In his memory…

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Today [October 27, 2010]  marks the 5th year since the departure of my close friend Yaser Saleh from life.

LateYaser Saleh

Late Yaser Saleh

I went to high school the first two years with Yaser, a Yemeni American who was living with his grandparents in Dearborn, MI while his father was in New York. I spent my whole day after school with Yaser, playing together, biking together, and going to the library together. It was an honest close friendship that I won’t ever forget .

Yaser, my funny outgoing friend decided to go to New York City upon his father’s request to work there. In 2001, Yasser disappeared. I was told he’s in NYC. Since then, we did not have any contact, though I tried to reach him to New York and I was told that Yaser went to Yemen and got married.

He was just 16! Anyhow, days passed by and I made new friends, but Yaser was always in the back of my mind hoping that one day he will come back…

Yaser did not come back…In fact, he returned to New York and settled to work there in Springfield Gardens deli in NYC.

On the 27th of October, 2005,  Yaser was shot coldblooded and was pronounced dead immediately.

Below is the story from New York Times October 28th, 2006.

At Jamaica Hospital Medical Center yesterday, a woman gave birth to a son, delivered by Caesarean section. She did not know that during her recovery, elsewhere in the same hospital, she lost her oldest child, a 19-year-old deli worker who had been shot behind the counter by a man in a mask.

The 19-year-old man, Yaser Saleh, was shot in the stomach on Wednesday night in a Springfield Gardens deli by an unidentified man who witnesses believe argued with Mr. Saleh last week over something that seemed trivial: the man had been short a quarter for a 79-cent candle, and the cashier would not give it to him.

There was no arrest in the case yesterday, while the dead man’s family prepared for a week of traveling, literally, between a cradle and a grave.

Family members said his mother delivered her 71/2-pound baby boy, named Mohamed, at 5 a.m. It was her and her husband’s fifth child. Yaser was the oldest, and there are a son and two daughters in between. The family is from Yemen.

After Mr. Saleh was shot, paramedics took him to Jamaica Hospital, where his mother was still recovering from the surgery. He lingered for 11 hours, dying one minute before 8 a.m., the police said.

On Wednesday night, the victim had been on the telephone with his grandfather, taking advantage of a quiet moment in the store, said another deli worker, Ali Abdul, who saw the shooting from behind the deli case where he was making a sandwich.

The gunman entered the Farmers Deli, at 142-01 Farmers Boulevard, at 9:15 p.m., and shot Mr. Saleh once in the stomach and once in the left arm, the police said. The assailant was dressed all in white and wore a mask or a T-shirt to cover his face, witnesses said. He left, taking nothing, the police said.

“He didn’t say nothing,” Mr. Abdul said. “He didn’t talk nothing.”

Mr. Saleh’s father, Abdo Saleh, retelling his son’s account, said the dispute began last week when the man tried to buy the 3-inch candle but was 25 cents short. “He told me somebody came into the store, tried to buy a candle,” Mr. Saleh said. The man became enraged and smashed the candle on the floor, he said. “He told him, ‘I’m going to come back and shoot you.’ ” His son shrugged it off: “He didn’t take it as a serious thing.”

Later that day, the same man returned and stole a soda, Mr. Abdul said.

Yaser Saleh attended high school in Dearborn, Mich. He married in 2001 in the Yemeni town of Ibb, and returned to the United States. He had a 6-month-old daughter named Kamer, and his wife is two months pregnant with their second child. He planned to earn his G.E.D. and perhaps pursue a college degree, his family said.

On Wednesday night, after he was shot, Mr. Saleh called to Mr. Abdul. “Yaser said: ‘You have to call the ambulance. You have to call the police,’ ” Mr. Abdul said. He tore off his friend’s shirt and saw the bullet hole near his sternum, and what looked like an exit wound. “I see blood coming from his back,” he said.

Faisal Hussan, 20, another worker in the store, said the gunman’s features were further obscured by a white hood. “He just shot him,” he said in Arabic yesterday. “He just killed him.” The victim’s father said the police took videotapes from a surveillance camera in the store. The police said they have not identified a suspect.

