I am concerned about a growing idea that absolute power is to be applied in government. Instead of experimentation or testing, the rigid charge or be inactive frightens me. I foresee a day when one order will be given to arrest, or perhaps more innocently to ‘investigate’, those of differing opinion. Those who marched, who dissented, spoke, wrote, postered, placarded, picketed, protested. Those malcontents were targeted. I can see now, how the times we call dark toady, will be sunny. Too soon a change may emerge, may it never…
With great vividness the idea of black-clad police officers could burst through my frond door, no shouting, no warning, until the great force is applied to the door, smashing it down. I can see the shocked look in my families eyes, the darkness shattered by burning lights, making clear for the officers and blinding myself. Guns, overlarge, pointed in the faces of children, or friends. I could scream NO! Then they pounce on me, knocking me to the ground, twisting my arm in an unnatural position. All I could do was scream. What good is it to scream, they only get some sick satisfaction. Perhaps they will be bold, the arrival would come in the day and riot gear would mask faces. Perhaps for one instant, I could see their eyes, not malice, but adrenaline and perhaps a sad dedication. To ‘serve and protect’ that was once the oath, right? What could be done, even if I carried a gun; could I get it in time? Would it help?
After arrested, would my neighbors remember my face, would my family ask about me? Where would I go, a detention facility? Detention after interrogation, probably. The bright lights, still feeling soreness from cuffs, words echoing from foreboding figure, or perhaps a two sided mirror. Questions until exhaustion, demands of the names of others, allegations, feigns, hammering. My mind a blur from the initial shock, all in a small cramped room, they hope I am acquiescent and my exhaustion and confusion will beak me. Would I have clarity to stay quiet? Would I crack? There would be a table only if the questioner in the room, to provide tangible leverage and to make clear who was in charge. Hours and hours, until weariness had overtaken me. Finally taken in a variety of halls to a cell or courtyard. I want the cell, the courtyard means the firing squad, by this time so many have been arrested, holding all is not an option. I hope to be lucky, but if not, perhaps I too can call like Che, that I too am only mortal!
Lucky;In a small cell, the click of the lock behind me, hopelessness sets in. That is what they want of course, before the next interrogation, hopelessness. I am forced to think about the cold room, darkness, the loss of all self will and being trapped. Perhaps it will have a toilet and a bed, perhaps not. The sound of silence, resonating in my ears, the place will be unnerving. At least I didn’t get the wall in the courtyard. Perhaps rest would be nice, but the day’s events still bring on adrenaline, the questioning too intense. Like pulling a mental splinter, every memory hurts a little. In the darkness, this is what I think. How did we get here, what fear could have blinded a nation beyond reason? I suppose the radical acts of government, would be justified in their memory, to make a better society ‘without dissent’ they would cry on the television. Secretly they may have enjoyed watching the few who protesters, recording names, for later condemnation. But the cell I am in now will give me time to think about all these things; it is a poser game, I am alone physically and if I tell all, I will be welcomed back. Of course that is not possible, at best I will be put in internment, hoping, praying, that someday, a sense of rationality will come to the leaders and I will be released. But I will not fight them, if I strike them, I am just as cold and heartless as those who seized me. I must retain and exemplify civility, I will not fight physically, but I will not talk. I must not talk, for that is all I have, my memories. I will not talk. If they try to starve me, I will use my clothes. Better to die by my hands than by those of a government specter. I will not die to a nameless, murderous bureaucrat. Better to keep my dignity, than die in a shallow pool of vomit, excrement and self-surrender.
Perhaps it will start with food, or billy clubs, or noises to keep me from sleep, but they will try to break me. They will try to bribe, coerce, blackmail and cheat me of my memory, every time, the ‘talks’ will be longer, pushing and pulling for information. Extraction will be mind numbing. They will try good cop/bad cop, they will say others talked and if I talk I could get released, but I know these are all lies. I knew from before everything went sour; I that harder they fight you for it, the more you have against them. Don’t crack, talk, snitch, rat, tattle or let anything out; after all, once they have all my information, what incentive have they for keeping me alive, none. Perhaps they will torture, make me scream, even crack. But I must resist, it is only thing my life will have to offer. The time will creep by, poor food will burn the stomach, bruises will creep along the hands, feet and skull, blood stains may have changed the color of the prision garb. The sounds at least can be ignored to allow for a fitful sleep. Yet periods of rest are less and less frequent, until they feel I will not crack, or have nothing l can offer, then it’s the wall or lockdown. Any good interrogator knows, you can hurt someone more if they are alive, dead men don’t scream.
