After my resignation at the end of the 1970s, I visited my colleagues in other banks to bid farewell to them. Among them was Mohammad Naji, a Palestinian who had offered great services to the bank he worked for during the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein but his sacrifice was not appreciated.
While I was sitting in his office, he told me the story of a Palestinian girl who was severely burnt in the face and that he was collecting money to treat her. I put my hand in my pocket and gave him everything that was with me, and asked him not to count the money in front of me so that I will not feel I gave so much or ashamed of myself if I gave less, and then said goodbye to him and left.
While I was leaving the office, it happened that the late Hussein Al-Ameer was entering the same place and gave me money and said that was my share of the profit from a company that we had planned to establish but could not raise the capital and he sold the idea to someone else. Of course I did not expect to profit from a mere business idea and I accepted the money because he insisted.
I went back to my office in the company and found a fax from Mohammad Naji and I discovered that what I donated to that girl was exactly equal to the money I had received. This is called ‘Karma’ in Indian culture which means we often receive the reward of what we do to others whether good or bad in life and after our death.
I wrote an article about a week ago on the late Yousuf Shirin, and I received positive comments from some readers on the subject, and others seriously questioned why there is no street in the name of the late Yousuf Shirin Behbehani who has left an unforgettable imprint on the history of Kuwait and was one of the most honorable traders.
One friend, a reader and follower called me and told me a story about Yousuf Shirin, he personally heard from an elderly Kuwaiti man when he frequented his office in the Traders Block.
The friend, quoting the elderly Kuwaiti told me that Yousuf Sherin was like some traders of that time and did not go home at noon and preferred to stay in his place and lunch was sent to him. One day a Bedouin entered for some work and saw him opening the packet for his lunch.
Hunger was written all over the face of the Bedouin and the late Shirin shared his lunch with the Bedouin who could not believe his eyes. However, he put forth his hand and accepted the offer and ate everything and left nothing for Shirin and asked him his name.
The latter responded angrily in a joking manner, since he was known for his humor and said Zghanbout was his name which in the local dialect means ‘Wish it would be the last meal in your life or it goes to your stomach with deadly poison, but the Bedouin did not of course know its meaning, or the joke.
After some time Shirin went out as usual in a convoy of pilgrims heading for Makkah. On the way, they were attacked by bandits who wanted to kill them and steal their money. During the clash with them, the gang leader noticed that the convoy was headed by Zghanbout and asked the bandit to stop their attack.
He approached Shirin and said to him: “Do you remember me ‘Zghanbout’? The late Shirin was, terrified — and those who were with him – as he shook his head in acknowledgement. They were facing almost an inevitable death at the hands of these hardcore people.
Shirin certainly did not forget that day, and he did not believe what he heard from the leader of the gang and it seems that the Bedouin did not forget the taste of that delicious dish which he ate that afternoon in the shop of Zghanbout that made him order his men to retreat, and all quickly disappeared.
Here, destiny intervened and played the role of karma.
We, like many others, ask again: Is it not a shame and ungratefulness not to name a street after the late Yousuf Behbehani, worthy of him and his history?
By Ahmad alsarraf