Friday, February 15, 2008

Violent Valentine

Yesterday, Februar 14, I went out with a couple of friends to one of the usual bars in Melville's entertainment mile on 7th. street. The bar was full and babylon water flowed freely. We were all in a jolly mood - after all, it was thursday night and Valentine's day!

I noticed two women dancing with ambition in the middle of the bar, but I was soon diverted by the exciting company at my table.

Suddenly, much commotion struck at the entrance of the bar. The two women were engaged in a brutal fist fight with the bouncer and other bar employees. They rolled on the pavement in front of the bar, exchanging blows and tearing each others' shirts apart.

Some at my table intervened but to no avail. A friend inquired as the reason of the fight and one waiter said the boss had told the two women to stop dancing.

The commotion did not entirely die down and one of the women, after they were unceremoniously ejected from the bar, was taunting the bouncer, asking him where he was from, what he was doing here and why he did not understand her language.

My friend was now very angry and she felt that it was typical for a male-dominated, violent and patriarchal society to treat women in such a way. Also, that the two women were apparently a couple turned this into a homophobic incidence as well.

I was struck by the sudden violence, partially fuelled by too much alcohol consumption, but foremost by the indifference with which the violence was greeted by the people around. Some tried to say that the women deserved such treatment since they caused the trouble. Others had smirks on their face, taking the misery of others as entertainment, completely ignoring pain and distress.

This is what made me pause - how casual we have become in our response to violent and socially pathological behaviour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make an insightful point, Thomas. I know I have to guard against being blasé about crime and violence when it happens to others. Then again, perhaps that is a coping mechanism?

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Lesley Emanuel