Thursday, May 17, 2012

Morality, ethics & martyrs

I have a box at home that I filled with all sorts of stuff from the Revolution such as posters, stickers, clocks, pamphlets, bullet shells and mortars.  Not sure what I will do with this box, but it's my way of documenting history.

So today, while at change square, I stopped at a kiosk that sells revolutionary memorabilia to see what's the latest revolutionary "product".  I found a mini booklet with photos of the martyrs.  I turned the book around to see who published it and found the name of the kiosk.  I asked the young salesman (he was about 16 years old), who made this booklet? "we did" he responded.

"How much is it?" I asked.  "300 Yemeni Riyals (about $1.3)" he said.

As I flipped through the pages of the booklet, I saw photos of the martyrs from all ages and cities, and I began to think about their families.  These martyrs gave their life for change, have their families felt any of that change yet?

Then I started wondering about the ethics of "selling" this booklet.  Yes it's very cheap, but the question was not about money, but about whether we should be profiting from the martyrs.  I ended up purchasing it anyway for the "box", and on the bus ride back home I began flipping through it once more.

When I arrived I went through my bag to look for my camera but it was not there!  I panicked and began tracing my steps until I realized I had most likely forgotten the camera at that kiosk where I was engrossed thinking about morality, ethics, and the martyrs.

I went to the kiosk and asked about my camera.  "Yes it's here, my brother has it.  He's having lunch, he'll come back soon."  I waited for half an hour, and then, paddling on his bicycle, I saw the blue camera case hanging on an 8 year old boy's neck.  With a beautiful innocent smile, he handed it back to me.

I was so thankful, and I wanted to show my appreciation so I attempted to give them some money as a gift.  They adamantly refused it and said this is their duty.  I begged and pleaded but to no avail.

I left happily with my camera, and wondered about life's irony.  I was questioning their ethics regarding the booklet, but when they had a chance to profit from the camera, they did not.

Nothing is black or white, everything seems a shade of grey.

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