Naivety and my friend Bali – Extract from ‘Farther from the Sun’.

I had been naïve and ignorant. My eyes were opened when I walked around town with my friend Bali – Mohamed Iqbal to give him his full title. I saw the rudeness first hand. I saw the way he could not get served in some shops. I saw the way a shopkeeper would put the money down on the counter in case they might touch his hand. Even when nothing was said you could see the loathing and hatred in their eyes.

He lived with that on a daily basis. He was intelligent and sensitive with a great sense of humour.

“How do you put up with it?” I asked.

“You just have to laugh,” he said. “If you let it get to you you’d become twisted. Not everybody is like it.”

“But doesn’t it make you angry? It’d make me feel like punching them! I’d want to get a gun and shoot the bastards.”

“I don’t know if that would solve the problem,” he laughed.

For all my ideals he is a better man than I am. I couldn’t put up with that level of abuse every day. I’d explode!