Pulp.net - Interview with a Terrorist Suspect

The Online Home of New Fiction

November 2008

Soe Tjen Marching
Name: Siti Fatima Citizenship: Indonesian Age: 32
Suspected of: Terrorism

Women’s Prison, 18 Sept 2006
Yes, I said I would bomb them. I said I would kill them. Would I really kill them? Yes. I hate them all.

Because they don let me go to Hollan.
Listen. My Englis is no good. But please try to understan. I jus want go to Hollan. And I need your help. I am no terroriss.

Yes, I want kill them. I want bomb them. But I am NO TERRORISS.

I jus want go to Hollan. I haf to see my sister. Real sister. Please. I am no terroriss.

My sister liff in Hollan. Because I haf Indonesian passpor, I must haf fisa to go there. An before I haf fisa, I must haf so many thing to show Embassy. Long-long list of thing.

I just want go to Hollan. I haf sister in Hollan. I do. Real sister. She is sick and I want to see her. I will stay in her flat in Hollan.

Embassy tell me I must haf proof. Oderwise I can’t get fisa. I must show them letter from my sister. So Embassy can know where I will stay in Hollan.

I understan, they haf to watch us all time now. We are bit like firus if we are from poor country. Treatening. So they must know eferything we do.

I rang embassy 4 weeks ago. When I rang, Embassy said I must show them letter from my employer, payslip, Bank accoun, insurance, passport, application form, photo an letter from my sister so they know where I will be in Hollan.

Embassy also said my sister had to go to City council in Amsterdam an show passport, tree-month pay-slips an sign letter in front of officer there. Officer had to stamm that letter. Perhaps they afraid I lie an my sister is no real.

But my sister is real but sick. She is in hospital. She has cancer. Big cancer inside her tummy. But I couldn tell embassy. You see, when you ring them, you only talk to machine. They only tell you to press 1 or 2 or 3 and tell you what to do. And I haf to pay £1 per minute for phone call, jus to get appointmen to go to their office. I got appointmen tree-weeks after I rang them.

• • •

I went to embassy lass week. About 9.30 in the morning. In embassy, I saw officer. How the officer look? He nearly bald. Long, bald and ugly. His hair rare, go eferywhere on his bald head. Like cactus.

I said to officer: ‘I haf eferthing embassy want excep letter from my sister. She can’t go to city council and write letter. She is sick, she has cancer. She is in hospital.’

But officer tell me he couldn help.

I said: ‘I know you are not doctor’. But he said he don mean cure her. He has no interest helping her. It’s me he can’t help.

He asked don you know all requiremen before coming here to Embassy. Yes, but my sister can’t go to City Council when she is in hospital. Efen if she can go to City Council, she can’t show her pay-slip because she is sick. She hasn work for long time.

Please, I said to him. I already spent more than £40 to get eferthing Embassy wanted - almost eferthing I mean. You know, £50 is my pay per-day for washing stinky toilets. But I spent it just like that for fisa requiremen: £14 for insurance, £5 for photo, one poun forty to pay internet café an print application form from embassy web, £7 for my return ticket to come to embassy by tube, I also must pay £14 for phone call to make appointmen.

I said to officer: ‘You know I haf to ring this 090-something number that cost £1 per minute to book appointment to come to embassy. I really don understan. Why they charge us so much to talk to machine? Embassy like getting money from poor people like me?’

I paid so much for phone call to come here, only to see cactus like him. You know it’s ten times cheaper to call that man on sex chat? It only cost 10 pence a minute. I see picture of them on magazine. Those men look much better than that officer.

But officer got angry.

So, I said sorry I’m fery-fery sorry.

I said, please listen. I already haf other requiremen you want. It took me long time to get all requiremen for this fisa. I work cleaning toilets in Chelsea. Sunday too. They all so stinky. So, it’s not easy for me to get all these already. I know I don haf letter from my sister because when I rang her, she was already in hospital.

I won’t do anything else in Hollan, I just want to see my sister. Please I just want to be with her 5 or 6 day only. Please. Or if you won’t let me, 4 day is also OK. Or 1 or 2 days if she die quickly. Perhaps efen seferal hour, if after I arrife then she die a few hour later. But let me see her before she die. Please let me while she still alife now.

He see me through de glass an say he can’t help. I say, please. He say, if I can’t show letter from my sister, I can book hotel. He tell me perhaps I can book hotel there. But I don want stay in hotel. I don haf enough money. You won’t get fisa then, he say.

OK. OK. I will try to book hotel, but then, will you gif me fisa?

He said, you must still show you haf money an insurance.

Insurance to show that when I’m sick, they don haf to pay, an when they need to kick me out their country, they don haf to pay. I understan. I understan you don care if I get kill there, as long as you don haf to pay to sen my corpse back home.

Then, I haf to show you money too?

