Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Never Blame the Thief

After today, I’ll never wonder why Congo becomes such an angry, volatile country so fast again.

During the night, a thief cleverly stole some tin that was propped up against the windows in the depot of the house. Though there are bars on the windows properly, there are tiny mini-windows at the top where the thief stuck his hands in, and pulled the tin out.

Olivier heard the thief in the night and screamed, prompting the thief to flee, followed in close pursuit and picked up one piece of tin that the thief had dropped. The thief was gone, and the next day, we laughed about it.

What a lot of work for one measly piece of tin! I said, and everyone laughed. We resolved to call the police, and report the incident, and everything seemed copacetic again.

However, the owner of our house’s associate, who I’ll just call our “friend” because he feigns friendship with one face and plots our destruction with the other, came by, enraged after being yelled at by the owner of our house, a man I’ve previously referred to as Fat Shady.

He came in, temper flying, and not only promptly accused Seba and Olivier of stealing the tin but of us all being complicit in the theft. We were all thieves, and WHO was responsible?!

Of course, the thing that boggles MY mind is that, in all of this finger pointing, the finger never pointed out of the house. What ever happened to blaming the man responsible... the THIEF!?

Matters were only made worse when Olivier, hurt and upset by our “friend’s” outrageous accusations, threatened to fight the man, tearing off his shirt as he cried and stuttered, racing to defend his honor and pride. I’ve never quiet understood this mentality, but I think it’s most likely exclusively male. I can’t imagine feeling less dignified than being so upset that I’m driven to fight, struggling to take off my pants on the front patio so as not to rip them during the fight.

It was a bit of a scandal too, as Adam and I tried to separate the two men, Aketi screaming and upset at all of the hullabaloo. We also congregated an audience at the front gate, eager to know why people were yelling and fighting, and soon there were at least 30 people gawking at the near-fight.

We convinced Olivier to stay at the front patio and our “friend” to go to the back patio, where he continued to accuse us all of being complicit to the thievery. Apparently, there was more than 1 piece of tin missing, and he kept repeating the numbers, as though the disparity between them would escape us otherwise.

There were 16, and now there are 9! There were 16, and now there are 9!

They had been propped up against the windows to give Seba and Olivier, sleeping within, a bit of privacy in the exposed depot. They were sleeping in the depot because FS had forbade them from sleeping in the house. But all of this is neither here nor there.

We had a near fight, and I’m left wondering whether it is not poverty or corruption that is the real problem of Congo, but displaced anger. If every man who is yelled at or treated badly here visits that same anger and abuse on 3 more men, how quickly will it all spread through the whole country?

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