Ethiopian Jew 4 Lebanese WomanbySamuelx©
Another week, another Friday night spent solo. Sitting at the computer terminal inside the Carleton University laboratory, Ishmael Rosenberg Teshale sighed deeply. It wasn't easy being him. He'd been living in the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario, for over a year and could still count his friends on one hand. Friday night and he had nothing better to do than to sit at a computer, playing games online while listening to Linkin Park songs on YouTube. Ah, the life of a genius slash recluse. Fun, as in really not. If only his parents could see him now. Theirs was a fascinating story. They'd be disappointed to see their only son tainted with ordinariness, after everything they overcame not only for their love but also to create him.
Ishmael looked at his Blackberry, and saw that his pops had called him from Boston, where his parents were spending their summer vacation. The young man sighed. Although he loved his old man, he didn't feel like talking to him tonight. His father, Ahmed Muhammad Teshale was born in the City of Alamata in northern Ethiopia and his mother Josephine Rosenberg was an American Jew originally from the City of Boston, Massachusetts, who moved to the City of Tel Aviv, Israel, in the 1980s. Ahmed Muhammad Teshale grew up in a predominantly Muslim part of Ethiopia, but he was raised in the Jewish faith. He moved to Israel in 1985 as a young man. There, he experienced a lot of discrimination because many of the European Jews living in Israel had no love for their darker-skinned cousins from eastern Africa, and they didn't exactly hide it from them.
Ishmael thought about what it must have been like for his dad to struggle through the racist Israel of the old days as a young Black Jewish man. There were so many limitations placed upon the Ethiopian Jews in Israel in the old days. In many ways, they weren't treated any better than the sub-Saharan refugees whom Israel was rounding up and detaining today in an act of xenophobia and racism masquerading as ethnic and cultural self-preservation. After obtaining Israeli citizenship, Ahmed Muhammad Teshale opted to study in the United States of America. In 1987 at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, he met a lovely young Caucasian woman named Josephine Rosenberg, the daughter of an upper-middle-class Jewish family who'd been in New England for many generations. It was love at first sight for the two of them. Ahmed had a thing for tall, athletic young white women with blonde hair and blue eyes and the six-foot-one, lanky Josephine Rosenberg was his dream woman. In spite of objection from her family, Josephine Rosenberg married Ahmed Muhammad Teshale, the handsome Ethiopian Jew, and moved to the town of Tel Aviv, Israel, to be with him. This, five years after they met.
According to the most sacred laws of Judaism, any person born of a Jewish mother could move to the State of Israel and eventually claim Israeli citizenship. It was easy for Josephine Rosenberg to move to Israel. She had always been fascinated by what life must be like in the Jewish state, and she was in love with a tall, dark and handsome stud who took her breath away. Even though she knew they'd face adversity, she was fairly confident. The young New Englander was armed with a civil engineering degree from Northeastern University and as for Ahmed Muhammad Teshale, he earned himself a Law degree from Northeastern University. They stayed in America long enough for him to earn U.S. citizenship as well.
The two of them spent half the year in Israel and the other half in America. They were passionately in love and traveled the world together. They visited Spain, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. They visited South Africa after the end of Apartheid was officially announced by president Nelson Mandela himself. The only country they didn't visit was Ahmed's homeland. For reasons the young Ethiopian would rather not go into. Ahmed swore to himself he would never return to the Republic of Ethiopia, where Ethiopian Jews were thought of derisively by both the Christian majority and the growing Muslim minority of the oldest country in the continent of Africa. Five years after they met, their son Ishmael Rosenberg Teshale came into the world. Ishmael Rosenberg Teshale was born in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, at Mass General Hospital. On the afternoon of February 5, 1989. At seven o'clock. He weighed in at seven pounds four ounces. A little brown bundle of joy with curly hair and greenish eyes.
Ishmael flipped through his family photo album on his Facebook profile. He gazed at pictures of his parents on the beach in the City of Manaus, Brazil. Shots of them at the Citadelle La Ferriere in the island of Haiti. Riding horses in the region of Camargue in France. Yeah, his parents were a fun-loving couple. They defied the odds by meeting in the first place, and then they got married, achieved their academic and professional dreams, and found lasting happiness. Oh, and along the way they had him. A six-foot-four, 250-pound young man with light brown skin, curly black hair and pale green eyes. The only son of an Ethiopian-born African-American father and Caucasian American mother. A citizen of the United States of America by birth and of the State of Israel by blood, through his father and mother, both of whom were Jewish.
