Saturday, 16 April 2016

Sign the Petition: A Safe Zone For Zombies Now!

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Stop the Massacre of the Zombie People! Set up a Safe Zone for Zombies Now!

TO: PRESIDENT DONALD CLINTON, PRINCE WILLIAM WINDSOR, SULTAN ERDOGAN, AND KING BANDAR AL SAUD:

For far too many years, the Zombie People have suffered vivist discrimination, persecution and violence! It is time to end it now! Please use your powers to end this horrific persecution of the Zombie People!

Why is this important?

Dear Friends:

As we’re all well aware, the Zombie people who walk among us have been, and are, the target of mass anger and hysteria. They are insulted in the media and the entertainment industry, which makes entire genres of movies, TV shows, and even novels to attack them, tell vile lies about them, and openly incite violence against them. They are called by such vivist epithets as “pus bags”, “dead fucks”, “shambling hordes” and the like. There are even comic books – books which would shy away from showing a bare nipple – that openly advocate violence against the Zombie People, and tell children – growing, impressionable children – that there’s nothing more acceptable than putting a bullet through the heads of any zombies they see!

Can you imagine the amount of public rage that would have occurred if these same insults, and these same actions, had been couched in racist rather than vivist terms? What if immature fanboys wrote stories celebrating shooting off the heads of, say, black or Arab or Chinese people? What if B movie producers looking for an idea for a sleazy movie had the protagonist incinerating living humans of another skin colour? Can you imagine the reaction? Can you?

I am sure you can.

Would that it were only restricted to insults and abuse, for the Zombie People prefer to exist by the adage that sticks and stones might break bones, but words are merely words. However, it is regrettable but true that the mass hysteria created by the anti-Zombie propaganda has resulted in a mass backlash. All across the world, the Zombie People find themselves at the receiving end of awful and systematic violence, like never before.

On one end of the scale they face violence on an individual scale; a zombie, say, might be shuffling down the street, intent only on his own business, when a self-important child with a gun shoots a bullet right through his head and ends his hopes and dreams forever. Or it might be state sanctioned and organised, as in cases where family units and entire communities of the Zombie People have been isolated with walls, crushed by armoured bulldozers, and herded into areas where they were massacred by artillery bombardments and air strikes. Can you imagine the agony they must go through? Can you imagine the emotions of a zombie parent who has just seen his zombie children blown apart by a drone?

It needs to be said that the Zombie People have their own, ordained place in the ecosystem, apart from their own lives and hopes, and that by attacking them it is as though the human race is taking harpoons to an entire species of whales or chainsaws to a rain forest of trees. Let us see how.

Zombies are not just “shambling dead fucks”; they are actually the host of an entire miniature ecosystem of creatures dependent on them, from maggots chewing through their muscles to bacteria liquefying their intestines, and small rodents and other opportunistic scavengers which survive by taking bites out of their no longer living flesh. These are animals and bacteria which we, the living, cannot and will not succour with food of our flesh; but when the Zombie People do, we not only mock them for it, but would punish them by destroying them, thus also depriving these poor creatures of their food source!

And it’s not as though the poor Zombie People are actually a threat to humans, either. As we shall see in a moment, they are threats to nobody at all.

One zombie reported this heartbreaking tale of her suffering to one of our citizen reporters:

The Story of Awnghhk Grwangghk: [Translated by the Zombie-English software, GIBBERISH® developed by G Romero &Sons, Inc.]

I am nozombie special, just another of the slobbering horde. From the earliest time I gained consciousness, I wished for nothing more than to be left to my undeath, where I could do as I pleased.

Life is hard for us Zombie People. It’s not just the constant struggle to hold oneself together – it’s not easy walking along and then suddenly discovering that your intestines are slithering out of a rent in your abdominal wall, for example – or the fact that even your own smell gets overwhelming at times,  but you can’t escape it. It’s the near total lack of food; we Zombies need brains, and only a small portion of them, too, to stay alive. But almost nobody has brains any more, and after risking unlike and limb to hunt down a human and breaking a few teeth to break open his skull, you find he has a shrunken ganglion the size of a desiccated pea. Oh, you thought it was easy to break open a skull with your teeth, even if your gums aren't rotted away? I invite you to try. In any case, even when you succeed, the brain's so tiny that the end you lose ten times the energy you gain by eating it. Most of us no longer even bother.

On the day I am going to talk about, I had gone wandering for a morsel of brain that I might bring back to my baby, whom I had adopted a week before. We Zombie People love our zombiebabies just as much as living people do – even more, because of course we know they’ll never grow up and never have babies of their own, never in fact achieve anything except become converted little by little to skeletons over the months and years. So after waving away some of the more obstreperous bluebottles swarming around him, I went looking for a fragment of brain for him to eat.

