by Michael Buergermeister
A bare stage. Starkly lit. One stool and one actor, a young Pakistani, ALI, in his early twenties, casually dressed in blue jeans, blue T-shirt, blue denim jacket and matching baseball cap. He sits directly in front of the audience and stares them out before starting. He is excited. Now and again he'll take a sip from a bottle of mineral water. Now and again he'll get up and walk about. Before he does so though he'll unstrap the blue rucksack strapped to his back.
I have a secret. A very private secret. I'm a suicide bomber. And I'm sitting right opposite you, right now. You just think this is a rickety pre-war district-line tube train. But it is more. Much more than that. It's a symbol. Or more exactly: it's going to become one, if you know what I mean. A symbol of resistance.
Suicide bombers are cool. Hardcore cool. They are the coolest dudes on earth. It takes balls to be a suicide bomber. You have to have nerves, know what I mean? Especially if you know that you have triacetone triperoxide, the Mother of Satan, strapped to your back. Volatile as hell, even when mixed with PETN. Kicks like hell too. And hell is where I am going to send all you idolaters.
You call me a terrorist but do you know what this is? This is resistance. This is war. No different from the Big Two. Then you sent bombers over Germany, targetted civilians, killed hundreds of thousands on one night alone. Now that is what I call terrorism. No, what I am up to is something completely different. I'm out to heighten awareness, know what I mean?
See that woman over there? The one with the checked skirt and blue top. The one with the Harrods carrier bag. Do you think she is aware of what is going on? Of what is being done in her name? Do you think that she is aware that she is directly responsible for the deaths of at least 34 Iraqis a day? No, somehow I don't think so. I don't think she probably knows where Iraq is. Or Afghanistan, Palestine, Guantanamo Bay, let alone Abu Ghraib. You see, the thing is: it is too late now. Too late to talk. Too late to discuss things. You see the thing is, before, if she had realised, she would have done something about it, and she wouldn't have voted Blair. But she did vote Blair. Just as most in this carriage did. And to vote Blair was to vote Hitler. Was to vote war. A war against the Muslim people. But the Muslim people are not cowed, are not beaten. They are, here and now, in your very neighbourhood, fighting back. And they will prevail. And do you know why? Because people will start to ask themselves if it is worth it. If the killing and the injustice is worth the price they are going to have to pay. And that is where my job comes in. I'm in the front line in the struggle for victory. The struggle for justice. The struggle for peace.
Respect. That is what this struggle is all about. Respect for Muslims. Sometimes you have to feel fear first. First you will fear us. Then you will respect us. But respect us is what, I promise you, you will do. If you do not respect our pain then you will respect our will. And our will is strident and insistent. We demand, in no uncertain terms, that you rethink your prejudices and your indifference. We demand that you become aware of the consequences of your actions. We demand that you stop your denial. We demand that your newspapers report the truth.
So you think you know the truth? How much do you know? Do you know that nearly all those imprisoned and tortured in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib are innocent? Do you know that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have nothing to do with the so-called "war on terror", with "bringing democracy" to those poor God-forsaken "desert niggers", but have everything to do with gas and oil? Who gets it. The old question. It's you who wants it. Isn't it? You want it. You need it. You are the ones willing to steal it. You are the ones willing to kill millions of children to get it. Does it bother you that your love of oil is tainted with blood?
The facts. This is what this is about. Do you know the facts about Palestine? The fact that the Zionists have stolen and are stealing Palestinian land? The fact that it is they that are the aggressors? The fact that they have and are still shedding Palestinian blood as if it were water?
And what about Iraq? Did you know that the Americans already knew, in 1996, that Saddam had no WMD? That the embargo, at the cost of the lives of two million Iraqi children, was kept upright, not to punish Saddam. Oh no. He profited from it very nicely, thank you. But to bribe Jordan and Syria with black-market oil. And to provide a very nice little earner to American companies too of course.
And what about Afghanistan? Did you know that the Afghanis wanted to hand over Osama? And the Americans were so keen on invading that they let him go?
But as I said: it is too late now. The damage has been done. Revenge is at hand and it will be revenge of a most fearful character. Get ready to meet your maker. If you never thought about prayer or religion you have the opportunity to think of it now. You have the chance to squeeze into the last minutes of your pathetic, superficial existance a few thoughts about what really matters: God.
What does your life mean to me? What does it mean? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And do you know why? Because it is not God who you worship; but the Golden Calf. Mammon. That is all you care about. You're not a nation of shopkeepers. Not anymore. You're a nation of shopaholics. And do you know what I despise most of all? It is you, with your plastic bags filled to the brim with clothes you will never wear or gadgets you will never use.
Saving for your house in the country. Your house with its garden and gnome. How I despise the nothingness, the worthlessness, the meaninglessness of your existance. Do you know what it means to feel? Do you know what it means to love? Do you know what it means to sacrifice? Do you think that I don't care about my life? Do you think that with all my young years that I am willing to throw it all away at the drop of a hat? No. It is not so easy. It is throwing away an infinitude of possibilities. An infinitude of potentialities. I could have been somebody, know what I mean? But I am somebody. I, in contrast to you, will leave my mark. I will die the death of a martyr. Do you have the slightest inkling of what that means? It means death in glory, glory in death. My name will be immortal. I will be immortal. And I will be respected. Then there will be no more slurs against my name. No more calling me a Packi bastard. No. Not anymore. No more bullying and beating. Not anymore. I will not be cowed. I will no longer live in the shadow of bitter restraint. No. Not anymore. No. I am fighting back and it is you who will shortly have to pay the price of your indifference.
We are now sitting at Wimbledon. By the time we get to Earls Court I will have told the short story of my short life. By the time we get to Earls Court, that headquarters of all the gay boys, all the Aussies, all the New Zealanders, you will all have to die. How many stops are there? Let me see: Wimbledon Park, Southfields, East Putney, Putney Bridge, Parsons Green, Fulham Broadway, West Brompton and then, finally, Earls Court. That's seven stops altogether, including our destination. You know sometimes life can be a little bit deceptive, know what I mean? I mean, on the front of the train is the word: Upminster. But this train will never reach Upminster. It can't. It will be a ghost train long before that. Yeah, I know what you are thinking: we've seen this before. This is no different from the IRA. But did the IRA use suicide bombers? Nobody can stop a suicide bomber. They're unstoppable. They're the cool, kamikaze, dare-devils who always get through. We will make every Londoner's day a troubling nightmare. The first thing in the morning, as you stare into the mirror and try, oh so desperately, to paper over those cracks. All those cracks, that the wear and the tear of life and oh, so many lovers, have brought you. The first thing in the morning you will see, in the mirror, are your, oh so frightened, eyes. Will you go to the office today? Will you dare? Should you phone sick? Again. For the umpteemth time. Will you get any dole if they fire you? Or will they lie to you and trick you like the last time? Should you quit your boring nine to five and get out of this stinking city? What's the point of living here anyway? In this cage? How many years do you have left? And do you want to spend them like this? You know, maybe I'm doing you a favour. Maybe I'll be putting you out of your misery. The doors are still open. You still have time to get out. You still have time to find "an alternative mode of transport". Maybe one of those trains over there, starting out in the direction of Waterloo. It's the devil or the deep blue sea ain't it? Death by bombing or death by derailment. That is the beauty of privatisation really. It leaves you with so many choices. Or maybe you should take the car and run the risk of suffocating to death. What about a bike? I could lend you mine. I won't be needing it anymore. It's not even a bad bike. It's a miracle it hasn't been stolen. That's quite an insult really. Not good enough to be stolen! Maybe you should just get off this train and wait for the next one. You could always change to the circle line. And what are the chances of you meeting one of my mates, one of the four other suicide bombers, who are on their way right now? One in a million really. But maybe you figure: maybe he's bluffing, or maybe the bomb is defective. Maybe it won't go off. Yeah, maybe. After all, it's been known to happen. But then again, what if it does go off? You probably won't even hear it. You probably won't even know what's happened. It'll be like: (klicks his fingers) Lights out. In the blink of an eye. You know, I wonder how many will die. And how many of you will only be maimed and wounded. You know if I had the choice... Well what should I say? I mean, would you like to lie on a rail with no limb to your name? Or would you like to be impaled by a pole? Or would you like to have your guts ripped out? They say they always know a suicide bomber because his head has been decapitated. It's the force of the blast you see. (Points upwards.) Not a bad way to die. Not a ridiculous death. That's the one thing I've always been frightened of: a ridiculous death. That's why I've always been frightened of changing a light bulb. No really. No kidding. I've always steared well clear of sockets too. There is no sillier way to die than electrocution.