Ishmael clicked out of the Facebook album, and checked his messages. He checked his messages for the tenth time that night, hoping something new had come up. Nada. Exasperated, he finally checked the one profile he told himself he wouldn't check. That of Bethlehem Melkamu. The six-foot-tall, curvy and absolutely stunning young Ethiopian woman he met in his civil engineering class at Carleton University. Bethlehem was something else. A whip-smart stunner who took his breath away. Ishmael, a lifelong nerd ( in spite of being big and tall ) surprised himself by working up the courage to approach her. And he also asked her out. Imagine his surprise when she said yes. They began officially going out.
For three months, things were wonderful between them. Then Bethlehem did the unthinkable. Yep, she dumped him out of the blue. She didn't call, didn't text, didn't do nada. All she did was send him a Facebook message telling him that they were no longer together. No explanation. That was it. This she did three days before Valentine's Day 2012. To say that Ishmael was shocked, disappointed and in deep emotional agony would be the understatement of the century. A part of him died the day he saw Bethlehem locking lips with Aziz Abdullah, a big Muslim guy from the City of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who was studying for his MBA at Carleton University. Aziz came from oil money, and he had that Arabian charisma and masculine arrogance masquerading as charm that many western women found so appealing. Bethlehem was lost to Ishmael forever.
For the rest of the semester, Ishmael shuffled through school pretty much like a zombie. His grades plummeted, and he went from being an academic superstar in the civil engineering program at Carleton University to a struggling student, barely passing his classes. His academic advisor, an old Black man named Bennett Anderson, assigned him a tutor. A graduate student named Isabel Hamid. Ishmael wasn't sure what he was expecting when his old friend mister Bennett practically forced him to go meet the graduate tutor. But what he found surprised him. Isabel Hamid was six-foot-tall, vivacious and curvy, with light bronze skin, long curly black hair and pale bronze eyes. Born in the City of Zahle in the Republic of Lebanon, Isabel Hamid moved to Ontario, Canada, with her family in the early 1990s. Her parents, Paul Hamid and Myriam Abdul Hamid, were Christians from the oldest religious sect in Lebanon, the Maronites. They moved to Canada in search of peace and prosperity after the nightmare of the Lebanese Civil War.
Blessed with brains and beauty, as well as her parents fierce determination to succeed, Isabel Hamid graduated with honors from the undergraduate civil engineering program at Carleton University, then stayed for her graduate degree. To make ends meet, she worked both as a teacher's assistant and as a paid tutor at school. She was a year away from obtaining her graduate degree when she was assigned a particularly difficult student to tutor. A "wonder boy" named Ishmael Rosenberg Teshale. An American, if you can believe that. When she first met Ishmael, she thought he was handsome. Then he opened his mouth. The guy was so convinced of his own intellectual superiority that she almost gave into temptation when she felt the need to smack him on the mouth.
Isabel thought better of doing any of that, though. She held her famous temper in check, and smiled at him as he counted off the reasons why he didn't need her help academically. She rolled her eyes, called him a slacker and told him to shut up. He cocked an eyebrow. Oh, well. Now that she had his attention, she proceeded confidently with the next phase of her plan. Her old friend and mentor Bennett was a nice man who knew greatness when he saw it. If he believed that Ishmael was worth saving, then that was good enough for Isabel. Bennett wasn't just her good friend and personal mentor. He was also her father's best friend. Still, after listening to him describe Ishmael as brilliant but troubled, she wondered if this time Bennett hadn't gotten her in over her head.
Ishmael sat inside the empty classroom on the fifth floor of the South Hall building, observing Isabel as she did equations on the board. Lots of math in civil engineering. Lots of computations. Once, they made sense to him. Ishmael had never understood much about poetry, or any music that wasn't Linkin Park, but mathematics and science made sense to him. He'd always been a math geek. Then Bethlehem came along, did what she did, and fucked him up mentally. He couldn't stop thinking about her. The thought of her with that Arab bozo bothered him deeply. She was dating a Saudi. As in one of those super conservative Muslim guys who didn't believe women should be able to drive, go anywhere without male permission, or leave the house without a burka on. He thought Bethlehem was smarter than that. Apparently not. Maybe she wanted to be dominated? If so she should have told him as much, and he would have happily tried what she wanted. Instead, she did what he did. And he hadn't been the same since.
