By: Abdurrahman Shamlan
“Put my books aside, I’m going to come back to study after I do the Al-Asar prayer at Al-Saleh Mosque,” said Tariq Al-Kuhaili, a 15 years-old in the ninth grade, not realizing that he would never have a chance to sit for the final exams.
Laughing, he and his friend walked to Al-Saleh Mosque. On their way back, he decided to buy some flowers to plant on the roof of their house. All of a sudden, he fell down. Blood covered his head. A stray bullet had hit him on the head, but his frightened friend did not know how to behave or what happened to his friend.
“What’s up, Tariq, what’s up? Is it your first time fainting or what?” his anxious friend asked.
“I don’t know what happened. I never fainted in my life before,” Tariq replied, as he did not know what hit him either.
His friend did not know how to behave or what had hit his friend. A passing driver agreed to drive them back home. He returned to his house carried by his friend and the kind driver. They did not know that a bullet had penetrated his skull. They thought that he had fallen down and that it was the impact that had busted his head wide open.
After seeing that the bleeding refused to stop, his dad and brothers rushed Tariq to the nearest hospital. The hospital administered first aid and then decided to transfer him to Al-Thawra public hospital for him to undergo surgery and for the doctors to remove the bullet from his head.
“I’m sorry, but Tariq didn’t make it and died.”
With evident sadness on his face, the doctor said these words to Tariq’s family. His family was bewildered and found it very difficult to come to terms with the fact that Tariq – who had been full of energy and who had been studying for his final exams in the morning – would cease to exist and they would not see him anymore.
The police discovered that Tariq had been killed by bullets fired to celebrate someone’s wedding. They arrested a man who people said had fired a lot of bullets in celebration around the time Tariq was hit by the stray bullet.
“I find it very difficult to study, as every time I go to study I remember my late brother and can’t study anymore. His image does not go from my mind,” said his big brother, Wassam, who studies in the faculty of art at Sana’a University.
“Weapons have to be banned from Yemen because people here are not reasonable enough to know the consequences of their actions.”
Wasam said that if there was good medical system in Yemen, his brother would not have passed away.
As of last year, people started firing live bullets to celebrate their weddings, even after such activity had been banned in populated areas and cities. The government has said that people who fire shots into the air would be held accountable, fined and imprisoned. However, people continue to do so, often reasoning that the government is currently too weak to enforce laws.