General Trinh is delivering papers

  by: Walter Guest



When Ahmed left the bus in Khaneh he stopped the first Kurd he saw.

"Do you know Yasin Kurtsan?" Ahmed asked him in his very rusty Kurdish.

The tribesman looked him up and down. It was not unusual for an Iranian to speak bad Kurdish.. "No," the tribesman said.

"Yasin Kurtsan will reward the first man to tell him that his brother has returned."

The tribesman's eyes opened wide. "Allah be with you. Forgive me Khan. I did not recognize you. You have been gone for so long. Your father broke bread in my home many times. Oh, Khan how?"

"Tell my brother I am here," Ahmed interrupted.

An hour later Yasin roared up in a jeep. The brothers embraced. They talked all the way back to the village. There was much to tell and much to hear.

Yasin had grown a beard. He was a man. Ahmed could see that little else had changed. They were still as one.

"Our father was wise," Yasin said when they were sitting in the citadel. "He has prepared everything for your accession. I can show you all that you must do as Khan."

"How much can there be with the Iranians here to govern?"

"It is true. They usurp our authority. Each day they govern more, we less."

"Our father did not mean for the two of us to undergo all that training only to share a diminished rule under the Iranians." Ahmed's native tongue was returning to him.

"It is true."

"It was our father's wish that you and I would rid our land of the Iranians."

"It is true. But he also cautioned us to bow before the wind. The wind is still strong."

"We must prepare for the day that it weakens. We must have weapons, trained men, and allies," Ahmed said. "And while we are preparing for big things, there may be a few small things we can do."

"I am glad you are back, my brother," Yasin said with an excited smile. "Do you have a plan?"

"The Iranians, the Turks, the Iraqis, the Russians, they are all the same. They all oppress our people. I shall travel among these people. I shall find where the wind is weakest. It is there that we shall strike. If all of Kurdistan were to unite against our weakest enemy, we shoud soon blow away the wind.

"All of those peoples have enemies in the west. Those enemies would be glad to give us arms. There are others who would sell arms to anyone who can pay. This is something I have learned."

"Our father was right," Yasin said, 'there will never be another like our brother Jabar, but the two of us together will do well."

...

Two days later, all the soldiers at the check point where Ahmed's bus had been stopped were killed. Ahmed, being the local Khan, visited the scene of the terrible crime with Iranian officials. Some of the soldiers had been nearly beheaded by crude cuts across their throats.

When some raw opium was found scattered on the ground, it became obvious what had happened. The soldiers had stopped a band of smugglers and had been killed in the shootout. Such things were known to happen that close to the borders of both Iraq and Turkey.

The heroic soldiers were given a fine burial with full military honors. Many Kurdish dignitaries attended the ceremonies, including Ahmed and Yasin Kurtsan.

Ahmed offered a large reward for the apprehension of the criminals. The reward was never collected.

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