Eric Mwathi, In the Minority


«Have some more couscous, Andy. After all it is not sure what the cooking will be like in the concentration camp, we’ll be sent to” said Coco, with a mischievous smile, holding a ladle, full of couscous over Andy’s plate, which Andy had held away from her, in protest, from her hand, and had said, “You will not find that joke funny once we really get sent to one, Coco.” To that, Coco had served herself that couscous, as she had rolled her eyes and had said, “It won’t happen, Andy. That one, crazy, bigot, you met in the tram, is not enough to start a second Holocaust.” Then Adam had waived his right index finger at her and had said, “Huge war crimes always start with one maniac, with evil plans, before more angry people join them in deciding to gang up on racial minorities, to do something horrible to them.” Then Coco had grabbed her spoon and begun eating large portions of her couscous as she had said, “That man was only agitated over that other fat man, who was talking to himself, because the bigot noticed that you do tend to find crazy people more and more often in the public transport, these days. You cannot blame him for complaining about that. After all, those maniacs drive me crazy as well.” Then Adam had took a gulp of his Lambusco wine and had said, “Yes, and after that maniac had staggered out of the train, the bigot had talked about the so called good, old, days, when people, like that mad man, used to be locked up at Steinhof, during the slightest hint of a mental illness. What had then hurt me was when he had complained that you cannot lock people up as much today, when supposedly every second person has got some mental disorder or other.” Then Coco had gently put her hand on Adam’s shoulder and had said, “That was not a comment that was directed towards you, Adam. There is no way that a complete stranger could know that you are in psychiatric treatment.” Adam had brushed her hand away and had said, “For four years I have been living in this area, avoiding eye contact, and showed irritation at the slightest noise, that was only a bit louder than usual. In such a long time, people do tend to notice these things.” Then she had said, “You cannot keep assuming that everyone who says something insulting automatically knows your whole life story” Then Andy had said, “Those insults were different from the ones I usually hear from the sick people I often walk into. This bigot had blamed the Socialists for failing to fight unemployment, which he says is responsible for the mental deterioration in society, and can only be solved through forced labour, as was done under Hitler’s regime. Nobody even opposed that man in his outrageous views, after he had said those things inside of a crowded tram. In fact the old man next to him had agreed with all of his views.” Whilst cutting another slice of lamb on her plate, Coco had said, “You cannot blame passengers for not quarrelling with this man. He certainly sounds insane.” Then Adam had placed his right hand onto hers, so that she had stopped using her cutlery, and then had said, “Coco, I do not think that this was why nobody had opposed him.” She tore her hands from his and had kept eating as she had said, “Yes, I know where you are coming from, Andy, but I would not read too much into this. Even you were too afraid to tell that maniac to shut up, which does not make you a supporter of his views. By not quarrelling him you wisely felt that maniacs like he are best to be ignored. So, you cannot know what the other tram passengers thought about the views of that psycho, just because they did not oppose him.” Then Andy had poured another big glass of Lambusco for himself and had said, “Having watched all of my neighbours join my landlady in tormenting me, though I did not harm or even talk to either of them, I think I know what they were thinking. People here will only criticise an inhumane, dictatorial, bigot once he is not around, so people do not find out that they in fact supported him, and long for someone to replace him and who will be just as evil.” Then Coco had said, “There is no proof that most people prefer to be ruled or to be controlled by a dictatorial tyrant and a mean landlady, instead of to live in a liberal democracy, and to have a kind person in control of important aspects of their life” Then Adam had replied, “You cannot wait for people who want you dead, to tell you about their cruel intensions to your face. It might be too late by then.” Coco then finished the rest of her Lambusco and took a deep sigh, before she had said, “Neither can you take every insult from a mad man as an automatic death threat, or you will be running away from people for your whole life.” Then Andy had said, “That mad man was not like the mad people I usually meet in the tram. Those threatening words of his were loaded with the evil intention to one day act upon his wicked beliefs.” Then Coco had looked Andy strait in the eye and had said, “I repeat, Andy, one man cannot start a second Holocaust.” Andy had shrugged his shoulders and had said, “I’m afraid this man might not be alone in his evil intentions. As a matter of fact, it might be the people who oppose him, who are in the minority.”


©Eric Mwathi
photo©Stratos Fountoulis, «Zappeion» 2005