Summer 2009 - THE POTOMAC

Ahmed the Cab Driver
   Henry F. Tonn

There once was a man named Ahmed the Cab Driver. He lived with his parents in a small town twenty miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, and his most proud possession was his new taxicab. It was bright and shiny and he washed it faithfully every day, hoping eventually to make enough money to marry and start his own family. Ahmed had his eye on a particular girl in his village.

One day Ahmed was hired by two Egyptians to drive them to Baghdad. As he was passing through a checkpoint in the city, several Iraqi security agents stopped his car to searched it for contraband. Nothing was found, but that in itself was suspicious to the security agents since the two Egyptian passengers were carrying no luggage and Ahmed had nothing whatsoever in his truck other than a spare tire. Deciding to err on the side of caution, the Iraqi agents had Ahmed arrested as a potential terrorist, and he was shipped forthwith to a nefarious prison in a well-known district of Baghdad. There Ahmed was subjected to the sophisticated interrogation techniques applied by American military personnel who demanded to know about Ahmedís secret contacts. Ahmed insisted he didnít have any secret contacts, that he was simply a poor, illiterate cab driver trying to make enough money to marry and have his own family. This was not an acceptable answer for the interrogators, so they continued to administer interrogation techniques until Ahmed died suddenly four days later. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that Ahmed was not a terrorist at all, just a cab driver from a small village south of Baghdad.

Ahmedís body was shipped back to his parentís home where everyone in the town turned out to mourn his passage. A few months later an inquisitive reporter asked the chief officer of the prison about Ahmedís death, and the officer replied, ďIt was an unfortunate circumstance, but we must all make sacrifices in the interest of freedom.Ē Hearing this, Ahmedís family felt relieved to know that their son had given his life for a greater cause.

And they even got the cab back.

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