07 November 2014


They have come for you in the dead of night. Armed with guns, armed with machetes, armed with whatever it is they could find. They have to come to crush you, to extinguish the flame of your existence. They have come in the name of love to kill you, to destroy you, to take you and drag you through the streets, kicking and screaming, a necklace of fire around your neck. They have come. For you. They have come.

Some of them are your friends, the ones who smile with you, the ones you have drunk with, the ones you have shared meals with, the ones you had told yourself would be there with you through thick and thin, would be there with you till the day you die. The irony is apparent now. They will be the ones who kill you. You cannot even speak. Your voice tries to scream out to them, to reach the fount of mercy, of humanity, of compassion that made them the people you loved, the people you cared about, the people you thought had your back, the people you thought would never leave you hanging. You try to reach out, you call their names but you see in their eyes no echoing response. you are dead to them. Long gone from this coil even as your heart is beating faster than you have ever known it to beat.

Russia 2014
(c) Shock Mansion
Others are your neighbours, people you passed by on the street, some you would afford a friendly smile, a hello and a polite question as to how their children are doing, how hot the weather is, how terible the match was yesterday. You share the same community don't you? The same planet no? You live together no? So you have always made sure to go out of your way to be kind to them, to listen sympathetically if they happen to spill more than a morsel of their innner turmoil; perhaps you can help. That's just who you are. The one who seeks to help. Yet here they are, seeking to help you to your grave. Seeking to send you to your creator, filled with murderous hate, blood lust in their eyes that you have never seen before. That you do not know how to reach beyond.

And then there are the others you do not know. The ones you have never done anything to, the ones you have never spoken to, whose existence has so far never impinged upon your own. The ones you can say with all certainty you have never wronged, yet here they are; here they are with their machetes and knifes, their pangas and bricks, their sjamboks and sticks.

You want to flee but they are all around you, you want to fight but they outnumber you twenty to one and all of a sudden something in you gives in. Something in you that had been holding on for all these years finally gives in and you can feel your inner self slowly collapse. That thing that held you through those whispers that you would pretend not to overhear as you passed by. That thing that made you strong the day you got dumped and could not tell anyone. That thing that had held on as you waited days for that guy who had held you so firmly in his arms that night to call you. It was the thing that held the scream in your throat as you showered away the tears the day after they had undressed you in school to check if you were "okay". It was the thing that made you come home everyday and smile to your parents and pretend your days at school had been okay. You felt that thing, that had been at the same time vulnerable as a blossom in a snowstorm and yet somehow being strong as oxen in a field, suddenly give way and you knew it was over.

Your legs give way first and you you collapse to the ground even as you feel your flesh give way to their fists, their weapons. Your scream is blood curdling even to your ears. But their anger is louder, more vicious, more urgent; it fills the night air, drowns you out like a stream encountering an ocean. You are swallowed into their heaving mass, your self suddenly an explosion of pain that seems to radiate from them all.

Uganda 2013

What was the last sound you heard? You can barely make it out over their din but once your ears catch onto it, they can hardly let go, it is as if the ocean is calmed and that is the only sound you can hear. That vicious, poisonous word you have heard so often, so long ago, thrown as if a barbed arrow at you, that you have almost learnt to completely ignore but so often still pricks below the skin and draws blood. But today you are already a mess of blood, of muscle and torn skin there is nothing it can hurt anymore is there? You can hardly believe it but it does. It does, so that even that silent corner of your Self that you had retreated to as the blows landed mercilessly on you suddenly falls on itself and for a few minutes your spirit stands broken before you breath your last and your eyes close for the last time.

They continue beating the body long after the last blood curdled breath has been drawn through its shattered nose. Their frenzy has taken hold of them so that it is a reward in itself to feel the flesh give way under the force of their blows, of their whips. The last to land a blow brings up as huge a goblet of phlegm as he can and delivers it as vehemently as he spits the words that had filled the night air.

"Stabane" *

They walk away calmly. Silently.

[*Zulu for 'faggot']

"A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members " - Pope John Paul II

"They have found me, those without mercy,
They have pointed their guns and spears at me,
Even if I scream, it won't help anything
It's just me and them, God knows"
- Brenda Fassie, Memeza [Scream]

Jamey Rodemeyer who committed suicide after intense bullying in New York 2011.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

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