This j-cast, another in the Lyrix from Lockdown series, explores the emotions that young men like Omar experience when faced with bullying and ongoing masculine challenges and the consequences of knife crime.
The age of criminal responsibility is 10 years of age, yet – as you see within the track – young men like Omar have little emotional ability to cope with extreme feelings brought on by bullying. This is an insight into the inner workings of a young person who is impacted by an assault on his pride and masculinity, with the message for us, as adults, that it’s a complex issue that we should not pathologise.
Listen to the audio here and read the transcript below.
“Omar had been bullied so many times. He didn’t fit in. He never found it a problem, but others did. They wanted Omar to be a follower, a clone, the same as everyone else. They didn’t want Omar to be an individual with his own thoughts, ideas, and feelings. They wanted him to be part of the crew, the posse, the gang. With each day at school came torment, verbal abuse, and physical attacks. Omar tried to defend himself, but felt powerless. He couldn’t fight back.
The other kids in school laughed at him. They said Omar was weak, useless, rubbish. Till Omar started to believe that he was no good. No one listened! no one helped! no one understood. Omar was alone, depressed and very angry. Then one day he snapped; he’d had enough. He wasn’t going to take it anymore. It was time to stop the bullying.
Anger stood in the corner of Omar’s bedroom encouraging Omar to get even with the perpetrators and convinced him to act. Omar was now poised and ready to go into battle, when Stupidity called him back into the house, and reminded him not to leave without a weapon.
Stupidity smiled, when Omar placed a small knife in his pocket and gave Stupidity a hug before sending him on his way. Omar turned the corner and was met by Foolishness who gave him some last minute instructions as well as introducing him to three new people Nervousness, Anxiety and Fear who all joked with him, trying hard to put him at ease. Omar was ready for anything now. In the distance Bravery called out, but Stupidity stepped in and beat him off.
Stupidity stayed close behind to monitor the situation to ensure Omar would complete his mission.
A few hundred yards later Omar was joined by Temper a dangerous person eager to help him. Temper passed on a few brief pieces of valuable information before leaving as quickly as he’d arrived.
In the distance Love watched helplessly, as Death danced, knowing he might meet Omar at any moment. Omar reached the school playground and scanned around.
His eyes focused on the perpetrator, who had bullied him. Omar started to feel weird, and was met Confusion, who gave Omar a reassuring pat on the back and said hi. The perpetrator spotted Omar, gathered his crew, and headed towards him. Omar started shaking. Suddenly the knife in Omar’s pocket started to speak to him; saying how wonderful things would be now they were going to be working together.
Omar liked that, as Conviction had given him a few handy hints on acting bad. Omar’s heart pumped faster and faster and faster! The knife issued Omar the necessary instructions and told him exactly what to do. The perpetrator started pushing Omar around. Bravery and Foolishness came to Omar’s aid and tried to help him, but they too started to fight with each other. The knife screamed at Omar and cursed him for taking so long. The knife urged Omar to hurry up and use him.
Cousin’s Hostility and Rage appeared on the scene and came to the rescue. They stood either side of Omar and whispered in his ears. Omar lost control. He plunged the knife into the perpetrator’s chest. A loud scream and a drop. The perpetrator hit the ground, writhing on the floor. He stopped breathing. Revenge came over and congratulated Omar on completing his mission. It was over. No more bullying. No more torment.
No more freedom for Omar.
Omar was 15 then, he’s 19 now. He has three new friends; Lonliness, Depression and Suicide. They love Omar and share the same cell. They talk to him all day and night. Like true friends they’re always there for him. In fact they never leave him alone. Death now sits reading a book in the corner of the cell. He’s in no hurry.”
Martin Glynn, criminologist, academic, data storyteller and creative director of Algorhythm Data Storytelling Lab is the author of the forthcoming Black Art and the Criminological Imagination, out in 2021.
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Image credit: Chris Jobs / Alamy Stock Photo