Saturday 18 March 2006

Memories I'ld rather forget

Thought back without flashbacks
I have been fortunate not to be plagued by flashbacks to harrowing and terrifying events. I am exceedingly thankful for that.
Was it when a parade of armed robbers who had already gained entry to our house in Nigeria some 18 years ago before asking us to open the door as a gesture of cooperation or when three happy Moroccans kicked me as a rag doll just over a year ago?
In both cases my life was at serious risk, though the first was in company of family and in the latter, I was alone.
The armed robbers carted away every valuable they could find, and when the sergeant asked the colonel to shoot us, he retorted that we have been very cooperative and so there was no need to do us harm.
I think it was 3 hours after that event that my legs literally gave under me, the sudden realisation that it could have been a lot worse.
However, when I got beaten up by those fellow African brothers in a well-lit street in Amsterdam, the moment I got up, I just said to myself – many do not get up from events like this, I have gotten up and I am fine, I would walk away from this and put it all down to experience.
The next day, I went back to the scene of the incident that I could not get the police interested in because I wanted to report it event at the Police Station outside the hospital where the only emergency first aid service in Central Amsterdam is (more to the East really) rather than the one closest to the scene of the crime.
Go figure! I needed treatment first, but do not do logic with the police, sometimes law enforcement is not about the common sense approach to issues but donkeys driven as monkeys who see, speak and hear all evil and give no good.
Drink fuelled violence
However, this represents the bane of our Western societies where people after a few drinks and fuelled on drugs can attack, injure if not kill fellow human-beings, unprovoked and unintended.
So, imagine what went through my mind when, suddenly in Cologne four Turkish guys pulled down another man and were kicking and punching him without restraint. Then a broken bottle and another; no flash-backs just plain horror as I watched tongue-tied.
Society ad community
The difference between Cologne and Amsterdam
+        Over 20 people saw the incident, in Cologne everyone within sight shouted and railed to upset the attackers, in Amsterdam, they were like voyeurs; the only noise I could hear was the one I was making from the blows I was receiving
+        At least 10 people went out of their way to separate the fighters and calm things down in Cologne, the ones in Amsterdam must have been thinking of the man who intervened a few months before and ended up dead
+        The police were there within 5 minutes of the event in Cologne all parties involved were arraigned. In Amsterdam, the police were uninterested, the boys have probably ganged up on another person just like they did me, for kicks
What really amazes me is just how anyone can really enjoy kicking another man ferociously and be ready to do such serious harm with a broken bottle and not even recoil at the thought. I probably live in another world – I prefer it there.
The contrasts between Cologne and Amsterdam might just reveal the changes in society and community, where in Amsterdam people might their own business so much so that things can happen unchallenged around them that they are inured to the evils and wrongs of others.
Some might call it tolerance, but I think it is utterly intolerable.

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