Ever been constipated? Ever had that tight, bloated feeling in your guts that renders your every movement … your every thought inert as you try to circumvent the ever-growing, gurgling, hardening mass of excrement inside you; trying to ignore it and to get on with daily life, but ultimately, inevitably succumbing to the constant discomfort, not to mention the fear of excruciating agony when it does decide to expel its way out of your comparatively tiny anus?
Constipation renders you a non-thinking, non-acting vegetable … and on top of that, the idea of putting anything else in; anything that might add to the malignant poo-tumour in your colon, more or less disappears.
So spare a thought for poor Ol’ Donkey. I’ve been constipated for near-on two years! That’s right, two years of this growing mass of pain and anguish inside me. Two years of fear that when this finally does come out, it’s gonna smart like fire. But it’s time to purge – this pain and suffering within has stopped me from being able to think straight and to act decisively. It has given me a victim complex, and it makes me whiney and unappealing to people I meet. It has also made me irritable to those around me, and thereby is starting to cause pain and suffering for others … it’s time for an almighty, soap-and-water enema up the jacksie … and here it comes.
I haven’t written much on this blog for nearly a year now. For some of that time, I have attributed my lack of creative output to the birth and parenting of Hambones, but my recent circumstances have made it clear to me that this is just an excuse; it’s not lethargy and a lack of time that has stopped me, it’s my constipation, and its life-deadening impact upon me, that has made me creatively turgid.
In my Donkey way, I have always been careful not to reveal too much about myself on this blog for fear of those I work with and know becoming harmed in some way. I’m not talking about, “Errrr, Donkey said I was fat and dud root, and now all my friends on Facecrock know and I’m a laughing stock” kind of harm, I’m talking about real, physical retribution for people and their families.
But storing all this up in my guts has made me creatively constipated. How can I be expected to come up with jolly frivolities when there is such a horrible story to be told? How can I keep banging-on to the world about new cars, coffee machines, my trip to the dentist, when someone I know has been imprisoned for life on dubious charges for actions that most of us would consider an everyday occurrence? This constipation is painful, and the pressure ever-present. It has resulted in me closing my mind to the intake of new ideas, and new experiences. It has made me bitter and stale, and a shell of the Donkey I once was.
Those who have orchestrated this constipation have done so in their clever way, as they have been doing now for nearly sixty years. But as I again return this week to the place where it all started, I have decided I want my old life back. I want to be Donkey again, so it’s time to tell the tale.
I write this post from a place way up high, but I will not be able to post this from here – it is forbidden. This place is renowned world-wide for its peacefulness, and I lived here once, working with a group of dedicated young people who, despite the obstacles and civil restrictions which control and block their thoughts and actions every day, work for the good of their people. But when their fellow citizens had finally had enough of being told how to think and act last year (as seems to happen every ten years or so), and things went awry for the authorities, Mrs Donkey and I were “asked” to leave almost immediately after we stood, horrified, as a massive line of armed soldiers, armoured vehicles, people movers and tanks (all with their distinguished markings covered in newspaper to avoid identification on film or photograph) moved into the city to “subdue” their own people. What happened that evening, and over the following weeks has never been told, and indeed will probably not be unless something changes in the world of international politics.
But I know some of what happened. I know of three men who were dragged from their families by soldiers, one of whom has never been seen again. He was a colleague of mine, and after many months of no word about his location or welfare, or even whether or not he was alive, it was revealed by the authorities that he had been charged with separatist activities, and has been imprisoned for life.
Another colleague was also taken into custody, where he underwent physical torture and abuse for eight weeks. He has been released without charge, and his scars and bruises have taken the place of his once sunny disposition. He no longer participates in society.
And these are the “sensational” stories. For everyone else, there are the six-men, armed patrols which walk in single-file throughout the city, day and night, overseen by high-tech, infrared Closed Circuit TV cameras (in stark contrast to the ancient buildings on which they are mounted) and armed, roof-top snipers on every corner. There are the constant demands for producing of identity papers on every other corner, and there are the late-night raids on homes under the dubious guise of looking for some unknown person, during which the residents are forced to line-up outside in the below-freezing temperatures, sometimes for hours, as the authorities check and re-check identity papers and ask the same series of questions they asked only nights before.
It must wear people down to be exposed to this on a daily basis. But who would speak-out when there are families and friends to consider if one did? And anyway, who will come to these peoples’ aid? Certainly not the international community; that has been clearly articulated.
I return to this place every so often for short visits, to continue my work with those colleagues who remain. We continue to work for the good of their people – nothing to do with politics, just addressing basic human rights such as poverty, education, health. Since my first return after being ejected, things have become less tense, but still the menace remains, and still people, if you’re fortunate enough to have them whisper a story here or there, will tell you that they are far from happy with their lives.
I was right, it wasn’t easy passing this through my sphincter … and the fear of more pain will exist for some time, as I worry about whether this post will create problems for me or for others. But it is an important story to be told … and I hope it will allow me to start feeling less backed-up, and more open to receiving nourishment. We’ll see…