You know how a schoolmate of mine nearly died? He was buggering around with a bunsen burner. And then all of a sudden one of the gas taps like, exploded, sending him flying off his chair. Lucky that only his hair was singed. I had to laugh I did. But you know what? I later reflected: we could have all died that day. I mean it doesn't take too much imagination to see what might have happened. Had a death wish that bloke. You think I'm joking. I'm serious. Dead serious. Hung himself from a banister. They say he slipped. Left a note for his dad saying he'd be sorry, and I'm sure he was too. Highly strung that boy. Much too highly strung. Till he got strung up that is, if you know what I mean. He wasn't just nervous, he was always getting on my nerves and the last thing I recall was banging his head against a wall.
Hard school that. We were always having rucks. The Africans against the Asians or the Asians against the White Boys. Might call it a school of hard knocks. Teaches you character they say. Whatever that means. Oh the doors are closing. It's too late. I hope you got a good night's sleep. I hope you enjoyed your last meal. I hope you enjoyed your last weekend. Because this is going to be your last day on earth. What did you do at the weekend? Anything exciting? Probably not. Probably threw yourself on the sofa the minute you got in the door and first got up on Sunday evening. Not that the weather would have enticed me out either. Me myself, I was preparing for this. Preparing for the mission of a lifetime. A mission no-one and I mean no-one will ever forget. This is like in the movies. Only this time it is possible. And you know who the enemy is? You know who the evil creep is? The one who has to die. The bad guy. The villain. You are. You iz the enemy, know what I mean? You iz gonna get blown clean away. (Blows) Yeah. Cool baby. Real cool. Smooth. Know what I mean? I hope you don't mind that. Not too much. The slight inconvenience I might cause you. Oh dear, London Underground will anounce, it seems we have a slight problem. But you know what? No-one will miss you. Not your so-called loved ones, not your colleagues at work, certainly not your neighbours. Do you even know who your neighbours are? Have you ever met your neighbours? Have you ever seen them? What if they turn out to be, you know, Pakistanis! Oh my God! Quick, you'll think, put the house up for sale before anybody finds out! Oh my God, what will happen if more Pakistanis move into this street! My God, the house will be worth nothing by the end of the week! The whole road will be nothing but one big, curry stinking, slum! Quick, call out the British National party. Let's burn them to death before it's too late!
Beautiful morning isn't it? Beautiful morning to die. Wimbledon is a nice area isn't it? Always wanted to live in Wimbledon myself. Because of the tennis. Never could afford it. And look, it's a miracle, they've actually cleaned the windows of the train! You can see them glint! It was as if London Underground knew this would be your last ride. Isn't it kind of them? Isn't it sweet? Maybe you don't live in Wimbledon. Maybe you live further out. In the Stockbroker belt. In the Surrey Suburbs. Very nice for you, I'm sure. Maybe you have a nice house and garden, with a nice trimmed hedge, a nice trimmed tree, a nice trimmed cat, a nice trimmed dog, two and a half nice, trimmed children, in trimmed prep school uniforms. A good deal nicer than the uniform of that boy over there. See the way his shirt is hanging out? It's a disgrace. What will his mother say when they recover him from the wreckage? (With wheedling voice) "I knew you should have tucked your shirt in. What will the nice doctor say? What about your underwear? I hope you remembered to change them!" Will you miss them, your little ones? Will they miss you? Life's tough sometimes. Because I'm sorry to have to inform you that you will never see your sweet, little ones ever again.
You know when I first came to this country I was four at the time. I thought it was paradise on earth. Taps which ran. Hot water. A bath. A shower. Electricity. A dream. At that time, at the age of four, I was under a misimpression. I thought everybody was like us. But I was wrong. Nobody was like us. We were a minority and I began to feel uncomfortable that we kind of, you know, stuck out. I became aware of what it meant to be a "friggin' foreigner", a "Packi bastard" and I ceased to believe England, your Britain, was so great. On the contrary, I began to suspect that it was hell on earth and that Satan was white and not black as you said he was. It was a rough neighbour. And do you know what the favourite hobby of the neighbourhood kids was? Packi bashing. They even set dogs on us they did. That was my first experience of traditional, very English hospitality. You know in Pakistan they would never believe me. There the word "hospitality" still means something. It means: You are a stranger here, come share my food, share my drink, share my fire, share my bed. They are like that. Could you imagine that here? And I've asked my father a thousand times: why did you move from there to here? Why leave paradise for this hell on earth? But the thing is I don't fit in in Pakistan. Not anymore. I don't fit in there, but I certainly don't fit in here either. In fact I don't fit in anyhere. And my dad, he used to say, again and again: you have to understand, this is their country, they were born and bred here. We are their guests. We must show forebearance. We must be tolerant. They are weak. They are ignorant. Those in this neighbourhood are not typical English. They are the scum of the earth. We have to work hard. Soon we will move to a better neighbourhood. Soon things will get better. But we never did move. And no, things didn't get better. How can you show forebearance? You know what you get when you show forbearance? A brick through your window. Do you know what you get in return for tolerance? You get spat on. And do you know what the scum of the earth do? They try to burn your house down.
Pretty isn't it? The golf course. Wimbledon Park Lake. Over there are the famous Tennis Grounds. Have you ever been to Wimbledon? I mean the tennis? Have you ever had to wait hours on end in the queue or did you always have Centre Court tickets? I myself was disappointed. Prefered watching it on the telly. And here we are: Wimbledon Park. You know the wonderful thing about the Underground is that so much of it is overground. You know the first time I arrived in London the Underground scared me to death. The noise, the smell, the sense of danger. The fear of falling onto the tracks. The fear of falling infront of a train. You know I couldn't believe we could actually pass underneath the Thames without getting wet. But you know I much prefer the tube to the train somehow. I hate the train. I hate the old, falling apart carriages, which they've tarted up. Cor blimey! London is a mess. It really is. You'll be glad to be out of it. You know it was an American who built the Underground. Ironic innit? Poor bugger went bankrupt. At least that's what I read. But you have to admit: he did do London a service. You know there are times when I love this city. When I couldn't imagine living anywhere else on earth. And there are other times, like when I sit on a mountain near Peshawar, when I can't believe I ever missed it. The crush, the hectic, the smell. All those people. Rushing around. And its so cold. So frigging cold.
This city doesn't give a shit about you or me. It doesn't give a shit about anyone. We'll be swept away, at the end of the day, as if we never existed. And do you really think that either you or I count for anything amid these seven million souls?
You know growing up here is hard. You learn to be tough. You learn to be streetwise. You learn, above all, never to underestimate your enemy. The first time I got punched in the face I quite literally didn't know what hit me. And the first time I got beaten shitless I thought I would die. I remember feeling so helpless, so scared, that I quite literally wet my pants. And then I cried. But then you learn to get your shit together, find mates you can trust, who you can depend on in a rumble. And you learn, always, to be prepared. Bring a baseball bat, a bike chain and, if need be, a couple of good knives. And you have to make sure that it is you who gets in the first blow. Hit them. Hit them hard. And then skidaddle. Make sure they don't croke though. Otherwise Officer Bill will be ringing your bell.
You know when I was young I had dreams. I dreamt I could be somebody. London makes you very realistic. It destroys your dreams and if you're not careful it destroys you too. It would have destroyed me but for the book. Did I mention the book? You mean I've spent all this time chattering away and I haven't mentioned the book? That's unbelievable man! The book you see. The book changed my life.
