Born Again, Again

Mahmoud squats in the shade, eyes narrowed as he studies the scene before him. It is a scene all too familiar. The Christians are back in the village square, handing out their bread and bibles. The bread is always stale, and never enough—just enough to draw a crowd of children, a charcoal sketched in skinny sticks and sharpened angles. Just enough bread to draw the crowd, but more than enough bibles to immerse the crowd, baptizing them in the name of the numbers and of the statistics and of the holy conversion.

Mahmoud snorts to himself in derision, then catches himself. He cocks his head to the left, eyes opening wider, as the miracle unfolds before him: a village girl, threadbare and dusty, holds out a cup of water to one of the least of these Christians, who sips it silently with a puzzled smile.

– MWP 2011

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