Olive Branch Optimism
what a wonderful world...
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
One Week & Four Days
I told you all before I would be dissapointed if this turned into a news-site. Fortunately it hasn't. I have been very busy lately with University, here is a story I wrote about my experiences involving Khalid Jarrar's abduction..

One Week  Four Days

Lucas James is 19 years old and lives in a mountainous region south of Perth. Lucas is 'different' from his peers and is neither popular nor unpopular. His friends hold him close and he does the same. Recently he has formed friendships with people in Iraq, friends dear to his heart. These friends are in constant danger, and need his support.

Lucas is finding out from his mother, that his Grandfather will become the third person in Western Australia to receive a lung transplant tomorrow (Monday, 10th July). Granddad has not seen Lucas for 10 years, and since they aren’t close, the news means little.

Still, Lucas can’t prevent thoughts.

'Will he die mid-operation?
Could this re-unite my estranged family?
What if he dies after, wouldn’t it be a waste?'

The moral dilemma hits Lucas, 'doesn’t someone else deserve this lung more?'

Lucas believes in making the most of opportunities. His dilemma intensifies.

‘Surely, someone can use this lung better,’ his thoughts betraying his Grandfather.

Lucas knows where the road leads, but he travels it anyway.

'Granddad has few years left at best, and no truly close family.’

Lucas is right; Granddad has traveled and enjoyed his life. Someone on the list probably can use the lung better.

The days pass quickly; Lucas is busy enrolling for University. Thursday evening, shortly before 5pm Lucas hears his mother arriving home.

He rushes out to greet her, knowing Granddad has an infected lung. Lucas notes distress in her eyes and embraces her, comforting her with all his heart.

She manages a few words "He looks awful, tubes everywhere.." and buries her head into his chest. Lucas knows how to ease her pain. With a strong coffee, dinner, and the family dog Lucas tucks his mum into bed and returns to his email.

Najma, his closest friend in Iraq has left a message.

'Khalid Jarrar =(=(=(=(‘

Lucas opens it anxiously. Khalid's brother Raed posts that Khalid is “detained in Iraqi Mukhabarat jails,” (the 'secret police') since Monday, July 10th. He opens Raed's blog to read the story. Black clouds choke-up the room.

Lucas envies Khalid’s religious faith, though Khalid never preaches in his writings or when speaking. He is gentle and cool in all situations. Khalid believes that everything will work itself out, god willing. Khalid is no religious fanatic, nor does he disrespect other cultures.

Lucas's thoughts become confused and angry 'HOW COULD THEY FUCKING CAPTURE KHALID?
'Are they stupid? Khalid is no f**king threat!'

Lucas and Khalid formed a close bond months ago, and Lucas cares/fears deeply for his Iraqi friend. The glee he feels when hearing Iraqi’s say 'thank you, you made me smile'…

‘Will I ever hear from Khalid again?’ he wonders….

Scared, Lucas writes a series of emails ensuring Khalid is an innocent victim, was wrongfully detained, probably for something ridiculous. The phone call mentioned on Raed’s website came ‘illegally’ today, Thursday 14th of July... Four days Khalid has been held with no outside contact.

‘Things are really looking up this week’ Lucas thinks.
'Granddad nearly dies three times, and Khalid's chances look minimal,
‘What can I do? How do I help?' the questions keep rolling.

Lucas knows he can’t do anything to help Granddad. The people around him, doctors and family will keep Granddad kicking.

‘I will ensure Khalid is never forgotten'.

Lucas is confused by the desire to help Khalid, and wonders how to help a friend many thousands of kilometers away.

One notion stirs in his mind, 'God'. Lucas is no religious man, though he believes in thing inexplicable in this world. His respect for friends with religious beliefs often influences him to pray. Praying is explicable in his beliefs anyway.

Khalid can feel his prayers!

Lucas knows Khalid's hopes and thoughts would be with Allah, Khalid's god.
Lucas prays for Khalid.

'Please God, Allah, people of the world; help Khalid through this dark moment'. Lucas emails his prayers to Khalid’s family and friends. He knows they prey for Khalid too; it is what Khalid would do.

To the omniscient eye, the response is incredible. Thousands sign petitions for Khalid’s immediate release or trial. Men and women cry out to god for Khalid. Phone calls, blogs, emails and articles pop up across the globe.

For days there has been no word from Khalid and Lucas feels despair. A week passes, and Granddad is no better.

Granddad spent the last 7 days on life-support, machines breathing for him. Sadness fills the family, ever-present in Lucas's eyes. Fear for his friend overcomes him, and all he wants to do is hide.

Though in his depression Lucas knows, he will not give up. Khalid will not allow it, he will never leave Lucas's mind. He is alive.

Thursday again and Lucas has heard nothing from his friend. Day 13 since Khalid was detained, since Granddad’s operation. Lucas's mother arrives home from visiting Granddad. This time no tremor is in her lip, she looks proud. Lucas beams happily knowing there is light in the dark.

"Granddad walked 150m today, WITHOUT OXYGEN!" his mum exclaimed happily.

Granddad has been on oxygen for 3 years, and hasn’t walked once without it.

It is barely light outside as Lucas awakens to his mother and aunts rushing about the house.

Something is wrong.

Listening intently, Lucas learns Granddad's infection is in resurgence, and taking over his body. His weight is 14kg below what it should be, and he is unable to consume solids.

For the first time Lucas fears for his Grandfather's life, Khalid slipping his mind.

'What if my Granddad dies? I should go see him' Lucas thinks guiltily.
Loosing his nerve, his thoughts betray his friend; 'Why waste my time on Khalid, how can I help him, HE’S IN IRAQ!'

The sisters leave and Lucas tries to sleep; defeated. He doesn’t want to see Granddad; things are not right.

'Granddad shouldn’t have that lung, he wouldn't be dying, and someone else would be healthy!'

He betrays his morals; Lucas doesn’t put family first.

That evening, sad and tired his mother walks in "Granddad is stable, he is surviving," the words say everything.

"Have you heard from Khalid?" the words come with a rush of hope, Lucas senses change.

Rushing to check his email, Lucas forgets about Granddad.

Najma, A --Khalid is free!--

Lucas runs to re-assure his mother, words dancing from his mouth "Granddad will be okay, because Khalid has been released! The tides are changing again!"

It makes sense to them.

Khalid will tell his story later, and Lucas will follow it up. Optimism freshens the air as Lucas writes a poem for his Grandfather.

He knows that his faith, his prayers and those of Khalid's family and friends have been answered. Lucas is religious, for the first time in this life.

'One thing left to do,' He thinks. His Iraqi friends are close to God, Allah as they call him. Lucas will ask them for help.

'I am praying for my Granddad, he is nearing his death tonight,
Thank you all for helping, in Khalid's Fight.
I ask you please, please pray my Granddad survives the night.'
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