Friday, September 7, 2012
Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
And the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
What could drive people to commit such atrocities on another human being? Is it as simple as us-vs-them propelled by the mob mentality? Quite a number of lynchers in the American south during the segregation era were actually church-going members of the society; they even created memorabilia of the horrifying events. The lynchers of the mentally ill man accused of burning the Quran in Pakistan claimed that they were doing it in the name of Allah. Angry mobs killed African-looking men in Libya in retaliation to atrocities committed by African mercenaries in Ghaddafi's employ. If you are accused of practising witchcraft, don't think that not living in the dark ages or 18th century will save you; people accused of being witches in Africa are still being killed in this modern 21st century.
How does fear and hatred remove your moral brakes so totally that such heinous action can be deemed acceptable?
Inspired by this article.