become. There is just the overwhelming need to be together with you and the need to prove my love and satisfy you. I have become more and more at ease not only with you but also with myself and with others. I hope this pleases you as much as it does me!'
'I think it means that aside from the sex, we are beginning to love each other more and that you are accepting the fact that you can remain a man while you make your life together with another man. To tell you the truth, and I hope it is the truth; I do not think that you would want to go back to my daughter or even Dina. And, perhaps it signifies that you are approaching the time when you will be ready to make another choice. The one you may soon have to make, if we are to be 'one' together.' Fazzi said in a low guarded voice, almost as if he was walking on a bed of broken glass barefooted.
'As much as I hate to think about it-yes you are right. I do find myself thinking more and more about my faith. It is most distressing at times and very hard.' Joseph said, not really lying about his inner feelings. 'I do think about it but keep pushing it away. Just like I'm going to do right now: Come let's go to eat.'
They went out to a Burger King and Joseph ordered for Fazzi and they sat in a corner booth and ate.
'You know this is not half bad.' Said Fazzi. 'I could get used to eating this. Are you sure there is no pork in these? Not that I have not tasted pork before, I just don't want to eat it where my friends could see me.'
'They do advertise them as pure beef and I don't think they would make that claim if they were not. The competition would soon scream its head off if it were not true. I can check if you really want to know or next time I could order you the vegetable patty burger.'
'Perhaps in the future, but for now forget it. Even though it is no excuse, I can always say I did not know.' Fazzi said as he downed the last of his burger and licked his fingers and then wiped them on a napkin.
'Yussef, there is a big favor I would like you to do for me tomorrow. I noticed that you and Allie did not 'hit it off' when he was at my house. Could you please try to get along with him? You know you are very special to me, and no matter what happens you will always be first in my heart. However, he is an old friend and he is an important man in the embassy.'
'I don't know where you got the idea that I did not like him. Just because we have differing opinions and ideas does not mean I dislike him. If it is anyone that I didn't care for, it was Hassan Segour. He is a Idiot.'
'About Segour I agree, he is an idiot. I thought it was Allie you didn't like, so this should be easy. I would like the two of you to become friends.'
'By friends? Just what do you mean. Is he an ex-lover of yours?' Joseph asked rather guardedly. 'Or are you thinking and planning of doing a threesome....'
Fazzi almost enraged and almost raising his voice said, 'no, how can you even think that? That is a disgusting idea. I have given up that sort of thing since long before I met you. Besides, I do not want to share you with anyone. I just want you to get to know him because he will be leaving the Embassy soon and I was thinking of placing him in charge of selecting the charities that will be getting allocations from the 'FUND'. While you and I would have the final say, you will be working closely with him and I would like the two of you to be friends. You may even be required to travel together to inspect some of the charities. I just want you to feel at ease with him.'
'If that is what you want then I can only tell you that since it means that much to you, I will try my best'
'That's all I ask. Make an honest effort then If you find it in any way uncomfortable to work with him, I will of course, find someone else. Your comfort is my only interest.' Fazzi promised. 'Now that that is settled, lets go to that movie. I am enjoying this. We are talking just like 'normal people' and making fun together. I have never had any fun for fun's sake before. I think on top of everything, Habibi, you are teaching me to relax. No only do I love you but I love being with you.'
Joseph smiled to himself and thought; now all I have to do is to relax myself. For some reason the more he was able to get Fazzi to relax, the more tense and wound up he became. He would have to ask Barns about this later.
