Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So said Mr Newton. But he never mentioned anything about fallout. He probably never even considered it. Hard to factor fallout into anything. Especially for a Physicist. It’s unpredictable. Bit like throwing a stone over a wall. You never know who you might hit. Reminds MB of a quotation he read years back. There was a firebrand Presbyterian preacher-cum-politician in Northern Ireland throughout the period we call ‘the troubles’. Name of Ian Paisley. Paisley once speculated that it you threw a stone over a wall in Northern Ireland, chances are you would hit someone called Doherty. Paisley had a point. There’s lots of them up there for sure.
Throwing stones is one thing. But shooting guns is another. And shooting guns and killing innocent people is something else yet again. Whether it’s in Northern Ireland, or Sudan, or Paris. If you are brainwashed enough, or crazy enough, or just plain stupid enough, to believe you have some divine right to kill people because they are not like you, then you live in a sad bad world. But let us not consider the sadness or the badness. Nor the morality nor the bereaved. Let us forget about all of that. Let us only consider the fallout.
MB has a young friend from Sudan. Said young friend has received mention many times in MB’s HX blog posts of the past. He is referred to as ‘Young Sudani Lad’ or just plain ‘YSL’. Clever witty kid. Worked with MB for two years in Saudi Arabia. As the company IT assistant. MB was happy to report many months back that YSL had finally managed to secure a visa to travel West (Paris, France) to do a Masters Degree in some field of IT. After many years of trying and failing. But success finally arrived compliments of the French higher education system. Maybe the Christian God also (hahahaha!). Vive la France. Vive la liberte. Joy of joys. MB wished him well and asked him not to screw it up. Go boldly forth. And all that.
Year one is almost down. Only a few months to finish. And like almost all such courses, it requires that YSL must do a six month internship after which the obligatory thesis must be submitted. ‘Working in a diverse environment’ is the topic. It’s an easy one for Sudanis. When you leave Sudan, it’s a sure fire certainty that almost everything is diverse. Clean streets. Roads that you can safely drive a car on. General infrastructure that actually works. Job opportunities. Very diverse when compared with the homeland. But watch out for the bumps in the road. Watch out for fallout. It can actually bite you real bad. As YSL has just discovered.
Everyone on the course is looking forward to the internship. All heading off early June. Six months of meeting new people. Working in a real live working environment. Getting to know the world’s ropes. How things go. How they don’t. And such like. All except YSL that is. On account of fact that he has only received rejections from all companies he applied to. Not a single ‘oui’. Tout ‘non’. Not even a ‘peut etre’.
Everyone else has got a placement. Lucky ducks. You might rightfully wonder why YSL has not succeeded when all others have. Maybe he is slow or a bit dim. Or didn’t get off his ass to try harder. But if you thought any of the aforementioned you would be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. From what MB can see, and he has the intimate knowledge of the story to make such a statement, it’s only about the fallout. Newton never considered it. But the fallout can be a killer. Not like the guys with the guns of course. MB uses the ‘k’ word, figuratively, not literally.
You receive YSL’s application on your desk. Probably along with some others who are natives. As you read YSL’s letter and CV you quickly analyse that YSL is a YSL. And along with the advantageous Sudani nationality he is, like a large percentage of his countrymen, called by the headline-grabbing name ‘Mohamed’. Al hamd’allillah! And naturally enough, like the night that follows the day, Mohamed = Muslim. 2 + 2 = 4. So to speak. And you consider if you will give YSL a job for 6 months or you will give it to Pierre, or Antoine or Marie. Bet you will pick one of the latter three. And throw the YSL application in the rubbish bin.
Such is life. Actions and reactions. And fallout.
A name will definitely change the perspective in this day and time. I’m sorry for those, not unlike your friend, who will suffer discrimination and prejudice, but Micheal, we have lost trust, and not just with people from other countries, but people within our own countries. I look at my own country and hear stories of individuals leaving to go abroad to train for ISIS or another terrorist group. And, I hear of those who are home-grown.
I don’t have any answers for your friend, or others in similar circumstances.
Certain factions are hell bent on finding their virgins and paradise no matter what the cost, but there are others who condemned the unwed mother, the homosexual, anyone that didn’t fit into their category of understanding. Turn right, turn left, it matters not. Bigotry and prejudice exist throughout the world.
All very true CG. And thanks for comment. You nor I can not change the world. We can only shine a light in our own small way and hope that it makes even a minuscule difference for the better to the way of things. Would be nice to write in coming months that YSL got an offer. Let’s hope! Thanks again. MB
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I love reading your work.
I’m with you, I hope someone will give this young man a chance. He certainly deserves one.
It breaks your heart, doesn’t it, when you get to know someone as an individual — a witty, smart, motivated kid — but others can’t see past the name or skin color. C’est pas juste. Le monde est malformé …
Thanks HM. Funny old world!