The cruelest animal…

“People speak sometimes about the “bestial” cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky


From http://izquotes.com/quote/285251

* * *

India
2014

A few days ago, two Indian girls were gang-raped and murdered after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet. Those two cousins were just 14 and 16 years old.

“The father, a 45-year-old agricultural laborer from a low-ranking caste, said in a telephone interview that the two girls were last seen alive on Tuesday evening in a mango orchard, in the company of a man named Pappu Yadav. (The man’s surname is the same as his caste.)

The father said a relative saw the girls with Mr. Yadav and two of Mr. Yadav’s brothers and that, for reasons he did not explain, the relative tried to intervene between Mr. Yadav and the girls. One of the Yadav brothers pulled out a pistol “and put it to the head of my cousin-brother,” the father said, using a common term in India for a close relative. “He got scared and ran away.”

When he heard what had happened, the father said, he went to the local police station and asked that Mr. Yadav’s house be searched. But the police officers, who are members of the Yadav caste, “took the side of the culprits,” the father said.”

The girls were members of the Dalit community, India’s lowest caste once known as the “Untouchables”.

From http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com

* * *

Russia
1800s

One old nobleman, along with a band of spongers, moved to his countryside estate and took to hunting with hounds. One day, a peasant boy (the nobleman had three thousand souls there) accidentally hit a hound from the landlord’s kennels in the leg with a stone. When he saw that his Nalet was limping, the landlord became incensed and asked, “Who injured the dog?”

The kennel attendants had to reveal the little boy’s identity. They produced the boy. He confessed.

In the morning, the landlord ordered preparations for the hunt in full complement. They went to the field and took their places near the forest, the hounds were let out, and the borzois were held on leads. There they brought the boy. The landlord ordered that the little boy be stripped of his clothes and set loose in the field to run. Then they let out the dogs from all the packs to chase him—literally to hunt him.

The borzois approached the little boy, sniffed at him, but did not touch him… His mother got there in time; she had run through the forest. She clasped her child in her arms. They dragged her back to the village and again set the dogs loose until the little boy was torn to pieces. The mother went insane and died within three days.

From ‘A life under Russian serfdom’


From http://eco-trophy.ru

However don’t put all the blame on men. As history shows, women in power are as cruel as men. Take as an example Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, commonly known as Saltichikha who made her infamous mark with the atrocious killings of her serfs. She enjoyed torturing and mutilating her victims. Saltichikha was the epitome of boyar abuse of serfs in pre-reformation Russia. She pleaded guilty to the murder of at least 138 serfs at her estate, and the torture of many more. The name Saltychikha became a synonym for bestial treatment of the peasants.

Дарья Николаевна СалтыковаFrom http://russiapedia.rt.com/

I wonder sometimes where such cruelty originates. Is there a template for cruelty laid down in the human brain? Is it something that is unique to our species? Why do human beings find pleasure in deliberately inflicting pain on other living things? And what can we do to stop it because…

“Not much we can do about that,” you might say.

I think we can. The stories presented in this post have one common theme: these cases are the product of certain beliefs (or memes) held in the society. The stories from Russia happened at the time, when surfs were not perceived as human beings – they were perceived as property and therefore their owners believed that they could do anything with them, including torturing and killing them. Russian writers and artists were the first to object that deeply ingrained belief. Book after book, painting after painting, they slowly changed that ‘meme’ and eventually serfdom, like slavery, has been abolished.

This clearly demonstrates that even the most deeply ingrained memes and beliefs can be changed. We just need to keep talking about such cases and spread positive beliefs to combat mind viruses and memes that cause cruelty and violence.

Don’t close your eyes to ‘Hell on Earth‘. As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

Martin Luther King Jr. I Have A Dream Speech Quote "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Go here to read the article: http://www.jamiepelaez.com/i-have-a-dream-do-you-have-a-dream/  #InspirationalQuote #MartinLutherKingJr #IHaveADream #MLKQuoteFrom Pinterest

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THE END

Kalthoum

excerpt from ‘Barefoot in Baghdad’ by Manal M. Omar

Baghdad

She was hiding. Then again, everyone seemed to be hiding. It was October 2003, eight months into the disastrous U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. But she was practically a child. And her enemy proved to be more insidious – and heartbreaking – than the ones we read about and saw on television. Getting to her was my first hurdle…

Once inside the police building, an Iraqi police officer and a U.S. Military Policeman practically tackled me in an effort to argue their case…. Both men were right. She would be killed if she were released. But the police had no authority, under Iraqi law, to hold her…

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to make any decision. I wasn’t there to judge or referee. My sole purpose was to ensure that the girl was safe, clothed, fed, and healthy.

