Today I was discussing with a person about a project in relation to the community that I live in, he had loads of questions and then he said they will have to do a police background security check on me as a pre-condition. At that point I experienced a sense of fear/anxiety, and I left the scene as fast as I could, what caused this? I mean just for the record, there is no issue with my security background, in fact for my job successful police background check was a hiring condition, and Yet why did I experience so much anxiety/fear at the mere prospect of police involvement? In the desteni forums today, I was suggested to investigate ‘fear of authorities’ and how it has been planted in my mind throughout my life from the early years, so that’s the point to blog tonight. The extreme fear of authorities and police. I will walk through some stories.
How did I develop/create this fear within me? What memories/events contributed to this?
To identify fear of authorities, first I have to identify the authority figures in my life. Obviously home environment played a big part too, I mean my mother was a person of force, meaning, I was petrified by her anger and whatnot, but it’s much more than that created the fear of authorities in me.
Back in Sri-Lanka, as a child, they would always say “there is this figure who takes away naughty kids”, shit like that parents/relatives would say to kids just to force the child into disciple. There is no any practical actual concern for child’s security, just fear mongering by parents as part of their amazing parenting skills. “Don’t go outside, those naughty-children kidnappers will snap you”, or “Don’t go outside, there is the ghost after 6”. Things like that created a strange fear of ‘figures’, nobody ever saw such figures, but they remain part of the social psyche, which parents readily use to maintain their children. This is within the Sri-Lankan cultural context, I am sure similar fear-tricks are everywhere to ‘force’ the children to toe the line.
That created the fear of imaginary authority figures, unknown, and unseen, yet the fear factor is severe. That’s probably where I first developed this fear of authorities; there is always somebody out there to get you, if you don’t behave, is the message.
I was never afraid of my father as a figure of authority, so fear of him didn’t contribute to the ‘fear of authorities’.
Within the same cultural context, we even have accepted and allowed stories where men would kidnap kids to be used as ‘offerings to Gods’ during construction of bridges etc, some sort of security thing for the bridge, for its durability/safety, kids are offered as live-sacrifice to some unseen mysterious Godly figures, such are the stories, even parents seem to believe in such nonsense, fear of such kidnappings was a big one, again this fear of imaginary powerful, authoritative figures contributed to my overall fear of authorities.
Another story I remember is the fear of being kidnapped to work in farms in some remote, unknown, unheard of places, I don’t know if parents actually believed in them, or they were part of their usual just-for-fun parenting skills to train the kids to behave. Whatever it was, I remember having the fear of being kidnapped and sent off to some remote labor camps where I will never ever see my family again and will work all my life as a slave. That’s pretty heavy dose of fear to put into a child’s mind, just for the sake of disciplining the child. Amazing parental skills, I would say. “You’re going to be kidnapped and you will work all your life in a slave labor camp all day, you will never ever see us again”. I didn’t mind the “not seen us again” part, but I sure feared the slaving part for all my life in some slave camp.
Fear of being taken away by imaginary powerful figures, almost like figures from stories, yet they were so real, real enough to instill a deep fear of imaginary authoritative figures. The transition from imaginary figures to real-life figures was swift.
Then came the real humans, real figures of authorities that I feared so much. How was that created, and implanted into me?
I think, in school, the fear of principal, and fear of some teachers, were pretty bad too. You see in Sri-Lanka, the teachers can beat hell out of kids; yes physically beat them, either with their bare hands or with a cane. I have received both, terrible slaps on the face, and severe caning for various childhood shit we have done. But the point is how much fear I have towards these teachers. “You will be sent to the principal”, that can cause a lot of fear too. Above the principal was the Fr. Rector, the big catholic priest who was the top most authority figure in the school. I was sent to him too, not very cool.
Besides the terror in school, then there was the neighborhood, as Tamil minorities, we lived in an area of the majority, so there was always this fear of the majority street-thugs, those guys who got nothing to do, they just hangout in groups and cause trouble for anyone and anything for no reason. I would see them as figures of authority, not respected figures of authority, simply thugs who had power over me due to ethnic reasons. My father had an intense fear of these men too, just because they were on the other side of the ethnic divide. You cannot negotiate with them.
Walking around in that neighborhood, you never know what could come your way, I always had that fear while I walked around, never know, some thug out of the blue could just pick a ‘discussion’ with me, and end up bullying me or beating me up. Though such things never actually happened to me, but the fear thereof, the threat, the real possibility of, was always there. That was enough to instill a sense of panic in fact whenever I saw those thugs.
Add that all up, you will have sufficient fear of authorities, and more to come.
Now bring the real figures of authorities, the police, the army, in fact anyone who is armed and dangerous.
When I was in grade 1, yes grade 1, I asked my friend at that time, same age, if he would play with me, he said NO, and guess what I did, I took my water bottle, real glass bottle none of those plastic bottles those days, I smacked his face with it, next thing, blood all over his white shirt, oh my goodness what a day that was. The next day, his dad spoke to me, and told me “I will send you to the police and put you in jail, next time”. I mean, I can understand I have done a terrible thing to his son, but his words of threatening to send me to jail/police was pretty harsh. That was the first time I was threatened to put away in a jail/police etc, and there was enough reasons to do so too.
