Razan Al-Enezi

Tartle

In front of its field of vision it witnesses the specters dwelling
Over the nonexistent conscience of humanity
They exist within us
Slowly engulfing what is left of our mentality
Every now and then
It probes for the calm hospitality
From graceful bows to a word of gentleness
Harbored within reality
And over time, it ceases to follow their trail of contentment
And begins to embrace life’s bitter brutality
It accepts the insignificant role of
Its individuality
This is a fragment
Of its stoic personality

 

Monologue in the character of the boy on trial in “12 Angry Men”

I cannot recall a time where I’ve felt more empowered. I try to convince myself that I have been able to let go of the poverty-stricken past, that my luck and hard work has awarded me freedom. Freedom from all the bitter-sweet life that I once lived…However, as much as those memories keep my soul and source of motivation stable, nevertheless they also haunt me and remind me of whom I am and where I’m from. I try not to get too preoccupied with the memories of living in a filthy squalor with my parents. It’s such a tough memory and it can be as deadly as it is pleasant. However the truth is, without those memories, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

The minute the foreman questioned my outlook on the case concerning the young foreign boy accused of murdering his father and I passed the chance of speaking out, I felt instant regret. The boy’s fate lies in our hands and I was foolish enough to let my personal feelings get in the way of my judgment. The foreman is right, it is my privilege. It is no one’s choice but my own to speak. Maybe what frightened me to share my thoughts is that I can relate myself to the kid. Hell, I can even see myself as the kid because I understand how it feels and I know exactly what they’ve been through since I’ve been through it all too.

Firstly, I couldn’t withstand witnessing one of the jurors snapping at the other juror for simply asking him if he knew the meaning of the term “reasonable doubt”. I simply couldn’t tolerate all the disgusting discriminative statements pouring right at the other juror. This led me to interfere with their one-sided spat. As I tried to settle down the argument, I happened to teach the juror that maybe it wouldn’t hurt us to take a few tips from people who come running here. Maybe they learned something we don’t know. We’re not so perfect. It hurt me deeply when the eleventh juror assured me that it is alright, that he’s used to ‘this’. ‘This’ being the discrimination every foreigner come across wherever they go simply for being ‘different’ when they’re really not. It was not alright at all! Wasn’t the judicial system supposed to give actual justice and fair treatment? When the juror apologized, I felt a surge of triumph. That’s what I want. Justice.

Secondly, I know what it’s like to live in the slums. I know what directs people of the slums to the direction of crime and prostitution. I’ve done bad things as well in order to survive the darkest of nights and the coldest of winters. I’ve always strived to achieve the impossible and I’ve always been told to ‘do what is right’ by my parents. It is not an excuse to become a thief or a murderer, but it is a choice molded by the circumstances.

A regrettable choice of which I dared to try in my youth in order to blend in with the juveniles in the slums so I wouldn’t be cast out as an outsider. My endless struggle with blending in led me to the point where I got into a fight so horrible and so life-changing. The fight began on the stoop of my backyard. After simple word-exchange to fist fight that ended when too many switch-knives became involved. Switch-knives came with the neighborhood where I lived. Someone from the neighborhood had informed the police about the commotion and danger that was going on. It was a matter of life and death. Luckily for us, neither were badly injured nor did we spend any time in prison. All we got was a warning.

What I didn’t know is that this experience would be helpful with this case. Who knew that due to my expertise with switch-knives, that it would ever be so handy with the case regarding the boy? Funny I didn’t think of it before. I guess you try to forget those things.

Furthermore, my knowledge regarding switch-knives seemed to impress the other jurors…To the point where I even got the chance to share my knowledge and help solve out the riddle in front of us! By informing them that anyone who’s ever used a switch-knife would never have made that downward stab, since switch-knives are not to be handled that way. I feel like I’ve gained my rightfully deserved respect for the information I have provided.

Although the rest weren’t convinced enough with the evidence delivered, it did not matter to me. All that mattered to me is to make sure the suspect should receive justifying assessments, not bigoted and biased views!

I’ve learned a lot from this experience. I’m going to change. I won’t allow any discriminative influences within the jury system anymore. This has to stop.

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