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Toronto (Canada)

19, Nov. 2003


M. M. Afrah



As people in the West commemorated Veteran's Day or Memorial Day, November 11, I was trying to recover what in the medical jargon is called Lithotripsy (in layman's English: kidney stone treatment or stone crushing) that has gone awry, notwithstanding the much bandied hi-tech state of the art instruments.

My Urologists, a Dr. A. Zini of Mount Sinai Hospital assured me, after returning to this world, that everything is hunky dory, despite the incalculable pain, discomfort, blood and sand in the urine.

The operation was performed at Saint Michael Hospital's Lithotripsy Unit, and for some unknown reason friends and relatives who brought in the patients to the hospital are kept at the hospital's waiting room, far away from the doctors and nurses, helpless as experienced by my son who brought me there.

There's, however, another hitch in the process. A newcomer in Canada had a hell of time explaining his ailments to the medical staff in his halting English. (I guess he was from Southeast Asia). I was at that very moment thinking: "What would happen to an old Somali lady in pain and whose English is not beyond the grocery store medley. Who is going to assist her in explaining her ailment to the medical staff?"

Despite the horrible pain I was subjected to in the botched surgery, I had protested to the Registered Nurse that since Canada is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society immigrants and refugees should be allowed to call in an interpreter of their own choice, if the hospital cannot afford to employ multi-lingual staff. The RN took note of my suggestion and I hope it will make a difference.

Meanwhile, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for those touching GET WELL emails. My Inbox is overflowing with them!

There's, however, one exception -that's an email from a Catholic bishop in Dallas, Texas, who seems to be unhappy about my last TALKING POINT, "A BRIEF REMINDER TO GENERAL BOYKIN."
Here is my very modest answer to the bishop:

"Dear Padre,
I have no skill at talking theology. I am not much good in that department. I only know that too many have died who could have been saved. That too many brave, fine, valuable lives have been snuffed out in the name of God. And by the bad, the worthless gun toting riff raffs. Christians (Catholics and Protestants) have been massacring each other in Northern Ireland for more than two decades on what is termed as sectarian violence. Arabs and Jews have been at each other's throats for over 50 years, Muslims and Hindus in India have been trying to eliminate each other since independence from Britain. The Hutus, who are predominantly Catholics, have massacred over a million Tutsis in Rwanda. Ironically, the Tutsis are also predominantly Catholics.

Skulls from Rwanda genocide

Likewise, the Shi'aa and the Sunni Muslims have been killing each other over centuries old interpretations of Islam.

On the Rwanda genocide, the world, particularly, the bishops at the Vatican watched indifferently while these wholesale grisly extermination/ethnic cleansing was taking place. Similarly the United Nations Security Council failed to react even after the Canadian General, General Dellaire, in charge of the small UN peace keeping force in Rwanda repeatedly appealed for a robust peace keeping forces to restrain the heinous crimes being committed by the Hutu Interhamwe death squads against the Tutsi minority .

General Dallaire

Many of the bishops in Kigali, the capital, refused to give safe haven to the fleeing Tutsi families. Instead, they locked up most of their cathedrals and conveniently disappeared in thin air.

The truth is always nasty, brutish, and short. Who said that?
I guess it was Rousseau's Noble Savage concept. The exact quotation is, I believe: "Man in a state of nature is nasty and brutish, and short."

For example, the choice in my native country of Somalia isn't between good and bad, but between bad and worse. No. It is between worse and worst.

Your quotation about miracles is straight from the Bible and the Qur'aan, but you have something there when you said many Americans, like General Boykin, should learn more about Islam and other world faiths before they open their big, parade ground mouths. That makes two of us.

Dear Padre, the magic question is: "Why can't all faiths on Planet Earth speak out with one voice against injustice, bigotry, racial/religious profiling, poverty and wholesale massacre of innocent civilians?

Christians should not keep quiet, but defend the truth from the attack that has been forced upon Islam post 911.

On a Global scale, universal tolerance would lead to world peace and harmony.

The ball is now in your court, my dear padre."

By M. M. Afrah©2003,


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