Southfields. One of the prettiest girls I ever knew used to get on at Southfields. Used to get a hard on just looking at her. I wonder what she's doing now? Probably married. To some rich City cunt. To some dick-head. Some wanker. What a waste! You know I've always liked fit girls and fit girls have always liked me. But the thing is we've never managed, you know, to get it together. It's not an easy thing to manage. Not for some people. The first time I went with a girl I went with a whore. She didn't even want to go with me. I remember that. Had to be talked into it. Said I was too young. Could only afford a blow job but even that didn't work out. Life's full of little disappointments, know what I mean? You know I never know how to act with girls. Don't want to be called a serial rapist. A friend of mine got done for rape once. Went with a girl and then afterwards she said he'd raped her. Christ my uncle would have my balls if I ever got a girl into trouble. Never know these days. All these diseases going round. Never know what you might catch. Could be something pretty nasty. But you know what the thing is. It's the thought that if you pick one girl you can't have the rest. That's the thought that bothers me. And what's the point of it most of the time anyway? You go out with a girl, find out she's got nothing to say, and then you think, Christ that's another evening of my short life wasted. I mean it's really difficult finding a girl you can really talk to, know what I mean? I mean what have most of them in their heads? Other than shopping? Not much really. And how can you start a serious conversation when all they want to discuss is the colour of their nails? I mean it's not as if I don't try to be friendly. It's not as if I don't try to tell a few jokes. Difficult girls. Difficult chapter in my life. Never can judge a book by its cover. That's what my uncle says. That's why it's important to trust the judgement of your parents, uncles and aunts. They know you and they'll try to find a girl who'll suit you. That's what they're there for isn't it, at the end of the day?
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the book. I know I'm too late to convert you but you have to understand. This is no ordinary book. No, you have to read it. Then and only then will you understand. It will change your life man. It will blow your mind! Before. Before I felt confusion, anger, frustration, despair. But after reading the book, everything, and I mean everything, changed. I grew calm, serious. All of a sudden I had hope. Do you know what it means to live without hope? Do you know what it means to live in despair? The book made me see everything from a new perspective. It made sense of my life. It gave my life a meaning, a sense of purpose. And I changed. I mean my manner changed. My habits changed. I turned to prayer. I was no longer wasting my life. No more drugs, no more bitches, no more fucking around. No. From that day on my life was clean. My life was cool. You know what I mean?
Do you like this part of town? Do you like the terraced houses? Row after row of them. With their glinting windows. Their satellite dishes. Their curtainless windows so that everyone can look in. With their green armchairs, blue walls and huge TV sets. Wonder what they're watching? At this hour of the morning. You know I used to be glued to the box too. Kind of addictive. Worst drug I know. Brainwashes you. More effectively than the Koreans can. Those evil Koreans. You know I used to laugh at TV. But then I got hooked. Used to come home from school, switch it on and that was it, till bed-time. Never had time for my home-work. Only time I got out was at week-ends. To play football with my mates. I was good I was. One of the best. Thought of going professional. Wanted to be a star. A second Ronaldo. But I never got the encouragement. The last thing my mum and dad wanted was that I be a footballer. Wanted me to get good grades at school and then go on to university. But me, I was bored with that shit. Could never see the point. Didn't want to be made fun of at school. So I said: fuck it, I've got better things to do with my life than spend them with my head stuck in some stupid science book. Probably godless nonsense anyway. What do I need these pagans for when I have the book? You know what TV is? It's lies. It's poison. It has poisoned this society. Made everyone act like animals, everyone obsessed with one thing and one thing only: S E X. No-one has time for a higher thought. No-one has time for a thought at all. I see it in my mates I do. Keep telling them: quit the telly, it's eating your brains out alive it is. Its turning what is up there into mush. Its turning you all into automatons, into robots. You all have just one thought, one emotion. No I figured, there must be more to life than that. And I was right.
Soon we'll be coming to posh Putney. I read that a great pianist once lived here. Alfred Brendel. Ever heard of him? Or do you just like Ten Cent? Both are cool. Know what I mean? Both are, in the great order of things, reflections of nature. Both are, in the great order of things, proofs of God. Because music is divine, you know what I mean? Music is order. Without order you cannot have music. And all order is, at the end of the day, divine order. It was through music that I got to know God. But you are just pagans. You are not even children of the book. You are just idolaters. And what chance do you have of ever being able to understand?
You know what I will miss? Music. Classical Music. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi. All that. Glenn Gould's Goldberg Variations. Andras Schiff's Piano Sonatas from Mozart, Friedrich Gulda's Piano Sonatas from Beethoven. Lang Lang. Elisabeth Leonskaya. Pollini. Christie. Hogwood. All of them.
You know what Daniel Barenboim once said? Great man that. Even though he's a yid. But I'm not against yids. No. Seriously. I am not a racist. Not me. Not anti-semitic. Proof: I love Daniel Barenboim, see? Daniel Barenboim is a great man. Not just a great musician. A great man. Do you know what he does, what he is doing? He's trying to bring Jews and Arabs together, in one orchestra. A beautiful idea that. Incredible. Sharon must hate his guts. Anyhow Barenboim once said that the beautiful thing about music is...the beautiful thing about music is that you forget yourself. Completely. That your are, you know, transported somewhere completely different. To a parallel universe or something. It's like you can see, if only for a split second, heaven itself. It's like a breath of paradise, know what I mean? You know I wish I'd brought my MP-3 player with me, but the thing is I want to leave it with my brother. Hope he'll, you know, discover music, real music.
How did I get involved in this you will ask yourselves? How did a nice Muslim boy, from a good family, learn so much hate? When I was a kid I was streetwise, know what I mean? I was hard, I was cool. I used to hang out with some pretty cool blokes. We'd do all manner of cool shit. Would always be getting into all manner of trouble. Nothing serious mind. We weren't out to cream or tax our fellow citizens. Didn't nick cars, knock over banks or beat up quears for laughs. Nothing really. We just loved rhythm and noise. We liked making music, but real loud. That pissed off the police that did. One day they stormed into our garage and beat the shit out of us. Just for fun. And what can you do against the police? Nothing really. They think they're god on earth, can take life at will. And do they ever get punished for their crimes? Not likely mate. On that day I realized I was a second class citizen. On that day I realized that the system hated me and on that day I began hating it back. But the real story, the real story of how it all began goes back a long time. A real long time.
Soon we'll be arriving at the river. You know I used to love the river. And you know what I used to love most of all? Rowing on the river. Have you ever rowed? You must try it some time. It's cool. Smooth. It's quite addictive too. I used to row in a four and an eight. I was in the school rowing team. We used to row in the Head of the River and now and again at a regatta in Abingdon. Against all those posh public school kids with with their OK yah, hooray Henry accents. Fucking wankers. Poofs. How I hated them. Problem was, we always got thrashed. Never showed enough dedication. That was our problem. It was a question of motivation. I wanted to. It was just the others didn't. There was never enough, what should I call it? Team work, team spirit. But I loved it all the same. The rush of the river, the rhythm, the concentration. It was a kind of meditation. Never capsized once. Even though the police with their washboats nearly sunk us, dozens of times. I remember cruising down the river, at a steady pace, past the glue sniffers, with their heads buried in white plastic bags, like horses with their heads in sacks of oats, under one bridge after another, the river always getting calmer and calmer as it got narrower and narrower. I remember the red shimmer of the sun as it set, the way the light reflected on the splashing water, and the way the black bodies of the tramps floated by.
And not far away from here is where I used to play rugby too. A hard game rugby. Need nerves of steel to tackle someone. There is always the fear of a boot in your face. And there is always the fear of breaking your neck or your back at the bottom of a scrum. Been known to happen. Countless times. People can get quite wild while playing rugby. Its a wonder that not more people get killed. But its an exciting game to play.
The only game I never understood and never liked was cricket. I always found it so boring. Christ I can never understand how the Pakistanis get so excited about it. Not like my dad. He loved it. Never missed a game. Always read the papers about the latest results.