A woman in the store, who said she was known in the neighborhood as “Mom,” said Mr. Saleh was well-liked, even though he had not worked there long. He had taken the shift on Wednesday evening for another worker who was observing the Ramadan holiday. “He’s a sweet kid,” she said. “Whenever I came in, he’d say, ‘Mom, I love you.’ No one deserves to be killed like that.”

Hector Chambers, who lives near the store, called Mr. Saleh “a pleasant, pleasing person,” and added, “Him my peaceful brother.”

The father said the mother was still recovering from the surgery. “She had the baby, had an operation, and she lost her oldest son,” he said yesterday. He did not mention his wife’s name to reporters.

Yesterday afternoon, she remained in the hospital, oblivious, he said: “I don’t want to tell her.”

Kareem Fahim contributed reporting for this article.

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/28/nyregion/28deli.html

I only knew about Yaser’s death the 11th of Januuary, 2006; 3 months later of this sad news. I was heart broken and saddened by the tragic loss. I made a promise to Yaser’s soul that I’ll try to help out his family and my community to give back a little of what he gave me of unlimited friendship.

I have established a memory website for Yaser which includes some of his pictures and a chance for others to light a candle in his memory…

Memory of Yaser Saleh (1986 – 2005)

And for your memory Yaser, I will make try my best and hardest to make this world a better place.

Post Script: I swear to God that I am saying the truth in this, that I saw Yaser in my dreams many times, and he’s telling me that he’s happy, and other times; I dreamed that he’s still alive.

  • allah yarhameh isa.

    really sad story to read.

    • Thanks Yusef…you can light a candle on his memory site 🙂 JAK

      Adel

  • ibrahim

    Allah yr7meh ya brother

    • ameen thanks for stopping by brother ibrahim

  • Fares Mawri

    La ailah ila Allah. I ask Allah to grant him paradise and shower him with his mercy. I also ask Allah to grant his family, his wife and the children he had patience and to meet him in haven inshallah. I am sorry for this brother Adel and I want to remind you that the best thing to do for him is to ask Allah to forgive him whenever you remember him.

    Fares,

    Salam

  • Akram Dhaifallah

    Brother Adel,

    As you may know this is so common in the Yemeni Community and I strongly believe that the community need to do something about it! I would say that this is the cancer (the number one killer) for Yemenis. Anyways, I would like to thank you for taking the initial step and for remembering your best friend by posting this in your blog. This truly shows the strong bonds that you guys had together and that is what friendship is all about. I personally feel your pain because I know how it feels when you lose a true friend. May Allah Yarmaeh "Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall surely return." إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

    Regarding the dreams: I believe you and ishallah i will talk to you more about it when I see you!!!!!!!!!!!

    salams

    AD

    • Brother Akram, that's exactly right…we're starting idle whenever one of our own gets shot cold blooded..and there are many names to mention that have the same story as Yaser's…

      One thing though; if our people are educated and work in professional places instead of gas stations and deli places, we would not have this percentage of killed young people..though sometimes…it's just the Qadar and we have to abide by it.

      Many thanks

  • Mohannad

    That is very sad bro. May Allah place him in the highest level of Janna Ameen.

    • Ameen Mohannad ;;; thanks for passing by

  • الله يرحمة ويرحم كل من قتل ومات وفارق اهله الى الابد لاحول ولا قوة الا بالله وانا لله وانا الية راجعون والله يهدي الاحياء منهم ويعرفوا ان الموت حق على الجميع ويرجعوا الى الله ويخافوة ويتعضوا من كل ما يجري حولهم فليس من الموت مفر ولا انتظر خليني اتوب الله يرحمهم ويرحمنا لما يوصل عندنا واشهد ان لاالله الا الله وان محمداً رسول الله…..

    • جزاك الله خيراً اخي الكريم وحفظك من كل مكروه

  • Mohamed Alrayyashi

    La ailah ila Allah, allah yarhameh and places him in jannah, inshallah ameen.

  • Mohamed Mused

    Allah Yarhemih. Inshallah we all learn a valuable lesson from this.