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Saturday 19 November 2011

A cannibal’s tale —Tammy Swofford

COMMENT: A cannibal’s tale —Tammy Swofford
“...the delicacy of human flesh is an acquired taste. But when making initial introduction of this diet to the palate of newcomers, it is important that they receive the meat as a stew. The initiate must not envision a human frame. And certainly, they must not contemplate the human soul”

“Consumption of human flesh is a delicate topic. It is an acquired taste. So introducing human flesh into the diet must be accomplished at a fairly young age. When you think of it, the human breast milk, which nurtures the newborn, can be viewed as the introduction to a craven instinct. It is buried in the ID of man. But the maternal instinct of the mother overrides the impulse in the brain.”

The audience clapped their hands in glee. One of the educators tasked with revamping public school textbooks interjected his thoughts: “There is little doubt that you are well-read. And what you are sharing with us brings to mind the words of Sigmund Freud in his book, Civilisation and its Discontents. Let me find the passage.” He flipped furiously through the pages until his eyes located the paragraph: “Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbour is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus (man is wolf to man).”

The cannibal thought for a moment. “Of course what you have read is true. But we will be careful as we embark on our course of action. We must offer up the flesh of our enemy first. That is how it is done. Once our subjects are comfortable with the flesh of our distant enemies, we can introduce them to the flesh of our nearest neighbours. But the West is a suitable target for now.”

One of the newest members of the group looked contemplative. “But what if we cannot contain the appetite? What if our test subjects then develop such a hunger for human flesh that they begin to look down the street at their near brother with hunger in their eyes?” Reaching across the table, the cannibal took the book from his counterpart and continued reading the words of Sigmund Freud.

“Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favourable to it, when the mental counter-forces, which ordinarily inhibit it, are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien. Anyone who calls to mind the atrocities committed during the racial migrations or the invasions of the Huns, or by the people known as Mongols under Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, or at the capture of Jerusalem by the pious Crusaders, or even, indeed, the horrors of the recent World Wars — anyone who calls these things to mind will have to bow humbly before the truth of this view.”

The cannibal looked at his audience with a predatory gaze: “As I stated before, and will now address again but in an expanded manner, the delicacy of human flesh is an acquired taste. But when making initial introduction of this diet to the palate of newcomers, it is important that they receive the meat as a stew. The initiate must not envision a human frame. And certainly, they must not contemplate the human soul. So the recipe will be placed into the elementary school books first. That recipe must find place in the brain at a young age. The first generation may not acquire the taste for human flesh. But they will acquire the scent as it settles within their memory bank. Their children will develop the taste. Then, and only then, will Pakistan be rightfully feared.”

The group considered the words of the cannibal in a sombre mood. Hesitantly, one of the members asked, “After the West, who will we target?” The cannibal replied, “We will target the Ahmedi community. They are near neighbours who are our mortal enemies. They can never be considered Muslims. Heretics are also quite tasty.”

The cannibal spoke forcefully. “We are a curious group, those of us who consume human flesh. We keep to ourselves. We are fiercely loyal. Our tribe must always remain suspicious of outsiders who would seek to change our tradition. Once the taste is acquired, the quest for human flesh becomes a life-long venture. In fact, I dare say that the hunt becomes a distinct passion. But we must be careful. Our children must not be exposed to outside influences. They remain the vulnerable link to our continued survival.”

May 28, 2010: The Ahmedi community was gathered for Friday prayers. Gunmen entered their mosques in Model Town and Garhi Shahu. Weapons were fired and grenades tossed at the worshippers. When it was over, all that remained was for the mourners to claim their dead.

May 29, 2010: Ninety-three members of the Ahmediyya sect who lost their lives in the twin attacks of the previous day were buried. Pakistan mourned. And somewhere in the darkness of Hell, the echo of the cannibal’s laugh was heard.

Journalist’s note: Dr Mohamed Boodhun, Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, sent me an elegant and simple supplication this week. He asked that I consider the plight of the Ahmediyya. Today I extend my love to this community of souls.

The writer is a freelance columnist. She can be reached at

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