“I’m only here to speak with the girl. May I please see her?”…

I opened the door to a small room… The girl sat in the opposite corner, her knees pulled into her chest, her chin resting on top. She rocked back and forth, barely noticing that I’d entered… The sight of her shocked me. Her skin practically hung from her bones, and the long, thick black hair stretching down her back emphasized her frailty. She was a child trapped in an old woman’s body.

Despair

Despair

I quietly walked toward her and sat next to her. I wasn’t sure how to begin, so I said hello and introduced myself. She continued to rock, saying nothing…

She finally spoke and told me that her name was Kalthoum… When she stood, I realized why the Iraqi policeman said that he couldn’t protect her, not even against his own officers. The way she was dressed – in tight Capri jeans and a low-cut tank top – would have offended even the most liberal Iraqi men…

“I am sure they told you I am a prostitute,” she said sheepishly. “Those hypocrites out there. One of them used to be my client. That is why they are so eager to get me out.”

The man, one of the police officers, had used her for sex, and now he wanted her released and left for dead. This was not, as one might expect in the United States, because he was ashamed of having patronized a prostitute. To the contrary, in Iraq it was not uncommon for men to engage in such behaviour. They did so openly and without remorse. But the judgement of a prostitute? Death. So the very man who had slept with Kalthoum wanted her to die because of it.

IraqIraqi Prostitutes

“Kalthoum,” I said…”I need you to tell me exactly what happened. Who were the men who were shooting at you? Also, do you have a place you can go, other than here?”

She shook her head as her eyes filled with tears. The men who’d chased here were her husband and brother-in-law. Three years ago her family had forced her to marry her cousin. She was thirteen at the time. She took a photo from her wallet and showed me a picture of her in a wedding gown next to a man old enough to be her father. On her wedding night, she did not was not want to have sex. So her new husband had beaten and raped her. This, according to Kalthoum, became their normal form of intimacy. He pulled her out of school and locked her in his house. She had considered killing herself.

Iraqi Women
From Iraqi women protest against draft law to permit child marriage

Then the Americans invaded Iraq. That same week, Kalthoum ran away. An older woman found her on the steets and offered her food and shelter. The woman had nursed her back to health and gave her pills to ease her pain. Soon Kalthoum became addicted. At the time, she didn’t realize that the woman was the head of a prostitution ring.

I’d heard many similar stories. But hearing them first hand from Kalthoum, a child, made me sick.

Child

From Iraq drafts law to allow marriage of nine-year-old girls

“I want to make sure you have food, shelter, and good health care… I want you to protect yourself from disease and unwanted pregnancies“.

“You are too late for that,” she said in a barely audible whisper as tears filled her eyes. She put her hand on her stomach to indicate that she was already pregnant. I closed my eyes…

Pregnant-girl
From the Battle Against Child Marriage

The fact that Kalthoum was under eighteen placed her in the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Legally, the ministry was required to provide her with a place in one of the public orphanages… Orphans in both Iraqi and Muslim Society have a special reverence. Numerous verses in the Koran and sayings from the prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) called for respecting, caring for, and providing for orphans…

Orphans
From Muslims for Humanity: Helping Hand

I settled in the backseat to prepare my case for the minister… She had a compelling story, and the fact that she had been forced into marriage at such a young age solidified her status as a victim. Besides, she was only sixteen years old. The deputy minister had to take pity on her situation…

One hour later it was clear that this was not going to happen. The deputy minister was visibly insulted that I had the audacity to bring such a case to his attention… When I tried to point out that she was underage, he countered with the fact that she was a married woman, which placed her in the category of adulthood. Orphanages were for children only. I tried to argue that she had been forced into marriage at the age of thirteen, which was illegal according to Iraqi law. He shook his head, pointing out that it was a common occurrence during the years of UN sanctions.

“How else were parents to secure their daughters?” he asked.

Brides
According to a UN report in 2005, 60 million girls worldwide have been married. A startling 100 million more are expected to be forced or sold into marriage by their parents in the next 10 years.

I could not accept his response, but all my phone calls to Iraqi women’s organizations resulted in dead ends. Kalthoum was too much of an extreme case, most of them argued. We cannot help her without making ourselves vulnerable to verbal and physical attacks. I was not surprised by these responses…

I called several Iraqi women’s organisations for information, as I knew they would be the only people to tell me the truth about her situation. They all confirmed my worse fears: her return to her family would be a death sentence.

Honor

Conference to Remember Du’a Khalil and denounce Honour Killings globally!

 Yet Kalthoum was fully aware of this. In her heart of hearts, she seemed to believe it to be a reasonable sentence. Over the span of a few days, Kalthoum had developed a strong sense of the cosmic powers of Karma, and she begged me to allow her to pay her dues to her family so that her suffering would end.