Imagine the torture. What joy they could derive, cutting out one eye, forcing the other to be eaten. Served ones own excrement. Stretched, bent, lashed, cut, drained of blood. They can do a great many things. Imagine breaking all the bones in the body, or tearing all the muscles from the bones. Once I am alone, there is no ACLU, perhaps they too have been arrested. For all I know, I may not even be in the country. If you want to hurt someone, you don’t kill them, you keep them alive. Al time wears on, it is easy to see which ones will live, by how loud they scream. The less they cry the easier they die.
Lockdown, made in the USSR; solitary, dark, will crushing. Me myself, alone, darkness, no sounds in, no sounds out, deadly boredom. I know they used to sit people in these cramped quarters until they confessed to anything. They can break me, starve me, ignore me while wallow in my own filth, the fumes too great. When deathly exhaustion comes and they open a door, I cannot move, they pull me out. I am spilled like an unholy pancake batter over cement, unfeeling, sickly, begging for death. But they don’t want me dead, they want my information. I have two options, spill it, or get locked up. If I am locked up, I die of starvation. If I talk I can be taken to the wall, or to internment. By now will power does not exist, spirit is non-existent. I am living dead, a corpse, held together by artificial machines. No bone has now been unbroken, most several times. The disfigured and broken body, not me, but my shell, talks. Perhaps slowly, perhaps with shame, perhaps with fake names, perhaps with lies, perhaps everything and everyone.
A judicary, they call me forward, accuses me of sedition, or perhaps no accusation is necessary at all! My confession is read before the judicary, I can say nothing, perhaps some false witnesses are produced to spice it up. They ask for any final words, but before I can rise to speak, I am carried off. Perhaps to another dark hole, perhaps to the wall, who can say for sure? Maybe I will be taken to internment, but for now I am moved. Through the building, once a court, or perhaps an educational hall, or even a government building, I suppose it doesn’t matter. At this point I would notice the surroundings, any moss, mold, mildew, or tree, or window any natural light, or reflection, I will see it all. Most of all I would relish a look, a single glance into the eyes of my captors, though it would not matter. If they can pass judgment on me, I want to see them, I want to see their eyes, stare into their soul. It is strange to desire such an insignificant thing, perhaps I am greedy and want to pass judgment, perhaps I desire for them to see my emotion, or make them feel. Really all I want is to know if they are human? If they are not, I could understand. Not otherwise. The terror, the suffering, why? I want to see their eyes, that they should know me, know my existence for one instant. Without this, I am only a memory, only a criminal and they just garbage men. I want to see, no, I want them to see.
To live, is to die. Yet here they make life more insufferable than death. The hours in sun, no clothes, chains, sweat and blood and unhealed scars adorn us. This work, bleeds us, tears down the soul, grabs your life and shakes the meaning out of it! This suffering we deserve, because we somehow wronged the state, or so they tell us. The soil will produce little, the labor is not aided by machines, never stopping for winter or rainy season. This is our life, for the silent shells, clicking together in a burlap bag of the state. There is no salvation for us, we work, we work, we work, our hands like our souls do not heal. The meek, the slow and resistant are shot, or perhaps left to dry, tied to a pole. This life is of course for the betterment of the state. Shelter does not exist, sleep does not exist, we fall into rest. The inhumanity could not be any worse, save in the ground; the wall would be a relief. We are now machines, condemned, feeding and working, bleeding and kneading the bread of society. Cast asunder by the benevolent society and government. There is no justice for us, only the butt end of a gun, we are the receivers of revenge and subservience. Bent and broken, we cease to be human; we are shells in a sea of suffering.
Perhaps, we are soylent, perhaps slaves, perhaps we become criminals. Perhaps we are denied our humanity. One day, a shovel goes missing, and a long tunnel is started. Perhaps we escape, perhaps we are killed. We resist, perhaps the ground has mines and we set one off in the tunnel. If we die, we die trying to escape, we die resisting.
What is scary here is not the actions or the government, but that this is not a too far distant future. What each of us has to ask and act upon, is how to prevent this from occurring? For when we do not speak out, when we leave it to others, we have abandoned in ourselves our own justice. When basic rights disappear, when we the people cease to work for their defense, are we not tacitly passing acceptance on the actions? Surely this is not who we want to be and if it is not, then we must act fervently and frequently. If you drink, drink to rebutting the arbitrary imposition of government. If you speak, then swear fealty to none, but work for freedom and justice. If you write, make music and papers on the necessity of justice. If you walk, walk for liberty. If you sit, then sit down and hold on for the treatment of all equally.