The real story begins with my dad. It's his fault really. Not his fault perhaps but his naivity. He was naive my dad. Not that he liked to hear it. But it's true. Unfortunately. When he came to this great country of ours he sincerely thought he was doing it a favour. He sincerely thought he was "paying his debt of gratitude". He was, in all sincerity, grateful. Grateful for all the benefits of "civilization" it had bestowed upon him. And he took all that bullshit seriously. He sincerely believed in the "British way of life". He couldn't imagine anything better on earth. Thought he was a lordship. Thought he was educated. Thought he and his family were a cut above the rest. But he wasn't educated. He wasn't a cut above the rest. He wasn't even a cut above marmite. All he was was a stinking packi, at least in their eyes. In their eyes he wasn't even a human being. Fit to clean toilets, and that was it. Didn't even deserve to live. Had no future. Not in this great land of ours. And he didn't understand that fact he didn't. He was infatuated, know what I mean? He didn't realize that his love of this country wouldn't, couldn't ever be requited. Nobody gave a shit about him. The slings of arrows put paid to him and when he died he died of a broken heart, a broken man.
I remember him when I was a boy. He would get furious at the way the neighbours would treat us. He was forever calling the police! Can you imagine that! The police! It's a laugh really, when you think about it. I should be laughing at what my dad did, not crying. Protective. That is what my dad was. Wanted to protect us kids. Wanted to shield us from harsh reality. Wanted to be strong for my mum. Wanted to make us proud of who we were. Wanted to make us love our neighbours! That's a joke that is! Love trash? How can you love a heap of shit? Because that's what our neighbours were. Wild. Animals. Would do anything for a laugh. They'd pelt our house with stones, set our hedge on fire, smash the windows, just because we were somehow different. Just because we did not conform.
My dad would get a heart attack, literally. Poor health, that is what my dad suffered from. Never did take care of his body and he ate way too much fat, which was partly my mother's fault, but that is another story. My dad could never understand it. Couldn't grasp the simple fact that our neighbours were hoodlums. My mum would be in tears. Why didn't we go back she asked, why did we stay here? She was never happy here. Hated the weather and the landscapes and the people. Couldn't stand the cities and could not bear the humiliation. The daily humiliation. It got to her it did. She never believed it would get any better and she was right.
Hard place London. Glad I was never a Big Issue seller. Glad I never had to huddle around a make-shift fire while my fellow Britons walked by. I guess I have to thank my dad for that. When I flunked my A-levels he made me sit them again. And when I failed them a second time he didn't throw me out, like he could have done. No, instead he gave me some very sound advice. A very wise head on those shoulders. I often ask myself where he got it from. He told me not to worry. Everything would work out fine. His brother, my uncle, is in Pakistan right now. Looking for a bride. Promised he'd pick out a beauty for me. Glad he's there and not here. He'd kill me if he found out what I was up to. He'd have my balls! Wonder what my mother will say. Probably be in a state of shock for weeks on end. The neighbours will never speak another word to her of course. Not that she cares. The only thing she cares about is the latest Bollywood movie! Always dad who did the thinking in our house. Always dad who had the head for business. I guess I'm kind of a disappointment for him in a way. Always wanted me to go to business school.
You know what my dad always secretly hoped I would be? A merchant banker! Isn't that a laugh! Never wanted me to have to work in the shop like I'm doing now. It's just temporary he told me. Just till I get on my own two feet. Once I get married I'll be forced to be sensible. That's what he thinks. He said he'd give me the money for a shop of my own. But it's good to first learn the ropes. Start from the bottom. Work your way up. That's my attitude to life.
Wonder what my brother will think. Is he old enough to understand? Look, we're crossing the river. Beautiful isn't it? Maybe I should have talked more to him about it. Maybe I should have told him about the book. But he'll understand. Bright boy my brother. Top of his class in maths. Wants to be an engineer. Wants to build bridges.
You know what? Maybe it's not too late to call this whole thing off. Maybe there has been a change of plans. How do I know? All I have to do is make a phone call. Tell them it's off. That I've bottled out of it. That wouldn't be the first time an operation has been aborted. (Pause) But they'd kill me. No. They'd never forgive that. I'd be found with my throat cut, head down in the river like a tramp. Ooh. Nasty. No. I don't want that. Not in a million years. Shame I've made my decision. No going back now. You know that joke? If you see a light at the end of a tunnel its probably an oncoming train. That's what I feel like. An oncoming train. Only I don't have any breaks. No point bottling out now. Would only mean trouble. Just have to steady the nerves.
If only I had gone back to Pakistan when I flunked my A-Levels. But my father wouldn't hear of that. And what would I have done back in Pakistan? No: better to stay here and work in the shop.
What if I called my uncle now? Told him I needed to speak to him. That it was urgent. What would he say? Would I reach him? Or would he have his mobile switched off? Would he be angry when he saw it was me, out once more, wasting his hard earned cash?
My dad worked hard. Always did work hard. Came here with nothing. Built up the shop from scratch. Would he understand? Would he? How I could throw away everything he had worked for? Like that? (Snaps his fingers)
Anything to being a doormat. That is my philosophy. And I am not a doormat. In fact the one thing I hate are doormats. Are you a doormat? Do you enjoy being a doormat? Because that is one thing I will never understand about you people: how can you be content with life as a doormat?
Putney Bridge. Over there, not far away is Fulham FC. Craven Cottage. Never was a football fanatic me. Not like my brother. Never gave a toss if the Gunners or Spurs were at the top of the league. More interested in playing than watching, me. I'm a player, know what I mean? My brother, he's a spectator. Some call him a couch potato, on account of his weight. Bit on the heavy side, my brother. I keep telling him, he should do some sport. Do something. Think about your health. No fit girl is going to take an interest in you if you look like that. Too much cholesterol. That is his problem. Is a regular fat addict, know what I mean? A junk food junky. Loves fish and chips, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and all that shit. Me? It makes me puke. Not only because it's American. That as well. But because I feel so unhealthy afterwards. I feel three pounds heavier with all that fat. Ugh! The body can feel it. It's in there, flowing in the bloodstream, slowing you down. And then it forms, layer after layer, day after day, week after week, until you can't get rid of the stuff. You know there are people who get their fat sucked out of them. Fat suction or something like that it's called. Could never imagine doing that myself. Could never imagine getting myself, you know, a face lift. Christ! It's not natural. Never did have much faith in cosmetic surgery. And what if you die under the surgeon's knife? Been known to happen. What then? Will it have been worth it? All this cult of beauty. Cult of youth. Cult of superficiality. It makes my stomach turn! How I hate it. I mean, it's what's under the skin that counts, ain't it? It's what people are like actually. Not what they look like. Not about how many pounds and pence they have. There are good, decent people, there are cool people, like me for instance, and then there are the rest, the wankers, the fuck-heads, the BNP. And the question is: which do you really, in your heart of hearts, want to belong to? I mean if you had to choose, which would it be? Good or evil? Because that is what you can see in people's everyday lives. There are some who devote themselves, wholly, to the well-being of others, and there are some people who think just of themselves. You know that's what annoys me about my brother sometimes. A bit selfish he is. When he is watching a football match, just you try making a sound. He'll jump down your throat he will. Come down on you like a ton of bricks. But then he's a football fanatic. But it's not just football. It's other things too. He will leave food, rotting on a plate, for weeks on end. Until it begins to stink. Until the flies gather round. Until it begins to move of its own accord. Or he'll leave stuff in the fridge till it's mouldy. Till everything stinks like Swiss cheese. Christ he can be disgusting sometimes. And all he thinks about is money and birds. How much money he can earn. How many times he can get layed. Even started drinking alcohol. It's disgusting! At his age! It's a miracle he gets away with it. If he didn't do so well at school my uncle would give him a good hiding. It's a phase, it's his age, my mother keeps saying. But I'm not so sure. He's acquiring bad habits, my brother. And getting into bad company too. Wouldn't surprise me if he ended up as a crack-addict. Have to have a serious talk with him sometime. Have to teach him the importance of discipline. The importance of religion. How you should let moral precepts guide your every step. How morality is essential for life. You know what he lacks? A firm basis. That's the problem with this society that is. It has no firm basis.
