At least till we reached the final destination. The door opens. Another male figure, always male, with boots high up, sweaty palms, difficult smile. He waves his huge arms, as if to say hallo. He leads the way into a room filled with bags. This is the room, we are to learn our possessions get tagged. Including our persons. “Pass your documents” the female officer, clad in dark-navy blue blazers, would say. If you appeared confused or she assumed, as with her profession, that you were confused, she would demonstrate her words, flip through a catalogue of languages.
It reminds you of a police search. In my case, the prison movies I have watched were reborn. I expected all my items to be logged in. “Do you have anything in your pocket”, came soon enough. I quickly emptied everything. “Is that all”? was the next question. I was more thorough with myself than any convict ever would.
Satisfied with my nakedness, only then were my three bags tagged. The mind games soon set in. Since it was clear they had been headfast in this arena of imaginations; I remembered a song performed by a famous singer [while I was guest speaker in an Amsterdam auditorium. The date, well, May 3], “freedom of thought” is all we have in the end. “You see, I am no ordinary asylum seeker. I have rubbed shoulders with your bosses. I have met people high up the food chain, you would dare think anything negative about me… I am on newspapers, magazines; thousands of Dutch school students know of my story….,” I mused to myself.
In a world where citizens are reduced to the lowest of lows; the only paradise is the mind. But this is not to say that asylum seekers and refugees are born of defeatist ideals. We are proud as pride can entertain. I could see the quest in one officer, a quest to feel some power in his position, in his authority. This was good to acknowledge, even though we didn’t surrender our minds to their will.
It was possible, I hoped that we understood each other in the unique realities we were creating. A world of blind kings and servant half-blinds. “This way” the voice said. I rose from my temporary illusion and followed what was now but an echo. Leading to another room. Every room was designed as was in my ideals for crime scenes. An officer at the entrance, seats to the back. Chairs well arranged. Order. The room didn’t not reek of asylum seekers, little to my disappointment. However, a fresh odor struck my senses.
“It was similar of the thick airy stench of a military hospital in my country, in the capital city, Juba…. Army boots and uniform, all blood drenched cleaned by a pack of child soldiers…. A number of AK-47 Kalashnikovs fresh from fresh kills stand tall, with bayonets needlessly used in the last operation….” All these memories take turns.
The room was too orderly. But too many things have been more orderly in this country. In bars people are nice to one another. Two teens under the influence of drug cocktails are prevented from a fight by an unarmed female police officer. A waiter at a restaurant tells customer that he does not serve black people. Local legislators discuss the rights of former pedophiles to form an association. Police officers surveil idle black bystander near a Coffee-Shop!
“This is bread with cheese. This other one is bread with chicken. And this is milk and the other is oranges. You can make some coffee or tea from this machine,” were the instructions. It was uttered in an emotionless tone. I easily inferred that this officer had done this long enough for routine to be an understatement.
She left, but not my other guests. My first sight of real African size flies were here. They came and whisked by. They circled and vanished. Then they settled on the edge of the huge machine that I was earlier told would spew out tea and coffee. The flies seemed to agree to send an emissary to propose a comprehensive peace agreement, cessation of hostilities and possibilities of living in peace, after all, this was a land where peace was falling from the skies more than heavenly manner. Then another fly, with hulk-like wings pulled a helicopter dance…..bbbbbzzzzzzeeezzz to demonstrate its hierarchy in this little flydom. A peace deal was inevitable. We had mutual interests. I didn’t feel alone. For once I have become unafraid of them. I would yearn for the flies in the night.