“From Which Country?” an old Muslim man hard of hearing shouted, apparently thinking everyone else was as well.
“Amrika” I replied.
The old man walked to the edge of the awning as he hacked up something from deep inside and spit it out.
“Amrika Is Biggest Terrorist Country!” again speaking loudly rather than angrily.
I expected this to happen one day, but I was surprised how long it was before it did.
“Amrika Makes...” he stutters and shakes trying to find the right word. “...Most Weapons And Sells Them! How Can... Peaceful World...How Can Peace... With Weapons?”
I looked out at the pouring rain. The monsoon was on full force and I wasn't going anywhere.
“World War I.... 1914... 1917... ekh, doh, theen... 3 Years... There Was A Purpose... 3 Years!”
I was trying to understand his point.
“World War II... 1939 to 1945... Six years... There Was A Purpose!”
The rain still poured down around us. The others in the group made gestures that he's crazy, but I don't think he is. I'm getting interested now to see where it goes.
“Amrika Always Fighting! For What Purpose? Cold War Building Weapons! For No Good Purpose!”
I nodded having given up trying to speak a while ago.
“Amrika, Russia, France, England... Most Terrorist Weapon... ICBM... Now Russia... Begging For Money... Now Russia Begging World For Money!”
The rain has let up a bit, but still enough to make leaving awkward.
“Amrika, France, UK, Now No Money... Begging World For Money.... Begging China For Money.”
“Amrika Fighting... 10 Years... For What Purpose... Begging Money To Fight...World Never At Peace if Amrika Keeps Selling Weapons!”
The logic was hard to ignore. Without the Soviets supplying the other side the US supplied both sides rather than neither. Is it the right thing to do? I don't know, but I don't think so.
“Amrika... Laser Guided Missles... Tanks...Weapons... Long Range Missles... Short Range Missles....Why Does Amrika Need Everyone To Come To Amrika To Work?”
I couldn't figure out what this had to do with immigration policy.
“Amrika Makes Weapons... Needs Workers To Make Food... Weapons No Purpose... Why...uh...Why...” He taps his head and speaks softly in Hindi. “Why... Make Amrika...Why Tell... Amrika Best Place To Go... Why Amrika Needs Our Workers... Amrika Makes Weapons For No Purpose.”
“Amrika Will Be Begging For Money... Begging World For Money... For What Purpose?”
As his rant trailed off, so too did the rain. I left the shelter of the little awning and went on my way. I don't know what he was trying to say beyond the obvious, but I've had many new revelations thinking about what he might have meant. He was trying too hard to make his point for it to be America should stop being mean. He really wanted to tell me something.
Perhaps one day in a little shelter from the rain I will have understood what he was trying to say and desperate to say it before the meaning was lost I will corner a stranger with a broken disjointed ramble from an old man everyone thinks is crazy.