Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why I'm Not Finding Recession Funny...

We were at dinner this evening, when the shouts and screams first began.  Then there was the sound of things being thrown and blows.  More screams.  The wife -beater at it again, I thought.  But I was determined not to interfere this time.  The man frightens me and I have a daughter to think of.

Then there is a scream, “Ms. Amle, please come up.  Ms. Amle COME UP.”

Daughter says, “Mama, don’t go.”

The woman continues screaming, “Rosemary, Ruhi, please.  PLEASE COME UP.” At that moment my door bell rings.  The people in the apartments on my floor and the floor below are at my door.  “She’s calling you.”

I lock my daughter in, and we go upstairs.

The wife is standing outside the apartment.  She wails, “He’s giving me talaq.  He’s beating me.”

The door of their apartment opens and her husband comes out leading his 80-year old father.  “Look at him,” he says to me.  The old man has a cut on his head.  His face and vest are covered with blood.  “She struck him.”

After that there is a cacophony of screaming, crying, denials, accusations.  The husband threatens to divorce her and keep his son.  He pushes her out and shuts the door.  We get the wife to calm down.  She explains between sobs that husband -an investment consultant, was earning substantially but is now on zero income due to the recession, that there isn’t sufficient food in the house, but he won’t let her take a job, and this is frustrating to her; she cannot bear to see her baby being denied the food he needs.  She would like to leave but cannot because husband will keep the child. That she had struck out in frustration and hit the old man, after which husband had beaten her up.  “What can I do?  I cannot bear it,” she sobs.

Who is the victim and who the guilty?  Is this just another wife beater case or are they all victims of the recession?  I feel so helpless.  I mumble something about the recession passing and things getting better We get husband to open the door and take her in.

It's almost midnight and the crying and wailing is still going on.  I cannot sleep.  Please god let it stop and please, please, Farah don’t call out to me again. I am as scared as you are.

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