Today will go down history as one of my worst horrified days. As a law personally I tend to avoid horror movies as I do not have the heart to take it. I remember once watching the movie “wrong turn” on my laptop in a matatu and what I saw made me flap the thing so hard. Blood became so hot in my veins but I remember concluding that it was only a movie. I pulled the slide forward to a more humane scene.
I have witnessed three scenes of mobs lynching thugs. The first I was very young and it never registered apart from my knowing a guy who hit to death the suspected thug. Funny the guy is still alive (though not very sure) was a bicycle repair man in my home town. Every time I passed his shed, I would look at him with fear, he took a life. No matter how many times I had a flat on my cycle, I never borrowed the pump from his stall nor repaired there. I was scared of the dude.
The second time it was in passing but the third was scarier. I felt like I was personally being hit. The guy was a suspected motorbike thief. Someone carried a whole bicycle and throws it at the guy. He was stripped naked in town and stoles are hurled left right and center. Crowds had surrounded the poor guy. Thank heavens the incident took place close to a bank and the Administration police came to his rescue.
What am about to describe is a different horror. I may lack neither the words nor the professionalism of putting it as it were but I will not encourage anyone to watch the clip.
Kisii is a city located southwestern Kenya. It is the main urban and commercial centre in the Gusii Highlands. A vibrant town, the Kisii municipality has a population of about 83,000, according to 2008 estimates. However, it has a large dependent metropolitan population of over 100,000 residents, as per the latest national population and housing census of 2009. Kisii town is the capital of the Kisii County. Formerly the headquarters of the original and larger Kisii District before it was split to create Nyamira a district located in the north and Gucha, a district located in the south.
The area is majorly Christian with a few muslims and people who subscribe to different religious views. Added to the list are the witches (suspected or proved I don’t know), but the press has been on the town for torching houses of suspected people practicing witchcraft.
I have not been meted by these people. I understand a witch is a very bad person. Some of my readers may fail to agree with me on this article and personally I would understand. Some people have had mysterious happenings in their lives blamed on witchcraft. We have watched movies on the topic believing or not, real or not the issue has caused untold suffering to many people. I therefore neither by virtue of this article condemns people to their deaths nor support the practice. I however will stand to voice a stern objection to what has been meted to people.
For no good reason I found myself browsing my Facebook page and my virtue of mutual friends (I hate that thing) I saw someone had seen a Kisii horror movie on YouTube. Curiosity killed the cat (so they say) and I clicked the link. Too bad-actually if I had left it there, it’d be too good-I were using my phone and it was loading too slow. That only managed to increase my thirst for the clip and with haste copied the web address to my laptop and there I began. The longest 5 minutes of my life.
You may ask, why didn’t I press the stop button? I guess every second I watched, I hope for someone like me to pop up. Not a righteous fellow since I will not purport to be one. But one with a tiny amount of humanity left. One to stop them. One to cry out mercy. One to point at the cross of Christ. Unfortunately to the last second no one came forth.
As the day of Christ, the crowds wanted blood.
Two elderly women, one I would say over 50years of age another younger maybe 30-40years and two men are seen being beaten from every corner as the damn player starts to load. A young man, too oblivious of the curses jumps to perform a Kung-fu kick on the neck of the elderly woman getting it right at the centre making her fall on the other woman.
The crowds cheer him on. Men from all walks of life, each with a stick-a branch more of start flogging the people. Their hands going up begging for mercy are met with vulgar Kisii insults-not prayers. I would presume just as the woman caught in adultery-if these people truly were witches, the crowds were part of their clientele-oh that Christ was there to say ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ John 8:7
But Christ was not there. Neither were stones. The beating seemed to reach at a crescendo. By now these people are at some sort of a ditch. The crowds at a higher ground would lash their beatings from there. Every other second some guy would jump to repeat the Kung-fu kick at the poor helpless people. At some point another walks into the ditch, holds a one of the men by the neck and starts thumping him right in the face.
Their humanity gone, their appreciation for life lost to the wind, the cries of mercy buried in the cries for blood. No longer did they see helpless individuals but people they wanted to meet justice to-their justice. The victims buried their faces in their arms, at some point the younger woman tried to break free and run-oh that she didn’t. She was faced with kicks from men who I would presume were never able to ask her out. Kicks and beatings followed her back to her spot. Her would be death bed. One of the men, probably having reserved his fate to God lay down helpless. His death eminent. He but lay there. He would move an angle to let the other part of his body get beaten when one was already sore with pain. But he lay there. No one to help him. No one came to his rescue. He just lay there.
