Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beat up by a Mob!

I was on my motorcycle, just a few feet from the curb on my side of the road. A motorcycle is coming toward me and one behind him came speeding up twice as fast as he should have been going. He passed the bike coming toward me, and when he did he came to my side and because of his excessive speed, he couldn’t stop and slammed into me. I didn’t get hurt from that, though he did and his bike. As is always the case, a crowd of nosy bystanders formed around us. Everyone thought I should pay for the damage—not because I was at fault, but because I am the foreigner. I refused to pay anything. The guy ran into me on my side of the road! It looked as if he was injured and his bike was still lying on its side. The crowd quickly got agitated. They began to push on me. I got hit and kicked in my mouth, the back of the head, etc. I tried to run away and someone from one floor above threw a glass down and it hit me square on the head. Blood gushed out as I ran inside the building. I’ve never seen so much blood. Drops were splashing everywhere. If you took a water bottle and began to shake it back and forth, it was like that. For a minute there I thought I was dying; the blood was coming out so fast, but after a couple minutes the flow slowed down. As I was trying to press on the wound, people outside were damaging my bike and stole my helmet, ripped the box off the back, threw it over, that sort of thing. Oh, and by the way, all this happened in the presence of a cop! It was when he showed up that they began to beat on me! Some people came in the building, not to help me but to take pictures of my injuries. I guess I looked like I was dying; what a great time to take pictures! A police van showed up. The police were helpful in the sense that they tried to get the guy who hit me with the glass. They were completely unhelpful in every other regard. They had it set in their minds that I should pay for the damage—not because I was at fault. No one accused me of that, but because I am a “rich” foreigner and he is a “poor” Nepali teenager. I had asked the police to take my bike to their station to keep the crowd from burning it. It is good I did that, but with me going to get stitches and all, the bike was there overnight, at which time they (the police!) stole the gas from my tank and out of the other guy’s bike too. Moreover, they wouldn’t let me take my bike back until the other guy’s father (whose bike it actually was) was satisfied. So though the accident was 100% the other guys fault, I had to pay for the damages, which amounted to about $140. This is nothing new. You can’t imagine how many times I have heard stories like this from other foreigners. They try and take us for every rupee they can. I was told when I first came to Nepal to never stop at an accident, whether it is my fault or not. I was told you should always leave the scene. If say I had run over somebody, for instance, it wouldn’t matter if it had been my fault or if that person had darted out in front of me. The crowd would beat me to death and burn the car. That’s how it is here. There is no such thing as justice in this country. I’m doing fine, though. Actually and surprisingly, my head doesn’t hurt at all. And now with my head shaved in the middle, I look like the monk Martin Luther for real!


Ted M. Gossard said...

Litl'l Luther,
Wow, you really got conked. So glad you came out alright. Praise the Lord for that. He is with you! (reminds me of Paul's troubles, and God's deliverance of him).

Litl-Luther said...

Hey Ted,
Thanks bro! I appreciate the encouragement. You're a good man and a good friend.


lorenzothellama said...

Oh Luther, what a terrible story. I've only just popped over from Susan's to congratulate you on that wonderful little bundle, your son! He is so gorgeous. You must be so happy. Give your wife a hug from me and tell her she is very clever!

I really am shocked by your treatment from the Nepalese. I was always under the impression they were very gentle people. I wandered about Katmandu alone at night without being hassled and I didn't even feel vaguely threatened. I felt very much at peace there.

Hope you are full healed now.

Love Lorenzo.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Hey DAD! Glad the post was ok with you - wasn't sure but was certainly glad that baby Samuel and Jaya were well so wanted to tell someone about my friends! I had a C section too - so tell her not to forget about it and do something silly like running to chase the cat after she claws Mary - that is what I did right after I came home from the hospital - 5 days after the C section - the cat was mad about the baby and hit on around the corner and slashed one of the boys across the thigh - I was up, out of my chair at the kitchen table and halfway up the stairs before my husband caught me and reminded me I'd just had surgery! No wonder surgery talks about angry mother bears!

Glad your head is doing well - like Lorenzo I didn't expect the people there to be so anti-foreigner. Sound quite dangerous actually! But, about the head, it is actually a really good lesson in parenthood - anything about the face or head bleeds like crazy - you think your child is going to die of blood loss. The best thing is a compress and ice - so now when baby Samuel goes running off faster than his feet can hold him up and bumps his head (as my Olivia did - she split open her forehead at 18 months) you'll know what to do and not panic over the sight of so much blood.

Again - what a wonderful blessing. Tell Mary to take good care of mommy and baby brother. I will look forward to a big sister little brother picture!

Litl-Luther said...

Hi Lorenzo,
Thanks for the thoughtful email. In a way you are still right about the Nepali people. They are kind. In fact, they show more heartfelt hospitality to strangers than probably any other people on earth. I still feel quite safe to walk at night here. However, ever since the Maoist insurgency in 1996 (or perhaps even before that), a "culture of violence" has been developing in Nepal. When the Nepalis are upset about something\anything (i.e. it could be the price of gas or a thousand other things) they close the roads and throw bricks at vehicles and burn tires. Several times I have had bricks thrown at me for driving when they closed the roads. Usually, I wouldn't be out if they closed the roads. But often I am out early in the morning and then roads get shut down by angry demonstrations, I am simply trying to get home to my wife but bricks are thrown at me because I’m driving when the angry mobs are saying don’t drive. Once someone swung a steal pipe at me too for going through a road blockade. So often the Nepalese are very sweet, loving, gentle people, but a generation of youth have grown up over the past 12 years or so thinking that the only way to get what you want is to close down the city, burn tires and throw bricks at business who don't shut their shutters or cars and motorcycles that 'dare' to ply the roads. The youth have on several occasions burned their classrooms and the motorcycles of college staff because they were unhappy with their exam scores! The young generation of Nepalese are much more willing to turn to violence at a moments notice.

I am so grateful to you, Lorenzo, for your heartfelt message.

Litl-Luther said...

Thank you Susan! You are a great friend and blessing in my life. Sincerely.


Litl-Luther said...

Hello again Lorenzo and Susan,

I just wrote you talking about the regular violence in Nepal, and it happens to be going on today, too!! I wanted to mail a CD of pictures of Samuel to my Mom, but I couldn't get anywhere because the roads are blocked in every direction! They are protesting the high increase in public transportation. The increase is justified because the government finally raised gas prices (though Nepal Oil Corporation will still lose 1 1/2 billion rupees a month because of government subsidies on fuel--setting the price much lower than it actually costs them to buy. People don't care what the reason is, whether legitimate or not. They don't want to pay what things cost. So, like always, they threw another temper tantrum today, like little babies when they don't get their way; except babies can't pick up bricks and hurl them at you!

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

boy, talk about needing to learn the culture and being able to work within it!

Our Llama friend is off to Spain to visit one daughter and then back towards home to care for another who has not been well of late. Do pray travel mercies on her and a real sense of God's person and presence please.