- May 17, 2005
On the edge of the Zagros mountains two young brothers play amongst a rocky outcrop near a small number of tents while the sun sets on the warm sand dunes.
“Captain, the enemy approaches.”
“Hmmm, yes I see, a reconnaissance force, prepare for battle.”
“Obed, Gera…where are you?”
“Captain, we are well positioned for a surprise attack.”
“Oh stop hiding, come out now.”
“Wait for it, on my command…ATTACK.”
The two scuttled out of their hiding place from under the cleft of a large rock, yelling and screaming as they went while swinging their swords furiously around their heads. Zipporah their little sister smiled in amusement as the two encircled her and began prodding her with their sticks.
“No quarter Captain?”
“Gera, Obed” she cried out as she put her hands up “I surrender.”
“Okay Obed, my loyal brother, lets take our spoil back to camp and celebrate our victory.”
“You two can be so silly.”
The Egyptian traders were several days journey west of Esfahan, where they had collected silks, pepper and other spices at the great market. They would then cross the desert plains of the Kaliphate and Syria on their way to Tripoli where they would sell their goods to a local merchant who in turn would sell them to Venetian, Genoan or Turkish traders.
They had pitched their tents in a circle around a fire, here they ate their dinner while the men told stories that had been past down from generation to generation of great battles, empires of old, and deeds of mighty men while the children listened intently. After dinner the women and children went to bed while the men continued their talk.
“Good night my children and remember Allah loves you, as do I”
Later that night the embers were all that was left of the fire and all were asleep when the camels became restless and began to stir. Obed’s father awoke and walked out the tent to see what was going on when he heard the sound of many hooves thundering in the distance approaching fast.
“Shishak, Bozath, Mizraim, Necho, Hadad arise” he bellowed out towards the other tents before running back into his own. “Poithar hurry, wake the children and hide yourselves” he shouted to his wife as he found his sword and ran out. The boys were awoken by the noise, “Gera, take your little brother and sister to the rocks beyond and hide yourself, I shall come soon.” The terror in her voice jolted him into action and he picked up his sleeping sister and ran from the tent towards the rocks with Obed following. As they slid under the cleft of a large rock a horn sounded followed by the clash of steel. They saw from there hiding spot the camp lit up with torches, a large company of men on horseback, swords slashing as they rode through creating havoc, one tent was set on fire as screams of pain were sent across the desert sands.
Out of the chaos the children saw a figure staggering towards their general direction. Obed could tell from her outline (for she was pregnant) and exclaimed “It’s mother”! She was very slow, staggering as she went, “Come on mother, hurry” Obed said within himself, though it was in vain as two horsemen emerged out of the darkness galloping after her, the children were gripped with anxiety then filled with horror and panic stricken as the first horseman came along side her, he grabbed at her, ripping her clothing off as she was knocked to the ground merely twenty metres away from their hiding spot. He wielded the horse around then jumped to the ground and began molesting her, she lashed out, so he punched her in the face several times until she quietened then he began to rape her. The other rider reined in his horse.
“Ha ha ha ha, leave some for me you filthy dog”
Zipporah then drove her face into Obed’s chest while she grasped tightly onto his shirt with her little fists. At that moment Obed realised that Gera was not with them, but had slid out and even now he saw him running towards the men with his small dirk poised in his hand. The men were seemingly oblivious to him as he drew near, Gera then lunged towards the large man on top of his mother, but at the very last moment he caught sight of him from the corner of his eye and instinctively swung round, collecting Gera’s head with the back of his hand, sending him flying into the sand. The bandit on horseback broke out laughing hysterically, while the other stood up and clasped his forearm where the dirk had drawn a long wound. “Curse you boy”. He then grabbed Gera with his left arm and lifted him off the ground to his eye level while he clenched the boy’s hand with his own. He stared into Gera’s dazed eyes, “Kill me will you boy?” He then raised the boy’s hand still clenching the dirk to Gera’s throat and slit it and threw him to the ground. Mother screamed out loudly… anger, fury and rage swelled within Obed, though he remained motionless, frozen in time while he watched the horror played out before him. The large bandit seethed with rage as the screams mixed with wicked laughter echoed through his ears, he drew out his sword, swung around and brought it down on her, slicing her torso almost in two, her innards as well as her baby spilled out as the screaming ceased. Obed looked away, tears streaming down his face, in a state of deep shock, he looked down at his sister who had pressed her face tighter into his chest while her body was shaking greatly, though Obed was unable to move let alone say anything to comfort her.