It is probably not the best course of action to hand-launder and bake leather gloves. After all the jokes my father cracked about my gym gloves being noxious enough to wipe out the indigenous aquatic life in our local lake, my mother decided that it was high time they had a bath (the gloves, I mean; I'm assuming that said indigenous aquatic life needs no further introduction to water). When I attempted to put them on today, I found, to my consternation, that they had somehow shrunk two sizes, and I could hardly wiggle a finger in. After some very determined pulling and squashing, I managed to get my hands in - just barely. I thus spent the next hour fighting the impression that I was working out with armadillo plates on my hands. Plates that were gouging the flesh out of my palms, at that.
I think I'm going to have to buckle, after all, and buy myself a new pair. Force knows, leather gloves should only have so many holes.CANNIBALISM, ANYONE?
I just received the strangest email from an aunt today, one she claimed was proof that modern cannibalistic practices were well and alive. A cursory glance at the fifty-odd photographs confirmed that (1) yes, there was a corpse involved, and (2) there was a bunch of people in uniform (police and medical staff?) doing eyebrow-raising things to it, namely, dismembering and eviscerating it, and (3) oh hai, they're hanging around having lunch. I gathered, from the sequence of images, that one was supposed to arrive at the conclusion that said people made a hearty meal of their morning's work. Yum.
[Want to see a small selection of the pictures? CLICK HERE
. Be warned:
if you don't have a strong stomach, you might not enjoy what you see.]
While fried corpse might smell delectable, the email itself smelt fishy. Sure, you have photographs of them paring the corpse down to the bone, and sure, you have photographs of the group of people cooking and eating a meal together... but if they *were* indeed eating the corpse, where were the pictures of stir-fried fingers? of leg stew? or boiled head soup? Surely, if one were to be part of so exotic a feast, one would document the entire event, yes? The only photographs supposedly of the "cooking" process showed a couple of men boiling what looked decidedly like the corpse's hands in a large vat (unless they were deep-frying them, I can't think of a more unpalatable way of rendering meat of any sort than boiling them in water. Yuck), near what looked like stone body drawers; the lunch group, on the other hand, was out in the bushes - nowhere near the white building, it seemed.
So I did a little poking on the internet, and unearthed the following:
NaRa Saturday, August 29, 2009 22:58:00
In Thailand, there are several groups of volunteers that would go out and help transport the bodies of accident victims to the coroner office. The reason being is that the Coroner office in Thailand does not have enough manpower to go out and perform all the tasks of retrieving bodies themselves.
The pictures you are seeing came from an event hosted by one of the volunteer group mentioned above. Many times the bodies were never claimed, these bodies are actually stored in an unclaimed cemetary [sic]. But when they run out of space to buried the bodies, they would have to clean out the cemetary. The pictures here shows the volunteers actually cleaning the cemetary by removing the unclaimed bodies. This needed to be done to make space for the new bodies.
In order to maximize the space to keep the bones, they had to remove the remove the flesh (which later would be cremated) and only kept the bones.
These people have worked with the dead bodies for so long that it doesn't bother them to sit down and eat their lunch next to the bodies. The volunteers are NOT eating the corpse. They are just eating the rice with some stir-fry meat with ginger.
[Supporting news item here
Okay, I figured it for an anthropology class out for a day of collecting material, but that's close enough. LOL.
It amused me. Here we have two sets of photographs that have absolutely nothing to do with each other, beyond the fact that the people in both sets are the same - one showing what, in the eyes of the majority, must constitute a defilement of a deceased person; the other, showing the partaking of a meal - and one automatically arrives at the conclusion that the meat from set A must have wound up on plates in set B. It is a strange thing, the human mind, that possesses the software to achieve closure by filling in gaps with information from previous experiences - the same software that gives us the power of deduction, of putting two and two together. Unfortunately, the same software that serves us can also work against us, leading us to see connections where there are none (which I can only liken to seeing animals in clouds and Ronald Reagan in a head of broccoli), simply because we're used
to links and sequences. And so the viewer automatically - erroneously! - deduces that (forgive me) one (dead) man's meat is another man's protein source for the day. (And it is perhaps a resounding testament of man's tendency to always assume the worst). Not the nicest prank you can play on someone, but hey, that's dark humour for you.