She explained to me repeatedly that her life was over and that the decisions she had made had left little room for her to start over. However, she had four unmarried sisters at home. Her scandal reached the tribe… If she were to go back to her family and face her sentence, then honor would be restored. If she were to run away, then her four unmarried sisters would pay the price. They would be shunned by society and would never marry because of their sister’s tarnished reputation. Worse yet, she argued, they would be forced into unsuitable marriages as a third or fourth wife…

Kalthoum was only sixteen. That was the lone thought that went through my mind as she pleaded with me to help her get back to her family. What life was this girl talking about? What choices? Was she really given a choice when she was married off? Or tricked into prostitution? Was her family really given a choice, fighting to survive war after war and a decade of international sanctions?
I shook my head. I knew that the final decision would rest in my hands…

Family
Members of a poor family sit in their makeshift house in Baghdad August 28, 2010. 

Fortunately, I didn’t have to make this choice myself. I had met a strong Kurdish woman in a conference…She had established one of the first Iraqi women’s shelters to house women from across the country… The Asuda organization was also one of the only shelters I knew that would take ‘untouchable’ cases. Untouchable cases were almost always cases dealing with family honor…

Beyond the Asuda organization, I was captivated by Khanim Latif, the woman who led it… Khanim’s office was stacked with photo albums of abused women. Her contacts would often tip her off when they received such cases. Khanim would rush over with her camera to take photos… Entire albums were dedicated to corpses of women. When high-level government officials denied the practice of honor crimes, she would pull out numerous photos of women burned alive or with gun shots and silence her opposition immediately…

Iraq2

From http://www.lapidomedia.com

“Honor killings happen,” Khanim said. “And they happen more than we would like to admit. However, they often happen because our communities have not learned to mediate around such a sensitive topic. No father wants to kill his daughter. Give him an excuse to maintain his honor in front of his tribe, and he will grab on to it. But our community refuses to facilitate such discussions. At Asuda we do. We use religious and tribal leaders to encourage the parents to find solution other than slaying their daughters.”

i0205shr

An Iraqi man talks with his daughter

Khanim advised me to think of someone who could facilitate the discussion with her father. I could not think of anyone until Yusuf reminded me of Munther.

Munther was pleased to hear from us and to see that we were seeking reconciliation with Kalthoum’s tribe… He jumped at the opportunity to help… Munther managed to negotiate the terms of her return, successfully arranged her divorce, and had the father sign a statement that Kalthoum would not be harmed if she were to return. Munther also negotiated an agreement with the tribe that he would be able to visit every three months to confirm that Kalthoum was in good health (or to be more blunt, alive).

Honor1From the bulletin of the oppression of women

* * *

Related posts:

women-in-islam

From NotMyTribe

Instead of passing the blame, let’s focus on finding culturally appropriate solutions. 😉

THE END

Love, passion, obsession and oppression

difference_between_east_west_womenFrom Difference between East and West Woman

East or West: which way is that best?

Some people in Western societies tend to point fingers at other cultures, often ignoring problems in their own lands. While criticizing the veil as ‘oppressive’, they rarely realise that Western culture is as ‘oppressive’ towards women with its body-shaming and pressure to use provocative clothing displaying women’s ‘biological assets’. Every media outlet – many magazines edited by women – focuses attention on dresses, body sizes and shapes, skin and hair color, the length of the nails, the length of the skirts, the height of the heels. Women are under constant pressure to ‘beautify’ themselves and display their bodies in public, as they are often ‘judged’ by the beauty of their bodies rather than the beauty of their minds and hearts, especially in the younger generation.

Some Western people rarely realize that over-sexualisation of children and teenagers puts them at risk of abuse as much as a wall of silence surrounding the subject of sex in more conservative societies. Some Western people rarely talk about peer-pressure experienced by lots of teenagers in Western societies to have sex in earlier age no matter whether they want it or not; no matter whether they have any emotional connection with another person or not. It is not rare now to hear teenagers in Western societies say: “All my mates say they’re having sex. I’m the only one who isn’t therefore I should have sex with the first stranger I meet.” Sex is turning into something like a sport rather than intimate relationship between caring and loving people. “Sexy” often means “Successful” in the West.

To highlight some of these points, I decided to publish on my blog an excerpt from Nabokov’s provocative masterpiece ‘Lolita’ – a story of love, passion, obsession and oppression.

* * *

“Passion is a positive obsession. Obsession is a negative passion.”

Paul Carvel

lolita_ver4

Lolita

( by Vladimir Nabokov, 1955 Abridged.)

