Monday, 23 January 2017

The Camel Trader of Dearborn

[Media prompt] A group of teenage boys who posted a video online of themselves raping two girls must not be allowed to evade jail by paying for their crime in camels ... Rape is pervasive and often goes unpunished in much of Somalia [and] rape victims are forced to accept compensation – often in the form of camels.

The Camel Trader of Dearborn

After he put the phone down, Olol Bani called out to Elijah and told him to bring the car around to the front door in fifteen minutes. “If orders like this keep coming in,” he said, heaving his obese carcass out of the chair, “even you kafirs might get Eid bonuses this year.” Olol made this joke every time he received a big order, and the believers in the office laughed, because they knew it was his way of saying business was booming. Like Elijah, they all knew there wasn’t a Somali in the Rust Belt Caliphate who would pay an Eid bonus to a Jew.

Elijah went out to the garage and drove Olol’s gold Mercedes to the front of the building, and stood waiting by the open rear door. Out of habit, he checked that the flash and the stiffener of his red beret were above his left eye; just this week a white security guard working for one of the Islamic banks had been shot by a teller for wearing it too far to the left.

As he managed Olol into the back seat, Elijah asked where he wanted to go. The old man said he was going to the yards to meet a new client, but to stop at the Dearbon masjid on the way, where Olol joined the congregation in salat, silently requesting Allah’s continued assistance in providing more clients. He often prayed for Somalis to rape white women instead of their black sisters, but he also understood that business was business and any rape was sufficient.

At the yard, Olol talked briefly with the manager, then went into the office. He lit a cigarette, closed his eyes, and smoked until the lawyer arrived.

After some small talk, where they asked about each other’s cars, the lawyer came to the point. “There were six of them, from five families,” he said, fingering the large ring on his left thumb. Olol nodded. Men will rape, and then pay the price; it was the way of the world. “Each has been fined five camels,” the lawyer continued, “but the two brothers are fined nine camels between them.” Olol said, “So, 30 camels?” The lawyer looked at him for a moment, then said, “I think it is only 29 my friend.” Olol laughed. “I know. I am just assuming an extra one for the celebration feast.”

The lawyer signed and paid for 30 camels; the extra one bred for its tender flesh. As Elijah drove back to the office along Ford Road, Olol asked him to put on some oud music. It reminded him of his youth, before coming to the land of opportunity.

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