That particular day, I met my lover Ghruunk Qwankk. I hadn’t seen him in several weeks, but it was as though we’d never been apart. I loved him so much, from the exposed dome of his skull to the broken ankle he dragged along the street at every step, that I am certain we knew, and loved, each other even when we’d both been alive. We walked hand in hand down the street, ghronking companionably to each other, when the first drone missile struck.

I am certain Ghruunk Qwankk had noticed the drone before I had, because he suddenly thrust me hard to one side, so I went sprawling through an empty doorway into an abandoned house. Although he had been dead longer than me, he’d retained a lot of muscle, and as you can see I am not a big zombie. As I fell, there was a huge flash and all that was left of Ghruunk Qwankk was his shoes and a bit of broken ankle bone.

That was just the start. The entire area began to tremble and shake with explosions. I could not even go out to my lover’s boots, to mourn, because there were bombs and shells falling everywhere. Finally, I found a few other zombies sheltering from the bombing inside the building, and we decided to try and make our way to safety as best we could. When the explosions reduced a little, we escaped from the house and tried to make our way back, but of course we could not move fast. There were six of us.

I still remember how the bulldozers appeared, their cabins hidden by armour plate, and began pushing us back towards the part of the town which was still being bombed. We could detect that the men inside had at least cricket-ball-sized brains, and this stimulated us to extreme hunger and effort, but gained us nothing; the bulldozers chewed two of us down, while another simply fell to pieces while trying to escape a bulldozer blade. That left three of us, and we were being forced back further and further towards the shelling.

Then one of us saw a small alley to our left, and we all tried to make our way to safety along that. But men with guns began shooting at us from on top of the roofs. I can still hear them hooting. They quickly finished the two with me, and I thought I would be the next, and never see my baby again. But then they had another little trick to play for amusement; they threw a petrol bomb on me to set me on fire. I’d thrown myself down at the first shot, it smashed on the ground near my head, and the burning fluid got me at once.

Yes, that is what has charred half my face to the bone. It’s only because my rotting flesh didn’t burn too well that I’m talking to you today.

You think a zombie can’t feel pain? I can assure you that a zombie set on fire can feel pain. If you don’t believe me, bring me a petrol bomb, and I’ll be happy to try it on you. And as I writhed and rolled on the street, I could hear them laughing.

It was late that night that I finally crawled back to my baby. I’d totally expected that he too would have been destroyed; but because he was so small, they must have missed him. I took him out of his shoebox and began crawling with him down the street. I have been crawling ever since.

No, I didn’t find any brain to feed him, and till then I’d been looking, without the slightest result, He’s starving, and so am I, and I’m afraid we won’t last much longer.

And in the meantime humans are so utterly stupid that all they do is call us names and hunt us down. Stupid and evil, that's all they are.

No, of course I know you aren't stupid. I never suggested you were....oh, wait, what’s that I smell on you? Hey, wait, where are you going?

[Sounds of snarling, brief human screaming, and recording ends.]

***********************************************

Friends, Mr President, and Your Excellencies and Majesties the Prince, Sultan, and King:

The heart rending story of Awnghhk Grwangghk should be proof, if we needed any, that an immediate end to the persecution of the Zombie People is essential and should not be delayed for an instant further! Here was a mother and lover, who was doing nothing more “evil” than searching for a little food with her baby, in the company of her mate; and she lost him, had in fact to watch him being destroyed, and then lost all her companions as well, right before her eyes. And then she was burnt, quite deliberately and sadistically, her face permanently and horrifically disfigured, her ability to walk normally lost. As you have heard, until the interview, she hadn’t even found a fragment of brain to feed herself and her baby, and they were both starving. It is no consolation that they managed to find a little food for once; there are many, many others like them whose stories are not known, and who need to be saved.

Accordingly, we all urge you at once to implement the following steps, which you, and you alone, have the power to do:

First, we demand an immediate and total ban on vivist abuse and insults to Zombie People. Such abuse should come under the ambit of Hate Speech and be punished accordingly.

Second, we demand that all violence against the Zombie People, whether on an individual or an organised basis, should cease at once and completely. No more gun nuts guzzling beer in between taking shots at some poor forlorn zombie parent like Awnghhk Grwangghk; no more drone strikes, aerial bombing, or shelling; no more armoured bulldozers crushing them agonisingly under metal tracks. If that would be enough, it would be nice, but unfortunately the public opinion about zombies has been so thoroughly vitiated  that it is not.

So, the third demand is that, with no delay, a safe zone should at once be set up; a homeland for the Zombie People, in which they can exist as they wish, and do what they want. We suggest that such a zone can easily be set up in Iraq and Syria, where the military forces of your nations can protect the Zombies from being attacked by the so-called governments of those misbegotten lands.

Not only will you be saving unlives; you will be solving a vexing problem, of what to do with those two countries which have so signally refused to obey orders to roll over and give up their lands and resources to you. Once a haven for zombies, you need never worry about them again! This is your chance to get rid of Assad and Iranian influence in Iraq, once and for all!

