.The northern country was sleeping under deep snow. It had taken them days to arrive there. They had travelled through
thehalf of Europe to reach their destination. As they passed through the cities and towns, the passengers in the buss stared in amazement at that prosperous world, which did not seem to care about what was happening in their homeland. Everything and everybody was in a rush. Here, people did not have time to sit for hours and drink cup after cup of coffee, chat about trivialities or while away the time in their gardens. It seemed that some kind of invisible authority prodded them to move ever faster.
When the bus arrived
toat the final destination, and the young man alighted, a wave of chill swept over him, causing him to shudder. The whiteness of the snow hurt his eyes, and when he looked up, the sky was a grey, dull mass. The refugees walked in the almost empty, ice-encrusted and slippery streets. ice-encrusted and slippery.They bumped into one or two old men and women shuffling along, carrying plastic bags with their provisions, their walking sticks making a crisp sound when they hit the ground. As he picked his way in his scuffed shoes, trying not to slip, some scenes from the Russian novels he'd read beofre flashed in his mind- biting cold, deep snow, prolonged darkness and desolate landscapes of Siberia, populated by the exiles who had somehow come into theconflict with the Russian authorities. Their disobedience had spoilt the veneer of the mighty power, and they had to expiate their sins and learn obeisance in that harsh environment. But who would have believed that the time would come when Europe would be shunting away the victims of ethnic cleansing and war crimes to another such cold place? The refugees were spoiling the veneer of great European civilization and should be kept away from the eyes of the elite whose delicate senses could, otherwise, be offended.
Despite the coldness and the snow, the natives were kind and friendly. They seemed to be happy to help the refugees to start a new life. The young man and his father got a nice flat only for themselves, and even enough money to buy furniture and clothes. Using a service provided by the Red Cross, they constantly exchanged
Red Crossmessages with Mother, who wrote to them about how the situation had become unbearable. They listened to the radio, watched the news on TV, news,and winced whenever they saw pictures of mascarasthe massacres and destruction which seemed incessant. would not stop.They felt ashamed of the savagery their compatriots were capable of. From the distanceIn this peaceful country, and from a distance, such violence seemed meaningless and beyond comprehension. In every message, theirthey urged Mother to leave everything and join them. Their homeland was lost forever.
In the long, dark nights, he was lying in bed thinking of Jasmine. The long distance and the passed time had not diminished his passion at all. It was burning inside him like an everlasting fire which would outlive him.
his death.He imagined Jasmine walking the busy streets of the German cities, proud, more beautiful than ever, and drawing envious looks from both men and women. They, dumbfounded, wondered who this woman was. And Jasmine walked on, light on her feet, ignoring them like a princess passing by her numerous servants. He promised himself he would travel to Germany one day and find her. Probably he would not talk to her, but he would at least look at her and let his soul soak up her beauty.
It took his mother about three months to join them. She had sold their valuables for much
underbelow their value, and had to bribe some officials to get the allall the required documents. After all those years of toil and sacrifices, she had just a suitcase with her clothes and a few photo albums. She boarded a bus, which was part of the convoy consisting of six buses to take her out of hell. Mother told them that before they left the hostile territory, solders boarded the buses and picked upout about a dozen women and girls. They disappeared with them into the darkness. When theythose women and girls returned about half an hour later, they were all sobbing and crying, and some had bruises and scars on their arms and legs. Nobody dared to ask them any questions, but everyone knew the answers. It was the last humiliation the soldiers had inflicted aton those already suffering people.
TO BE CONTINUED
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