Next time I encountered the police was some 10 years later, along with my cousin, we were actually taken to the police station and the officer-in-charge spoke to us about the matter and let us go, not much fuss, but the local thug wanted a severe punishment for us, he went on to name us as terrorists, the Tamil Tiger version. This is just around the peak of the Tamil-war in Sri-Lanka, around 1985.
Being called a Terrorist was a big fear those days, even the police officer-in-charge was reasonable enough to discuss the juvenile crime/issue with us and let us go, but the local Sinhalese thug who caught us in the act wanted to taste our blood. I was shit scared when I got caught, so much so, I remember taking a whole bunch pills possibly about 10 of then, I have no idea what those pills were, I took them in the spirit of ‘end it all’ before headed to the police station. Fortunately I didn’t die, and was taken to the police station by the landlord in whose land we had invaded to cut down a banana tree at the middle of the night just for fun of it. How fucked up and stupid that was, anyways, the moral of the little story here is, that evening I was shit scared to being taken to the police, and how I was treated by the local thug, who is the real jury and the judge, And when he accused that me and my cousin as possibly being Tamil terrorist, I had no words for it, it is shit scary where you were seen as terrorist. I mean there was no mercy for terror suspects those days, you were silently, unceremoniously and urgently sent to St-Peter for judgment.
Those were few self-made incidents that got me involved with the police where I really felt scared by the police figures.
I would say the real day-to-day ‘fear of authorities’ came from the fear of local thugs, whom I was so scared of. There was always that threat, the way they spoke, the looks, the tone of their voices, the racial comments, sometime they will even say “the next riots, will burn your house down, will kill you etc.”, which exactly what they did, 1983 July 25th, during the largest ethnic riots against the Tamils in Colombo, my home was burned down, we became refugees and been on the go for a long time since, anyways that’s beside the topic here. I could never challenge or talk on equal footing with them, those thugs had their say, ultimate bullying if you will.
In school too, I was subject to severe bullying on ethnic lines, constantly threatening to kill, beat up and all that. I even had a school master, who made some nasty racial/ethnic threats, and of course he was a figure of authority, a school teacher. In Sri-Lanka, school teachers are like police officers, as they can beat the hell out of you. I heard that teacher commit suicide as he joined the military later on to fight the Tamil Tigers and something went wrong in his home front, and he took his life apparently. Funny even the thug who took me to the police station and charged me as a terrorist, took his own life I heard, not sure the reasons. Please, I am not implying anything here, completely unrelated events.
In Sri-Lanka, yes, if you’re ever even remotely, slightly, possibly, may be suspected as a terrorist, that’s it man, you are done and dusted. Because realistically there were so-called terrorist elements in the capital city, I mean read the newspapers from 90’s for context. So every Tamil kid could be suspected, and the authorities don’t know who is who. I speak Tamil, I look Tamil, and all the so-called Tamil terrorists speak Tamil and look Tamil, viola, put 2 and 2 together, you have a suspected terrorist, you have a dead kid.
Lets enter the war and army phase. When the army started to patrol the streets, was really a scary thing, I mean you never know what could happen with so many check points all over the city and middle of the night random house-to-house checkups etc. Yes 3 in the morning the army could show up to investigate your house, who is living, what they are doing, what is their permanent address etc, in their efforts to clean up the city from terror elements. And military curfews were ample those days too.
On top of all that, my dad was always ready to throw me out of the house, I guess yes I had that fear of being a homeless bum in Sri-lanka in the wrong time, wrong place and getting shot by the army during a curfew day.
All those things happened till I was 20, and then I left Sri-Lanka for good, came to the West for a new life. Sadly, I still have those intense fear of authorities, so it’s time for real nity-gritty self-forgiveness and self-corrections, which I will do tomorrow.
One more incident, I must write about, during school days, there was one guy, a school kid, of the same age bracket, more like a thug in his attitudes, one day he came to me and said, “bunch of guys are waiting for you outside the school gates, with chains, iron rods, and whatnot, and they are going to just finish you off”, what the fuck, for what?, he didn’t say it as a friendly warning, but more like a threat, a made up story to scare me? I don’t know to this day, I don’t’ know why he did that, may be some money involved. No wonder the guy is a CEO now. I won’t’ mention any names. That day after hearing his warning/threat I remember I was shit scared so much so I didn’t leave the school compound for sometime after the last class. I feared for my life that day.
Not to mention all those ‘will send you to hell’ by God fears, which I guess, is pretty common for any human.
So that I think pretty much covers how I developed the fear of authorities, police, figures of both imaginary and real authorities.
In the next blog, I will write the self-forgiveness and self-corrective statements, I mean, for once and for all, I must set myself free from these accumulated memories, fear of real and unreal figures, so that I can LIVE here, stable, and breathing.
Of course, if the police come knock my door for any reason whatsoever, I can look at the issue with common sense, and discuss the matter. In Canada we are pretty lucky, there is still the civil legal/court system, I can speak, defend, and explain myself should I needed to do so; there is no reason for the old shit to carry within me anymore. Time to let this policemen figures in my head go.
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