“Simba, being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble…” – Mufassa (The Lion King)
You must have seen it in the news. For a week in March 2013, it merited page-1 on most digital news sites….“Swiss female tourist, 39, gang-raped by six men in dense Indian forest while her husband was beaten and made to watch…”
Here’s how it went down. The woman and her husband were on a “cycling tour” of India somewhere in the vast province of Madhya Pradesh. Let’s take a deep breath here and pinch ourselves to ensure we are actually reading about someone, a foreigner and a woman, biking through India for fun. There, I just pinched myself and felt it. So, unless I am in a Matrix-like state, this must be happening.
So there they were, the Swiss woman and her husband, all charged up, adrenalin pumping when they decided, why not just turn north and keep cycling for another 250kms and go see the Taj Mahal? Hey, these are just pitiful little illiterate coloured people, what harm can they possibly do to us?
And besides, why the fuck not? Miss Swiss and her hubby liked to be known as adventure tourists, brave folk who liked living on the edge, whose idea of a fun vacation was attempting something potentially life-threatening, in only those places on earth from which they might not make it out alive, places they have never been to before. As it turned out, it was a decision that they would live to regret.
At the end of the first day, they decided to stop and spend the night near a village that was surrounded by dense forest. Around 9:30 pm a group of men popped out of nowhere and broke into their tent. First, they beat up the husband real good and tied him to a tree. Then the men made him watch while they gang raped the woman repeatedly through the night. When they had had enough, they robbed the couple of everything they had and melted into the night. The couple were lucky to be alive and except for bruises, physically undamaged.
The route the Swiss couple had chosen took them through a region that is acknowledged as one of the ten most lawless places on earth – Chambal, in Central India, an arid and underdeveloped stretch of land as large as Quebec, that is riddled with poverty, corruption and patronage. It has a regional legislature where the line between the law-makers and the law-breakers is so blurred that you’ll think you have cataract when you look at them. The rich landowners rig elections and rule like feudal lords. Geographically, Chambal is as remote as Timbuktoo, in 1700AD.
The lawlessness has bred a certain demographic that is found in abundance at Chambal – dacoits. Bollywood has made movies on them. “Mujhe jeene do(1963), Mera gaon mera desh(1971), Pathar aur payal(1974), Dacait(1987), Bandit Queen(1994), Paan Singh Tomar(2012), Sonchoriya(2019)…. need I list some more? Should I be biking along tra la la la, in joints bandit movies are made about????
Trust me, if Donald Trump wanted to find a true example of a “shit-hole” region, Chambal would be numero uno, no question about it. If you are a tourist, you would have to be an imbecile with an IQ less than 2 to attempt a bike trip without checking out Chambal as a route to cycle through, even if you happen to be male. There are folk over there who would bugger you just as soon. Just to confirm, I cursorily googled Chambal lawlessness before I began writing this post. The first article that popped up was “The curse of Chambal” – The Telegraph, April 07, 2013. There was enough material there to make the hair at the nape of my neck stand up in horror.
If I listed all 195 countries of the world according to “bike-for-fun” safety and security in descending order, India would be very near the bottom of it, rubbing shoulders perhaps with Mali or Chad. The hazards that I am likely to face biking in India are very real. No one has ever heard of separate bike paths. If I am female, specifically female and white, there will be creepy local males stripping me naked with their stares. The exhaust pollution from decades old ramshackle lorries overtaking me will be choking. The potholes are so deep that if my bike and I hit the bottom, a Mexican farmer on the other side might hear the thud and cry out “Hola!!” And there’s of course the free-for-all traffic ethos among both, the educated and the illiterate.
Mathematical genius and philosopher, René Descartes (1596-1650) wrote in his “Discourse on Method of Rightly Conducting Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences” began by saying…..
“The power of judgement, which is called ‘reason’ or ‘good sense’, is of all things among men, the most equally distributed, for everyone thinks he is so abundantly provided with it, that those who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already have. The diversity is in the way we utilize the reason we possess.”
I always thought that the Swiss were really smart folks, not only possessing in abundance René Descartes’s ‘good sense’ and ‘reason’ but utilizing them to their maximum. Stealing millions in cash, gold and art that had been originally confiscated from Jews by the Nazis and left in Swiss bank vaults at the end of the Second World War, that took real smarts. Pioneering the concept of a repository for no-questions-asked ill-gotten gains from around the world, stashed away in numbered accounts, that was brilliant. Switzerland is not a rogue criminal state. It is just a bunch of poor white guys being resourceful.
What takes the Swiss into the realm of pure genius beyond anything that even Descartes could have imagined is the way they project themselves as a pink-cheeked, cute and cuddly nation with it’s picture-perfect hills, it’s Bollywood film song and dance locales, it’s chalets, it’s cheeses, it’s pastries, it’s chocolates and all those other innocent things that we associate with only the Swiss. Man, that requires brains, oh yeah, real brains.