Lolita( Photo by Danaya )

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita…

Now I wish to introduce the following idea. Between the age limits of nine and fourteen there occur maidens who, to certain bewitched travelers, twice or many times older than they, reveal their true nature which is not human, but nymphic (that is, demoniac); and these chosen creatures I propose to designate as “nymphets.”…

Furthermore, since the idea of time plays such a magic part in the matter, the student should not be surprised to learn that there must be a gap of several years, never less than ten I should say, generally thirty or forty, and as many as ninety in a few known cases, between maiden and man to enable the latter to come under a nymphet’s spell. It is a question of focal adjustment, of a certain distance that the inner eyethrills to surmount, and a certain contrast that the mind perceives with a gasp of perverse delight. When I was a child and she was a child, my little Annabel was no nymphet to me; I was her equal, a faunlet in my own right, on that same enchanted island of time; but today, in September 1952, after twenty-nine years have elapsed, I think I can distinguish in her the initial fateful elf in my life. We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives. I was a strong lad and survived but the poison was in the wound, and the wound remained ever open, and soon I found myself maturing amid civilization which allows a man of twenty-five to court a girl of sixteen but not a girl of twelve.

No wonder, then, that my adult life during the European period of my existence proved monstrously twofold. Overtly, I had so-called normal relationships with a number of terrestrial women having pumpkins or pears for breasts; inly, I was consumed by a hell furnace of localized lust for every passing nymphet whom as a law-abiding poltroon I never dared approach…

The fact that to me the only object of amorous tremor were sisters of Annabel’s, her handmaids and girl-pages, appeared to me at times as a forerunner of insanity. At other times I would tell myself that it was all a question of attitude, that there was really nothing wrong in being moved to distraction by girl-children…

Marriage and cohabitation before the age of puberty are still not uncommon in certain East Indian provinces. Lepcha old men of eighty copulate with girls of eight, and nobody minds. After all, Dante fell madly in love with his Beatrice when she was nine, a sparkiling girleen, painted and lovely, and bejeaeled, in a crmson frock, and this was in 1274, in Florence, at a private feast in the merry month of May. And when Petrarch fell madly in love with his Laureen, she was a fair-haired nymphet of twelve running in the wind, in the pollen and dust, a flower in flight, in the beautiful plain as described from the hilss of Vaucluse…

I have often wondered what became of those nymphets later? In this wrought-iron world of criss-cross cause and effect, could it be that the hidden throb I stole from them did not affect their future? I had possessed her – and she never knew it. All right. But would it not tell sometime later? Had I not somehow tampered with her fate by involving her image in my voluptas? Oh, it was, and remains, a source of great and terrible wonder…

Lolita1
( Photo by Svetlana )
* * *

The gloom of yet another World War had settled upon the globe when, after a winter of ennui and pneumonia in Portugal, I at last reached the States. In New York I eagerly accepted the soft job fate offered me: it consisted mainly of thinking up and editing perfume ads… I cast around for some place in the New England countryside or sleepy small town (elms, white church) where I could spend a studious summer subsisting on a compact boxful of notes I had accumulated and bathing in some nearby lake…

The Haze house, a white-frame horror, appeared, looking dingy and old… I pressed the bell button. A coloured maid let me in…

“I see you are not too favorably impressed,” said the lady letting her hand rest for a moment upon my sleeve… “This is not a neat household, I confess,” the doomed dear continued, “but I assure you, you will be very comfortable, very comfortable, indeed. Let me show you the garden.”…

Reluctantly I followed her downstairs again; then through the kitchen at the end of the hall…

I was still walking behind Mrs. Haze through the dining room when, beyond it, there came a sudden burst of greenery – “the piazza”, sang out my leader, and then, without the least warning, a blue sea-wave swelled under my heart and, from a mat in a pool of sun, half-naked, kneeling, turning about on her knees, there was my Riviera love peering at me over dark glasses…

“That was my Lo,” she said, “and these are my lilies.”

“Yes,” I said, “Yes. They are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!”…

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA( Photo by Prozor )
* * *

Friday. Saw her going somewhere with a dark girl called Rose. Why does the way she walks – a child, mind you, a mere child! – excite me so abominably? Analyze it. A faint suggestion of turned in toes. A kind of wiggly looseness below the knee prolonged to the end of each footfall. The ghost of a drag. Very infantile, infinitely meretricious. Humbert Humbert is also infinitely moved by the little one’s slangy speech, by her harsh high voice…

Saturday… I know it is madness to keep this joutnal but it gives me a strange thrill to do so…. Let me state with a sob that today my L. was sun-bathing on the so-called “piazza”, but her mother and some other woman were around all the time. Of course, I might have sat there in the rocker and pretended to read. Playing safe, I kept away, for I was afraid that the horrible, insane, ridiculous and pitiful tremor that palsied me might prevent me from making my entree with any semblance of casualness…

Monday. I spend my doleful days in dumps and dolors. We (mother Haze, Dolores and I) were to go to Our Glass Lake this afternoon, and bathe, and bask; but a nacreous morn degenerated at noon into rain, and Lo made a scene… I have all the characteristics which, according to writers on the sex interests of children, start the responses stirring in a little girl: clean-cut jaw, muscular hand, deep sonorous voice, broad shoulder. Moreover, I am said to resemble some crooner or actor chap on whom Lo has a crash…