Watching Isabel explaining stuff that he half understood, Ishmael's mind wandered. For once, it didn't wonder about the one who got away. It wondered about the woman who stood ten paces from him. The tall, sexy young Lebanese Canadian woman who had a big round ass that looked sinfully sexy in her pant suit. An ass that a Black woman would envy. Ishmael had never really been into Arab chicks. When he lived in the State of Israel, both the Arab immigrants and the Israeli natives were racist to Ethiopian Jews. The Jewish women in the town of Tel Aviv always stared when they saw his white mother and black father out in the open, holding hands. Proper Jewish women in the State of Israel occasionally married Arab men, which irked some Israeli men, but Jewish female/Black male relationships were strictly taboo. Especially when the Black man in question was an Ethiopian Jew. Every man felt he could date women of any race or community but disliked the thought of males from the outside coming after "his" women. Racism at its best. Hmmm. Goody.
Isabel solved the equation, and turned to look at Ishmael. Pausing for a moment with her hands on her hips, she asked him if he understood. He looked at her with a distracted expression on his face and nodded absentmindedly. Isabel rolled her eyes, and told him to solve the next one. Ishmael smiled, and got up. He went to the board, and solved one equation after another. Isabel grinned. So his brains weren't totally rotten after all. Who knew? Ishmael grinned, and for once, managed to look humble. He thanked her for her help. Isabel smiled and shrugged. For a moment, Ishmael was distracted by how pretty she was. Isabel was quite lovely. And unlike the other Arab girls he knew who avoided Black men like the plague, she was genuinely friendly. She was smiling back at him and he was about to say something when his stomach rumbled loudly. Isabel laughed. Ishmael grinned sheepishly. It was three o'clock on a Friday afternoon, and he hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning.
Ishmael looked at his gorgeous tutor, and thanked her for her help. Thanks to her, he had a chance of passing his summer course so he'd be on track to graduate with his bachelor's degree in civil engineering next year. Isabel smiled, and told him that he was plenty smart, when he wasn't in the clouds. Upon hearing that, Ishmael looked pained. When he was 'in the clouds' as she said, he was usually thinking about Bethlehem, and the hairy Arab dude she left him for. A Saudi. Out of all the men she could possibly date, why one of them? Saudis made the other Arabs look liberal by comparison. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a prison for the female sex. Women had no rights whatsoever over there. Maybe Bethlehem's Saudi lothario Abdullah ought to take her to his desert home, and stuff her in a burka while he was at it, after confiscating both her passport and her driver's licence. Maybe she'd enjoy that!
Enough! Ishmael Rosenberg Teshale banished such dark thoughts from his consciousness, and smiled beatifically at Isabel Hamid. Here was a beautiful young woman who clearly believed in him and wanted to help him. She was putting him back together after that witch Bethlehem tore him apart. Why not appreciate her instead of obsessing over a chick who could care less whether he lived or died? Ishmael looked Isabel in the eyes and asked her how she felt about dinner. Isabel cocked an eyebrow. Ishmael smiled and asked her to join him at the Shawarma King restaurant in downtown Ottawa. Isabel looked him in the eyes. There was something different in his eyes right now. Gone was the self-involved and deeply introverted, cynical brooder she'd gotten used to these past few weeks. Before her stood a very handsome, very cool guy. She smiled at him and said yes. Ishmael smiled.
They took the elevator down from South Hall, walked past the Carleton University library whose front entrance was fucked up due to expensive renovations, and headed for the parking lot in front of the University Center. Isabel smiled at Ishmael as they made their way toward a bright red Buick. She apologized because her car was messy. Ishmael, who was a neat freak almost as bad as TV's very own Detective Adrian Monk, smiled at her as she brushed away empty bags from MacDonald's, and tossed away an empty Tim Horton's cup, before opening the passenger door for him. He sat next to her, buckled his seatbelt and away they went.
Driving from Carleton University to Shawarma Kingdom on Rideau Street near the big shopping center took about ten minutes. Once they got to the restaurant, he asked her what she wanted, then ordered two mixed chicken and beef plates for them, complete with rice covered with hummus and two Pepsis. They sat in a corner of the crowded restaurant, the one facing the window. The clientele was quite diverse, for many Asians, Blacks and Caucasians residing in the City of Ottawa were fond of Lebanese cuisine. While sipping his Pepsi, Ishmael had himself a look at Isabel. The young Lebanese woman was quite lovely, and he was just starting to notice. She was going on and on about how amazed she was at the progress he made. He didn't really listen. He sensed that she wanted to get personal, and for once he was down with that.
