Ati wiped his narrow lips with a napkin. He extracted a Maduro cigar out of his corded jacket’s inner pocket and set it burning with a match. He inhaled two puffs, unleashing a dense white smoke covered his face and with his eyebrows raised, glanced up towards Alexander’s curious look, and replied, “Yes, that’s true!”
He spoke in a low, flat voice, looking down at the fluid red liquid as he spun the wine glass clockwise once in a while. After grabbing a sizeable ceramic ashtray, in which he dropped the matchstick, Ati headed for the patio doors, opened them and looked up at the stars.
“Dad, will Lokin’s father be free soon?” Alexander asked.
“I don’t know, Alexander. Most probably, he will be sent home. Lokin is a good kid, and he deserves to grow up with his father by his side.” Ati replied, after turning around with a seamlessly grave face.
“But surely a declaration of love for someone can’t be a criminal offence, Dad. Lokin’s father didn’t hurt or offend anyone else by declaring his affection for God!” Alexander objected as he raised his head, revealing his wide chestnut eyes that radiated scrupulous alertness.
“You’re right, my son. But to maintain unity and brotherhood among mankind, Communism didn’t permit any divisions among its constituents. Communism scorned God’s existence and banned people from practising their religions,” Ati replied.
His mother promptly interjected, reminding Alexander that his steak was getting cold, and then continued. “Your dad is very fond of Communism and is well-positioned under the regime. He’s a well-respected judge, earns a decent salary, and enjoys many privileges. So, his affection for Communism shouldn’t surprise you.”
“Alex, your mum is right. Eat your food while it’s warm,” Ati agreed, drinking up the wine leftovers in his glass. “But, you should never forget that communism provided free education for every human being, liberated women from the suppressive religious indoctrination, and ended the prominent hypocrisy of the individual land ownership.”
“Why is land ownership, such hypocrisy?” Nona blasted.
Ati collapsed in laughter and could not cease giggling for a while.
“Please, stop laughing and answer my question!” Nona broke out savagely.
After he managed to calm down himself and clear out his throat, Ati replied, turning towards Alexander, “Your mother is fortunate to not have married a fellow Muslim husband, who wouldn’t hesitate to turn her into a ninja, by placing a niqab over her head, because their God demands it!”
A thinly sliced potato chunk disappeared into Isa’s mouth before asking his father. “What’s the harm in believing in God?”
Ati stepped into the porch and left his cigars outside on top of the ceramic ashtray. He sat in his chair and dipped another piece of his steak into a yellow sauce. His face produced a smile of superiority visible on the muscles of his cheeks as he replied. “What matters to God is whether humankind obeys Its commandments. And though your mother might disagree with me, until Communism emerged, humans failed to fulfil God’s commandments.”
“Alex, don’t listen to your dad,” Nona intruded, adding. “This is nonsense.”
Ati reacted quickly. “Unlike any other system, Communism remained truthful to the Holy Scriptures. Communists delivered Christianity without God, whereas Capitalists delivered a God without Christianity.”
“Come on, Ati! That’s not true, and you know it,” Nona replied sharply.
Ati ceased nibbling the beef for a while and riveted an astounding stare with lifted eyebrows on Nona, expressing his discord. “But it is true, Nona. Capitalism allowed Christian believers to practice their religious rituals, but not Christianity! Communism was the only system that was coherent with the laws of Moses. For example, God forbade land ownership in perpetuity, did It not?”
“Yes, It did!” she confirmed, her voice slithering down a notch as though she were conversing with herself.
“Did the God-worshipping countries forbid the eternal ownership of land?” Ati continued his crucifixion.
Unwilling to accept Ati’s emphatic opinion, Nona sank back at her chair and replied reluctantly by lowering her head.
“You see, they didn’t. It was the God-denying Communists who put an end to the everlasting ownership of land. Didn’t God forbid giving out loans with interest?” Ati asked again.
Instead of replying, Nona retreated into herself. She mutely pierced the roast potato on her plate with her fork and cut it into four pieces before sprinkling salt onto them.
“Did the God-worshipping countries prohibit loans with interest? No, they did not! It was the Communist countries that created national banks, and instead of subjecting its citizens to interest rates, the banks charged only administrative costs!” Ati cried out, taking a handsome swig of his wine. “You see, my dear wife, Communism was the only political system which put God’s laws into practice.”
“Alright, Ati,” Nona added in a faltering, childlike voice. Her half-hearted tone indicated that she wasn’t eager to engage further into the discussion, if Ati would demand an epitome to her earlier argument. “I admit that there might have been just a couple of God’s instructions that were accomplished by the Communist syst—”
“Just a couple?” Ati interrupted sternly with unhesitating assurance. “Did you forget the one whereby God demanded that the king shall not acquire an excessive quantity of gold and silver? Unlike the current world leaders in the God-welcoming democratic countries, who became enormously wealthy, Communist leaders did not attain extreme wealth.”
“That might be true, but Communist leaders enjoyed many privileges,” Nona objected firmly, as she leaned back, flashing a defiant glance at her husband.
“Yes, that’s true, but they did not have millions stocked in their safes or in foreign banks. After they died, no wealth was passed on to their families. You see, Alex, the Communists were the only ones who fulfilled the laws of God and produced a system devoted to Its commandments.”
Nona observed her son timidly, refraining from engaging further. Ati angled his face towards Alexander’s and blasted out with full confidence. “In fact, Karl Marx was the Messiah who was promised by the Holy Scriptures.”
“Hahahahahaha!” Nona erupted into a fit of laughter, holding her ribs with her hands. “I have always loved your sense of humour!”
“What is so funny?” Ati asked.
“How can you claim that he was the Messiah when he denied God’s existence and rejected religions?” Nona interrogated, still laughing.
“The Holy Scriptures foresaw that the Messiah would bring new laws and unite the people, something that Marx ultimately achieved. He produced new laws and unified many different nations and races around the world, beyond territorial borders,” Ati replied before unleashing another question. “Who else has achieved this in the past?”
“But you still haven’t answered my question,” Nona persisted.
“The Messiah’s task was to unite humankind, right? Do you honestly believe that the Messiah would be able to deliver the global brotherhood if all these different religions and sects continued to exist?” Ati pursued his discourse.
“Dad, what is a Messiah?” Alex asked, in a puzzled, lost way.
“The Messiah allegedly is the one anointed by God to bring peace to the world and end all wars. According to many religious scholars, he would be sent to Earth and would implement the laws of Moses. It was the God-denying Marx who brought the laws of Moses into practice by ending land ownership in perpetuity, interest on financial loans, and creation of wealthy leaders. Not the God-worshipping capitalists in the US.” Ati replied, pouring himself more wine before passionately persisting with his rhetoric.
“Ah, I knew it. There you go again with the USA, a place whereby people enjoy the highest level of democracy and freedom. It is the richest and most developed country in the world.” Nona objected in a breathless voice.