“It Does Not Represent Us”!!!

It Does Not Represent Us.

I came to understand the deeper meaning of these words after a broad daylight murder in the streets of London. The words floated in mind my for several days and reminded me of a similar incident that took place in Salford, when a 23 year old Indian student was shot dead by a white guy called Kiaran Stapleton. The Indian student and his friends were on their way for Christmas sales in the early hours of 26th December 2011.  It was a very sad episode. It sent shock waves across the nation and people were filled with anger that this young man’s life had been curtailed.

The community response was overwhelming and one of the residents left a card that reads: “I am sorry this happened to you but this does not represent us.” What does that mean? It means that yes, this happened in our community but it does not represent us as a community. It also means that the murderer as a white person, his ruthless action does not represent us the white people. It also means we as a community we disassociate ourselves from this cruel behaviour. We are all good citizens despite the horrific incident that took away your life.

The young white man who shot the Indian student his age was similarly as the two young black men who committed a murder crime in Woolwich, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale both in their 20s. The attack by the black young Muslims was described as terrorist motivated while the attack by the white guy was  described as racially motivated.  But the two young black men had committed horrendous crime in the name of the religion as to justify their horrible actions. Do their deadly actions represent their religion? Or does it represent their community they live in? Does it represent the black minority? Personally I would say no, and their deeds did not reflect the evilness of their community. The two young men followed their own barbaric ideology.

 In fact their actions orchestrated a lot of divisions among the communities, and brought more terror to the Muslim communities, as the few individuals from the white communities targeted the mosques. The petrol bombs were used to blow up the mosques and to cause mayhem in the cities. The English Defence League took actions to the street in protest of this heinous murder. All this was retaliation against the horrific death of Lee Rigby, a young white man, who served in the army, and sadly left behind, a two-year-old son and a wife. It is disheartening. No one deserves such brutality.

One black man in his forties whom I met six days after the Woolwich murder, and he told me of an incident that happened when he boarded a stagecoach bus from Leigh to Manchester, that the white people secluded him. As more white passengers flocked in, neither one of them did not want to sit next to him even though there was an empty seat just next to him. “They all decided to stand. I felt very very bad.” He said. The black man had just got a job as a home fundraiser, but he said, “I would rather drop the job because I don’t know what would happen to me when I go outside and knock-on people’s doors.” I understood how this incident had badly affected him and yet I tried to put sense in it, that probably he would withdraw his statement for leaving the job and reconsider to take it.” I said, “yes, this happened to you but it does not mean all white people are as insensitive as the other white people whom you met on the bus. I also mentioned the murder incident that happened in Woolwich it does not represent the black people or the Muslims as murderers. They are murderers out there and murderers do not classify which race.

These are some the daily challenges, which are faced by the Asians, the White and the Black communities. But some of the criminal cases always stood out than the others, depending on the nature of the crime and how it happened. The latest Woolwich murder has raised a lot of profiles as some people protested and became violent, others insensitive and implying that a certain race or religion is more evil than the other.  In my own words I would say: Think before you act because your actions may exacerbate the situation. Do not go out as an individual, as a group, or community and start to torture other innocent souls, stereotype other people based on what you have seen, or you have heard about Woolwich murder. Let us desire to live in peace and stand shoulder to shoulder to combat the evil deeds as one people.

I also feel that at many times the local media contributes to a lot of division among the communities because when an immigrant committed a crime, it is reported in a manner that people may think that the immigrants are the only people who are evil, who commit such crimes, like murder, rape, terrorist plots, thieving but yet we have many white British citizens who have committed similar crimes. I can name a few such as Ian Huntley who killed two children aged 10. Mark Bridger who recently abducted and killed a 5 year-old girl in Wales. The last is of Jimmy Savile, who allegedly abused 450 people over a 60- year period, and many of his victims were children”, stated the Metropolitan Police.

 Just remember when one or more people from different race, religion, ethnic, committed a crime it does not neither represent their race, ethnic, beliefs nor the religion. The culprits are responsible or accountable for their actions. It is not your duty to go and destroy other people’s properties and attack other people. Your actions won’t justify what other people have gone wrong. In fact with your deadly actions you are worsening the situation making other people feel vulnerable and the communities not able to trust each other.

I hope by writing this article, it has enabled you as an individual to understand, to reflect on the way we see each other, if there is a way you can change yourself and that can be beneficial to the society. Let’s not desire the evil but emulate the good thing and be of one.

 

The Man In Terracotta Attire.

 Reporting from Bus 314, Stockport to Offerton.

I walk onto the bus and flash my bus pass to the bus driver. He nods his head in agreement. I stride two steps along the corridor, searching for a seat to sit. There, to my right I see an empty pair of seats. I shove in one of the seats, and my body finds comfort on leaning against one of the windows.  Slowly I open the zip of my handbag and pulls out a novel. I give a pat on the cover of the book. I lean forwards, and my other hand brings the book closer to my nose. It smells good like a fresh apple. “Um,” I said, and nod my head. Like I am holding a new baby, I open the book with care, and leaf through the pages until it takes me to the last page I have read earlier.

I quickly turn around  and I see scores of people, and they tend to bewitched on something, and at this point I failed to understand what could it be? I follow their eyes and there my eyes settles on the man, who is sitting in the front, on the very seats that are predominantly reserved for the elderly people, and the mothers carrying their babies in perambulators.

