Monday, June 21, 2010

The Revealed Truth Part 6: Mob Justice

I wanted to give the garden scene a little character so I added some flowers and a monkey. A Dutch carpenter named Wilfred did the primate sound effects. I saw two monkeys in Kiwangala. One was stealing a banana from a plantation. The other time was when I got lost riding my bike in the deep village.  I passed a pet monkey tied with a rope to a dead tree.

Other areas of Uganda are more plentiful. There are big primates like chimps, baboons, and mountain gorillas in the West, but the country is awash with vervet monkeys even in some of the suburbs. This monkey was photographed at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens. They have a big troupe there and not all appreciate snapshots. This monkey had a swipe at me. The botanical gardens were a savage place. I went on Easter weekend and watched a family enter the park and slaughter a goat.

Laws in rural Uganda are on par with the wild American West of the 1800s. Anything goes. Laws that are broken are difficult to enforce. Police are poorly paid and this makes them corrupt. Cash can pay off any offense. There are times in Uganda that call for vigilante mob justice. I was in a taxi from Luweero when a tractor trailer from the D.R.C. hit a road construction worker further up. I witnessed the workers torched the truck as we passed them on the road. The driver and his teenage passenger made a run for it. The kid was captured and beaten to a pulp. The driver was being prepared to be lynched when the police caught up with him. My friend was in another matatu behind me and tells me that one of the workers threw a pickaxe at their back window.

On the nights that I didn't want to mess with cooking under candlelight and a flashlight, I'd walk into the trading center for a rolex. Far from being a luxury item, a rolex is an omelet rolled up in chipatti, a greasy Indian flatbread, with shredded cabbage and tomatoes. My pal Junior cooked me up many a rolex and we got to be friends. I used to bring him jalapenos and avocados that I grew to throw in the mix.

One day Junior was gone. The night before he was accused of stealing a cell phone. A mob of townspeople grew up out of nowhere, beat him beyond recognition, and then drove him out of town. I never saw him again.

The soldiers who flog Jesus all the way to the authorities are acting out of what they've seen from experience. Justice comes swiftly and harshly in the village. It's at this point that the energy of the audience at the play's performance perks up and a crowd grows more excitable as Jesus completes each station of the cross.

The Revealed Truth Blog Series

This post is the sixth of a nine part series that takes an in-depth look at the The Revealed Truth and how rural Ugandan culture influenced the making of the film. The movie is about an hour long but I've broken it down into 5 to 10 minute blog-size episodes. The next post will feature Jesus's arrest.

The previous post was The Revealed Truth Part 5: The Last Supper.