Isabel looked at Ishmael, who sat across from her with a strange look on his handsome face. He was looking at her as if seeing her for the first time. Looking at him, sitting there all confident without being smug, she wondered what could have shaken a man like him to the point that he lost sight of what truly mattered to him. She couldn't stand not knowing, so she asked him that most personal of questions. Why did a genius like him lose his mind this past semester? Ishmael blinked, and for a moment Isabel thought she might have gone too far. Ishmael smiled and told her he'd been waiting for her to ask him that question. Leaning back in his chair, he quietly told her about the day a young lady named Bethlehem Melkamu wrecked his world...
Ishmael looked Isabel in the eyes as he gave her the cliffs notes version of what went down between him and Bethlehem. Their initial meeting in class, the whirlwind romance that followed, and of course, their breakup when she left him for a Saudi guy with big money and brash manners. Isabel looked at Ishmael, and crossed her arms. Licking her lips, she asked him if he had something against Arab men. Ishmael smiled wryly and shook his head. Without sounding defensive, he told her that while he wasn't racist, he nevertheless disliked Arab men for having their cake and eating it too. They could date or marry women of any race or religion but got mad when they saw Arab women with men of other backgrounds. Ishmael told Isabel that he hadn't been in Ottawa long but Somali male friends of his told him horror stories of the racist behavior of Arab males when they saw Black Muslim men with Arab women in the City. Even though any Muslim man could marry any Muslim woman regardless of color according to the rules of Islam itself...
Yeah, looks like the Arabs had trouble following their own rules. Ishmael smiled smugly after saying that, and Isabel bit her lips. Oh, no. Her favorite biracial Ethiopian-American Jew did not just say those words about Arab men in a the middle of a Lebanese restaurant. When he spoke, a couple of Arab guys dining with two white women nearby shot him dirty looks. Ishmael looked at them challengingly, and Isabel rolled her eyes. One of the Arab guys, a hairy bronze-skinned guy with a Tunisian flag T-shirt, walked up to them. He glared at Ishmael and asked him if he had a problem. Ishmael rose to his feet, and squared his shoulders, meeting the Arab man's stare. Coldly, he told him he wasn't impressed by desert hoodlums. The Arab guy shoved Ishmael, who laughed, then decked him squarely with a swift fist to the chin. The Arab guy stumbled, but his buddy leapt to his rescue. And he was followed by another Arab guy. Pretty soon Ishmael found himself surrounded by every Arab male inside the Shawarma Kingdom restaurant.
Ishmael bellowed like a bear and seized the table, stunning both Isabel and his attackers by lifting it clear above his head. Shouting loudly, he told them that he wouldn't go down alone. Glaring angrily at the Arabs, Ishmael told them that at least one of them was going to get his seventy virgins tonight. The Arabs hesitated, for Ishmael looked like he meant business. Isabel looked at Ishmael, stunned by his behavior. In Lebanese Arabic she pleaded with his assailants to back down, and promised them she'd pay for the damages and get Ishmael to apologize, if only they'd let him go. The burly Arab guy whom Ishmael first decked spat on the floor, pointed his finger at Isabel and called her a dirty whore for associating with an Adib ( Arabic for slave ). Isabel's eyes blazed with anger. Ishmael looked at her, and dared the Arab guy to repeat what he said. When he did, Ishmael threw the heavy table into the mass of Arab men...
The afternoon, which started out peacefully enough inside a computer lab at Carleton University ended with five members of the Ottawa Police Service being summoned to the Shawarma Kingdom restaurant near the Rideau shopping center in downtown Ottawa to break up what a frantic caller called the fight of the century. Apparently, a gigantic Black man was tearing the place up, knocking down Arab guys left and right. When sergeant Melanie Dusoleil of the Ottawa Police Service arrived on the scene, flanked by patrol officers Michael Adewale, Timothy Chang, Ethel Rosenthal and Lucy Anwar, she couldn't believe her eyes. The entire restaurant was laid waste. There were unconscious bodies strewn about. Lying unconscious, his head and neck supported by a disheveled young woman was quite possibly the biggest Black man whom she had ever laid eyes upon.