I am wondering what Miss Swiss’s next adventure ‘project’ is going to be. Maybe she’ll want to cycle from Pakistan, across the Hindu Kush into Taliban-controlled Kunar in Afghanistan where she’ll strip down, discard her bike and streak across downtown Kunar in the nude. My eyelids promise to remain unbattable in her honour.
Am I being insensitive? Yes I am, but not to the general plight of women who are victimized in spite of trying their best to be safe. I am being heartless toward the stupidity of some thrill-seeking alpha folks.
The gang rape was unfortunate and nothing can justify it, not even stupidity. But it was entirely avoidable and in that, she does not deserve my heart-bleed. After all, wasn’t it the thrill of a lifetime that she had been after? Yes it was. The sensation of getting out there into the great wide unknown was an acid trip that she had chosen to have and she got what was coming to her, period.
There are many others like the Swiss woman and her husband – like those inexperienced, untrained accountants, gym instructors, librarians and ex-policemen, all of them trying desperately to prove they are worth something when they doubt it, those who liken themselves to real alpinists and throng the slopes of the Everest in May each year, only to die of either pulmonary edema or from being squashed under crashing seracs or simply disappearing into a crevasse, never to be found again, left behind as permanent frozen monuments to stupidity.
Okay, that’s enough about dumb Swiss tourists. Let’s go to dumb Hollywood stars.
In 2014, hackers, aware of an iCloud security issue found in the Find My iPhone app used it to access the phones of hundreds of celebrities. A Python script, posted on the net, allowed bad guys to target any iCloud account with a brute force attack – a hacker jargon for a rapid barrage of attempts at endless combinations to guess the password of an iTunes account until the right one is found.
Apple has apparently patched this security issue since then. Now the brute force attack will stop after the fifth unsuccessful login attempt, leaving the owner of the iTunes account unharmed as long as the password isn’t discovered in the first five tries.
As to those celebs, here’s how they reacted when images of their private parts that they had willingly posted and texted were plastered all over the internet –
“It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these Web sites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it.
“It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”
“To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”
“This is obviously an outrageous violation of our client’s privacy. We intend to pursue anyone disseminating or duplicating these illegally obtained images to the fullest extent possible.”
“It has come to our attention that our private moments, that were shared and deleted solely between my husband and myself, have been leaked by some vultures. I can’t help but be reminded that since the dawn of time women and children, specifically women of color, have been victimized…..”
Sure, my heart bleeds for them. What kind of imbecile would text her nude photos through an internet that is known to leak like a sieve? We now know the kind.
Or are they really being dumb? Maybe they want to be discovered. Celebs thrive on discovery and sensation, no matter how shrill their complaints may be about their privacy being intruded upon. Narcissistic and insecure, they enjoy taking sexy pictures and showing themselves off.
In the entertainment industry, any publicity is good publicity. Celebs repeatedly barter their nudity on hundreds of movie screens in front of total strangers and that does not bother them even a bit since it is art and their looks and their other physical assets are commodities in a lascivious marketplace.
Before all this broke I knew not a single one of these stars, except maybe Jennifer Lawrence who is a middling star at best. Now I’ll remember most of them. They are now guaranteed at least face recognition, if not by name. If I see a movie poster that has one of them, I am not likely to turn away. I am likely to buy the ticket and walk in. They have achieved what they all aspire for. We are the dumb-asses feeling sorry for them.
Non-celebs do the same thing but here lies the difference – they are mostly teenagers who haven’t gotten to know any better. Peer pressure, combined with some kind of brazen and rebellious innocence drives them to show themselves nude online. And if they are not teenagers but older, invariably they bare themselves with a clear intention to titillate. Here are some of their reactions……
“I like the feeling of knowing I’m desired, by strangers even. It’s empowering. When I post naked pictures of myself, I rather enjoy the thought of my boyfriend or fuck-friend jerking off looking at my photos. Ha! The best is when they admit to it”.
“Wanna know why I do it? Because it gives me confidence in myself and it makes me feel good and it does not always lead to a difficult situation.”
“I don’t know what religion you are, but if you’re Christian you should be willing to share. Asked over and over again, Jesus said that our primary objective was to “love one another”.”
Yeah right. A celeb veers off toward racism and victimization and a non-celeb sees Jesus in all this. If I try hard enough maybe I can connect all this to Higgs Bosons.
Sometimes I am tempted to let it all hang out myself. You know, post nude pics of me on the internet. If I wasn’t 65, with a weatherbeaten richard, I probably would have. No, I’m kidding actually. I’m a bit too straight-laced for that sort of thing.
“Meanwhile, Jennifer, I loved your photos though I don’t go for your kind of baobabs. They resemble pyrus communi (European pears). Melopepo are my favorite fruit. Oops that was Latin again, for melons. I break into Latin when I am turned on. Your nudity hasn’t changed the way I see you and your other celeb pals – as nothing but a bunch of stultus mulieribus”