Yes, he say, to proof that you haf £30 a day to liff in Hollan.

But how could I get that much money for hotel, ticket an also £30 a day? You must be crazy. I only haf £140 poun in my bank account because I just paid my rent and spent £41.60 for stupid requiremen you want. An I don haf time. I haf to go now. My sister is dying.

He say efen if I have all requiremen, I can’t go and see my sister straight away. I haf to wait 2 or 3 week for fisa. He can’t help me because he don make decision. He ask me to leaf.

But I didn’t want to leaf. I said, please help.
Please. Help. I said to him: ‘Perhaps you don understan my English so you don want to help. I know I speak funny.’

I can’t book hotel because I don haf lots money. I don haf money because I sen my money back home lass year. So my brother can go to unifersity. But he don go to unifersity. He died. My parents too. They liffed close to sea an when tsunami came, they just died.

Last year, they already ask me to come home. They said they wanted to see me. But I said I had no money. I just sent money to them in October. I promised I will go home enn of this year. But they gone already. All gone. Huge wafe swallowed them. Neighbour told me. No one see my family when wafe came. They just see my parents’ hut become flat with groun. As if my family never exiss in this world. They just gone.

But they exiss once. Look, this is picture of my mother. She is in this world once. I really miss her. I really miss her saying prayer in de morning when eferything was still dark. She say prayer like singing. She cried when my sister went to Hollan. My sister went to Hollan an become babysitter. My sister wanted to go ofersea an she is good with babies. My sister told her she would sen her lots of money. She didn want to see my mother work hard all times. She said she sent money from Hollan so my brother could go to unifersity. But my mother still cried. I still remember how wet her eyes. My mother don know my sister go to Hollan because our neighbour rape her. My sister don tell anyone but me. Then she went to Hollan. She only twenty one then. She said she would get better life there. She say people in Hollan better. They don care whether she is firgin or not.

Now I know people in Hollan are not that good after all. They don care whether we are firgin or not. But they care so much whether we haf fisa or not. That’s worse. I can’t see my sister now.

You know I went to London so I could be close to my sister. I tried to go to Hollan but I couldn. I can’t get job there. So, I went to London instead. Become cleaner here. My mother cried again when I said I got job in London.

But she let me go. I promised I will also sen money for my brother. I really miss my mother’s foice. Her foice calm me down when I was angry or sad. But I don haf her anymore now.

I really miss my father. He sick all time, he couldn go to work. We didn haf enough money because of that. He nefer healthy since he born. My gran mother told me when she was pregnan with my father, she wanted to go other city to see her mother but Dutch didn let her. Dutch said natif cant go other city without Dutch permission. You see, efen then they already asked for fisa. They asked for fisa from natif in our own country!
But my gran mother really-really wanted to see her mother. She got angry, then one Dutch soldier hit her tummy because she protess too much, so my father become like that. Now, after Dutch gone from my country, Dutch still don let me see my sister. My father couldn walk properly. He couldn remember things properly too.

I said to embassy officer: ‘Dutch already kill many people in my country, Dutch already made my father cannot walk. Now you don efen let me see my sister. Indonesia is independen now, so why you still don let me go and see my sister?’

But he just said he didn understan what I said. Perhaps because my Englis is bad.

He said he would help but didn make decision. If he took all my document an fee for fisa, I would just waste more money because I don haf letter from my sister. They would refuse me, he said.

He asked me to leaf.

But I told him I didn want to leaf. I know my Englis is no good. But I want to see my sister. And I already missed work that day an didn get pay so I could go to embassy to get fisa.

I really miss my sister. We talk lots when we still together. About our dream. About men we want.

My sister is sick in Hollan. Why suddenly she become unreal if she is sick an can’t go to City Council?
I tell you she is so beautiful. She is really. My little sister. I miss her so much. So, I asked embassy officer,
‘Please gif me fisa. Please let me see her. I hafn see her for nine years. Nine years!’

But embassy officer still said he couldn’ help.
‘But don you understan? Don you know my sister already has hard life. She only has me. I only haf her. If she die, I will be alone. If I am alone, I want to die as well.’

But he said, I just wasted my time and his time. Other people were waiting. He yelled: ‘Please leaf now. NOW!’

He same as that Dutch soldier who made my father sick. They are all same here. All same. They hate us and they will all kick my granmother, my family, and me. They will. If my sister die, he don care. He will laugh. He will be happy. So why should I care for him? I hate him so much: ‘I hate you so much! If my sister die, I will die in front of you an kill you.’


But security dragged me out. I pushed him and hit him. They called me criminal an madwoman. They said I treaten officer. They said I am terroriss. They spoke about September 11. They called police.

But try to understan. Please try to understan… I am no terroriss. I jus want see my sister. I jus want see my sister. I jus want see my sister…

© Soe Tjen Marching 2006