Malek Allari | Editor-In-Chief
When the sun goes down, and the dark starts to rise and conquer the world, the only enemy to mankind is betrayal. Betrayal comes in many forms, and I know of only one. I was sitting on a tree when I saw my village down below starting to light the lanterns, “the man-created sun.” Life is nothing but a joke and a trail for us humans. I will be damned if I said that I am the purest person to ever exist on this damned land. I already have blood on my hands; whether it was a friend or foe, I will never bat an eye when I see death at someone’s door. If I ever say that I will save someone, know that I am lying. If I am saving someone, it will be me, myself, and I. The humor of context and dialogue when you say something that will happen and never happens. It is the humor of life to promise you prosperity when you die in poverty. It is the way of life to inject an honest lie disguised as a respectful truth.
Speaking of respect, I do not know what makes it the proudest title someone can ever dream of. Respect will not offer you anything except the greetings of the people. Fear also brings the greetings of the people, along with their loyalty. Fear brings loyalty and hate of the people, whether it is a lie or the truth. If you want respect, so be it, but know that a knife is always pointed at your back. If you want fear, know that a shaking knife is pointed at your back. The chances of survival of that knife are greater when it is shaking. You want to show respect, show it to your parents who raised you. Show it to the elderly who fought with their lives to put you where you are. You want to show respect; make sure that you have a smile on your face and pride in your heart. Respect does not hurt your ego or demolish your pride but rather strengthens both of them.
Remember, your ego might be your sharpest blade, but it is also a blade that attacks its handler. Too much ego or pride will weaken the respect that you have and receive. It will also weaken the fear you receive from your subjects. They say a warrior shows respect to both friends and foe, but it is also said that respect kills the man that emits it with the blade of the enemy.
When the sun hides under the earth, waiting for its time to shine again, make sure that the betrayal is always at your door, and death is the knocker. People will say that I have no honor, no pride, no humanity in my blood, but I always have respect for superiors and fear of my subjects. “You are one crazy warrior, big brother!” I heard my brother shouting at me from below. I looked at him; how dare you interrupt my thoughts?! I jumped down from the tree and walked to my brother. I looked at his black hair in a bun, black eyes like obsidian, and milk chocolate skin. Sometimes I wonder if he really is my brother with my light skin. But again, he took it from my father. “Father wants you,” he said. I could feel fear in my heart. The only thought I had was, fuck! “Why is that?” “How should I know? He does seem mad and kept calling you crazy this and crazy that.” “Well, I’ll be damned,” I said as I walked with my brother to our house. I removed my sword from my waist, took off my sandals, and walked into the room where my father was waiting, and my mother was trying to calm him down. I could feel his aura tightening its grip on my throat. What a dragon! If I fear one thing about my father, it is his fury. I respect him, and he seems to read my mind. “I know that you respect me, but why do you instill fear into your people?” he asked. I could see his eyebrows tightening and his eyes becoming bloodshot. The glare of a mad tiger is the look on his face.
I coughed and said, “I might respect the elderly and my parents, but for the ones my age and younger, I instill fear. A shaking knife on your back is as weak as a sandal on the face. When you instill respect into your subjects, they will always turn on you when you give them your back. However, when they fear you, they will not dare to take a step toward your back.” My father looked at my mother, and she looked at me. My father sighed, and I felt relieved. I told you before respect will only lead you to your demise. That is why seconds later, I could feel my body throbbing from the pain that my dad inflicted on me.
He got away from my body and turned his back on me, “This will be your last time to be so foolish, son. Or else I will be forced to remove you from the family tree. We rule with respect. It is a warrior duty.” “A duty that will lead to your death.” My mother slapped my face. She had tears in her eyes, but she held them back. “If your father was to meet his death because he was respected, then I will appoint you the leader and have you lead the people with fear. Remember, if you die while being feared, I will make sure to hunt you down and send you to hell.” My mother was ruthless. Although she was not born a noble, she was way stronger than any queen in this land. I nodded.
After my parents left, my brother gave out a long breath, “You damned brother of mine. When will you learn that respect is sharper than fear?” “It is also a double-edged blade that hunts the hunter rather than the prey.” I left the room and went back to the tree at the hill. I sat on the tree and waited for the hidden sun. I can only think of one thing, am I any wiser than a dreaming fool, or am I fooler than the wisest king?
I sat there, looking at the stars, wondering if it was really fear or respect that was the best weapon to reign with. Remember when I said that when darkness rises and conquer, betrayal becomes humanity’s enemy. It was true, for that night, the one who died was not my father nor my mother. It was my brother. My brother died believing my father’s beliefs and teachings.
When I heard the news from my sobbing mother, I might have doubted my beliefs. Now, not even my father could stop the fury of a broken tiger. I might have instilled fear into my subjects, but now, I only brought death to their doors. I might have caught my brother’s murderer after killing so many people, but I know that fear is my justice, and respect is nothing but a fantasy we created to put ourselves at ease. I do not need your respect, you can keep it. I want your fear, for your trembling hand might never hold another blade.
After I drenched my hands with a sea of blood and my skin became redder, I sat down on the tree at the hill and waited for the hidden sun. It might have happened within one night, but it sure felt like an eternity of darkness and hate. An eternity of fear and fury.