a difference of opinion

S:     Can I just sit here quietly, in peace? I don’t think I have it in me to participate in routine matters today.

A:     I’m not in the highest of spirits either, Sadiq. I have such good memories of Wahga. But do you know how many people, including women and children, showed up for the ceremony today? Hundreds! Barely a day after the blast that killed so many! Everyone making it abundantly clear that we will not bow down. This nation has steel in its spine, I'll tell you that.

S:     That steel helps with nothing but carrying more and more dead bodies. Our spine is too crooked to acknowledge our failings. Nothing makes us more sick than looking at our own maladies. Whatever you’re talking about is a symbolic gesture; a show to keep our spirits up. I get that. But it has become meaningless. What will it change? Misplaced patriotism, misdirected anger. Hopeless.

A:     What would you have me do? Give into this fear? Wallow in my misery like you? What will that change? Nothing!

S:     What do you think? When these people from Wahga go home, will they cease being divided in their separate sects, faiths, ethnicities? Will any tragedy unite us against religious extremism? Will we stop being apologists and conspiracy theorists? The few of us do the best we can, and what do we get in the end? A trophy suicide bomber.

A:     We are not sitting idle anymore. Those military operations you advocated for so passionately, they are in full flow now. It can’t get better in a day. Reprisal was inevitable. It is the cost we must pay. Don’t put it all on the state’s shoulders.

S:     But it is on the state’s shoulders, and you don’t want to accept that. Yes, we are fighting many of them. But, not all of them. Same old game. Pass me that lighter, would you?