For reasons best known to God, someone started throwing in dried twigs. An idea that thrilled the crowd. Then in a communal effort, enough dry twigs were brought together being heaped on the poor victims. One villager even had the audacity to go fetch an old vehicle tire, as few seconds later, one is seen in the video. At this point I can only presume the victims gave up their fate. The idea of burning alive was more painful than the actual thing. Their sores, their bloodied faces, their paining backs-all seemed healed as they tried one desperate move of running away.
Someone then lights up the leaves of the twigs and as if in unison with the maddened villagers, they all shout up in flames. The victims try to run but are hurled back in kicks and beatings. The younger woman at some point was free of the fire and some man (can’t believe am calling him that) drags her by one leg as you would drag a stick and pushes her back into the flames, legs first.
One of the men having lost hope to survival is seen to sit in the fire-literally. To him, the fire was a resort, a better place. In danger we run towards other people for help-but this was no danger. This was an execution- burning people at a stake. He saw from other victims-running from the fire was worse than being in the fire, ironical. Pushing a fellow human being literally to the wall that he’d rather be burning in a fire than talk to you, than ask for your help.
I watched the old man looking at people who were once neighbors and to me all he saw were demons, he lost hope in life and the fire was drenching the life out of his legs but he just sat there….getting out of the fire was meted with blows and kicks and being hit with huge sticks and so to me…he seemed to prefer the fire scotching his legs, tears were no more to be seen for the pain was taken away by the anguish….the agony of your friends beating you senseless was more painful than the fire….oh God…if only I can erase the picture from my mind.
The older woman probably with no strength in her was lost in the fire. The younger one seemed to still hold onto hope. At some point she tries to move away but they kept pushing her to the fire. All around she sort mercy but found none. Albeit, from her co-sufferers, she saw mercy, she saw pity, she saw humanity She might just have heard the passionate words of Christ; “ Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” John 8:11. -but from the crowd? A bunch of demon possessed individuals. Of the two crowds, they were more witches at that point in time.
Guilty or not, this article is not about sympathy to individuals purported to commit, crimes it is what should differentiate us from animals…it’s called being human. That we live in a barbaric world with selfish corrupt leaders and no moral dignity to uphold human life? That we are still living in a stone age? That we are so held up and idolized our beliefs at the expense of humanity? That we are so naive to give people the benefit of doubt? That we are so corrupt in our hearts to appreciate being neighbors? That we do not trust our very laws and judiciary to hand over such suspects to the police?….in as much as all these might yield an overwhelming yes, it does not rid us of passion for life, basic humanity, sympathy, love, care….Why not torch their houses and send them somewhere else? But to burn not one, not two, not even three-four people alive at a stake with floggings and kicks? How do you sleep at night? How do you live with yourself?
Guilty or not we are humans. That someone stood all the while recording is sick. That he zoomed to scenes that are so despicable which only thrilled the crowd. The five minute clip will give great competition to Hollywood directors, but this is real life. These are humans for Christ’s sake. I have not met these people and at the beginning of this article I pointed out to not having seen what witches are capable of, but as humans they reserve a certain right. The right to life. The right to justice. The right to having lost their lives but leaving people who can voice out against the animalism meted to them. The barbaric demonic culture that possessed the crowd to condemn them to death.
It beats logic that the government is mum on the issue. That the perpetrators of this inhumane act being seen live in the footage continue with their lives unabated. Human rights group are silent on the issue. For what reason then is humanity? For what purpose is the heart? For what use is the term society? For what use is religion? If we can very comfortably condemn people and stake a fire, if we can jubilate and chant at their cries of mercy, if we can go to sleep satisfied of having rid an evil in that manner-then I much rather be an animal.
When I started writing this article, I wanted to save someone the agony of the 5minutes I went through, but at this point I lack words. I feel being silent is as much being part of that crowd as having been there. I feel being silent on the issue is as much burning people as they did. I wonder how you feel. But if you are human, I hope you read this. I hope it saddened you. I hope you felt a pang of guilt. I hope you whispered God have mercy. I hope you share this around. And I hope you leave a comment.