You know the problem with my brother? He's always trying to please people he is. Always trying to please my dad, or my mum, or his classmates. Always trying to fit in. Always trying to be one of the crowd. Always trying to be a laugh. Always acting the clown. But do you know what that makes him? Vulnerable to peer pressure. And do you know what the problem with that is? You make compromises. You make so many compromises that, at the end of the day, you don't know where your head stands. All you know is that you're throwing things away. All you do is change. OK so they don't like this, I'll do that. OK, I'll get into trouble if I say this so I'll say that. It's always bending, curving. And one day: you break. One day all you know is what you've lost: your identity. All you know is what you've gained: contempt. The contempt of everyone you know. You see it's a game it is. Who can make the other change. And if you're the one who changes most, well, you're the loser, see. Because at the end of the day what my brother cannot understand, what he will not understand, is that he can't jump out of his own skin. He can change the way he talks, he can change the way he acts. He can even get a South London accent, know what I mean? But what he cannot change, what he never will change: that is the colour of his skin. Because it's the colour of your skin, at the end of the day, which says everything that is important about you. Because it's the colour of your skin that tells everyone that you're not English. That is the one thing he will never be: English.
You know I'm not sure that's such a great thing to be: English. You know what they call somebody who thinks England's great. Do you? A nationalist. And do you know what nationalists are? Fascists. But not just fascists. Provincial too. Yes. They do not, and I repeat, they do not know better. And even if they travel, they're like horses with you know, like, blinkers. They don't take anything in. Customs of other countries? Doesn't interest them. Yeah maybe the food and the drink. Exotic innit? You know that's one thing I really hate: the provincial Englishman. No I was wrong about that: there are two things. The second thing I really hate is: Snobbery. I cannot bear it. The English Class System. It's a joke! Really that's the only word for it. All this veneration for the Queen. She's not even English for Chrissakes! And her bleedin' corgis. All this grief when, oh, poor Diana died. The hypocrisy of it. You know the ones who cried most? The ones who killed her. Because it was her fans who killed her, make no mistake about it. Her fans wanted the photos. Photo after photo. Photos till they were sticking out of their arses. Photos which they papered their toilets with. Always greedy for them they were. Didn't mind even killing her to get them. Didn't care about the woman. No just the photos. And it was the photos they loved, not her, poor bitch.
You know there are alternatives. You can always join a crew. Poverty Driven Children, South London Syndicate, Stockwell Crew. And then you know where you belong. Because that is all we are after, at the end of the day: the feeling that we belong. That we don't, you know, stick out from the crowd. That we're all part of one big human family. Because that is what we are at the end of the day: one big, very unhappy family. You know the scientists, right, heard of those people? The ones with funny white coats. The scientists found out that there is more diversity in one tribe of monkeys in West Africa, just one tribe, than there is in the whole of the human race. You know what divides you and me? Skin pigmentation. Nothing else. We are just one race. Which makes racism a bit of a joke doesn't it? Snobbery too. I mean it just shows how ignorant you are, doesn't it?
Players and not players. That is what this life is divided into. Gabriel, now. He was a player. A real player. Big time. Always played for big stakes. Until he took one gamble too many, and now he is no more. A laugh was Gabriel, never known anyone funnier. A nonstop comedy routine. Would take the piss out of everybody, himself included. Took the piss out of the politicians, especially that pratt Blair, PC plod, the local vicar, the very dignified, highly respectable, eminently respected, local dignitaries. Never had respect for nobody. And his jokes were spot on. Never knew any boundaries, Gabriel, of good taste or otherwise. Gabriel was what you might call a free spirit. Was nobody ever freer. Maybe he was too free at times. And nobody who cared more about justice. Too much perhaps. Or humanity. He would cry when he read in the paper of the slaughter of the innocents. Could play football, Gabriel. Everyone thought he'd turn professional. A second Maradona, a second Ronaldo. Came on good with the birds too. Too good, as I learnt to my regret, but that is another story. One in a million Gabriel. I never admired a man more. It was he who convinced me of the need to be aware, of the need to take action. Sitting around, crying our eyes out was not enough. We needed to do something. We needed to change the paradigm. Those were his words. There needed to be a "paradigm shift". Knew a lot about all those things, Gabriel. Read the FT, The Economist, The Guardian on a daily basis. Informed, that is what Gabriel was. He knew what was going down. He understood the world and he helped me understand it too. It's all a game, he'd tell me. We're just dupes. It's all a game of how to manipulate the masses. Consumerism is just one big con game, as is "democracy", as is the illusion of our "freedom". We're only free to shop. That's it. And as to being informed? No way! The truth is: we're just fed on shit. How many people know that 9/11 was a set up job? That the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolitions? That a missile and not a plane hit the Pentagon? That a missile and not a plane landed in Shanksville? That Al Qaeda does not exist? That there is no evidence linking Osama Bin Laden to the attacks? That they were were funded by Pakistan's ISI? Not many people know that, but Gabriel did. He opened my eyes he did. He made me see the truth, however ugly. And he made me see that we needed to act. It was he who started to organize our cell. It was he who started finding money to finance this operation. It was he who had the idea and did the planning. Until, that is, he had second thoughts, but that is another story.
You know it's very easy to misjudge people. It's very easy for you to think that people are your mates when they're not. Had that experience a couple of times. Never will again. I have a healthy mistrust I do. Don't trust anyone unless they have proven themselves, on countless occasions, a real mate. Takes a long time before you can be a mate of mine. A very long time. Had an experience once. Hung out with a crew: White Boys. Thought they were cool. Thought they thought that I was cool too. But you know what they used to call me behind my back? The Packi. That was all I was to them: the Packi. Used to laugh about me behind my back they did.
I trusted Gabriel too, I did. With my life. Thought of him as my own, dear brother. Thought he was watching out for me. Thought he would sacrifice his life for me. Thought all he wanted was my good, my happiness, my well being. But, you know what? I was wrong. The truth is: he didn't give a shit, and when they killed him, when they cut his throat as an act of sacrifice, I was glad I was. Good riddance I said to him. Good riddance you treacherous shit.
You know it takes a long time to prove yourself. That's what I keep telling my brother. Until you have proved yourself, nobody, myself included, will ever take you seriously. No way. Never happen. You have to prove that you can handle yourself, know what I mean? You have to prove that you are hard. That you are cool. Because at the end of the day that is the only thing people respect: strength. Strength and control. Nerves. And that is what we, as Muslims, have to show them: that we've got nerves. That is the only way they will ever respect us. That is the only way we will ever be able to respect ourselves. Because that is important too that is. You have to be able to respect yourself. Not just other people. Yourself too. Because if you don't respect yourself you're liable to do anything you are. Capable of committing any crime. You know that's one of my pet theories that is: that child molesters are the only ones who have no sense of shame. Know what I mean? I mean: even if you felt the impulse, right, something would stop you, right? A sense of decency or something. An awareness that it is only the lowest of the low who would do something like that. But no there are too many people who do not have that awareness. There are too many people who have no sense of shame.
Soon we'll be arriving at Parsons Green. Always wondered why they called it that. Must have something to do with the local parson. Did you hear the one about the vicar? To the woods said the vicar. But I'm only sixteen! To the woods said the vicar! And then there is the other one. The one about the vicar telling the story. About how he met a frog by the pond and the how the frog told him that if he only took him home and only took him into his warm, comfortable bed he would turn back into a boy. And after the vicar took the frog back home and took him into his warm, comfortable bed and the frog did actually turn into a boy nobody, the judge included, would believe him. Wonder what those people are doing over there. Probably just waking up. Making themselves a cup of tea. Putting on the kettle. Making themselves some toast. Getting out the marmelade. Rubbing their eyes and thinking: Fuck, I have to go to work. Looking at the clock. Thinking: Fuck, I'm late. Thinking: Fuck. The boss will be very angry. Funny life, living in a rat race. See all those newly built buildings? This part of town has gone real upmarket since I was a boy. Wouldn't be caught dead in this part of town when I was a lad. Now every brick is worth its weight in gold.