They went to the movies and they did order popcorn and finding that the theater was almost deserted they were able find seats in a dark corner in the very last row. While the temptation and opportunity was there they restrained themselves and just held hands. But, every now and then they would lean over as if they wanted to whisper in each others ear and instead would place their lips on each others ear and give it a little lick or nibble. This restrained love making aroused Fazzi even more than if they had thrown caution to the wind and fucked their brains out in the aisle. Afterwards as Joseph drove them home, Fazzi was so excited that could not keep his hand off Joseph's crotch or his head off his shoulder. At home in their bed, they made light love to each other and then went to bed hugging each other. In the morning Joseph again got up early and left for base. On the pillow of the sleeping Arab he left a note telling him how much he had enjoyed the evening and that he would see him in school at 1300 hrs. He also told him that he had Friday off and asked to attend Mosque with him if he would take him. Fazzi getting up late, read the note and was delighted. That is wonderful he thought; and I did not even have to ask him. Could Yussef, as he said last night, be coming around to really considering conversion or was he just doing this to please me? Either way it is fantastic. He could not help humming one of the Dabbke tunes as he quickly showered himself, dressed and gathered his notes placing them in the breast pocket of his suit. Feeling something else there he pulled out the small notebook he had left there. Taking it out he looked it over, checking to see if anything was missing, Finding all in order he went over to the picture that covered his wall safe, opened the safe and placed the papers inside and locked it up. Not giving it another thought he went to the library where he sat down and quickly went over his notes for the fifth time while he waited for Allie to arrive. When he did they had a light brunch and taking Fazzi's limo they drove toward the base.
'How are the arrangements going for your mission?' Fazzi asked.
'Very good so far. It appears as if the Emirate had already notified them that someone from their office would soon contact them, so they were expecting this. I have informed the leaders that I want to meet with them to deliver an important message. Most of them, if not all have agreed to meet with me in the next few weeks. I will then deliver the Emirate's message to each one in person. After that the fireworks will begin. They are not going to like the message. Lets hope they don't kill the messenger.'
'They won't - at least not this time. At first they will be curious, they will want to see what's in it for them. Then the few of big ones will kick and scream but in the end they will come around thinking and planning ways for them to take control. But they too will submit and then we will weed out the ones we do not want.' Fazzi told him. 'Once they realize that they have no money and can't raise any, they will be only too happy to join.'
'I just hope you are right.'
'I know I am.' Fazzi said as the car speed on toward the base. 'There is one more special item I want you to do for me Allie. I want you to become friends with Yussef. It is important to me that you do. Yussef is a very important part of my life and he can and will also be important to the 'Emirate'. He has few if any friends within our community. By that I mean real friends, men his age, Arab friends. He has plenty of American friends, but as he becomes more and more involved with us, they will drop him like the Americans say 'like a hot potato'. I would like you to try to befriend him. He needs and will need someone to help him adjust to our ways.'
'Sir, it is not that I don't like him. It is that I don't trust him. I'm sorry, Your Excellency, I know how much he means to you, but, I can't get this feeling out of my mind that there is something that does not add up there.'
'I am not asking you to trust him, just to try to befriend him. It is a fact of life that we Arabs never really trust ourselves let alone outsiders. He needs to learn that fact and I can think of no other person better able to educate him to this, then you. The only way we can welcome them into the full family is by them accepting Allah and Islam, without reservations. He is beginning to do that now. I am convinced that Yussef will in time come to us of his own volition. When he does, I want you to make him feel that he will be welcome. I ask this as a personal favor, I will not order you to do it. Once you get to know him, I am sure you will thank me. It will be one more binding tie between you, me and our mission.'
'For your sake and for the sake of the 'Emirate', I will not only try but I will gladly do as you ask.' Allie said. In his mind it was becoming clearer and clearer that if he wanted to keep his new job he would have to forge some kind of relationship with Fazzi's secret boss. Yes, his boss, because now he was convinced that Joseph was the one in charge, not this idiot, Fazzi.
'It gives me great pleasure and you find favor in my eyes,' he said in very formal Arabic, smiling at him and patted his cheek, 'that you will make this effort. I knew that you would make a good assistant and that I was not mistaken when I appointed you as my number two man. It is always nice to work with people who respect and like each other. Now if you will excuse me I have some papers to go over before these young students try ripping me apart.'
Fazzi opened his notebook and went over some of his notes for the class and checked up on a few of his facts. They drove on until they reached the base. At the gate they were checked by security. Fazzi's driver had to wait with their car outside the main gate. They were directed to a waiting car and driven under escort to the school where Joseph was waiting. He greeted them and took them into his classroom and introduced him to the some of the special guests.
'I hope you don't mind that some of the school staff will be here as well as my students?' Joseph asked.
