Omar is the young terrorist assigned to interrogate Alex. He was educated in the US, his English is perfect, his understanding of American culture is not. His relationship with Alex drives the narrative of this book!
“Next morning we served a meal. We didn’t use western terms like breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food consisted of hot tea, hard boiled eggs, assorted vegetables, stale bread and sour cream, no meat. The captives ate with us, escorted into the kitchen and seated at a long wooden table. Alex came in first. Like last night, she was defiant, walked erect with her head held high, this young infidel had an attitude even though I knew she was scared, I liked that. There was two of them, the girl and the aid worker we’d been holding.
They were no longer in restraints. Our location was remote and secure. We posted 24-hour guards and released the Rottweiler’s at night. The people in this village were Taliban. The mere sight of a westerner would alarm them. She was wearing the hijab, exposing her face, her hair, visible around the edges, was blonde, with highlights, she was obviously not Muslim.
This girl was distracting me in ways forbidden by Allah.
Only our trained interrogators spoke to captives. I was not trained but the elders acknowledged my US experience with an exception. Talking was not on my mind this morning, this was emotion and the ache in my groin.
In Pakistan, marriage was arranged by the families. In extreme cases, the bride and groom never met until the day of the ceremony. This arrangement had advantages. Issues of wealth, education, culture, language, and religion dominate any marriage once the passion is gone and the day to day living and child rearing take over. After seeing her, I understood the wisdom of these customs. When you see a woman like Alex it’s about passion, not religion. Passion controls you, it’s addictive, nothing else matters except release and the promise of more. Like drugs and alcohol, it ignores culture, language, and wealth. Passion is a narcotic, more powerful than poppies. Passion drives life and all its permutations–sex, work, creativity, revolution. Without passion, there would be no America, no Al Qaeda and no Taliban.
The Koran can channel passion, it can harness it and drive you to a higher calling. The West doesn’t understand this about Muslims, our passion is stronger than there’s, driven by basic economic necessity.
This morning, economics were not on my mind.
This girl, this daughter of Satan, stares at me. Her expression is blank no emotion, no passion. No wonder we’re winning our unequal battle with the West, they have arms, we have passion, it’s stronger.