Thursday, November 08, 2012

Earlier this week, I took a stroll along a cordon made up of two or three rows of huge guys in black riot gear.

They were there to contain the opposition protesters inside the square in front of the Central Election Commission. They were there to intimidate these protesters - as well as those who might have been considering joining the protest against vote-rigging that night.

I walked past them, a meter or so away, at a leisurely pace, smoking a cigarette, never once turning my head to look at them.

The decision to ignore these huge guys was spontaneous, and it didn't make any sense. All of a sudden, I just felt like strolling all the way to the cordon's corner point, pretending it was just an ordinary stroll. Took me about two minutes to get there. Then I turned around and moved away, back towards to the protesters.

At one point during this stroll, I forgot that the huge guys were there. I felt as if I was walking next to a tall black fence on my right - walking all alone, in the dark.

It was a powerful, weird sensation, which didn't last too long - a dozen steps at most. I knew they were there, yet I was able to convince myself that they weren't, just by not looking at them.

But after those dozen or so steps, the huge guys' presence slowly began to be felt again. They all stood there in silence, but they were staring at me. I knew they were. The wind - and it was a windy night - was blowing the smoke from my cigarette into their faces, which was a cruel thing of me to allow.

I may have looked like someone lost in thought - but I also looked like I was teasing them.

Teasing them like that mean cat in Hayao Miyazaki's wonderful film, Whisper of the Heart: the cat that liked to drive the neighborhood dog crazy by getting itself up on a tall fence, turning its fat ass to the poor dog, and letting it try to grab its tail for a while, then getting up and continuing on its way as if nothing happened.

The cat, unlike the dog, was free to go wherever it liked. So was I, unlike those huge, armed guys.


  1. Well done you. Simply by refusing to acknowledge their presence, you've committed a political act.