Thursday. Last night we sat on the piazza, the Haze woman, Lolita and I… We sat on cushions heaped on the floor, and L. was between the woman and me (she had squeezed herself in, the pet)… I launched upon a hilarious account of my arctic adventures… All the while I was acutely aware of L’s nearness and as I spoke I gestured in the merciful dark and took advantage of those invisible gestures of mine to touch her hand, her shoulder and a ballerina of wool and gauze which she played with and kept sticking into my lap; and finally, when I had completely enmeshed my glowing darling in this weave of ethereal caresses, I dared stroke her bare leg along the gooseberry fuzz of her shin, and I chuckled at my own jokes, and trembled, and concealedmy tremors, and once or twice felt with my rapid lips the warmth of her hair as I treated her to a quick nuzzling, humorous aside and caressed her plaything. She, too, fidgeted a good deal so that finally her mother told her sharply to quit it and sent the doll flying into the dark, and I laughed and addressed myself to Haze across Lo’s legs to let my hand creep up my nymphet’s thin back and feel her skin through her boy’s shirt. But I knew it was ll hopeless, and I was sick with longing, and my clothes felt miserably tight, and I was almost glad when her mother’s quiet voice announced in the dark: “And now we all think that Lo should go to bed.”…

Saturday: For some days already I had been leaving the door ajar, while I wrote in my room; but only today did the trap work. With a good deal of additional fidgeting, shuffling, scraping – to disguise her embarrassment at visiting me without having been called – Lo came in and after pottering around, became interested in the nightmare curlicues I had penned on a sheet of paper… As she bent her brown curls over the desk at which I was sitting, Humbert the Hoarse put his arm around her in a miserable imitation of blood-relationship; and still studying, somewhat shortsightedly, the piece of paper she held, my innocent little visitor slowly sank to a half-sitting position upon my knee. Her adorable profile, parted lips, warm hair were some three inches from my bared eyetoothl and I felt the heat of her limbs through her rough tomboy clothes. All at once I knew I could kiss her throat or the wick of her mouth with perfect impunity. I knew she would let me do so, and even close her eyes as Hollywood teaches…

Monday. I’m like one of those inflated pale spiders you see in old gardens. Sitting in the middle of a luminious web and giving little jerks to this or that strand. My web is spread all over the house as I listen from my chair where I sit like a wily wizard. Is Lo in her room? Gently I tug on the silk. She is not… Well, let us grope and hope. Ray-like, I glide in through to the parlor and find the radio silent (and mamma still talking to Mrs. Chatfield or Mrs. Hamilton, very softly, flushed, smiling, cupping the telephone with her free hand)… So my nymphet is not in the house at all! Gone! … And then comes Lolita’s soft sweet chuckle through my half-open door. “Don’t tell Mother but I’ve eated all your bacon.” Gone when I scuttle out of my room. Lolita, where are you? My breakfast tray, lovingly prepared by my landlady, leers at me toothelssly, ready to be taken in. Lola, Lolita!…

I want my learned readers to participate in the scene I am about to replay… Time: Sunday morning in June. Place: sunlit living room… My heart beat like a drum as she sat down , cool skirt ballooning, subsiding, on the sofa next to me… With the monkeyish nimbleness that was so typical of that American nymphet, she snatched out of my abstract grip the magazine I had opened… Lo flipped violently through the pages in search of something she wished Humbert to see. Found it at last. I faked my interest by bringing my head so close that her hair touched my temple and her arm brushed my cheek as she wiped her lips with her wrist… Picture of the week, said the legend. I whisked the whole obscene thing away. Next moment, in a sham effort to retrieve it, she was all over me. Caught her by her thin knobby wrist. The magazine escaped to the floor like a flustered fowl. She twisted herself free, recoiled, and lay back in the right-hand corner of the davenport. Then, with perfect simplicity, the impudent child extended her legs across my lap. By this time I was in a state of excitement bordering on insanity; but I also had the cunning of the insane. Sitting there, on the sofe, I managed to attune, by a series of stealthy movements, my masked lust to her guileless limbs. It was no easy matter to divert the little maiden’s attention whileI performed the obscure adjustments necessary for the success of the trick. Talking fast, lagging behind my own breath, catching up with it, mimicking a sudden toothache to explain the breaks in my pattern – and all the while keeping a maniac’s inner eye on my distant golden goal, I cautiously increased the magic friction that was doing away, in an illusional, if not factual, sense, with the physically irremovable, but psychologically very friable texture of the material divide (pajamas and robe) between the weight of two sunburnt legs, resting athwart my lap, and the hidden tumor of an unspeakable passion… I kept repeating chance words after her … as one talking and laughing in his sleep while my happy hand crept up her sunny leg as far as the shadow of decency allowed… My moaning mouth, gentlemen of the jury, almost reached her bare neck, while I crushed out against her left buttock the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known…