'Of cause not. I remember your Commanding Officer from your graduation.' Fazzi said as he reached out and shook the C.O.s hand. 'It is nice to see you again, and thanks for inviting me to come on base again. Let me introduce all of you to Mr. Allie Balbak, from the Syrian embassy. He is here as my 'protection' should I need it.' He said smiling and shaking the hands of all the people he was introduced to. About this time the students started coming into the classroom and quickly took their seats.
Joseph went to the head of the class and directed his two guests to chairs that had been set-aside for them. After the class got seated and quieted down Joseph started by saying, 'Most of you might be wondering why we are honored by so many important and welcome visitors today. I would like to welcome them and assure my students that all this 'Brass' is not here to inspect either you or myself. Well at least I hope not anyway. No they are here because of the two gentlemen seated here as our special guests. We are all in for a rare treat today. Addressing the class today is a former officer of the Syrian army. He is going to address you today on the 1948 war against the Zionists in Palestine and Syria's role in that war. You will be free to ask questions after he presents his lecture. Oh! One thing more, the gentleman next to him is a friend of his from the Syrian Embassy that he has brought along for moral backup. Please remember they are our guests and while our speaker has not requested any special treatment, I think I should remind you that Mr. Muhammad is the father of my future wife. So, please, if you wish to get a passing grade in my class-no hitting. I would not recommend it in any event as I know he can still hold his own with the most fit among us. Gentlemen, I introduce to you Mr. Fazzi Muhammad.'
Fazzi got up and stood at the speakers desk and after arranging his notes, he looked out at the class and clearing his throat said, 'Officers and students and my future son-in-law Yussef, I am happy to be able to address this class today because you are rather unusual and in many ways unique. Soon you will be graduating this wonderful school. My future son-in-law and your teacher is a former graduate of this school. If he is any example of the caliber of the graduates that will come out of this institution, then you will be among the few Americans who will be able to converse with the Arab people in their own language. However, as you will learn, just being able to talk to people is not enough. What is most important is that you understand not only the words you are speaking but also the people and their view of history. When you hear their view of history, it may astonish and shock you to find that it is vastly different from the history that you may have learned until now. Which is the right view and which view is wrong-is not the question here today. It is only important that you hear it and try to understand it. Perhaps in a few hundred years we will know which version was right. To the Arab people and Muslims, in general, the present day history of our people begins and ends with the so-called 'Palestine Question'. To us there never was any question then and there is no question today; it is clear that Palestine is ours, all of it, every speck of bloodied sand. Not just the east bank of the Jordan but the entire west bank, as well. It belongs to the Arab Nation. To paraphrase you Americans, that nation is 'One nation, individual, under Allah'. We will never accept a Zionist existence in our mist. This does not mean that we are anti-Jewish. But, make no mistake about it; we are anti-Zionist. To us, unlike to most of you, the two are not the same thing. We resent the fact that the Christian world has chosen our people and our lands to solve its anti-Jewish problem by fostering and allowing the occupation of part of our lands. Christian Anti-Jewish hatred is your problem not ours. Note that I used the term anti-Jewish and not anti-Semitic. You see we Arabs are also Semites. As a result we cannot be anti-Semites. We are not even anti-Jewish, but we are anti-Zionist and anti-Israel. We had nothing to do with Europe's persecutions of the Jews and see no reason why we have to accept the responsibility for it.' After this opening statement he paused to allow it to sink into the minds of his audience. Then after the murmuring quieted down he continued. 'This mindset is almost inborn. It was the basic foundation for the 1948 catastrophe, which we call 'An-Nakba'. It is our holocaust. At that time no Arab government could withstand the anger of the Arab people not to intervene and come to the aid of our Muslim brethren and so we did. We were not prepared for war. We were unorganized. We faced a determined, well-organized and well-equipped army that was stronger and more numerous than we were. Syria at that time had only 10,000 men under arms. Many of them were untrained and badly led. And we were defeated; we were defeated not by the enemy but by ourselves. There were too many conflicting views as to how the war should be run. There was no central command. Egypt wanted one thing, Jordan wanted another, Iraq still another. The only thing we had in common was language and our hatred of the Zionists. The UN and even our own Arab league sold us out. Syria held out as long as we could, but even we had to give in once Egypt and Jordan signed the armistice.' He talked for about two hours. Going over and over the same point that Syria had been forced into a war that it was in no way prepared for and that Syria at that time was a democracy and unable to resist the will of the people. Then he asked for questions. And the hands flew up and he was bombarded with them.
