Did You Kill People Over There?

Yesterday, in my math class, sitting one seat away from me at the end of the row was another student attentively taking notes on logarithms, preparing for our final exams. Our professor asked him why he hadn’t been in class recently and he said that he had been away on army business.

Professor: Have you been to Iraq?

Student: Yes, and I have to go back. I don’t want to go back.

Professor: Did you kill people over there?

Student: Quietly, almost like a whisper under his breath he said, “yeah” and nodded his head.

Professor: That’s terrible. If you don’t want to go back, I’ll take you to Africa. They won’t find you over there.

Student: They’ll find me.

This is just about as close as I get to the war in Iraq. Other than the Iraqis I know here in the US that are worried about their loved ones over there, and my time at the airport when we used to see military men and women shipping out and some coming home in small boxes and urns, the war doesn’t affect me on a day-to-day basis except that I know that the lives and money spent over there could be put to better use over here or elsewhere around the world.


  1. I am moderately offended at the instructor’s response. It strikes me as suborning desertion.

  2. It was a lighthearted but serious moment. Suborning desertion perhaps, but maybe also smart. I sometimes wonder what my response would be if we had a draft where men and women were equally called to serve. In high school, I would say and did say in one social studies class that I would refuse to serve, use my dual-citizenship, move Canada, or something like that but now I’m not so sure about my reaction.

    I’m highly offended by this useless war that has caused thousands of deaths and harmed so many.

  3. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I thought it was inappropriate that the instructor publically exposed a student’s business. It should have been discussed in private.

  4. Wa alaykum salaam,

    I don’t feel that the instructor exposed the student rather the scenario played a bit more like this:

    The student was sitting a seat away from me in the front row of class. Our instructor walked in and asked why he [the student] hadn’t been in class, which is a normal practice if we miss class or come to an earlier or later section, he always asks where we have been or why we are sitting for a different section of the class, there is usually some playful banter often about the differences between life and culture in Africa and America, and then we start class.

    The student didn’t seem to be offended by the questions but he had a look like there was more he wanted to say about his experience than just that he had killed people over there.

  5. The war in Iraq – the perperators will pay in the hereafter

    One of the signs of qayamat is .. “Unworthy people will become leaders in high positions” or to that effect.. this is it !

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