The man has a pink bald head, with a few hairs that are two inches long, which remains uncut just below the center of his head. His hairstyle reminds me of a desert, that after walking a thousand of miles, then, you see a green plant in the middle of a dry land.  On his face I notice a dry- wet green chalk mark that starts from his forehead and creating a distinguishable V mark on his nose. His terracotta trousers show unique folds of shapes like that of baby napkins, when mothers wrap around their babies. His top is a short sleeved and with a round neck, it also reveals how physically packed is the man, as it tightly shapes up his body, revealing a lot of muscles. A string of two-folds tiny wooden beads formed his necklace. I notice a pair of brown sandals on his feet.

The man in terracotta attire is having an endless conversation as he murmur some words. No one hears the words that he mutters, but this form of conversation is drawing a lot of attention. As people want to know who is he? What he does? Where he comes from? A chance to explain himself and elaborate more on what he is doing? Every eye on the bus is like big brother cameras, observing, and recording every minute detail, and concludes with a real true life story. The man is immensely in worship. When I look at him again, I noticed that his terracotta attire complements with his pink tanned face.

I hear little frickles of laughter behind my back, and I turn around to find the source, there I look into the eyes of two young ladies in their late teens, and their countenance reveals that they are also intrigued by the terracotta man’s behaviour. The two girls mumble in each other’s ear. I smile and switches back to the center of attraction. All along the bus has been steadily moving  and only the bus driver misses the exciting film about the terracotta man.

Whilst in the middle of these observations, the terracotta man stands up, and it feels he senses something. He picks up his bag and moves away, his feet find the passageway and heads straight at the back of the bus. But he finds an empty seat in the middle, and decides to sit there. It’s a disappointment for me. I have just begun scribbling a few notes about him when he manoeuvres away. In the middle it feels like a big task for me to turn around and observe him and without attracting his attention. I decide to read my book.

Then, suddenly, I hear voices in the back, I swiftly turn my head and sees the terracotta man is a having a normal conversation with another woman sitting directly opposite to his seat. The woman holds a leaflet in her hand, which the terracotta man has just given to her. It also attracts the attention of other passengers, there is a demand of his leaflets, and I take my chances to ask one for myself. Politely he bows down, and he hands over to me one of his leaflets. I quickly sieve through the message written in the leaflet, and quietly I grasp one important word, and the word is Hare Krishna. It reminds me of a shop named Hare Krishna, in Marondera town, in Zimbabwe.

Every time I have entered the shop, I have heard the Hare Krishna song being played; it became known as a perpetual song that every customer would get to know about it. Never had I have the zeal to ask the workers nor the employer why the song has been continuously played day in and day out. What’s the message behind it? The Hare Krishna song was sung in a foreign language unfamiliar to my mother language, Shona.

But today I am anxious to know about Hare Krishna, and the message still lies in my hand. I look back at the terracotta man, and I see him foraging in his terracotta bag, and releases out more of the leaflets. He  smiles and bows down as he distributes the leaflets to every passenger sitting on the bus. I thought of it, and I say, well his strategy has worked in his favour. Just look unfamiliar, do things that are unique,  mostly and importantly be yourself.

Now the message about Hare Krishna flows in every hand, and ready to spread, and I am spreading in my own way, writing and describing the events that I have just captured on the bus on my way home. The leaflet in my hand, I look at the title that reads: The truth shall set you free. Actions and Reaction/Karma is the subtitle. I quote the first paragraph of the leaflet that reads. “In this world of birth and death we are all warriors caught up in the struggle of life, where every single action produces a reaction that binds us to Us to the cycle of Re-birth. Like depositing money in the bank so that we can spend it later. GOOD DEEDs help us to enjoy in the life or the next if we perform enough good Karma or actions in one lifetime or the next birth on…) Bad action of karma will result in hell. On the back of the leaflet is a bold face of a picture of a human, in white and in black. Half of the face and the eye is simply clear while the other half is covered in fur. Beneath the picture there is a message boldly written. “At the time of death, the consciousness created by the living being carries it to its next body. If the living being has made its consciousness like an animal’s it is sure to get the animal’s body.” The source of the information quoted.

I go to church and I don’t believe in the last statement that after death our spirits will enter the consciousness-desired body and then get an animal’s body. I believe that the spirit will have a rest. I believe that there is judgment day and  for every one of us shall face it, and God questions accordingly on how you performed while on earth. Every creation believes that there is God, but how to get God has been a journey of circles as people have perceived their own way, which they think is it’s ultimately right, if a stranger tried to divert from their beliefs, may face resistance, isolation and persecution. If they believed, some will be sceptical, but if you dissect that message thoroughly well, you will have an overwhelming support. It will spread from one region to another like Christian gospels and other religions.

I look at the terracotta man, as he stands up, his feet finding a way out. “Thank you sir,” I interpose, “ would you consider yourself to become a Christian?” He smiles, and shakes his head, in disagreement. He exits from the bus. “It was quite an exhibition,” I heard a voice from the crowd, followed by a thunderous laughter. I noticed the address of his building of worship that it is within the close parameters of our local church, in Whaley Range. On the leaflet, there is an invitation note to join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness Manchester, on every Friday and Sunday for an Evening of Music, Chanting, Dancing, and Free Freshly cooked Vegetarian foods. Discover the secrets of happiness through yoga and extra. The only conclusion, I come up with was that, I once heard someone preaching and said, If you don’t worship God, there is something you worship, it could be idols, or anything that takes most of your time. To us God gave us a spirit of worship.

In conclusion, it has been worth going out, and the natural observation has enabled me to write a beautiful story of the terracotta man, and able to bringing in different genre of interesting issues that incorporate with our daily lives. Next time if you see a terracotta man, say hi on my behalf, and he may be holding something new which can excite you and able to share with others as I have just done. In my Shona language there is a common proverb that says: Chitsva chiri murutsoka ( something new is on the way).