jueves, 4 de junio de 2009

The taste of the individual savage

When Sefu returned to Kasongo, a day or two afterwards, he gave orders that the pieces of Debruyne's body should be collected and buried with Lippens, whose body, with the exception of the hands (which had been sent to Sefu and Mohara of Nyangwe as tokens), was otherwise unmutilated. The strong innate respect for a chief had protected Lippens' body, while that of his subordinate had been hacked to pieces. A curious fatality followed these twelve murderers. The chief of the band, Kabwarri by name, was killed by us in the battle of the 26 th of February with Lippens* Martini express in his hand. Of the others — all of whom were the sons of chiefs, and some of them important men on their own account — four died of smallpox, one was killed at Nyangwe, one in the storming of Kasongo, and the remaining six we took prisoners at Kasongo. During the trial they one day, though in a chained gang, succeeded in overpowering the sentry, and thus escaped.

One was drowned in crossing a river ; three more were killed, either fighting or by accident, within a month or two of their escape ; and the two remaining we retook and hanged ; — which brings to me a curious point. Of the many men I have seen hanged nearly all died by strangulation, and not by having the neck broken. As compared with shooting, hanging seems to me the less painful death ; the wretched being becomes insensible in a very few seconds, whereas a man shot will often require a coup de grace, no matter how carefully the firing party is placed.

During this time I made several excursions through the country in search of game, and also as
a means of getting to know the district What struck me most in these expeditions was the
number of partially cut-up bodies I found in every direction for miles around. Some of them
were minus the hands and feet, and some with steaks cut from the thighs or elsewhere ; others
had the entrails or the head removed, according to the taste of the individual savage, though, as I
afterwards discovered, this taste is more tribal than individual. Neither old nor young, women
or children, are exempt from the possibility of serving as food for their conquerors or neighbours..."

S. L. Hinde

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