That's where the money is. That is what I should be doing for a living: property development. I kept telling my dad. Sell the shop. Invest in land. Speculate. He could have made a fortune if he had wanted to. Knew some real rich people; my dad. Some of the richest people in this country. They, I am sure, would have been more than willing to lend him the money. Respected member of the community, my dad was. Well liked. Trusted. Good head on his shoulders.
And after Parsons Green will be Fulham Broadway. Home of Chelski. Stamford Bridge. Home of Abramovich's Boy Wonders. You know its amazing what money will do. And whoever says the yids don't run the world, I just say: look at Chelski. And look at what the Zionists get away with in Palestine. Milosovich. A war criminal. Srebrenica. No doubt. A crime. But Sharon. Also a war criminal. Sabra and Chatila. No doubt. Also a crime. Only one is not a yid but the other is. One goes to the lock up, the other becomes prime minister. A repected elder statesman. A respected member of the international community. You know it's a funny old world isn't it? I mean look at Bush. The man's an idiot. Right? I mean, just listen to the man. Do you know any Bush jokes? You don't need any. You just have to listen to the man. I mean he's amazing. You know what he once said? (With thick American accent, imitative of Bush) "The inhabitants of Greece are the Grecian!" Amazing! I mean I'm pig ignorant. I make no bones about it, but compared to him: I'm Einstein mate! Listen to this one: "The French don't have a word for "entrepreneur". " And again: "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." It's fantastic. The man should be a comedian. And again: "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." I mean how did this dick-head become president? And again: "I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements in the future." I mean the guy is unbelievable! Can you imagine having a conversation with this guy? I mean how does Blair do it? How does he keep a straight face? I would fall about, cracking up. Rolling on the floor! "The future will be better tomorrow". I mean its hysterical innit? "I stand by all the misstatements that I've made." Or "We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe." "A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls." "For NASA, space is still a high priority." "Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children." "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." Or here is my all time favorite: "It's time for the human race to enter the solar system." Isn't the guy a scream? Shame he's a mass murderer. And you call me a terrorist? Compared to that bloke? Come on, be serious! That's what I call double standards that is. That's what I call hypocrisy. You know it was Bush who made me what I am today. Bush, you know, radicalised me, you know what I mean? I mean before Bush I used to think that Americans were harmless idiots. But after Bush I began to think they were just plain evil. I mean how could they vote for that dick head after Afghanistan, where the GIs throw grenades among children to clear their way, Iraq, where they massacre whole wedding parties, Guantanamo Bay, where they torture people, Abu Ghraib, where they rape them? I mean after that I began to realise how Aushchwitz was possible. After that I realised that there was only one solution: Armed Resistance. And that is what I am doing right now. Because you know what Blair is? He's a Quisling, a toe rag, a crawler, who wants to crawl up George Bush's arse. And you know what? The Americans never wanted British troops. Sure a few select units, the SAS and the SBS, the elite, but otherwise they didn't need us. They didn't want us. Were frightened that we would make things too complicated. Would cock up their chain of command. And then what happened during the invasion? More British soldiers get killed by the Americans, by so-called friendly fire than by the Iraqis. I mean can you believe that? And it didn't stop there. You know I once read about a British journalist "falling off a roof" in the North of Iraq. I mean come off it! He fell off a roof! They want us to believe that? And you know it's not a coincidence that so many journalists have been killed in Palestine or Iraq. It's called: "news management". It's what they learnt from Vietnam.
You know I thought about going into the army once. Thought about joining the air force too. The airforce would have been cool, know what I mean? Met a girl once. Was so proud that her brother flew a Harrier jet. Yeah Harrier jets are cool. As are Tornados. But they are nothing compared to the hardware the Americans have. Fuck! It is expensive. They spend a fortune on it they do! Christ they could solve the whole problem of Third World Poverty with the defence budget of one year alone! Psychopaths. That is what Americans are. And they talk about liberty! They talk about democracy! It's a laugh that is.
Parsons Green. Oh dear. I do have to inform you ladies and gentlemen that we will soon be approaching our destination. Please fasten your seatbelts or whatever else you happen to have with you that makes life bearable in London. Did you have a nice day? Hope you enjoyed the trip. Please ride again with us some time soon. I wonder if they have trains in heaven. What, and this is the question you will doubtlessly be asking yourselves, will you do with all your spare time? What will you do if you don't have shopping malls and television? But maybe you should look at it from a completely different perspective: it will be a well-earned break. A chance for a bit of, you know, peace and quiet. When was the last time you had that? When was the last time you had time on your hands. Because the truth is; most people don't want time on their hands. All they want is: distraction. Anything to keep them occupied. Anything to keep their minds off things. Anything to make them believe that their lives have meaning. You know there are few people who take the time to reflect about their lives. Do you reflect on the meaning of your life? I bet you don't.
You know I know what they will write about this when it's over. How these evil Pakistani blokes, these, ugh, Muslims, perpetrated this mother of all crimes on the most innocent lambs ever born. And how none of you will panic. And how all of you will be heroes. Trying to save each other people's lives. How you will step over each other in your attempts to save the poor innocent pregnant woman with the pram and three children who threatened to go up in smoke. Yes I know what the papers will print. And I know what the reporters will say. And I know what they will all secretly think. And soon they won't just secretly be thinking it. They will be saying it too: Why don't the Packi's go home? Why don't all those stinking, black arsed monkeys, pack their bags and get out of here? And this is what I say to you. Brothers, let's leave. What have we got to lose? Should we stay on account of the weather? No. Let's go. But let's take our money with us. Let's invest it back home. Let's build a just, modern, Muslim society. Let's get rid of the hypocrites, the tyrants, the American puppets. Let's take matters into our own hands. Because you know the thing is: we've been neglecting them much too long. It's been too long that we, the Muslims, have been letting ourselves be treated like doormats. And that is why this action is needed. This action is intended to purify. To bring truth. Truth in the darkness. And yes the situation will escalate. And yes there will be fighting in the suburbs. And yes the blood will run. But it will purify too.
It was Gabriel who first mentioned the name Qutb, the man who has inspired all Muslim resistance, the man the Egyptian mercenary bastards tortured and then killed. The man who inspired those who got their revenge when they killed that traitor: Sadat. I read about him, I read his works but I didn't understand him until I saw the kindness in his eyes. To be kind we have to kill, that it what Gabriel said. At first. But then his ideas began to change. He began to go soft. Started talking about the need to avoid civilian casulaties, the need to avoid the killing of innocents. Then came the betrayal. Then came his death.
Is womankind necessary to man? And what if we are unmanned by a woman? What if women reduce us to chains, rob us of our liberty, turn us into doormats? That is what happened to Gabriel: he met a woman. It was on her account that he began to have second thoughts. It was on her account that he started working for the police and became a spy. It was on her account that he was slaughtered like a pig. He didn't have to, you know. Nobody forced him. I wonder sometimes if it was my fault.
There is something I have omitted to mention. A fact. A name. The name, the fact will mean nothing to you. In fact I'm 100% sure you don't give a shit. But the name, the fact, mean a lot to me. That name is: Nadine. At first I thought of her as just a mate. Sure: she was tall and beautiful but that didn't mean anything to me at first. She was just the sister of a friend: Raj. That was it. Always fooling around. Always fun, always a laugh. She was not exactly what you might call a lady. She might have been tall with dark, flashing eyes but she acted like one of the lads. She was always pushing and pinching, joking and fooling. A bundle of energy, she was. She wasn't exactly what fitted into the cliche of what might be termed feminine. And that was her undoing. Her sister: Sabah, was quite the opposite. It was her I had taken a fancy to at first. She was everything a mother would have wanted: she was demure, quiet, obedient. Above all else: she was beautiful. I was attracted by her calm, by her silence, by her sense of mystery. She intrigued me. I wanted to get to know her but then I realized that her mother took offense at my advances. Raj and Nadine in the meantime took the piss. Raj thought I was a fool, a joke, pathetic, while Nadine took pity on the hopelessness of my cause. You see Sabah was promised to a bloke in Pakistan. Was rich, had connections. I didn't have a hope in hell. Nadine was a rebel. Didn't give a shit what I or her family thought. Went out partying late in the night. And that was where I saw her, for the first time, as a woman. I remember her sexy black top, with the silver studs, which left her arms bare and her tight blue jeans and I was like: mind-blown. This could not be the same girl I knew. And I couldn't believe it when we danced real close and how she started French-kissing me or how she let me put my hand down her pants. I was in seventh heaven. That didn't last. It never lasts.
