This morning, I went to church. And I nearly kicked in the face of a 12 year old.
There’s a homeless man that I sit behind. There’s a moment in the service where we clasp hands and exchange a sign of peace. This happens almost every day. I don’t cringe or delay when I clasp his blackened hand.
I’ll wash my hands when I get home.
The boy came in at the end of the church service, sat next to me, and asked me my name. I indicated to him to be quiet. We were in the midst of prayer.
I’m guessing he was 12- not more. He had big brown eyes. His face was brown with dirt. His hands, black. He was thin as a skeleton. He was a Gypsy. But he could have been a Romanian.
As the service finished, I actually prayed not to be tempted into an altercation with the boy. I knew it was coming. It was inevitable. And I put it in God’s hands.
He must have known I was a foreigner. He wouldn’t have tried with a Romanian. They would have beaten him without a second thought, without a regret, and without wasting time about it. They would have kept beating him as long as he stayed within arms reach.
I put it in God’s hands.
As I was exiting the church, he was waiting for me at the door. He said he was hungry, I gave him the equivalent of $3.50-ish (10 Lei) and hoped that would be the end of it. With that money, he could get a foot-long loaf of fresh baked bread, a coca-cola, and sandwich meat.
It wasn’t the end of it.
Not so many steps from the church, he walked alongside me – trying to tell me his problems. He was cold. He was hungry. He was sick.
I blessed him and told him to beat it. In Romanian.
He replied by trying to fake a hug and steal my mobile phone from my shirt pocket. I knew this trick. I pushed him away as he came in for a hug. His hand was already in my shirt pocket. I slapped his hand hard and told him to beat it.
I prayed again and put it in God’s hands.
He apologized and offered his hand in peace. We were still walking. With his other hand, he tried to grab my front pants pocket.
I slapped his hand near my pocket and pushed him hard with the other hand. With an open palm landing on his chest, I sent him flying about nine feet. He was agile enough not to fall down.
He came for more. He also said his big brother is going to beat me next time I come to church. I told him, I’ll be waiting for him and his brother.
I prayed again and put it in God’s hands.
This time, he didn’t intend to make a charade of friendliness. His hands danced in the air as he ran at me, hoping to land at least two fingers in any pocket. I slapped him in the head this time. He fell down. I was tempted to kick him in the face.
Full force, I suppose that my kick would do permanent cosmetic damage. A light kick would incite him further. And since I’m not Bruce Lee or a trained fighter, I suppose there’s only light and hard hitting or kicking from me – nothing in between. Re-targeting would give him a chance to maneuver away.
I didn’t kick him. I fully intended to. But I got lucky. Maybe, him too.
A police officer was coming our way just then. The boy took off, telling me I’ll see him and his big brother at church tomorrow.
I want to say that the world is becoming something I cannot recognize. But, in fact, I recognize it. It is evil. We are complicit to the rise of evil. It starts small and we easily ignore it. But it grows. It expands.
It is the future. It is inevitable. Bucharest is the future of the whole world. And I wish it weren’t so.
And, yeah, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. But I suppose the whole point of this morning’s altercation was for me to send out this message and warning to a world plunging into darkness.
Things have to get so bad that we’re actually making it better with our hands and hearts – not just talking about it. And getting to that turning point is going to be worse than anything you or I can ever imagine.
Think I’m wrong? That it will never happen in your home town or city? A consortium of Russian and Romanian mob-bosses own the Liberty Bank of Georgia – I learned today. With their investment money, comes foreclosures, corruption, prostitution, poverty, disease, and hunger. Other things too. Evil moves in great numbers. It works through little things- things you can easily ignore or not even see. But evil, like I mentioned, is always growing and expanding it’s reach and impact.
7 May 2011
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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