Wishful thinking

Many years ago my friend Jack and I drove through Athlone in search of a shop he’d read about. We got lost and ended up in slow-moving traffic on a road lined with the shacks of squatters. The settlement covered several blocks of vacant land. It was the height of summer and the smell of human sewage and burnt food was sweetened in the midday heat. People sat listlessly on the sidewalks among the litter and ribbons of sand drawn about by the wind. Others begged and harassed motorists at intersections. It was dangerous to be there among those who had so little to lose.

In a narrow alley between some shacks, a man was whipping a dog with a piece of hosepipe. The emaciated animal was tied to a rusted shopping cart and couldn’t get away. It yelped and strained against the rope around its neck. The man struck the dog as though he was beating a rug. His motions were mechanical and rhythmic, seemingly without anger or intent. He saw us but he continued all the same.

We have killed this man many times since that day, but he’s never dead.

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  1. Those that say “hate is not a family value” are lying. Along with desperation and powerlessness looking for an outlet – a scapegoat, it is passed down to generation after generation. Only those brave and intelligent children who are able to really see what their parents are about (trapped in) manage to reject it wholesale and leave as soon as they are able.