And then I found the following post on another website, and all of a sudden it wasn't funny anymore:
Warning: The forwarded pictures are truly gruesome. Please do not scroll down if you cannot withstand the shock. They are definitely NOT for Minors.
Is there anything the Nigerian government, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs Chief Ojo Madukwe could do on the diplomatic front to bring this serious matter to the attention of the Government of Thailand, may be through the Thailand ambassador to Nigeria or at the United Nations.
I will be forwarding the pictures to the Thailand Embassy in Ottawa, Canada and to the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Canada tomorrow morning along with a letter of concern of concern which will also ask for their comments on the issue. Individual Nigerians and citizens of other African countries should also be encouraged to bring this matter up with the Embassy of Thailand wherever in the world they may reside.
I believe that the citizenship of the victim, which is unknown of at this time, should not be be major consideration in our reaction. If the Thai hunters could do this to a full grown black man, can we imagine what they still do to the aboriginal peoples who still live in the tropical jungles of Thailand.
Because, all of a sudden, it's no longer humour of questionable taste; it's become malicious
Wait, it gets even better:
Sent: 21/07/2009 9:36:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: [NIDOA] Fw: Thai people eating blackman
The scenes depicted in the pictures are truly disgusting not necessarily because the victim is a black man as they would still be disgusting regardless of his race. The pictures depict a group of hunters who after hunting down and killing a black man (as they would any animal) proceeded to dismember his body and then cooked some parts which they ate. All these acts took place in ether late 20th or early 21st century.
I believe we must embark on some steps to ensure that:
a) the Thai government authorities are made aware of this atrocity.
b) that human rights groups worldwide including at the United Nations be made aware of this incident.
c) that this matter be bought up at the United Nations so that all nations of the world could become involved in stamping out these kinds of primitive cannibalistic acts.
d) that the Nigerian government exact some diplomatic response from the Thai ambassador in Nigeria on the basis that the black victim could be a Nigerian.
e) try and obtain a translation of the text that is written in the Thai language.
In a message dated 21/07/2009 8:20:48 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, adaejiagamba08@ yahoo.com writes:
Why are black people despised all over the world? Why do they see us as less than human? I hope the pictures below are not true, this is sickening.
Please those of you plying Thailand and its neighboring countries beware!!! We don't want any of our own to end up being eaten by barbaric cannibals.
Wait, did I miss something? Where, in all these pictures, is there evidence that the corpse was hunted down? Where are the weapons - at least, weapons that can be associated with the few areas of trauma on that body (for a "hunted" corpse, he seems to be in terrific condition)? You'd also think that the group could dress a little more appropriately for the so-called hunt than medical whites and police uniforms... seriously. Oh, and that's not a even a fresh corpse, as should be evident from the livor mortis. So what, they let their corpses sit around a bit for better flavour? And how did the writer even
arrive at the conclusion that "black people are despised all over the world" and "are seen as less than human" from that one set of photos, which showed only *one* individual (who, as we've already established, wasn't even eaten, but prepared for some kind of ossuary), rather than something more conclusive... say, a corral full of these folks, or multiple "hunting" events? Nice job of leaping to illogical conclusions there.
It makes me wonder what the authors of the emails are trying to accomplish. Because when you bring in actual racial and nation identities, you can't possibly
have anything in mind that is any less than creating discord and persecuting a particular group of people that don't fit into your worldview - or, at the very least, attempting to solicit sympathy for your own group, that you do not deserve. What better way than to portray your targets as savages - or at the very least, morally and intellectually inferior? (Once you establish them as being inferior beings, you take away the guilt of committing crimes against them. History's littered with examples. Surely I need not name them).
[And indeed, what better horror, in this case, to inflict than that of the Ultimate Crime: desecration of the dead? Almost every modern culture1
has its own death taboo; while the details may vary, most of them involve having it ground into you that it's immoral to chop up old granny like a side of pork, and stir-frying her with the vegetables, - and any one or any group that violates this sacred code is automatically a force of terror to be dreaded or hated.]
It makes you want to throw your hands up in despair sometimes, doesn't it?
People, if you've received similar emails, if you're reading this, pass on the message
. This is a hoax, and a particularly pernicious one. Don't spread the hate.1 I say modern culture, because there are apparently still a few primitive cultures that practice ritualistic cannibalism, and I refuse to discuss them in the context of this journal entry because the people depicted are clearly from the "civilised" world.