Please take action today! There is no time to lose!





Copyright B Purkayastha 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Statement of the Prosecution at the Trial of the Song London Bridge Is Falling Down

Honourable Justices of this Court, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like your permission to open my statement of accusation against the cursed so-called children’s song London Bridge Is Falling Down. While purporting to be a harmless ditty, this song, Your Honours, is, as I shall prove, actually an anti-civilisation, terrorist-supporting, racist, anti-social, pro-slavery, Maoist propaganda piece whose purpose is to brainwash our children and turn them into amoral monsters!

I realise that this will come as a shock to some of you, but please bear with me. As you will see, the lyrics of the song bear their own witness as to how utterly vile this piece of “harmless fun” is.

Before we go further, I would beg leave to remind the Court of the song’s actual lyrics:

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady!

Build it up with iron bars,
Iron bars, iron bars.
Build it up with iron bars,
My fair lady!

Iron bars will bend and break,
Bend and break, bend and break.
Iron bars will bend and break,
My fair lady!

Build it up with needles and pins,
Needles and pins, needles and pins.
Build it up with needles and pins,
My fair lady!

Pins and needles rust and bend,
Rust and bend, rust and bend.
Pins and needles rust and bend,
My fair lady!

Build it up with penny loaves,
Penny loaves, penny loaves.
Build it up with penny loaves,
My fair lady!

Penny loaves will tumble down,
Tumble down, tumble down.
Penny loaves will tumble down,
My fair lady!

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold.
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady!

Gold and silver I've not got,
I've not got, I've not got.
Gold and silver I've not got,
My fair lady!

Here's a prisoner I have got,
I have got, I have got.
Here's a prisoner I have got,
My fair lady!

What's the prisoner done to you,
Done to you, done to you?
What's the prisoner done to you,
My fair lady!

Stole my watch and broke my chain,
Broke my chain, broke my chain.
Stole my watch and broke my chain,
My fair lady!

What'll you take to set him free,
Set him free, set him free?
What'll you take to set him free,
My fair lady!

One hundred pounds will set him free,
Set him free, set him free.
One hundred pounds will set him free,
My fair lady!

One hundred pounds we have not got,
Have not got, have not got.
One hundred pounds we have not got,
My fair lady!

Then off to prison he must go,
He must go, he must go.
Then off to prison he must go,
My fair lady!

The first thing that strikes us, of course, is the name of the song itself: London Bridge Is Falling Down. Let us set aside for the moment the detail that it is a bridge in London, though we shall return to it. The fact is that the song celebrates the collapse of this bridge, and uses it as its refrain.

Now, what is a bridge? Is it not the defining symbol of connection, the reaching out across barriers, which is the essence of civilisation? And by celebrating the destruction of this bridge, is not this song openly advocating the end of our modern interconnected world as we know it?

I ask you, what other interpretation can be put on this, ladies and gentlemen? If the bridges that bring us together are gone, what are we? Isn’t the inevitable consequence chaos and the disintegration of humanity into warring clans, endless violence, and the end of all we hold dear?

And this brings me to the second point: that this song, Your Honours, is blatantly in support of terrorists, in particular of ISIS and other jihadis who are out to destroy the world. We should now remember that this bridge, which is to be destroyed, is in London; a liberal, civilised, democratic Western city, steeped in civilisation and culture. Who would benefit by having the bridge in London destroyed? Who would want, more than anything else, for the structure of liberal democracy to weaken and fall?

ISIS, that’s who. That is whom this song is supporting here, Your Honours. And once London falls, how long before we are next?

Note that the song makes no attempt to dwell on the fates of those many, many people who presumably fall to their deaths along with the bridge; it is not concerned with them. They might as well be mere "collateral damage", sacrificed in the greater glory of the terrorist cause.

Today, these children are being told not to care about the death and destruction when a bridge "falls down". Tomorrow, they'll cut off heads without a qualm.

But is that all this song is guilty of, gentlemen and ladies of the Court? No! Who is the refrain of the song addressed to? Some “fair lady”. Why not to a “dark lady”? Isn’t the song perpetuating racial stereotypes, and teaching the children that fair is good?  I ask you!

All this, and we haven’t even got beyond the first stanza, Your Honours.

Let’s look at the second stanza now, and see what vile values it attempts to instil in our children. “Build it up with iron bars,” it says. Iron bars, it seems, are a reasonable enough suggestion – for our industry is built on iron, consumes enormous amounts of iron, and uses massive quantities of the metal to construct everything from cars to buildings to railways and ships, and in fact we could not exist a moment as a modern nation without iron. Yet what does the very next, third stanza, say? “Iron bars will bend and break.” Is this not an attempt to indoctrinate our children against iron, to make them mistrust it and abandon it? If not, what else is it?

