Asmarino Fundraising: Because There Is So Much More to Be Done!

Billy Boy Ali Salim Is Back in Town Again

There was blood on the saddle, blood all around
And a great puddle of blood on the ground
The cowboy lay on it, all covered with gore
He will never ride tall in the saddle no more
O pity the cowboy, all bloody and dead
A bronco fell on him and smashed in his head …/1

So goes an old cowboy poem describing the illustrate life of cowboys in the wild west. In the old western films, that we all loved, a tobacco chewing gun trotting cowboy on horseback comes to town mostly with one of the following three purposes in mind. To rob a bank, kill a sheriff and become a sheriff himself, or settle an old score. The showdown usually takes place in a dusty square of a small town. The shots are called and the fastest gun hand puts his opponent down into a blood pool. The gun battle ends as soon it starts and the boozing and flirting in the taverns continues as if nothing has happened. That was how the Billy Boys of the distant past used to conduct business. Their words were terse and their actions swift and deadly. Call it vigilante justice or cowboy diplomacy. People love such scenes and spend a ton of money to watch them.

The Ali Salim Fatigue

Ali Salim is a cowboy of sorts. But unlike fast gun hand cowboys he ends up shooting his own feet after every canter. He usually resigns to a remote outpost to convalesce from self-inflicted gun wounds only to reappear again to try even much sillier stunts. He is getting progressively stupid and ridiculous. That’s why people are having migraines due to what they call “Ali Salim fatigue”. The more they hear from him, the more they get bored. The few that get bemused by his ludicrous acts come out just for a good laugh. Nothing more; nothing less.

Whenever Billy Boy Ali Salim comes to DembenaDembekumville, a sleepy town with dwindling inhabitants, he does not carry a gun. And no body knows what his intentions are or who he is after. For that matter no body even knows who he is or where he comes from although people have never stopped from guessing. He could be one tough neck from the troubled Horn or a bearded man from the caves of Tora Bora with a lot of weird ideas.

One thing is for sure though. He is illusive and shadowy and is acting on a proxy from some “wise men from the East”, including the sheriffs of DembenaDembekumville and TADAMUNGROVE.

Considering his erratic and cowardly behavior, we are not even sure if we can call Salim a cowboy. A camel jockey may perhaps be a more befitting name. No offence to the camel or its habitual riders. After all, the camel has become a national symbol and emblem of the Motherland and may not be appropriate to depict this perk riding on its back. So we may, in actual fact, be giving Salim more honor than he deserves by calling him a camel jockey. To its credit, the camel has persistence, perseverance and an iron will to survive harsh living conditions. It is an honorable creature. Salim has none of these traits. He is simply a wimp trying mightily hard to draw attention on himself. So, our hearts go to the camel than to Salim and his crazed crowd.

The Bogey Man?

Some like to think of Ali Salim more as a bogeyman - a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children - than a cowboy. He is intoxicated with hate and indignation. Some of the good guys in DembenaDembekumville and elsewhere have been trying very hard to put some sense into his muffled brain but to no avail. In spite of all the good efforts, there stands Ali “all day long, like a statue” saying the things he likes to say and offending good people.

On the corner stands a bogey man
That every one knows by sight,
And in his hand, a lager can
That turns his day to night.
The sun is shinning bright,
For him, it starts to sink,
His mind a foggy twilight,
Filled with darkening drink.
If only he can stop and think
And throw away the can,
But all day long, like a statue,
On the corner stands a man…../2

His Threats

Salim keeps telling people that a monstrous creature resembling The Cyclopes son of Poseidon (lord of the Sea) and the nymph is moving around the wilderness of the Motherland to bring about mayhem to people who have refused to return what they have stolen from him. And he warns people to wait for that fateful day when Kurchai, the Cyclope, will unleash his anger on the infidels who have been pillaging and desecrating his ancestral land. When that day comes, Ali tells it, the ‘infidels’ would rather have the earth open its merciful bowels and give them refuge there than see themselves devoured alive by Kurchai the Cyclope.

This threat has got many into thinking. One fair lady has, out of fear and trepidation, already confessed of her real or imagined transgressions and pleaded to Salim, to have mercy on her and her people not knowing that there is no mercy, but death by the sword, in Ali’s bench. But Emahoy Asgedet takes it differently. The good nun says that she has in her possession a spell encapsulated in goat skin that she wears around her neck at all times and places that has been protecting her all her life against all evil. She also carries a small bronze cross and a steel cane that dispels evil. Such talk is raging in town like wildfire. Another professor has been reciting bed-time stories to soothe and calm Salim. But Salim refuses to calm down and to recede from his hallucinatory trips.
Only one person takes exception from all these RaEdi or tremor created by Salim. Goitom, the grand child of Shifta Gebre, wants to take on Kurchai the Cyclope in his own turf. Like a true descendant of a shifta he does not take insults slightly and has already sent a letter to Kurchai the Cyclope. “Bring it on Kurchai, let’s meet on a time and place of your choice and call the shots to settle our differences”, the letter reads. Since then calm and quiet have reigned in the Motherland. Even Emahoy Asgedet is boasting that her spell is working. And the talk of Kurchai the Cyclope has subsided.

As for Ali, the inevitable has happened. He has resigned, with indignation, to his cave in Tora Bora, and is praying to be spared, this time around, from Obama’s bunker busters and amphibian tanks fire power. Let the good God have mercy on him. We wish him no harm in spite of his transgressions. His story has a bad ending. “O pity the cowboy, all bloody and dead, A bronco fell on him and smashed in his head”, has become his fate.

So, let’s take things one at a time. Let’s tell our people not to be afraid of the bogeyman. Let’s ask Shifta Gebre’s grandson to hold his guns and laugh off the entire Salim saga as a source of amusement.

Let‘s short-sheet Salim’s bunk just for a goof.

After all, the sky is not falling. And we all can live in peace and harmony in the Motherland by talking out our differences among ourselves and finding the middle way soberly without having to grapple at one another’s throats in malice and contempt.

As for the sheriff of DembenaDembekumville, a lot remains to be seen. Will he be able to run his town without all the good laughs that Salim’s eccentricities garner? Laughter is the best medicine, they say, and rightly so. And Salim and the Sheriff have given us good laughs for a while and free of charge too. And we should hold no grudges against them but rather be grateful for all the amusement.

Long live our People
Let Peace and mutual understanding prevail in the Motherland
../1 Blood in The Saddle (author unknown)
../ 2 Bogeyman (Andrew Fusek and Polly Peters)

Disclaimer: This article is a satire. My apologies in advance to all who may take offence by its contents.