My first recollections of violence came at an early age in a very physical way. In the small town where I grew up, there was a twin called Hendrik and Sias. I had just started my school career when Hendrik and his brother decided to teach me a lesson. So after school as I walked home alone, I was confronted by the evil twins. As fights go, a wall of wailing supporters baying for a fight quickly surrounded me. All of them had their money on the twins, simply because there were more of them than me. Hendrik bailed in and it was over in ten seconds flat. I fell on the ground after a massive blow to my left eye that made me see bright flashes. Before my father came home from work, half my face was swollen and the left eye had some difficulty in focusing. He was quite livid because I was forbidden to participate in a street fight. He took my hand, walked over to the up market house where the evil twins dwelt, looked at the house for a while, turned around and walked home with me slightly behind him. I was very disappointed because I had visions of Hendrik and Sias petrified of my raging father. I didn't understand why he walked away, but later I understood. They were rich and we were poor. If you have money, you can beat somebody up with no serious consequence.
There was a girl in my class called Lente. It means Spring to the monolingual. I remember her full name because in my class, she was the prettiest. All the boys liked her. But my undying love for her came to an abrupt end through the shocking and naked support she gave to a bully who was encouraged to take down the pants of the poorest boy in school. Standing in a ring around the bully and his timid victim, I still recall her shouting encouragement to the bully with glee and ferocious eyes as the stronger boy managed to tear open the pants of the thin figure lying on the ground beneath him. A teacher broke it up but the bully suffered no consequence because his father was the doctor in town. I learned another lesson. Sometimes, the beauty can be the beast.
These valuable lessons taught me to avoid rich kids, especially if they had a violent streak. It stayed with me all my life so I never ran into litigation with people who had money. But my abhorrence of violence also stayed with me and for that I might be grateful to the seven-year-old perpetrators who carefully selected their victims and also made sure they had the support from admiring members of the opposite sex. I remember the Plaza bioscope as it was called, with young Elvis supporters flaying into each other in the street under the admiring eyes of pretty young teenage girls with tight fitting clothes, encouraging their champion to fuck him up boetie. Such open aggression was illegal in those days but nowadays you can see young men and even women, get into a steel fenced cage to tear each other to pieces with no holds barred. Even more interesting is the reaction of the spectators. Like Lente, they become transformed into aliens with their neck veins protruding like cords as they scream encouragement to their hero to kill his or her opponent. I established that violence mostly has two important components. The bully and the spectator. As soon as a fight breaks out, people do not run away from it. You see them converging to see the outcome. Hopefully there may be the spilling of blood. Two components. The twins of evil.
One of the wonders of the world is the Colosseum in Rome. When there was a worldwide competition to vote for the New Wonders of the World recently, I stated that this place could never be a wonder of the world where so many gross atrocities had been committed against the helpless for the enjoyment of the rich. You will know that I was hopelessly outvoted, billions to one. I went to see it and I was amazed, not at the incongruous structure but at the evil aura that still hangs over the entire place. The terror of the victims to be slaughtered, crucified, burned alive or eaten by wild animals is still there in every rock and stone. It is made even more incongruous with the Vatican, the Mother Church, so close in the city of Romans. If I had a papal ring, I would have the shameful arena blasted into outer space in molecular fragments. We need no such reminder of the evils of spectator pleasure at the misery and torture of victims of our own society. It is interesting that the movement to ban bullfighting in Spain is having such an uphill battle against bloodthirsty spectators who seem to be in the vast majority.
When the USA invaded Iraq for the first time, much of the war was broadcast to billions of spectators all over the world. There was however something wrong with that picture. You only saw the brave men driving fortresses of steel firing countless rounds of high explosives into a distance. Nobody was brave enough to go to the receiving end to show the terror of the victims, hiding in shacks while their towns were blown to bits. They had no part in the atrocities committed by their government. They were, like the victims of the Colosseum, suffering their limbs being torn apart for the amusement of the rich kids watching their heroes on live TV, thousands of kilometers away. For what purpose? We now know so that a man could be elected to high office for a second term and for the wealth that oil can bring.
All this begs only one question. Why do humans enjoy seeing violence? I cannot believe that it is some gene, some cranky chromosome that fills us with joy to see somebody suffer. It is pure hypocrisy to support the SPCA while we are watching cage fighting or being thrilled watching bulletless guns firing blanks at people who explode in a flurry of synthetic blood. There must be a source of all such unbelievable evil that caused seven-year-old Lente to scream encouragement to the bully and that convinces us to watch and even praise the violence against our own species. I do not think that evil is in us. That's why I believe in a satanic force that encourages us to commit evil against each other. The devil made me do it may not be so far from reality.
Where will it end? I know the answer. After World Wars 1 & 2, soldiers who returned from the most intense fighting on the battlefront would never discuss or even speak about their experience in the war. They were not watching a TV program about a war. They lived and died on the receiving end. They saw what it was like to see a real person you spoke to only a moment ago suddenly disintegrate into a mess of flesh, bone, guts and blood. The Americans have an excellent description to indicate soldiers being exposed to the battlefront. Putting men in harms way. When you come out of harms way alive, you may be disinclined to watch or encourage violence because of your proximity and possible exposure to it. Recent world battles are directed at military targets, minimizing civilian casualties. As the tendency towards violence and evil escalate, future battles may not be as selective.
Where will it end? When we are sick and terrified of it and when we have personally been on the receiving end.
A footnote. Hendrik may be overjoyed to know that I never fully regained the vision in my left eye. In fact, I may lose it when I need it most. But I can still aim a gun with my right eye! Now Ipi Tombi?