Not satisfied with this transparent attempt to undermine the foundations of our industry, Your Honours, the song then says that the bridge ought to be built up with pins and needles. I can scarcely express how unscientific is the idea of constructing a bridge out of pins and needles – one would laugh it out of this Court if it was to be proposed here, Your Honours. But all the song can come up with in response is that the pins and needles will “rust and bend.” Rust and bend! Will they not have collapsed long before that? Is this not an attempt to lead our children away from modern scientific thought?

But the song makes no attempt to stop there. It then asks for the bridge to be built up with “penny loaves”. Pennies, of course, are not a coin of legal tender in this country, and one assumes that in Britain, where one can still speak of them, loaves of bread have not been available for a penny for many years, even decades, now. But that does not matter. What matters is that this song is suggesting the use of cheap food, food that would be readily available for the poorest of the poor, to build up the bridge! What kind of reprehensible moral attitude is this? And all the song can do to counter this evil, anti-people suggestion is to say that the loaves will come tumbling down! Not that they will be stolen from the mouths of the factory worker and the poor student, the shop assistant and the flower-girl; that isn’t of concern to this song. All that it is willing to concede is that the loaves will come tumbling down, something even a toddler can work out for himself!

Not content with insulting the poor, look what it wants us to do in the very next paragraph: to build the bridge back up with silver and gold. Silver and gold! The very basis of our economic security is to be poured into the construction of this miserable bridge, instead of raising funds by taxation of normal currency. And just who has silver and gold, Your Honours? Why, the noble capitalist class who are the backbone of our national economic resurgence, that’s who. This song wants us to take their wealth from them and put it into making this bridge, and in the very next stanza states that the only hurdle is that the protagonist has no silver or gold. Obviously, had he had any, it would have been perfectly in order to throw it away in bridge construction! Futile bridge construction, too, for how long do you suppose a bridge of silver and gold would last before the hoi polloi would strip it to the bone?

No wonder I said the song was evil, ladies and gentlemen of the court. But I still have more, much more, evidence to present.

Instead of providing any further suggestions for building materials, the song then pushes forward a hitherto unmentioned individual, a prisoner. One can only speculate on what fate awaits this poor, miserable man, but the song gives us good clues. Obviously, he cannot be used to form a living bridge with his body; but he can be compelled to work at the construction project, for which, being a prisoner, he will receive no pay at all and likely no such niceties as safety equipment either.

In other words, he will be a slave.

I can see you turning pale, ladies and gentlemen of the Court; but, rest assured, there is more to come. Just what crime has this poor prisoner committed, for which he is to be condemned to slave labour? He allegedly stole the protagonist’s watch and broke his chain. I would like to remind you that this poor man must have already, by this stage, lost his job when the iron industry collapsed, and then been deprived of his source of food when the penny loaves were put into this hideous effort to make the bridge out of bread. I ask you in the name of justice, what other option was open to him but to steal the watch? And all he did when he broke the chain was symbolically shatter the fetters that kept him from going free! Is that not quite clear?

Now we come to the next part of the song’s nefarious intent, its clear Maoist message. It states, in unmistakable terms, that justice is for sale, and that the poor slave can buy his freedom for a hundred pounds. Do not the Maoists keep claiming that the entire law system in this nation is for the rich? Who else but they will benefit if the children accept the fact that money will buy them justice, and those who lack it must go to prison and slavery?

In the name of the fight against ISIS and Maoists, in the name of defence of our nation and its democracy, its economic and social systems, I demand that this song be stopped at all costs!

Your Honours, we must act at once. There is simply no time to lose!

[Image Source]



Today, I Will Be

Saul:

Today, I will be Saul.

I shall awake well before dawn, as usual, and lie staring into the darkness, so total that I can see nothing, not even the planks of wood that make up the bottom of the pallet fifteen centimetres above my nose. The man to my right will moan and turn restlessly, pushing against me with a bony elbow, and I will feel the urge to push him back, to kick him away. But he will be asleep, and not know what he’s doing, so I will do nothing except squeeze against the wall to my left, as far away from his elbow as I can.

I will not know who this man is. He will have arrived the previous evening, and I will have been too tired after returning from the day’s labours to have any energy to find out anything about him. But he will be occupying Moishe’s old place, because Moishe will have died yesterday in the morning. It will have been coming; he will have been old and very sick.

I will have no doubt I will soon find out who the man in the bunk beside me is; if he lives long enough, that is, for me to get to know him. He will bring news, too, of the world elsewhere; perhaps the rumours which say the war will end soon will be true, perhaps they won’t, and perhaps he will not know either way. But he will have eyes and ears, and he will have seen something.

For now, I will lie awake, staring into the darkness. The darkness is safe and familiar, the darkness holds no terrors. In the darkness, nobody can see to hurt you.

It is the sunlight which is dangerous. It is the sunrise that can kill.