At first it was great. We did everything, I mean everything together. Took showers, baths, went shopping, watched TV. We ate and drank each other, our smell, our taste, the smoothness and softness of our skin. We would get each other real excited.
Two weeks it lasted. Two weeks of bliss. And then we both bumped into Gabriel one day. From then on it wasn't just two of us. It was was three of us on the go, morning, noon and night. It was a wonder we did it. And we didn't even need cocaine. We had a wild time. A wild time. Gabriel knew how to party he did. He was a devout Muslim but he was a laugh.
And then one day I came home and she was gone. Left a note saying she'd moved on, had developed her tastes, had had a fab time and hoped I wasn't hurt. Hurt? Hurt? I nearly flung myself under the nearest train. My mum was frightened of me getting hold of a knife. My brother watched me night and day, a month long. I was completely suicidal. Completely manic. It was then I volunteered.
Nadine didn't just turn Gabriel's head, she turned him into a milksop. He was no longer a man. The mission he had dreamed of was aborted. He didn't care. Not about anything. Not about the cause. Not about nothing. He was dead to the world. Dead to his own sense of shame, his own sense of honour. I reminded him of his commitment, of the cause, but he'd hear nothing of it. Said I was full of shit. Said I was still after Nadine. I warned him. This is going to get ugly this is, both he and Nadine would meet a sticky end. And after the police arrested him he was a changed man, wouldn't look you in the eye. Started talking peace and reconciliation and all that bullshit. So that is when we knew we had to top him. Wasn't easy but we managed it. It was only a matter of time before Nadine was next. She had dishonoured her family. She was a whore. So she was done in too, strangled, just one week after they slit Gabriel's throat. Never forget the look on her face, the purple bruises the strange smile on her face. As if she knew too much.
You know I am very proud to be chosen. It is not everyone who is chosen. It is an honour and indeed a privilege to be chosen to carry out an operation. You have to show obedience. Obedience to God. And over a long period of time too. You have to show that you can handle yourself. You have to show that you have nerves. There have been enough cases of people bottling out. And I myself don't blame them. It's not easy. I thought about bottling out; countless times. I'm still thinking about it now. What do you think? Do I look like a chicken? Because sometimes I think that's all I am. And maybe you are right. Maybe I won't go through with this. That's what makes the tension, the drama. That's what makes this whole thing, so exciting. Because it is exciting. It is so very exciting. You know it gives me a real thrill to be here today. You can't imagine it. The way the adreniline pumps through your veins. The ultimate drug. You'll feel it too soon. You too, if you are one of the lucky ones, will feel the rush. You too; will feel your heart pound. Wow. This is better than training this is. This might be the most exciting moment of your life. The most dramatic thing you will ever experience. How you will hang between life and death. And which will it be? What are your chances? What if you are an unlucky person? You know what they should do? They should start up a new reality TV show: Suicide Bomber. Wouldn't it be great if I had a camera with me now? You could see my every motion. You could see your every motion too. Simultaneously. You could see the way you're scratching your wrist. The way you're looking at your watch. The way you're picking your nose. And the way I'm sweating. A very cold sweat. Like a pig. That most unholy of animals. Swine. That is basically what you are at the end of the day, isn't it? Would you have the guts to carry out an operation? Would you be willing to sacrifice yourselves? Because that is what it demands, at the end of the day: selflessness. You have to be selfless to carry out an operation. You have to subordinate your will to that of God's. And if you think that that is easy you are very much mistaken. Takes a lot of time and an awful lot of dedication to prepare for this. Got to psyche yourself up. Like before a football match. Got to work up the concentration. You know there were times when I, too, was selfish. When all I cared about was having a good time. When all I cared about was getting pissed. I was miserable then. That is the truth. Just as you are miserable now. Think about it: I'll be doing you a favour. I'll be putting you out of your misery. But perhaps you have never known happiness. If that is the case then I am sorry to have to inform you that you most certainly never will. But what, after all, is happiness? You know the thing about happiness is; the more you pursue it, the more it eludes you. Perhaps you won't miss it. After all: it's only the search for something that doesn't exist. And the search for it only makes you think about yourself. That is the problem with this society. Everybody is obsessed with themselves. That's why it's decadent. That's why it's dying. That's why it has to burn. Nobody ever sees the bigger picture. And everybody, just everybody, thinks they're God. And they blame it on the money. But it's not about the money. It's about the spirit. It's about spiritual poverty. You can see it all around you. Don't need reality TV for that. Don't need all these morons, jabbering on, morning, noon and night. You just have to look into the eyes of an average skinhead. What do you see? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. And he is the distillation of the purest of all Englishmen. He is the true defender of your Queen and your, oh so sacred Country. And what is he? Dirt. Plain dirt. Not fit to scrub my shoe. No. All you're interested in is hedonism. Self-gratification. Materialism. All you are, are plastic people. That's all you are, really. You know when this thing goes off not one soul, other than my own, will leave this carriage. Not one spirit, other than my own, will rise. Because you will discover, when it's too late, much too late, to your infinite cost, that all you're made out of is clay. And you'll crumble. And you'll all cry out loud: "My Lord. My Lord. Why have you forsaken me?" And He will answer back, in His infinite wisdom, His infinite mercy: "Because you've turned your backs on me. Because you're idolaters. Because you worship the Golden Calf." And you all blame Thatcher. Poor Thatcher. What did she ever do to you? OK so she fucked the country over, just like the Americans are fucking Iraq over right now. OK so she stripped you of your assets just as the Americans are stripping Iraq of its assets right now. So she wasted your oil. But the Americans are not just wasting Iraqi oil, they're stealing it. Do you know how much they stole in their first eight months alone? Roughly twelve billion dollars. Roughly nine billion dollars are simply not accounted for. Nobody knows where the money vanished. It just disappeared. And do you know what they do? They simply don't measure how much they pump. Can you imagine that? Billions just disappear. And do you know who's responsible for all that? You are. And very soon you will have to accept the consequences for it. Oh yes, you'll say: this's bad. This's very bad. But I'm telling you: it's nothing compared to what you're doing in Iraq. At least 34 Iraqis die a violent death every day. And you're responsible for all of them. If it wasn't for you there'd be no need for a resistance. There would be law and order. But no, you prefer anarchy. Because when anarchy reigns supreme it's very easy to rape a country, know what I mean? But, you will say, the deaths are due to terrorism, due to the rebels. The fact is: you're directly responsible for at least 37% of all deaths. And for the rest you're also responsible, albeit indirectly. And that's not an isolated instance. Oh no. No, no. This has happened again and again and again. If not in the Middle East then in South America. If not in South America then in Africa. Raping country after country after country. Leaving them lying and bleeding, the people half dead. And you'll ask yourselves, after today, was it worth it? Well was it? What did you get out it? After stealing all of those precious minerals? All those diamonds and gems. All that, oh so precious oil. How does that help you at the end of the day, if you're lying flat on your back next to a rail, waiting for the rats, your kin, to eat you? You know the one thing I can't stand about you: it's your hypocrisy. It sickens me. It sickens me to death. Oh, those poor, starving African children. But did you make sure we got their oil first? Did you make sure they paid enough for the arms we sold them? Make sure the invoice is OK.