I felt proud of myself. I had stolen the honey of a spasm without impairing the morals of a minor. Absolutely no harm done… Thus had Idelicately constructed my ignoble, ardent, sinful dream; and still Lolita was safe – and I was safe… The child knew nothing. I had done nothing to her. And nothing prevented me from repeating a performance that affected her as little as if she were a photographic image rippling upon a screen and I a humble hunchback abusing myself in the dark…

Lolita4( Photo by somnambula SL )

* * *

When a bride is a widow and the groom is a widower; when the former had lived in Our Great Little Town for hardly two years; and the latter for hardly a month; when Monsieur wants to get the whole damned thing over with as quickly as possible, and Madame gives in with a tolerant smile; them, my reader, the wedding is generally a “quiet” affair…

Into the fifty days of our cohabitation Charlotte crammed the activities of as many years. The poor woman busied herself with a number of things she had foregone long before or had never been much interested, as if by my marrying the mother of the child I loved I had enabled my wife to regain an abundance of youth by proxy. With the zest of a banal young bride, she started to “glorify the home.”…

Steering my wife’s car with one finger, I contentedly rolled homeward… Smoothly, almost silkily, I turned down into our steep little street… I uttered a cheerful homecoming call as I opened the door of the living room… Charlotte sat at the corner bureau writing a letter. My hand still on the doorknob, I repeated my hearty cry. Her wrigin hand stopped. She sat still for a momentl then she slowly turned in her chair and rested her elbow on its curved back. Her face, disfigured by her emotion, was not a pretty sight as she stared at my legs and said:

“The Haze woman, the big bitch, the old cat, the obnoxious mamma, the – the old stupid Haze is no longer your dupe. She has – sha has… ” My fair accuser stopped, swallowing her venom and her tears… “You’re a monster. You’re a detestable, abominable, criminal fraud…. I’m leaving tonight. This is all yours. Only you’ll never, never see that miserable brat again. Get out of this room.” …

“You are ruining my life and yours,” I said quietly. “Let us be civilized people. It is all your hallucination. You are crazy, Charlotte. The notes you found were fragments of a novel. Your name and hers were put in by mere chance. Just because they came handy. Think it over. I shall bring you a drink.”…

I went back to the kitchen. I set out two glasses and opened the refrigerator…

“I have made you a drink,” I said.

She did not answer, the mad bitch, and I placed the glasses on the sideboard near the telephone, which had started to ring.

“Leslie speaking. Leslie Tomson…. Mrs. Humbert, sir, has been run over and you’d better come quick.”…

I rushed out… The laprobe on the sidewalk concealed the mangled remains of Charlotte Humbert who had been knocked down and dragged severel feet by the Beale car as she was hurrying across the street to drop three letters in the mailbox…

Mother1( ‘Mother and daughter’ by Gantenbein )

* * *

Hardly had the car come to a standstill than Lolita positively flowed into my arms. Not daring, not daring let myself go – not even daring let myself realize that this was the beginning of the ineffable life which, ably assisted by fate, I had finally willed into being – not daring really kiss her, I touched her hot, opening lips with the utmost poety, tiny sips, nothing salacious; but she, with an impatiente wriggle, pressed her mouth to mine so hard that Ifelt her big front teeth and shared in the peppermint taste of her salive. I knew, of course, it was but an innocent game on her part, a bit of backfisch foolery in imitation of some simulacrum of fake romance, and since the limits and rulse of such firlish games are fluid, or at least too childishly subtle for the senior partner to grasp – I was dreadfully afraid I might go too far and cause her to start back in revulsion and terror…

If we did not get to the hotel soon, immediately, miraculously, in the very next block, I felt I would lose all control over the Haze jalopy with its ineffectual wipers and whimsical brakes… The miracle I hankered for did happen after all…

There was a double bed, a mirror, a double bed in the miror, a closet door with mirror, a bathroom door ditto, a blue-dark window, a reflected bed there, the same in the closet mirror, two chairs, a glass-topped table, two bedtables, a double bed…

“Are we to sleep in one room?” said Lo…

“I’ve asked them to put in a cot. Which I’ll use if you like.”…

“You are crazy,” said Lo…

“Look her, Lo. Let’s settle this once for all. For all practical purposes I am your father. I have a feeling of great tenderness for you. In your mother’s absence I am responsible for your welfare. We are not rich, and while we travel, we shall be obliged – we shall be thrown a good deal together. Two people sharing one room, inevitably enter into a kind – how shall I say – a kind -”

“The word is incest,” said Lo – and walked into the closet…

I opened the window, tore off my sweat-drenched shirt, changed, checked the pill vial in my coat pocket…

She drifted out. I tried to embrace her: casually, a bit of controlled tenderness before dinner.