The air will be thick with the condensed breath of a hundred and fifty men, and solid with the stink of their bodies. But I will be used to it. Their very closeness, the smell of them, means life and protection. I will not try to go back to sleep, something that will be impossible anyway; the hard wood of the pallet will press through the thin cloak of my flesh to torment my bones.

Lying awake, I will smell the air and I will think of Sarah, and where she might be now; I will think of the little room we will have shared for the two months of our life together, the aroma of the flowers she would have put in a vase on the shelf, the feel of her breasts against my chest when we would have made love. Sarah will have been delicate, like a flower herself; and here there is no room for flowers, except in the Kommandant’s garden.

There will be no point of thinking of Sarah or of the Kommandant’s garden. Unlike others, who will find solace in the past, I will prefer to try and live in the moment. It is only the present moment that matters; the past is gone and the future never to be.

I will briefly ask myself, once again, why I am here, why all of us are. Will it be simply because of what we are, the Jewish religion we bear, which will have made us convenient scapegoats; or will it be something else? What about those who will have been sent here, who are not Jews, but because they are criminals or have the wrong political belief? Perhaps we will someday find out. Perhaps it will not matter. Either way, I will be here and now, and the cause will not be important; the fact that I am here will be.

In not so long now the klaxons will sound and the Kapo will open the door, demanding we appear for Appel, the morning roll call. I will push against the man next to me, until he mumbles and stirs, and keep pushing until he gets out of the bunk. I will see his face briefly – he is balding and has a nose like an eagle’s beak. I could crawl past him, but if he does not get out, the Kapo will kill him, and perhaps we will all be punished.

After Appel we will be given breakfast, a bowl of soup with, if we are fortunate, a knob of potato. I will store the potato in my cheek, gnawing at it little by little through the day, making it last as long as I can. The outer, soft layer will go fast, but the inside, almost raw, will last. I will have become an expert at making it last.

Today, we will be working digging drainage ditches outside of camp. It will be exhausting, killing work, but all I will be qualified to do; I am no metalworker or carpenter. Perhaps, as I will have heard whispers,  someday there will be an air raid on the town whose roofs we will be able to see in the distance, and we will be sent to dig out the dead and privately revel in their suffering; but that will not be today. Today we will dig ditches till we drop, and then the Kapos will whip us till we get up, and then we will dig until we drop again.

Today the guard will be of Latvians, but quite good ones, not those who might kill for fun. One of them, Piladzis, will even call me over.

“Three seven eight six,” he will say, calling me by my number, “here’s a piece of bread. Eat it quickly, before anybody sees.” I will not know why he will do this and I will not ask. The bread will be thin, hard, curling at the edges, but I will eat it as quickly as I can, without thinking of what it tastes like. Taste will not be important. Life will be.

Today I will hear something in the distance, over the eastern horizon, and I will think it to be thunder. But the others will whisper to each other, that it is Russian artillery, that the Russians are coming. I will not believe it, because that will give me hope, and hope is something I will not want.

It is the hopeful who will die, once their hopes are betrayed. I will merely live in the moment.

And we will be marched back to camp, and given another bowl of soup and a crust of bread, and then we will be locked into our barracks.

I will roll into my place and look for the newcomer with the nose like an eagle’s beak, but he will not be there.

“I think he dropped dead out on the quarry,” someone will say. “They must have buried him out in the woods.”

I will shrug and turn away. I will tell myself, sternly, not to feel anything, not to give in to the temptation of emotion. He will be dead, but I will be alive, at least for the moment.

I will be Saul, and I will live through today.

**********************************************************

Willi:

Today, I will be Willi.

I shall be sitting in the south-western watchtower, looking across the camp to the horizon in the east. I will be watching for the first pink glow of light on the horizon. I will have loved watching the sun rise, ever since boyhood, will have loved the paleness of the horizon turn to pink, the pink then turn red as the ball of the sun appears, and then finally to fresh gold.

It will be cold, and I will pull my greatcoat around me. I will be sipping coffee with a dash of Schnapps, feeling it spread warmth inside my gut, and enjoy the fleeting moments of pleasure. The watchtower will be open and exposed to the wind all night, and I will feel gritty with tiredness.

All night, I will have sat in the watchtower, looking over the camp and playing my searchlight slowly back and forth, in slow sweeps across the barracks and the alleys between. I will not spend time looking outside the camp; there will be nothing there. Except for the night patrol, there will also be nothing moving in the camp, not during the night; but my orders will be clear, to keep the searchlight moving, and by watching its beam they will know if I am on the job.

Despite the coffee and the Schnapps, I will be hungry. We guards will not have access to the good food the officers will have, unless we take part in the camp’s illegal black market. Everyone else will be part of that black market, selling cigarettes and favours for food; but I will be too diffident, too unsure, and so I will not take part in it. If I take part, I will be sure, I will be caught and sent to a punishment battalion on the Eastern Front.

