Monday, May 23, 2005

The Trial

The bizarre trial of A Nonymous Man continues, long after verdict and sentence having been passed, to the embarassment of all parties involved. It is awkward. Like the silence at a deathbed where farewells have been completed but death has not yet arrived. Or when at the gallows a condemned neck refuses to snap instantly, and the executioner and loved ones watch in discomfort the hopeless squirming of a body pleading for life, and wait and pray for it to end quickly. The crowds, of course, cheer.

Appropriately, this trial too had resulted in a sentence of exile until death. The judgment was unanimous, and there was no right of appeal. But now experts have arrived, motivated by love and care for the victim, condemning the leniency of the sentence, quibbling that the definition of exile should be harsher, more comprehensive. It is not that the condemned is not already suffocating in his cell, denied light and air, but would it not be better if we bricked and mortared him in completely. He deserves it.

The court considers their arguments, and it hears with sympathy their pronouncements. Their zealous hearts are pure and full of love, their motivations noble and selfless, they are the new inquisitors, and this is a witch burning, this is their auto de fe. They see the charlatan and liar for what he is, everything he says and believes is a lie, the truth is always the reverse. His face is not his own but a mask, to be torn off and exposed. It is not enough that he suffers, he must be loathed. And all that the condemned had and lost, perhaps they might take over as their rewards for their service.

Meanwhile the crowd salivates in eager anticipation of a dreadful and macabre climax. Hopefully they will not be disappointed.