Yes, that's the White Man's Burden. That's always been the White Man's Burden. The weight of the loot. The weight of the gold, the weight of the diamonds, the weight of all those precious stones your pockets are stuffed with. And you know what your favorite trick has always been? To say: they, the poor niggers, the poor Untermenschen, they deserved it. You know, at the end of the day, most of these films you see about the Empire, about the good, white man fighting off the black, are nothing better than Nazi propaganda. And you know what the truth is? At the end of the day you're no better than the Nazis. And we, we're like the French Resistance.
You know, you hear a lot of talk about democracy these days. Like democracy in Chechnya. Or democracy in Uzbekistan. Or democracy in Saudi Arabia. All those well known democracies you liberated just like you liberated Iraq. The West. That's synonymous with democracy, isn't it? To be Western is to be democratic, by birth. It has something to do with the genes I guess, or maybe just the water. Oh yes, you Westerners, you are so democratic. Never have a problem with a president who cheats at the polls. Never have a problem with a regime which isn't really that democratic, if it's willing to give up its oil. Or provide you with strategic bases, in a war "against terror".
But you have always been so keen on democracy that the minute a country oops, accidentally elects, oh dear, a democratically elected president you, oh deary me, you, cut his head off. Declare the election null and void, like in Algeria, and then proceed to massacre the inhabitants. Remember Patrice Lumumba? Remember him? The democratically elected president of The Congo. Know what happened to him? Got assassinated. And all the Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA, were involved. And who replaced him? That good ally of America, the cannibal, Mobutu. And did he have a problem with American companies mining his country? Of course he did not. And what followed him? Anarchy and chaos. And did the anarchy and chaos stop American companies mining the Congo? Oh no it meant they could mine more than ever before. And the cost of all this was four million dead. Did it worry you? No, I'm sure you could sleep quite soundly.
And what about Salvador Allende? Ever heard of him? Who was that bloke? Oh yes, the democratically elected president of Chile. And what happened to him? Deposed by that war criminal Kissenger. Poor bloke put an AK in his mouth and pulled the trigger as the army came storming in. And who followed Allende? That war criminal, torturer and thief, that well known and most intimate friend of Thatcher's, Pinochet. And do you think he stopped the American companies mining Chile? Of course he did not. Not as long as he was raking it in. Millions that bloke made. Millions. A true patriot if ever there was one.
And what about Mohammad Mossadegh? Ever heard of him? Probably haven't. Was elected president of Iran. In the Fifties. And what happened to him? Deposed by a CIA/MI6 coup. And who replaced him? The Shah of Iran. Our dear old friend, the Shah. That good old friend of the West. That torturer and murderer. And did he stop Americans pumping out the oil? No of course he did not. And what happened when there was a revolution? When the whole of the Iranian people rose up with one voice to put an end to the bloody tyranny? The Americans organised coup after coup to get him back on his thrown. And when that didn't work they got Saddam, their good old ally, that good old friend of the West, Saddam, to attack those dangerous radicals. The only thing Saddam failed to realise was that the West would double cross him. Didn't expect them to sell arms to both sides at the same time. But the Americans made it up to him. Gave him real time satellite pictures so he could see every Iranian move on the ground. And when that didn't work they gave him chemical weapons. Yes you got it, that infamous WMD. And with those chemical weapons, and only with those chemical weapons was he able to check the Iranian advance. But then, like Noriega before him, remember old Pineapple face? he became dispensible. So the Americans thought up a great trick. Ingenious it was. They told him that if he wanted to invade another sovereign country, just as he had invaded Iran, they wouldn't, just as they hadn't said anything the first time, say a word. They told him, I quote, they had "no opinion on inter-Arab differences". And what was more, if they had wanted to deter him all they'd have had to do was move one battalion of Marines to Kuwait. That's all it'd have taken. And do you think that the Americans couldn't see what was going on, with their satellites, their satellites able to see what paper you read? So they let him invade Kuwait and it was a good excuse to hammer his army. And it was also a very good excuse for the Americans to move into the Gulf, big time, build big military bases, an operational headquarters in Saudi Arabia. But there was one thing they hadn't reckoned with: people like me. The resistance. And that war is still going on.
Oh Fulham Broadway. Soon our overground will be going underground. (Sings) Going underground. Going underground. We. We are the Underground. We. We have been waiting for the right moment for a long while now. We have been simmering in the ashes as it were. And what have you been doing? Have you been secretly supporting the British National Party? Or have you been asking your doctor for a cure to Islamophobia? Have you been asking him if he could recommend a few books? A few sites on the Internet, where you could, you know, find something out? Have you actually bothered to find out about what the Book actually is about? You know, now that we only have a few minutes left, I'd like, very much, to talk about the Book.
The Book is not intended to be doubted. The minute you doubt the book you've lost it, you know what I mean? It's intended as a guide for the righteous. Do you know what that word means? Do you know what righteousness is?
To be able to understand the book you have to be willing to do good. To understand the book you have to be good. That is what it's all about. That's what righteousness means. Virtue.
To be able to understand the book you have to be willing to believe in the unseen. Now this is a difficult concept for many of you to grasp. I know that. But believe me. You have to trust me on it. It's your only hope.
To be able to understand the book you have to be willing to pray. Do you know what it means to pray? When was the last time you prayed? At school? Well the book is intended for those who are steadfast in prayer.
To be able to understand the book you have to be willing to give alms, to give to charity. Very practical, the book. A very practical religion, Islam. Do you give to charity? When was the last time you helped a down and out?
But above all, in order to understand the book you have to have absolute faith in the life to come. Because if you don't believe in an after-life, a life to come, you can forget it.
You know, contrary to many misconceptions, Islam is not an aggressive religion. Islam means peace. Indeed it is written that God does not love aggressors. And why should He? Who loves them? Certainly not I. No. But at the same time it is written that those that die in the defence of God, do not, really, do so.
Children of Jaffa,
fruit of anger,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
next to a magnificent sea.
A strange man lives in your house.
He sings and sings
but not your songs.
He sings and plays,
but not your games.
He plays games
but they signify death.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
beggars and bread-sellers,
sparrows in the air,
dead are the angels and blind your gods.
Thorns torment you,
your hands bleed,
your thoughts are fevered,
your gaze the heart of the sun.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
a storm in the desert,
catastrophe in time,
your sleep disturbed,
uncertain your future,
uprooted your fragrant gardens,
on the wings of angels,
dark your souls.
Vainly you call out to the wilderness,
vainly you scream to the clouds.
Heaven shan't grant relief,
other than death.
Death like rain engulfs you,
embraces you coldly
with the weight of lead.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
The torment and the misery,
the singing of the sun,
he oil and the fire,
how you thirst for the wonderful water,
pure and salvation bringing,
dressed in air,
in the barren waste.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
Your tents and flapping flags,
your gaze directed toward the stars,
and your graves.
the high and low tide,
bread soiled with blood.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
Deprived of hope,
the weight of the lonely desert,
the humiliation of the fallen temple,
the scattered shards,
bricks and stone covered with dust.
Children of Jaffa,
we think of you morning, noon, and night.
Oh West Brompton. That means. Let me sit back a while and figure this out. This is a difficult one this is. We have just one stop to go. And then: Lights out. The end. (Sings) This is, this is.... Cool band The Doors. Always liked them. Even though they were hippies.
You know, I can only talk for myself. Me, myself, I have never had any regrets, me. Always done the right thing. Always been good. Never done wrong. Of course there have been a few bad moments; I didn't like too much. Like being called a Packi bastard. Like being beaten for being a Muslim. Like the fact that some bad people had a bad habit of lobbing bricks through our front window and setting fire to our house. But no, that's the past, that is. That's forgiven. What's done is done. Can't change the past. Can only change the present. And that is what I am about to do; radically.
Well what do you think? Will I or won't I? Are you a betting man? What are the odds? Willing to risk something on a flutter? How much are you willing to risk? A fiver, a tenner, your life? Never was a gambling man was I. Never could see the point in it. Just throwing money out the window.
What do you think death feels like? Will we feel anything? Will we see anything? Will we hear anything? Will we smell anything? Will it be like they say, like passing through a long tunnel and then looking down at ourselves from above? Or will it be (Snaps his fingers.) like that? (Snaps his fingers.)