Sunday, January 04, 2009

Saturday 10th April 1943

Visited no. 37. Only Ghandi, Joe Louis and Jock Farrell remain. Paras and the rest went yesterday. I think Taffy and Killick are now on the first stage of their journey home. Mashobanks was with me. (Old Dipuditsa went away yesterday too.) The Chief looked the sanest man in there – dignified, yet gay and eloquent. Most of his companions were pacing up and down behind the bars, in and out of the room, restlessly. Their behaviour was similar to that of tigers at a zoo. Jock, of course, looked like Jock; Joe was having a bath.

This afternoon we had news of Hamad at last. He had been seen in 37. Perhaps he has been in solitary confinement there until now. We went with oranges and grapefruit. The staff seem decent at 37, though surly at 33. We went to the front door to make enquiries, and the orderlies called Hamad out. At first he stood in the doorway, then the orderlies closed and locked the door, and he came around to talk to us through the window.

Ed Din was with me, also Store, from my ward. We swotted a bit of Arabic, and Hamad corrected the pronunciations I had received from Said – muduni. “Never mind, Corporal, “ said Hamad, gazing regretfully at his iron bars, “perhaps after five days I finish here. Then we learn plenty Arabi, plenty Inglis.” He has one friend in there – an Arab from Beisan – anyway. When we left, the old boy said solemnly. “I like you same my brother. I am not liar.”

I feel a bit happier now, through having located Hamad again.


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