Monday

Polao ea Basotho (Killing Basotho)

There are certain things that one does not forget. I will never forget that another Mosotho, or Basotho, killed my nephew, 3-year-old Motlatsi Masilo, in his sleep, and my older brother, Khotsofalang Reaboka Masilo, as well as other innocent Basotho. I'll never forget that a group of Basotho came to my home in the middle of the night and sprayed bullets through the windows in a bid to kill my father.

Another Mosotho or Basotho put a pistol to Khotsofalang's forehead and pulled the trigger. Or perhaps this other Mosotho or Basotho cut my brother's wrists with a sharpened knife. Or perhaps they tortured him until his body gave up.

I may never know whether this co-citizen or these co-citizens crushed my brother's testicles, gouged out his eyes, sliced off his ears and let him bleed to death, or just bumped him off "humanely" with a lethal injection like one does a sick animal. I may never get answers. What did this Mosotho or these Basotho do with Khotsofalang's body. Did he, she or they burn it? Bury it? Dance upon it? Embalm it? Leave it to the dogs? Piss on it?

What?

I may never know, and it is indeed the not knowing that haunts us, that makes it a point to remind us every once in a while. You don't know where he is! You don't know where his remains are! Nya nya nya nya nya!

Why did this Mosotho or Basotho kill Khotsofalang? And most important, what is this Mosotho or Basotho thinking today? Do they look at themselves in the mirror every morning and feel like shit -- or are they proud for having done this devastating deed? Or have they already forgotten about it ("It was all in a day's work")? If this Mosotho or Basotho are reading this, what would they like to tell me, I wonder, and my two other brothers and my two sisters and my parents?

Here is what I would like to tell them: YOU KILLED MY BROTHER, AND YOU MAY HAVE KILLED MY NEPHEW AND TRIED TO KILL MY FATHER. YOU MAY HAVE KILLED OTHER BASOTHO SOLELY BECAUSE THEY HAD A DIFFERENT POLITICAL OPINION FROM YOURS. FUCK YOU. YOU HAVE TAKEN THE LIFE OF TWO PEOPLE IN MY FAMILY AND TRIED TO TAKE THE LIFE OF A THIRD ONE. I WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO US AND TO OTHER BASOTHO. I HAVE DOUBTS AS TO YOUR HUMAN-NESS. BUT IF I SAW YOU TODAY I WOULD NOT WANT TO REVENGE. I WOULD SIMPLY ASK YOU TO TELL ME WHERE THE FUCK MY BROTHER'S BONES ARE. THE REST OF THE STORY IS BETWEEN YOU AND GOD. AND ON THAT SCORE I THINK YOU, MY FRIEND, ARE IN DEEP SHIT.

There are other people who know or knew about this, even if they were not directly implicated. They chose to shut up. And they haven't opened their mouths since. They are the accomplices. For the sake of politics, or whatever base reason they had, they kept quiet and they are still quiet about the killing of a 3-year-old, a teenager, and the attempted assassination of a father and husband. YOU ARE ACCOMPLICES.

In actual fact, there are a lot of things that happen in our culture that go unpunished. No matter how disastrous those things are. Rape. Theft (Conveniently called 'ho tsalla'). Ho tsalla is theft, and worse, it's somebody stronger openly using their force to take another person's possession. Ho tsalla is bad theft, it's thuggery, and should be punished as such. It is not a hungry person who steals a piece of bread to eat. It's banditism, thuggery, theft, aggression. I speak of this because such things engender other, bigger crimes, like killings that go unpunished. Letting stuff like ho tsalla go unpunished is like saying "Hey, everyone, go right ahead and loot and break the law and break up families. It's alright"

Except that it's not alright.

I think that the government must come down hard on petty theft and other things that our society does not normally punish. Teach the children what's right and wrong early on and they'll know what's wrong and right later on