Thursday, July 17, 2008
Chaz Maddoc: Killer of Sheep.
As the day progressed, a headache slowly pulled down the halo of restfulness that came with the morning. Over breakfast, I talked with the midwives about their projects for the day and speculated once again about a group of visitors that arrived the day before. Yesterday when I met them, They referred to themselves as being on a pilgrimage to Uganda. I thought about what this term meant for a bus full of Americans with cameras. I decided that I would ask personally, and went out to the gathered group with my microphone. I walked up to the only African-American male in the group and asked to take his audio. He was a really nice guy. Mad chill. Easy to talk to. I asked him about the nature of is trip, about his experience traveling through Uganda, about the intersection of religion and colonialism. His answers were honest, thoughtful and frustrating. They made me think about bell hook’s claim that black americans need to tap their "killing rage." Often, it seems, we don’t appear to be very pissed at various racial and colonial injustices, though deep down many of us are. This pisstivity, properly channeled, might allow more productive action instead of placing a lot of us squarely in the non-reflective, materialistic herd. These thoughts stayed with me as I hit the market with Rachel, took pictures for Olivia, and yapped with the nuns in the kitchen. Eventually, I found myself on the couch in the computer room, clutching my aching dome. Then Rachel rolled up like, yo, its time, they are looking for you. I followed her to the area behind the cauldron-filled semi-outdoor kitchen. There, two men were skinning a goat that they had hung in a tree. They took it down and grabbed a live goat. They suppressed its screaming protests and held it down on the ground with its neck over a metal bowl. I gripped a dull knife in my hand. My heartbeat began to race a bit, just like when I am on the starting line at the race track. Do it, they said, and I sawed away at the goat’s neck, watching as the blade broke the skin and then the throat. Blood rushed into the bowl and splattered a bit upon my legs and hand. The goat was now half decapitated and dead. The men lifted it up onto the tree for skinning. In just a little while, it would be dinner.
During the slaughter, I said no prayer and gave no thanks to the spirits for its life. I did not think to cast my sins or problems into this animal before offering it as a sacrifice. Its just as well, I thought. I don’t want my snacks to take the rap for my problems. For better or worse, I want the rage to stay right here with me.
Note: Today’s blog title (Killer of Sheep) is taken from an old school film that you should watch. I haven’t been able to find it yet, so let me know if any of you cats get it.