#NoToXenophobia: of a confused and repressive police force

To say I am traumatized I would be lying because I don’t think that I know what trauma is.
To say that I am depressed I would be lying because I have been depressed before and it does not feel like this
I am in this numb state where feelings and thoughts are sort of hanging
In this state of awareness and yet one of ignorance
I long for amnesia yet I am recalling every single memory

part of the peaceful protesters walking from the South African embasy into Harare's CBD #NoToXenophobia

part of the peaceful protesters walking from the South African embasy into Harare’s CBD #NoToXenophobia

my mind keeps pressing “Play” and the memories flood through
my mind has now chosen a coping mechanism-
shutting down and ignoring completely-
ignoring the images of a lone body lying on the ground
lying on the ground surrounded by a baton wielding police officer
not just one or to or three
and they keep coming, they circle him and release the batons like it is a competition
a competition to see who hits him the most painful
they soon completely cut off all view of him as they descend on him
onlookers dash into nearby buildings
not a scream is heard
i cannot speak, my voice is caught up somewhere within me
my eyes are snared, like a kudu caught in the bright lights cutting through the dark night
it is a dark moment, one cannot look away from
and I look on as this man whom I fear to identify ceases to be just a man
and takes on the face that i know
he is familiar, he is someone i know
just the other day, we were laughing and swearing to set up camp together at the embassy
“get me a tent, too.” i said to him then
but today, i can only look from a distance

Riot police following crowds along Jason Moyo avenue after a peaceful demonstration at the South African embassy #NoToXenophobia

Riot police following crowds along Jason Moyo avenue after a peaceful demonstration at the South African embassy #NoToXenophobia

cars drive on, only slowing down to verify what their drivers are seeing
right there, in the middle of town
a man is being beaten up by a crowd of police officers in full uniform
and they drive on
it seems like forever yet it is only a matter of seconds, less than a minute, I later learn
but it was enough
it was enough to convince me
it was enough to convince me that we have monsters who have been mandated to “look after” us- the nation

a nation whose children have been forced out of its borders
whose children are seeking refuge and a better life in other countries
a nation whose children are among those being displaced, burned, butchered and tortured in the streets of a sister nation
and it is this very act that saw us marching down the streets of Harare
registering our displeasure and disgust at the manner our own siblings are being treated

protesters outside the SA embassy in Harare singing in solidarity with Africans being attacked in  South Africa #NoToXenophobia

protesters outside the SA embassy in Harare singing in solidarity with Africans being attacked in South Africa #NoToXenophobia

they took our banners and placards “#NoToXenophobia” they screamed
we marched on into town, towards the press conference
little did we know that these police officers would chase some of our own down the road
little did we know that we would witness police brutality on a peaceful march
little did i know that i would see my own friend lying helplessly on the ground
mobbed by a crowd of angry police officers

members of the ZRP give chase to protesters who were to attend a press conference at the Media Centre after successfully n peacefully registering their disgust at xenophobic attacks

members of the ZRP give chase to protesters who were to attend a press conference at the Media Centre after successfully n peacefully registering their disgust at xenophobic attacks

i want to understand their anger
i want to understand why they did not arrest him
i want to understand why, after beating him up, they left him lying there
i want…there are so many things that i want but my mind cannot cope right now
cannot cope with the question:
why did the police beat up people protesting the horrible crimes being done upon, not only fellow Zimbabweans, but fellow Africans by some South Africans?
i cannot cope with the nation my country is

a group of more than 15 cops armed with baton sticks descend on an armed Sydney Chisi

a group of more than 15 cops armed with baton sticks descend on an armed Sydney Chisi

cops leave

my mind is on shut down
i am not ignoring you
i am not traumatized
i am not depressed
i am just hanging in limbo until my mind awakens and can fully function

Sydney in hospital after a group of policemen attacked him.

Sydney in hospital after a group of policemen attacked him.

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