One soldier got up and listed the amounts of arms and men each side had. 'It was well known and well documented that the Arabs had an air force and Egypt, with the biggest Army and air force was able to drive to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. And they did bomb Tel Aviv. The Syrians had artillery as well as an army, maybe as you say 10,000 regular army, but also another 10,000 irregulars. The Jordanians had the Arab Legion; at the time the best trained and led army in the Middle East. They also had many allies such as England providing men and weapons most if not all of it for free. Not only was it provided free but also it was shipped by the boatload to ports that were open to them. The Zionists on the other hand, had nothing that they did not have to buy with cold hard cash and then had to smuggle into the area, as the coast was blockaded first by the British and later, under truce agreements by the UN. As for artillery, only a few homemade 'Davikas' plus some outdated WW1 artillery pieces that they had to move from front to front. For those of you who don't know what a Davika is - it was a homemade mortar which made more noise than it did harm. That is when and if it went off. As for an air force...a few Piper Cubs which were used to ferry what small arms they did have from settlement to settlement. Later for cash they did get some fighter aircraft. Yes the Zionists were better lead. That I will grant you, their officers were right there in the front lines. Their motto was 'Follow Me'. They commanded men that knew what they were fighting for and also knew the price they and their families would have to pay if they lost. Their officers and political leaders did not command from the safety of some foreign capital, no they were right there sharing the hardships and struggles of the front line troopers. As far as the Arab people not having anything to do with what happened to the Jews in Europe; once again you are wrong. The leader of the Palestinian people at the time and the man Syria, in particular, had set up as the spokesman for Arab Palestine, was none other than Hajj Amin al-Husayni the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. It was this man that after slipping out of Syria in early 1940 turns up in Europe, where he renewed his friendship with one Adolf Eichmann and his boss Adolf Hitler. There he became one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and a collaborator and adviser to both Eichmann and Himmler. He was one of Eichmann's best friends and was constantly inciting him to accelerate the extermination measures. Accompanied by Eichmann he was known to have visited the gas chamber of Auschwitz, where he requested and was allowed to the witness the extermination of innocent civilians. Something he had hoped to accomplish in Palestine no doubt. This is the same Grand Mufti that helped Hitler to form special Muslim battalions in the German army, which saw action against the allies. It was through him and his connections in the 'innocent' Arab world that many S.S. officers turned up in Syria and the Arab countries after the war to help them train and in some cases even joined and aided the Arabs in the entire Middle East. No Mr. Muhammad, with all due respect, I cannot buy your arguments that the Arabs lost the war because the Zionist were better armed and more numerous than the Arabs. However, even if that was the truth in 1948, what was your excuse in 1956, in 1967 and every war since? We all know that you had the overwhelming support of the Soviet Union, who trained and gave you the latest and most advanced Russian weapons available at the time, including Soviet pilots. Some of whom flew missions against Israel and were shot down.'
Back and forth the arguments went for well over three hours. Finally, Fazzi ended the session by saying, 'as you can see we all have a different view of history. I just wanted you to know ours. History is in the eye of the viewer. It is our view that I wanted you to hear and get to know and to appreciate. I repeat; there are many views of what constitutes history. I am sure that in the English view of American history Benedict Arnold was the last great American and George Washington was a turncoat traitor. I am also sure that the American Indian has a vastly different view of United States History then that which is taught in your schools. Gentlemen today the United States and England are the strongest of allies and the American Indian will soon take back their country over the gambling table. So I leave you to ponder the question, what is History? Is it all bull dung, as your Mr. Henry Ford said, or is it what we make of it? I thank you for giving me this chance to tell you first hand what the Arab people think. And to prove that there are no hard feelings, Sgt. Benson not only you but also everyone here is invited to a little party that the Arab/American community is going to give in Paterson, New Jersey. You are invited as my personal guests. I think you will enjoy my future son-in-law and I dance an Arab line dance together. Or for those of you whose taste is a bit different, you may also see him dancing with the world-renowned belly dancer, Dina. Thank you again for the opportunity to talk to you,' At which point the class rose to their feet in applause and whistling.
