Sunday, July 4, 2010

His knees buckling in grief

From Ariel Sabar's My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for His Jewish
Past in Kurdish Iraq:

No sooner had Yona sat down than he noticed something amiss. Kocho,
his pet lamb, was not at his usual spot. He had hoped to show the lamb
off to his guests during the dancing after the meal. But when he got
up and ran out to the court, all he found was the tether in a loose
coil on the ground.

"Where is Kocho?" Yona asked his mother, who was laddling food for the guests.

"Oh, kurbanokh," she said, dropping her hands at her side. "Your
father didn't tell you?"

Yona was frantic. He ran through the house until he found his father
at the entry to the courtyard, sipping a glass of arak with some
friends from the market.

"Where is Kocho?" Yona asked, breathing hard. "Didn't Babba Ephraim
say he could go to Israel with us? If you sold him, we have to get
him back. I have some money left from my job. Please, Babba. I will

He was shaking.

"I didn't sell him, Broni," Rahamim said. "I took him to the butcher's
this morning. There was no way to take him to Israel. So we make a
mitzvah. We feed him to our Muslim friends, whom we won't see for a
very long time. Being a man means making sacrifices."

Yona remembered the lumps of meat in the rizza bpisra. He felt sick.
"But, Babba, why?" he sobbed, his knees buckling in grief. "Kocho was
my friend! You didn't even tell me! Why? Why!"

Ariel Sabar, My Father's Paradise: A Son's Search for his Jewish Past
in Kurdish Iraq, Kindle Edition, 2008, 32% into the book.