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10 May 2016

Taşkınlık yapan suçlu illa

Always the rebel is the guilty one

Illustration by Marta Santos
Once upon a time there was a country where everybody had wounds in their necks.

It was the same tiny wound, made by two small punctures, a few centimetres beside the right carotid artery.

The tradition established that all the children at three years of age should inflict the injury on themselves by pinning a tiny two-needled device in that body zone. They were expected to continue doing it every day before going to bed. For the rest of their lives.

Respectable citizens would speak openly about the way they had self-harmed themselves even before the established age, boasting about the fact that they had not missed the puncture ritual ever, not one single day. What is more, enduring faints and pains in following the tradition was a wholly great honour for people in this country. Most exemplary citizens praised the tradition with vigour and determination. They knew the precise dates of its origin and they broadcasted the stories of those illustrious, distinguished citizens who had contributed to its perpetuation.

In the begining, punctures had been executed manually, with two sewing needles, sticking them one after another. The lack of hygienic conditions resulted in many frequent wound infections, and having to continue to pin themselves repeatedly, caused gangrene in the body zone. Deaths were not rare.

However times had evolved and people did not stick on themselves used sewing needles any more. Now everybody kept at home a small device with two retractable needles, used only at the time of punctures. Those needles were sterilized before and after their mission with a very cheap and effective solution available at all pharmacies. Deaths were now rare.

What had not changed from the beginning of times was the code of honor.

Never, ever, under no circumstances should the wound be seen by any other person. Not even by members of the same family.

For that purpose they came up with most different strategies. Women used handkerchieves and scarves. Men used wide neckties and high shirt collars. Men and women wore also wooden scarves in winter, neck warmers to practice sports, sumptuous jewelry, high necked jumpers and sweaters…They had also invented one thin cotton clothing stripe to be worn around their necks when they were in pijamas or when it was very hot.
They could never show that body zone naked, not even during sexual relations.
That would be shameful.

The wound was considered to be sinful, monstruous, disgusting, unsightly, horrible. Showing it to another person would have been considered to be an aggression.

But they all carried on doing it everyday before going to sleep.

One day there was a child who went to school showing his naked neck. His teachers reacted to this behaviour and applied the required punishments.

Nevertheless, the incident did not stop there.
One year, in May, when temperatures were warm and the breeze was singing songs together with the trees leaves… a boy came to the main plaza in the country capital and appeared in the very centre of it, his neck completely nacked and… no wound in it.

Short after he stopped in the middle of that plaza, his parents jumped on him. They were carrying the tiny puncture device and tried to stick it into their son’s neck without success. He was a stocky, hefty boy and they were not able to do it. Moving frantically, he was able to get rid of them.

But the police arrived just a few minutes later and four officers finally reduced him, they pushed him into an armoured van.

Don’t take our son! He will follow the tradition, I promise! —the mother was shouting, desperate. Shaking her arms into the air she was trying to get out of her husband’s embrace, who was stopping her from grabbing the officers—. I have the pinner here with me! If you leave us alone for a few minutes we will convince him!

Her son, already wearing handcuffs and sat inside the van, let one tear fall down his left cheek.

You will never convince me mum —he muttered—. Never ever.


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