Joseph, laughing walked up to Fazzi and shook his hand and kissed him in Arab fashion on both cheeks. 'I see that there are no casualties, no gunshots were fired and no one received a knife in their back. Can I assume that I am still permitted in the Muhammad household?'
'Surely you did not think that politics would change anything. It was fun and very educational-I hope we all learned something. I will see you at home tonight for more dance lessons.'
The class all gathered around as the C.O. extended his hand and offered his congratulations on a well given lecture. He also told Fazzi to let him know about the upcoming party and he would try to arrange transportation and passes for anyone wanting to attend. He also tried to apologize for some of the rough questions his men asked.
'You have nothing to apologize for. I really expected much worse. Your men were very kind and made their points very well. As I'm sure you know, Arabs cannot refuse hospitality to anyone that appears at his tent door. However that is not the same as freely offering an invitation. I would not have invited them to my home if I did not think they had behaved themselves. Thank you for the 'First class treatment'. I really had a ball.' Fazzi said as he and Allie prepared to get into the car to leave base. They were driven to the main gate and there they got back into Fazzi's limo and drove home.
'All things considered, I think it went well.' Allie said
'Well? Only well? It went fantastic. Much better than I thought it would.' Fazzi said still bubbling over with enthusiasm. 'I may not have convinced anyone-but I made them think. I planted that seed of doubt. At least they know that we have differing points of view and that we will hold onto them and we will fight for them.'
When they arrived home Fazzi asked Allie if he would like to stay for supper. 'Yussef will be coming home soon and this will give the two of you an opportunity to get to know each other better.'
'Shokran. Thank you. I think I will. But I cannot stay too late as I still have some work at the Embassy to tie up before I leave on my journey. I will be leaving on Sunday and there is still one or two more of these leaders to contact.'
'We won't tie you up too long. I am exhausted myself and want to get a good night's sleep as Yussef and I are going to Mosque in the morning.'
Later that evening the three men had dinner together and talked over the day's events. Joseph and Allie both made an effort to become friends or at least be civil to each other. In fact after dinner they went into the library where Fazzi played the music and the three of them danced the Dabbke together. Allie was even worse than Joseph and fell several times pulling Fazzi and Joseph down with him.
'I need practice badly, I have not danced in years.' He said laughing till it almost hurt him. 'I would love to stay longer, but I have to get to work early tomorrow as I leave for home Sunday and I still have lots to do.'
Saying good night he hugged Fazzi and then he took Joseph in his arms and kissed both his cheeks saying, 'It was nice to get to know you better and I hope you will look on me as a friend. If I can do anything for you-just let me know.'
'It was nice meeting you again and the same goes for me. I wish you a good and safe trip. May Allah go with you!' Joseph said.
After he left and later when Joseph and Fazzi were in bed, Fazzi said, 'see that was not too hard was it?'
'No it was not hard at all. Now let's get to sleep as we have to go to Mosque tomorrow.'
The next afternoon as the Imam gave his sermon Joseph spotted a lot of movement and whispering in the audience. This was very unusual and to add to the bizarre behavior many of the worshipers pointed at Joseph and shook their heads. Joseph could not figure out what was going on, but kept his attention on the Imam. When the Sermon was over a group of men took Fazzi to the side and as they spoke to him his face became ashen. His once olive colored skin became drained of all color as he walked over to Joseph took him by the arm and led him to a private alcove off the main prayer room.
With tears in his eyes he asked Joseph, 'When was the last time that you heard from your friend Ibrahim?'
'What's wrong? I think it was about three weeks ago. What's happened?'
'It's on the news, Aljazeera, as well as the American news. He was captured in Iraq. Ibrahim Smith an American soldier, it is him they showed a photograph. People in the congregation remembered that he brought you to the Mosque. He is still alive but unless all Iraqi prisoners are released in 48 hours, they are going to cut off his head!!!'
To be continued......