She said: “Look, let’s cut out the kissing game and get something to eat.”

It was then that I sprang my surprise…

When the dessert was plunked down… I produced a small vial containing Papa’s Purple Pills….

“Blue!” she excalimed. “Violet blue. What are they made of?”…

“Oh, just Purpills. Vitamin X. Makes one strong as an ox or an ax. Want to try one?”

Lolita stretched out her hand, nodding vigorously. I had hoped the drug would work fast. It certainly did…

I was still firmly resolved to pursue my policy of sparing her purity by operating only in the stealth of night, only upon a completely anesthetized little nude. Restrain and reverence were still my motto…

Clothed in one of her old nightgowns, my Lolita lay on her side with her back to me, in the middle of the bed… I had already placed my knee on the edge of the bed when Lolita turned her head and stared at me through the striped shadows. Now this was something the intruder had not expected… When Lolita opened her eyes again, I realized that whether or not the drug might work later in the night, the security I had relied upon was a sham one. Slowly her head turned away and dropped onto her unfair amount of pillow… Some time passed, nothing changed, and I decided I might risk getting a little closer to that lovely and maddening glimmer; but hardly had I moved into its warm purlieus than her breathing was suspended, and I had the odious feeling that little Dolores was wide awake…

If I dwell at some length on the tremors and gropings of that distant night, it is because I insist upon proving that I am not and never was, and never could have been, a brutal scoundrel…

Upon hearing her first morning yawn, I feigned handsome profiled sleep… She rolled over to my side, and her warm brown hair came against my collarbone. I gave a mediocre imitation of waking up…
She put her mouth to my ear – but for quite a while my mind could not separate into words the hot thunder of her whisper, and she laughed, and brushed the hair off her face, and tried again, and gradually the odd sense of living in a brand new, mad new dream world, where everything was permissible, came over me as Irealized what she was suggesting… Suffice it to say that not a trace of modesty did I perceive in this beautiful hardly formed young girl whom modern co-education, juvenile mores, the campfire racket and so forth had utterly and hopelessly depraved. She saw the stark act merely as part of a youngster’s furtive world, unknown to adults… While eager to impress me with the world of tough kids, she was not quite prepared for certain discrepancies between a kid’s life and mine. Pride alone prevented her from giving up… It was then that began our extensive travels all over the States. To any other type of tourism accomodation I prefered the Functional Motel – clean, neat, safe nooks, ideal places for sleep, argument, reconciliation, insatiable illicit love…

From the very beginning of our concourse, I was clever enough to realize that I must secure her complete co-operation in keeping our relations secret, that it should become a second nature with her, no matter what grudge she might bear me, no matter what other pleasures she might seek…

“Let us see what happens if you, a minor…, complain to the police of my having kidnaped and raped you? Let us suppose they believe you… So I go to jail. Okay. I go to jail. But what happens to you, my orphan? Well, you are luckier. You become the ward of the Departmen of Public Welfare – which I am afraid sounds a little bleak. A nice grim matron of the Miss Phalen type, but more rigid and not a drinking woman, will take away your lipstick and fancy clothes. No more gadding about!… Don’t you think that under the circumstances Dolores Haze had better stick to her old man?”

By tubbing all this in, I succeeded in terrorizing Lo, who despite a certain brash alertness of manner and spurts of wit was not as intelligent a child as her I.Q. might suggest. But if I managed to establish that background of shared secrecy and shared guilt, I was muich less successful in keeping her in good humor…

Her weekly allowance, paid to her under condition she fulfill her basic obligations, was twenty-one cents at the start… and went up to one dollar five… This was a more than generous arrangement seeing she constantly received from me all kinds of small presents … She proved to be a cruel negotiator whenever it was in her power to deny me certain life wrecking, strange, slow paradisal philters without which I could not live more than a few days in a row, and which, because of the very nature of love’s languor, I could not obtain by force…

One day while I was engrossed in Mona’s witchery, Lo had shrugged her shoulders and vanished… She had gone for ever…

Lolita5( Photo by  Vladimir Gorbatkov )

* * *

“Dear dad:
How’s everything? I’m married. I’m going to have a baby. I guess he’s going to be a big one. I guess he’ll come right for Christmas. This is a hard letter to write. I’m going nuts because we don’t have enough to pay our debts and get out of here. Dick is promised a big job in Alaska in his very specialized corner of the mechanical field, that’s all I know about it but it’s really grand. Pardon me for withholding our home address but you may still be mad at me and Dick must not know. This town is something. You can’t see the morons for the smog. Please do send us a check, Dad. We could manage with three or four hundred or even less, anything is welcome, you might sell my old things, because once we get there the dough will just start rolling. Write, please. I have gone through much sadness and hardships.
Yours expecting,
Dolly (Mrs. Richard F. Schiller). ”