I will not want to die in a blizzard on the Eastern Front, under the treads of a Russian tank, and so I will not take any chances. And I will sit, running my tongue over my teeth, while the searchlight before me swings slowly across my section of the camp, to and fro, to and fro.

Sitting in the watchtower, feeling the uncomfortable edge of the MP40 submachine gun digging into my side even through the greatcoat, the steel helmet increasingly heavy on my head, I will ask myself a simple question; how, why, have I ended up here? I will recall my school days, and the times the SS will have come marching by in the parades with their smart uniforms. I will think of my father, who will have said that the SS will be a better career than the Army; that in the SS a man will be able to get somewhere, make a name for himself.

My father will have been two years dead now, in an air raid, but the others will not be; my mother, my sister, and Helga, they will be alive. I will think of Helga, of my sister Greta, and my mother, who all will have whispered on my last leave that it is much better I am here in the camp service instead of out on the Front; the news from there, they will say, grows grimmer by the day.  

My chin will be rough with stubble, and after my stint is over I will have to rush and shave and get ready for inspection. There will be a spot under my jaw I will miss shaving, my boots will be unpolished, and my shirt collar will be dirty; the Scharführer will be furious and punish me with extra guard duty. While the others will have gone down to the town to drink in their time off, I will sit lonely in the watchtower, struggling to stay awake, knowing that exhaustion is no excuse for failure.

I will know of this, so when the Scharführer punishes me, I will be angry. I will need some outlet for my anger, but being a lowly Sturmmann I will be able to do next to nothing. I will at least be glad that I am not put on duty alongside the Latvians; they are people I will have despised from the first day I have been here. I will have always detested them, even more than I do the Jews, although I will not be permitted to say this aloud.

The day will be as hot as the night was cold, and the sun will bounce off the walls of the quarry and beat on my steel helmet. The Kapos will recognise my mood – they are always sensitive, very sensitive, to moods – and they will be ferocious to the inmates, whom they will beat with staves at the slightest sign of slackening.

I will see one particular inmate, thin and balding, whom I will not recognise. Not that this means much, there have been new inmates being brought in from the East every day, but for some reason this man will draw my simmering anger, distilling it into a white-hot fury. Perhaps it will be because he will be working so slowly and badly, or perhaps it will be merely his nose – the nose of a Roman patrician, a Caesar, adorning the face of a scrawny, louse-infested Jew.

I will come up behind this man while he is filling a wheelbarrow with broken stone, very slowly, as though each piece is an immense boulder. “What the hell are you doing?” I will ask him.

He will look at me without comprehension. Probably he will be without any knowledge of German. Close up, his face will seem even more disgusting to me, with thin, delicate bones and deep-set, myopic eyes. These will be the features that should belong to a teacher or a scientist, not to a useless, parasitic, thieving Jew.

I will remember how I have been told, over and over, of the evil nature of the Jews, and I will recall how dirty they are, how they wallow in their own filth in the barracks. I will remember this and I will look at this Jew with his Caesar’s nose, I will think of the Scharführer‘s abuse, and I will hate him all the more.

“Work faster,” I will say, pointing to the stones, and still he will look at me, as though trying to drag out the meaning of the words from the air.

The fat Kapo with the bald head, whose name I will never be able to remember, will have been following me with an anxious eye and will soon realise where my anger is now directed. “Did you not hear what the Herr Sturmmann said?” he will scream, and he will raise his stave and bring it down hard on the man’s back. The man will fall down, twitch a little, and a little runnel of blood will come out of his mouth. He will not even find time to gasp.

The Kapo will look at me anxiously. “I did not intend to kill him, Herr Sturmmann,” he will say.

“Kill him?” I will reply, suddenly feeling as though a boil has been lanced, the pent up anger draining out of me like the trickle of blood on the quarry floor. “What are you talking about? He dropped dead of a heart attack.”

The Kapo will look immensely relieved and grateful, and I will suppress an urge to laugh in his face, relishing the knowledge of the power I have over him.

“Get him buried,” I will say, and saunter over to the other side of the quarry. Even the sun on my helmet and submachine gun will not seem so hot. And the rumbling on the horizon will only be thunder, not Russian cannon.

Perhaps, I will think, while on duty tonight in the watchtower, I will focus my searchlight on the Kapos’ barrack, and give them all a scare.

Today I will be Willi, and I shall have a little fun.

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Aaliyah:

Today, I will be Aaliyah.

I will come out of my mother’s house and look up and down the street, waiting, watching. This is something I will have learnt to do over years, because if I see something that might be trouble, I will know to go back indoors. I will have learnt this lesson well.

Today, though, I will see nothing unusual. The street will be mostly deserted at this hour, though even a few months ago it will have been busy with traffic. But to my left, now, it will have been sealed off by the high grey wall with the rolls of wire on top, so traffic will not come through this way any longer.

“Aaliyah,” my mother will say, “cover your hair.”