EPSON scanner image( Photo by luxy28 )

* * *

I got out of the car and slammed its door… I pressed the bell button, it vibrated through the whole system…. Couple of inches taller. Pink-rimmed glasses. New, heaped-up hairdo, new ears. How simple! The moment, the death I had kept conjuring up for three years was as simple as a bit of dry wood. She was frankly and hugely pregnant…

“We-e-ell!” she explained after a pause with all the emphasis of wonder and welcome… “Come in,” she said with a vehement cheerful note…

A wise girl, she controlled herself. Dick did not know a thing of the whole mess. He thought I was her father. He thought she had run away from an upper-class home just to wash dishes in a diner. He believed anything. Why should I want to make things harder than they were by raking up all that muck?…

She asked me not to be dense. The past was the past. I had been a good father, she guessed – granting me that…

She closed her eyes and opened her mouth, leaning back on the cushion, one felted foot on the floor…. I knew all I wanted to know. I had no intention of torturing my darling…. There she was with her ruined looks and her adult, rope-veined narrow hands and her goose-flesh white arms, and her shallow ears, and her unkempt armpits, there she was (my Lolita!), hopelessly worn at seventeen, with that baby… I looked and looked at her, and knew as clearly as I know I am to die, that I loved her more than anything I had ever seen or imagined on earth, or hoped for anywhere else. She was only the faint violet whiff and dead leaf echo of the nymphet I had rolled myself upon with such cries in the past… You may jeer at me, and threaten to clear the court, but until I am gagged and half-throttled, I will shout my poor truth, I insist the world know how much I loved my Lolita, this Lolita, pale and polluted, and big with another’s child, but still grey-eyed, still sooty-lashed, still auburn and almond, still Carmencita, still mine…

“Lolita,” I said, “this may be neither here nor there but I have to say it. Life is very short. From here to that old car you know so well there is a stretch of twenty, twenty-five paces. It is a very short walk. Make those twenty-five steps. Now. Right now. Come just as you are. And we shall live happily ever after.”…

“You mean,” she said opening her eyes and raising herself slightly, the snake that may strike, “you mean you will give us that money only if I go with you to a motel. Is that what you mean?”

“No,” I said, “you got it all wrong. I want you to leave your incidental Dick, and this awful hole, and come to live with me, and die with me, and everything with me”…

“You’re crazy,” she said, her features working.

“Think it over, Lolita. There are no strings attached. Except, perhaps – well, no matter… Anyway, if you refuse you will still get your… trousseau.”

“No kidding?” asked Dolly.

I handed her an envelope with four hundred dollars in cash and a check for three thousand six hundred more….

“You mean,” she said, with agonized emphasis, “you are giving us four thousand bucks?”…

“You are sure you are not coming with me? Is there any hope of your coming? Tell me only this.”

“No,” she said. “No, honey, no.”

She had never called me honey before…

Pregnant
( Photo by Sunny Man )

* * *

I loved you. I was a pentapod monster, but I loved you. I was despicfable and brutal, and turpid, and everything… And there were times when I knew how you felt, and it was hell to know it, my little one. Lolita girl, brave Dolly Schiller. I recal certain moments, let us call them icebergs in paradise when after having had my fill of her… I would gather her in my arms with, at last, a mute moan of human tenderness… – and the tenderness would deepen to shame and despair, and I would lull and rock my lone light Lolita and moan in her warm hair… But the awful point of the whole argument is this. It had become gradually clear to my conventional Lolita during our singular and bestial cohabitation that even the most miserable of family lives was better than the parody of incest, which, in the long run, was the best I could offer the waif…

This then is my story. I have reread it. It has bits of marrow sticking to it, and blood, and beautiful bright-green flies… I wish this memoir to be published only when Lolita is no longer alive. Thus, neither of us is alive when the reader opens this book. But while the blood still throbs in my writing hand, … I can still talk to you from here to Alaska. Be true to your Dick. Do not let other fellows touch you. Do not talk to strangers. I hope you will love your baby. I hope it will be a boy. That husband of yours, I hope, will always treat you well, because otherwise my specter shall come at him, like black smoke, like a demented giant, and pull him apart nerve by nerve.

Human Rights and Trial by Timeline

All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured . . . We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that.”

The Dalai Lama

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Trial by Timeline

Trial By Timeline – Facebook application provided by Amnesty International, that scans a person’s Facebook page and determines what crimes they might have committed in other countries simply through listing their occupation, gender, relationship status or liking posts that an oppressive regime may deem offensive. The application then lists what the punishment for that ‘crime’ is likely to be in particular countries.

A sample of thoughts from this blog has been posted on Facebook and ‘trialed by timeline’. Trial summary is provided below.