Sighing inwardly, I will pull the headscarf further over my head. I will sling my satchel over my shoulder and begin walking to school. I will at first, almost instinctively, turn left, and catch myself – that is the way I will have gone all these years, and it will have been an easy walk. But now I will have to turn right and walk for an hour, and that is why I will have awoken while it is still dark, and start getting ready for school.

I will wait a few moments at the corner for Najwa, who will have been my dearest friend from the earliest time I will be able to remember. Najwa will be late today, and I will remember that her mother is pregnant and maybe she will have given birth to the baby last night. I will think of going to Najwa’s house to see; her mother will of course have given birth to the baby at home, because the hospital will now be too far away to go to, and across a checkpoint besides.

But going to Najwa’s house will make me late, though I will want to see the baby, in case it has come. So I will wait a couple of minutes more, and then continue walking, although looking over my shoulder every few moments to see if Najwa is coming. I will not see her, and I will imagine that she is at her older sister’s, perhaps, who will have lived across town with her husband since her marriage last year. But Najwa will have not failed to tell me about it.

I will be half way to school before the thought will come to me – perhaps it is not the baby, perhaps something else has happened to Najwa, and she will not be coming.

As soon as this thought will come to me, I will somehow become certain – totally certain – that it is the truth. From where I will be at this moment, I will just be able to see over the top of the wall, to where the settlement’s buildings rise white and pink in the morning sun. I will remember how the hill they grow on will once have been a little forest, and my parents and I will have gone picnicking there; I will remember my mother and I running through the grass under the trees, laughing. I will recall how the grass is gone, and I will never run barefoot through it again with my mother; I will remember how the forest has been removed and replaced by the settlement, and the wall grown up between it and the street on which I am walking now.

I will suddenly be certain, too, that someone will have been watching me from one of the high buildings for some time; someone who will be studying my every move, the way I am walking, the way I am swinging my arms and putting down my feet. I will suddenly want to run as fast as I can, but I will hold back because running will make me a target.

My father will have told me this over and over again, ever since the beginning of the settlement; Aaliyah, do not run, whatever happens, don’t run. My father will know what he says; he will have been in Gaza during the bombardments, when running, even from a shell, is a sentence of death. He will have left home even earlier than me today, because he has to work, and in order to work, he will have to go through two sets of checkpoints, and line up at both. Perhaps they will let him through, perhaps not, it will depend on their whim. If they do not let him through, we will not perhaps have supper tonight.

I will have good knowledge of what it is to go without supper; it will not be the first time, and it will not be the last.

I will take a deep breath and walk on, and the road will dip and the wall will hide me again from the watching eyes. And I will think of Najwa, and I will be certain that something is wrong, and I will make up my mind to go to her home on the way back.

I will reach school, and Najwa will not be there. Fatah guards will be, though, watching everyone, and one will find an excuse to make me open my bag. I will feel his eyes run over my breasts while I hold my bag open for him. I will remember what my father will have repeated for the hundredth time yesterday, that the Fatah and Abu Mazen are collaborators of the occupation, worse enemies of ours than the settlers themselves. But there will be nothing I can do but let him look at my body until he will have had enough and let me go to class.

Today will be the day of the week when we have Chemistry laboratory, which I will have loved ever since the first day; I will have long wanted to be a chemist, it will be my goal in life. But once again the Chemistry lab period will be cancelled today, because the chemicals necessary will not be available owing to the checkpoints and the restrictions. It will almost be routine by now.

As I leave school at the end of the day, I will meet Ibrahim in the street. I will smile at him a little, because I will have long known he likes that. Ibrahim will have thought for years that I am very pretty, and I will know that he wishes I were his girlfriend, and I will know I never will be. I will think it is a pity, but I will have nothing more for him but a vague affection.

Still, I will smile, because it will make him happy and cost me nothing.

Ibrahim’s brother Ramzy will be in Gaza, with HAMAS. Ibrahim will have talked many times about going to join him, and when he will come walking quickly towards me I will imagine he is going to talk about Ramzy again, and I will wish he might not have seen me. But he will have something else on his mind.

“Aaliyah,” he will say. “Have you heard about Najwa?”

I will feel dread. It will be like a small, cold fist, just under my heart. My mouth will grow numb, but not too numb to whisper. “What?”

“Last night her sister’s house was burned by the settlers,” he will say. “It was a price-tag attack. Everything they had was burned, and her husband is in hospital. He may not live.”

I will feel my mouth moving, again. “Najwa?” I will feel like strangling Ibrahim. “What happened to Najwa?”

Ibrahim will hold me by the upper arm, tight enough that I will find later that his fingers have left bruises. “She went out late this morning with a knife and attacked the first Jews she saw.” He will hesitate. “Not that she did much damage, you know how small she...”

“What happened to her?” I will make my mouth ask.

“A settler shot her in the leg,” he will say. “Then when she lay bleeding on the street, they took pictures and then the settler shot her again in the head.”

And I will see Najwa, I will see her with her smiling face, and her face will change, her eyes go blank, and her skin smear with blood, blood spreading, everywhere, and I will hear Ibrahim shout as my consciousness slips away.

Much later, I will sit at home, listening to my mother whisper to my father that Najwa’s house is to be demolished tomorrow, even though the baby is on the way. I will listen, and I will not understand. I will try to mourn, and nothing will come. I will try to cry, and tears will fall inside me, but not from my eyes.

I will be Aaliyah, and I will be a stone today.

**********************************************************

Barukh:

Today, I will be Barukh.

I shall have already been up for hours, wishing I had been allowed to go on the price tag attack on the Arabs, hating Avram because he will have refused to take me. I will have listened to them return, happy and chattering and excited, talking about how they had successfully burnt an Arab house, and how this was the only way to teach the dirty scum a lesson.

I will not believe the Arabs can be taught a lesson. I will remember that they are savages who hate us all and want us gone. I will remember that some of them fought on the side of Hitler in the war.

I will remember the first time I will have seen an Arab, a dirty Bedouin with a scarred face and one eye. He will have shuffled along the pavement like a thief, which he will almost certainly have been. I will have been too young then to have challenged him. Today, he will not have been able to get away.

“Barukh,” Avram will say, “there will be more chances for you to take part in the task of defending our people. Don’t be disheartened.”

That will be easy for him to say, but I will not be so quickly mollified. Taking my gun, which does not leave my side – none of us will ever be without our guns – I will step out on to the balcony of my unit. Once this will all have been a useless forest, which the Arabs never will have had the gumption to develop, but now it will be home for the wife I will soon have, and the children who will follow. This will be a place where we step out to take the world in our fist.

I will stand on the balcony, brooding that Avram might say sweet words, but he will not trust me with taking part in the attacks to teach the Arabs their place. I will think this is because the attacks are too soft, and the proof will be clear to me: that we have to have that wall across the landscape, which they say is to keep us safe from the Arabs, but which is actually to keep us from the lands which the Arabs occupy, but which are ours by birthright.

YHWH gave us this land, and made us His Chosen upon earth, I will tell myself. Why, in that case, I will ask, should the Arabs even exist?

I will stand on the balcony and I will remember my great grandfather, who will have died in the camps, not knowing that his wife lived and had managed to bear his baby. I will remember his photo, which I have been thinking of framing, but which lies now at the bottom of a drawer in my desk.

I will hear once more my father’s voice, telling me of what will have happened to his grandfather, of the way he will have died. I will remember him telling me that I must vow to protect our people forever, against everyone. I will remember making this vow, looking up into his eyes. They will have been tired eyes, but still filled with fire.

Standing on my balcony, I will vow, once more, that the fate that befell him and those like him must never be allowed to happen again. Whoever might even potentially be the enemy must be eliminated, I will tell myself fiercely.

Far away, on the other side of the wall, I will see an Arab walking on a stretch of exposed road. It will be a female, and young, but she will still be the enemy. Even an Arab baby hates us, I will remember, and is the enemy. I will raise my rifle, keeping the tiny figure in my sights, and wait with my finger on the trigger, ready to fire. But the Arab female will simply keep walking, and soon be lost to view.

Later, after breakfast, I will go out. Today I will be on security duty, and filled with frustration, for everyone will have done something against the Arabs but me. And then I will see her.

It will be an Arab female, young and thin, on the pavement, with a knife in her hand, slashing and cutting at the air, screaming. I will see her and her knife; I will see, also, the Jews around, shrinking back with terror on their faces, and I will have a sudden great anger come upon me. I will whisper to myself that never again will I let Jews feel fear, and I will take the gun off my shoulder. My finger will press the trigger, and the Arab female will fall to the street, blood pouring from a shattered thigh. The knife will go skittering from her hand and lie in the gutter, where it, and she, belong.

The terrified settlers will come forward, uncertainly, the fear slowly leaving their faces. A couple of them will bring out mobile phones and take photos.

The Arab will begin to stir, to slowly push herself up on her spindly arms. I will see the uncertainty appear again in the faces of the Jews gathered around, and I will know fear is not far away. And the rage will return, and my determination that this useless half-living thing should threaten us, and perhaps kill. If given half a chance, she will kill...

My gun will be light in my hand, and pressing the trigger a joy. The Arab will fall as though she has been clubbed, her head half blown away.

I will shoulder my gun and go home. I will take out the photo of my great-grandfather and look at it a long time.

“Rest in peace, Saul,” I will say. “It will never happen again.”

Avram may or may not take me next time, but I will no longer care. I will have done my bit.

Today I will be Barukh, and I will be a hero.

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Today, I will be human. Today, I will smile and I will cry.




Copyright B Purkayastha 2016